Bermuda is a small, tropical island. As it’s very difficult to immigrate there, it is also difficult to buy property. The government places special restrictions against the foreign ownership of property, in terms of approval, price and location. There are also extra fees that the government puts on foreign-owned property.
Attorneys and Real Estate Agents
You must work through a Bermudan law firm when you apply to purchase a house through the Bermuda Government’s Minister of Labor and Home (see below). A lawyer will also help you out with the title search on your property when you are in the process of purchasing it.
Real Estate Agents can be helpful in this process, but they are not required.
Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
If you plan to buy property in Bermuda as a foreigner, you are required to obtain an Acquisition Lease from Bermuda’s Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs. This costs 15% of the purchase price for buying a condo, and 22% for buying a house, once the approval passes. There are also minimum prices at which foreigners are allowed to buy condos or houses.
Another rule is that foreigners can only buy condo units in “special development areas,” that have been pre-approved for foreign ownership. Undeveloped land is not an option for foreigners. You also cannot rent out your property to others.
First, you should choose a property. Then make an offer, and come up with a sales agreement. Your lawyer can help you with this. After you and the seller sign that agreement, you should put down a 10% deposit of the total cost into an escrow.
You must then apply the pre-printed application form to the Bermuda Government’s Minister of Labor and Home. This usually takes 2-6 months to pass approval. During this period, the documents should be prepared for the transfer of property. Your lawyer will help you with the title search to make sure there are no confusions on the prospective property. The Planning Department must also search if there is any illegal development on the prospective property.
If and when approval is passed, you must then put down the 15% or 22% of the cost, and then the license is released.
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