New condo/hotel residences provide buyers with an opportunity to purchase in a community with branded hotel amenities at a much lower entry price. This is great news for non-Bermudians who are now eligible to purchase Bermudian real estate.
It’s easier than you think to purchase your own slice of paradise. Follow these six important steps to buying a condo in Bermuda.
Step One: Do Your Research
It’s fine to do your research online and see what options are available to you but the first step isn’t just to head to the island and start viewing real estate. There are some essential steps that need to be taken before that.
One of your first steps should be to read about Bermuda’s real estate laws and regulations, especially if you’re a first-time buyer or haven’t purchased on the island before.
Here's an overview:
- Overseas buyers wishing to acquire property in Bermuda must apply for and be granted a license by the Bermuda Government.
- To be eligible for purchase by an international buyer, a property's Annual Rental Value (ARV) must exceed a designated amount of $25,800 for a condominium.
- Land Tax is a property tax charged on all developed land throughout Bermuda with some minor exceptions.
- Property ownership is limited to one generation and upon death, the property must be sold within a specified time frame. Usually 3 years, however Bermudiana Beach vacation condos, can be passed down from generation to generation. Be sure to read all the small print in your contract.
- The interest rate has remained at 6% for condos, 6.5% for vacation condos and 8% for single freehold homes.
These are just a few important things to keep in mind but we advise doing your own research too.
Step Two: You Need to Get Pre-Qualified First
It’s important to know exactly what you can afford before talking to a lender and especially before jetting off to Bermuda to view condos.
Condos are especially popular in vacation hotspots like Bermuda. If you fall in love with a place here and you don’t have your pre-qualification letter or the finances, interested buyers who have already been pre-qualified will be considered before you.
Step Three: Find The Right Buyer’s Agent
Wherever in the world you purchase a condo, an agent isn’t necessarily required - but we do think it’s best practice to have one. In Bermuda, real estate brokers and agents must have a current license. So, make sure this is the case with your chosen realtor.
Representation from your agent can help make your condo purchase smoother. They’re experienced when it comes to closing and will represent your needs accurately.
Your agent will provide you with guidance as to which properties are available to an overseas buyer. You can ask them anything related to the buying process too.
As a general rule, houses in this category are likely to be priced at or above $3.5 million and condominiums at or above $550,000. Our vacation condos start at $375,000 for a 460 sq. ft fully equipped studio, which makes them a very attractive option.
Plus, condos on the South Shore, with beach access location are typically in high demand and buyer’s agents can help you find the perfect residence on the island and get your offer accepted.
Step Four: Have All The Documentation
Visitors are always welcome in Bermuda and are allowed to stay for up to three months, with an extension to six months upon application to the Minister of Immigration.
As of March 2014, entry visas and visa waivers are no longer required if you’re entering Bermuda for tourism, business or work (if you have a work permit).
But if you require a multiple-entry visa and are traveling from the US, UK or Canada then you need at least 45 days remaining on that visa beyond the date of departure.
Step Five: Find Your Dream Condo & Meet Your Potential Realtor
Visit condos first hand and experience Bermudian lifestyle and surroundings to see if it’s right for you. Condos provide an attractive lifestyle and are especially popular with retirees who want to socialize and take advantage of the facilities.
Living in a condominium can also alleviate you from some of the usual chores that go along with owning a house, such as maintenance whilst you’re away.
Buying your dream Bermudian condo is a huge commitment. It’s essential that you choose wisely and correctly when it comes to signing on the dotted line.
On your visit to Bermuda, you should meet your potential realtor and ask them about the local area, the condominium you’re looking at and any general questions about Bermuda itself.
Discuss the Condo Inspection
As a condo owner, you’re only responsible for what’s “inside the walls”. Big-ticket items like the roof are all taken care of by the Association. A home inspection is a detailed investigation of all the major appliances and amenities and you can choose to waive it in a competitive situation.
For more information regarding the condo buying process, inspections and review periods, you can find actionable tips here.
Step Six: Close and Celebrate
Make sure to read over the agreement or HOA documentation that dictates the way the condominium operates and is governed before signing anything. In addition, request and read the documents that apply to the management of the complex.
At this point, you’ll be excited to get into your condo and relax. You’ll be working closely with your lender and with the settlement attorney that’s handling the closing.
You should have already reviewed the closing statement beforehand and be well aware of the final numbers - there should be no surprising figures at this point. Closing shouldn’t take more than a few hours, so have your bottle chilled and ready to celebrate.
Your Ultimate Condo Buying Guide
From getting the wheels in motion to selecting your dream condo, we've put together a handy Condo Buying Guide resource to ensure the condo buying process runs as smoothly as possible.