Buying Property in Antigua - A Beginner's Guide
Antigua, like any developing country, presents its own unique challenges to the would-be property buyer. If you know the buying procedure you are halfway to your dream Antiguan property, but having the right agency behind you will ensure that your dreams become a reality and your property remains the paradise you always wanted.
Overall the process for buying a property in Antigua is very similar to purchasing a property in the UK or USA but there are some significant differences.
Buying a house in Antigua should be an enjoyable experience, Luxury Locations can assist with every aspect of your property purchase from beginning to end. Ideally if you are interested in viewing property it is ideal if you inform us of your approximate budget and the things that you are looking for in your dream Caribbean property. If you have a chance, have a look through our listings to give you and idea of what is available and what you can expect from your budget and what is available, however if you do not see your perfect property do not worry we have many listings and you might not immediatly know a spectacular property from the photos we have, we also have a very large number of unlisted properties so always ask.
One thing you should note when looking at property for sale in Antigua, as well as rental properties, in almost every case the price listed will be in United States dollars, (US$) and not Eastern Caribbean dollars, (EC$). This is generally for the ease of understanding of vlaue which most can relate to easily without having to grab a calculator. Almost all other prices you will see in Antigua from cars to chicken wings will be listed in EC$ which has a fixed exchange rate of EC$2.7 = US$1.
The earlier you let us know when you are visiting Antigua the better so that we can set up property viewings, many of the properties are rental proerties so do require advanced notice to view.
Once you have made a decision you, it is then time for your offer, the market in Antigua is currently favoured for buyers hence many homeowners will accept a discounted offer of approximatly 5% and even as much as 10%. You make your offer to us as your agent and we pass that on to the owner of the property for consideration. In general in Antigua there is only one agent who markets and shows the property, the actual conveyancing is not undertaken by the real estate agent.
If the offer is accepted, it is often common practice to pay a reservation deposit equal to around 1% of the property price to secure the property, until the final sales contract can be completed and signed. If a deposit is taken the reservaiton agreement is normally quite short.
Once the reservation agreement is paid and signed you then engage a lawyer who will work to represent your legal position, typically a lawyer will charge a fee equivelent to around 1% of the property price. Typically you will be required to pay 50% of the legal fee for the lawyer to commence the contract vetting and due diligence on the property.
The property vendors lawyer will provide the sales contract to your lawyer for vetting and ammendments if required. Once finalised the contract will be signed by both parties, if you are away from Antigua when signing you will most likely need to have your signature notarised, depending on where you are that might cost anywhere from US$25 - US$150.
Upon exchange of the contracts a deposit will be required, in almost all transactions the deposit is 10% of the total property price. The deposit will be held by one of the lawyers in escrow,
At that point there are two routes that might be taken, appplication for Citizenship by Investment or an application for a Non Citizens Land Holding Licence, (NCHL or NCL). There are advantages of both and we cn guide you as to which is the best approach for you considering your circumstances and your choosen property.
Luxury Locations Real Estate top tips for the would-be property buyer in Antigua:
- Ensure that the seller has the right to sell the property, by instructing your Luxury Locations property agent or lawyer to do a search so that the property can be sold free and clear of any liens or cautions.
- Deposits should only be held by reputable lawyers in escrow accounts under Antiguan law - if not, your money is not protected.
- Always have a structural survey of the property by a government-approved surveyor.
- Never choose the same lawyer as the seller. It may save you money, but in the long run you will want someone who is paid by you to protect your real estate investment.
- Ensure there is a full inventory of the property prior to contract; ensure that photos are included as proof of what was agreed.
- Ensure that the property has insurance for the full sale value up to the completion date.
- If you are considering a new build property, ensure you employ a government-certified engineer to ensure that the build at each stage is correctly constructed to the plans prior to releasing any money.
- If you are looking for an Antigua investment property which you wish to let, ensure you consult a specialist property management agent to get the real picture on what your income might be.
- Antigua non-citizens licence 5% of purchase price (applicable to non-Antiguans); government transfer fees 2.5% of value; legal costs 1% or 2% depending on the property value.
- No matter what... DON'T break these rules and always work with a reputable real estate agent such as Luxury Locations.
There are a number of real estate agencies in Antigua but few that can offer the service and professionalism you deserve. Working with the right agency ensures that you only work with those who have extensive experience in this niche market.