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Bermuda Real Estate Laws: How to Purchase Property in Bermuda if You're a Non-Bermudian

Written by Bermudiana Beach Resort

11 | 09 | 19

Legislation  |  
4 minute read

Traditionally, Bermuda real estate was only available to buy for Bermudian citizens, their families and expats. However, this doesn’t mean that non-Bermudians can’t purchase property.

If you aren’t Bermudian and you’re looking to purchase a slice of paradise for yourself, you need to be aware of Bermuda’s real estate laws and legislation.

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Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing property in Bermuda:

  • The Documents and Visas Required
  • Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956: Requirements and Exemptions 
  • Land and Property Taxes

 

The Documents and Visas Required

If you’re a citizen of the USA, UK or Canada, you do not require any kind of visa to enter Bermuda. You’re all set to experience the beautiful island once you have a valid passport and return tickets. Visitors are always welcome in Bermuda and are allowed to stay for up to six months and buy real estate.

However, it’s important to realize that although international buyers are allowed to purchase real estate in Bermuda, it doesn’t make you eligible for Bermudian citizenship or permanent residency.  

In order for  overseas buyers to buy real estate in the country, they must obtain a License to Acquire real estate from the Bermuda Government Ministry. The process can take any time from three to nine months, so give yourself enough time for everything to be approved. The license fee depends on the type of property the buyer wishes to purchase.

The license fees are set at:

  • 6% of the purchase price of a condo.

  • 8% of the purchase price of a house.

  • If you are a non-Bermudian long-term local resident, the fees will be 4%.

At certain vacation condo properties such as Bermudiana Beach Resort, owing to a specific Government legislation, this license fee is waived, creating significant savings for overseas buyers.

Bermuda is very popular, so it’s no surprise that property prices for this idyllic location are high. The island is exclusive and houses are incredibly sought after, so consider purchasing a vacation condo. You’ll still have your own piece of Bermuda, but at a much lower price with the ability to rent your property out when you’re not there.

You’ll also have access to facilities, like swimming pools or gyms for example, that are maintained for you by a management company. Perfect for vacationers or retirees who just want to relax and enjoy their time.

Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956: Requirements and Exemptions 

Various amendments made to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 have allowed overseas buyers to buy real estate in Bermuda. 

Here’s a summary of the requirements, exemptions and exceptions:

  • In order to be eligible for purchase by an overseas buyer  the property’s Annual Rental Value (ARV) must be more than a designated amount ($25,800 for a condominium and $126,000 for a house).
  • Once an overseas buyer finds their ideal home and enters into a Sale and Purchase Agreement they must submit their application to purchase along with a consideration fee. A local attorney will facilitate this.
  • Once a Sale and Purchase Agreement has been signed, a deposit of 10% of the property’s purchase price will be paid.
  • The Immigration Department can grant overseas owners  permission to rent their property. Permission rarely extends to periods of more than a year and there will be an additional tax of 7.25% for short-term rentals, though in some new resort/residential developments such as Bermudiana Beach Resort, this is waived. 
  • Overseas buyers are not allowed to buy property with the main intent of earning rental income. But, recent changes to the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (No 2) Act 2010 permits this if the property is tourist accommodation or hotel residences.

There are questions that you need to ask yourself and your realtor before you put pen to paper. So, if you think that you’ll miss something out, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a checklist that will help you streamline your purchase process. Download it below today for free.

Buying a Vacation in Bermuda Guide

Land and Property Taxes

Despite Bermuda’s reputation as a tax haven, which is widely misunderstood, you still have to consider things like the cost of living and indirect tax fees. There are also taxes on the land and property that you purchase.However, paying land tax is simple, you can even pay online. These rates are assessed on the property’s Annual Rental Value. At the time of writing, they are set as follows for residential property:

 

Annual Rental Value

Tax Rate

$0 to $11,000

0.8%

$11,001 to $22,000

1.8%

$22,001 to $33,000

3.5%

$33,001 to $44,000

6.5%

$44,001 to $90,000

12%

$90,001 to $120,000

25%

$120,001 and over

47%

These rates can fluctuate and change, so to stay updated look on the Government of Bermuda website.

Now you know some of  Bermuda's real estate laws, perhaps it’s time to learn more about what this luxury island has to offer.

Everything You Need to Know About Bermuda: Economy, Accomodation, Lifestyle and More

When purchasing a property in Bermuda, you might be curious about what the island has to offer. From its infamous pink sand beaches to its laid back lifestyle - it’s a desirable place to live. 

You’re never more than a mile away from the ocean, and the pastel-hued houses of Bermuda create a stunning backdrop all year round. 

That’s why we created an ultimate one-stop resource, ‘Lifestyle in Bermuda’, to give you all the information you need. 

Lifestyle Brochure CTA Variant 1