Barbados Real Estate Law

Buying real estate in Barbados requires the use of an attorney at law to oversee the entire procedure to ensure your purchase complies with all property laws in Barbados.

If you are a non-resident of Barbados, you will need to apply to the Central Bank of Barbados and get their permission before you can legally buy real estate in Barbados. This also applies if you are a Barbados citizen living out of the country.

When you have identified the property or land you wish to purchase, you will then employ the services of an attorney at law. You will get an "agreement of sale" from the person selling the property or land - known as the vendor.

You will need to have funds in place to make the purchase and will give your attorney at law a 10% deposit for the purchase.

Your lawyer will do a title search on the property to ensure the person selling you the property legally owns it, and whether there is a mortgage on the property, in which case your funds would go to the mortgage company and the balance paid to the vendor. It may be the property has been used as some other form of security in which case there would be a charge or lien on the property. This must be removed or satisfied before the property title can transfer ownership.

If you are a non-resident, the lawyer will also be the liaison with the Central Bank of Barbados on your behalf.

If you are looking to fund your purchase with a mortgage, you can expect the completion of your purchase within seven to eight months, however if you are a cash buyer you can expect a completion of sale within three to four months.

You need to be aware of the fees associated with purchasing land or property in Barbados and ensure you have these funds available. If you are funding your purchase with a mortgage, you will have to pay your lender's fee for conducting title searches.

On top of this you have your own lawyer's fees to pay. Lawyers in Barbados operate their fees on a scale, which ranges from 1% for the first $25,000 Barbados dollars of the purchase price, to approximately 5% of the total purchase price.

Your lawyer will check the property to ensure the land tax has been paid current up until March 31 of the forthcoming year. If the vendor is behind on the land tax the government of Barbados has the right to take the property in lieu of payment. It is essential that the land tax be paid up to date on that land.

Your lawyer will check the water bill for the property is also paid up to date. The Barbados Water Authority will disconnect properties that are in arrears and as the purchaser you would have to pay this outstanding amount in order to have running water at the property.

Your lawyer would also ensure that the property has the electricity connected so when the sale is completed the property is available to move in.

Your lawyer will also send a land surveyor out to check the boundaries of your property and make sure that your neighbors have not encroached on your property in any way.

Finally, lawyers in Barbados advise if you are making the investment from overseas, you need to ensure someone has viewed the property on your behalf if you have not actually seen it yourself. This is to make sure you are aware of the condition of the property before the sale goes through.