ESSENTIAL ADVICE FOR POTENTIAL PURCHASERS AND VENDORS OF PROPERTY
Buying and selling in Antigua is a combination of the U.K.system and the U.S. system with a little local colour thrown in for good measure. There are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying property in Antigua although non-nationals are obliged to obtain a Non-citizens Landholders Licence unless purchasing through the Citizens Investment Programme.
All prices are in U.S. dollars and properties are available on the island from under US$200,000 to over US$20 million in a wide range of locations. As with most property purchasing, location is everything and prices will vary according to whether or not the there is a sea view and a number of other factors.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is the world’s leading regulatory body for estate agents with a strict Code of Conduct and a high standard of professional ethics which is why we proudly say Richard Watson & Company is Antigua’s most professional estate agent.
of a Non-citizens Landholders Licence is 5% of the value of the
property. For vacant land, building must be started in compliance with
the non-citizen’s license terms which usually means 2 years. Most
property is fee simple or freehold. Leaseholds are rare and usually held
by the Crown
Government transfer fees are currently 2.5% for the buyer and 7.5% for the seller. Property taxes/rates are based on rental value and are low. Legal costs for a transfer are 1% to 2% depending on the value of the transaction. There is no title insurance. Properties are registered at the Land Registry which is well organised. Copies of Land Certificates can be obtained for a small fee. Always obtain a Cadastral Survey of the land/property from the Survey Office and have a land surveyor check the dimensions. This is crucial as the boundaries are sometimes not where they appear to be from the fences. When selling a property, the vendor has to supply a survey of the land which is registered with the Survey & Mapping Department and is less than ten years old.
Under Section 11(1)(g) of the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, Cap. 284A, amended by section 7 of the Money Laundering (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2018 - DIRECTIVE (Real Property Business) No. 1 of 2020 Issued: 2 January 2020, estate agents are required to carry out due diligence checks on the purchases and sales of property. It is illegal to sell property that is the proceeds of crime and it is illegal to purchase property with funds or other consideration that are the proceeds of crime; such transactions constitute money laundering. Estate agents have a legal obligation to verify the source of funds when engaging in property transactions.
Estate agent commissions are 4% to 6% on sale of both residential and commercial property and free if you are purchasing unless you employ an agent to search for you. Insurance coverage is approx. 2% of insured risk with a deductible of 2%. Insurance includes earthquakes and named storms although limited cover is also available.
citizenship-by-investment program requires a person to make a
significant economic contribution to the country. In exchange, and
subject to a stringent application procedure, including thorough
background checks, the applicants and their families are granted
To qualify for citizenship, the person must be over 18 years of age, meet the application requirements and select one of the following three options available:
* an investment of at least US$400,000 plus processing fees of US$50,000 for up to 4 persons and US$15,000 per person for 5 persons or more. The investment must be into one of the approved real estate projects; such investments cannot be disposed of within a five year period or before the proposed development in which the investment has been made has been substantially completed
* a contribution to the National Development Fund (NDF) of a minimum non-refundable amount of US$100,000 (for a single applicant) plus fees.
* an investment of a minimum of US$1,500,000 directly into an eligible business as a sole investor or a joint investment involving at least 2 persons in an eligible business totalling at least US$5,000,000 and each of those persons individually invests at least US$400,000
Most houses are serviced by a septic tank, a legal requirement, fresh water storage such as cisterns are also required by law. Government electricity and water are usually connected or available nearby as are cable TV, landline telephone and broadband. Although the electricity supply is generally reasonably good, a standby generator is useful particularly at the time of severe storms which can damage the electricity supply infrastructure. Cellular telephone coverage is island wide. More remote properties may be accessed by little more than a dirt track but most houses have access to adequate roads. Although all property is supposed to have access to the main highway, check that the road outside a property is part of the public road network and not someone's private drive
Short term or holiday rents
range from under US$100 per night for a basic apartment to a lush fully
staffed villa at several thousand US$ per night and there are many fine
villas which can be a great alternative to staying in hotels. Most of
these rental villas have swimming pools and close proximity to one of
Antigua's great beaches. Villa rental also provides an opportunity for
owners to get an income out of their second homes while they are not
using them. Due to the imposition of Antigua & Barbuda Sales Tax on short term rentals, we no longer offer a short term rental service.
There are also many long term rental properties available and, dependent upon size and condition, can be had for less than US$500 per month. A long term rental can be a serious alternative to purchasing property as the landlord is responsible for the upkeep and there are no risk of changing property values.
Rental commissions are 10% for long term rentals to include Tenancy Agreement and Inventory. If property management is required, the fee in addition to the commission, is US$250 per month to include a monthly inspection. Any further inspections, supervision of works, appointment of contractors or attending to other matters are charged at US$50 per hour including travelling time. For non-residents, Withholding Taxes are 12.5% of the rental income are applicable.
Introductions of Tenants to Landlords including the preparation of an Inventory and Tenancy Agreement is 10% of the total rent or the annual rent whichever is the lesser subject to a minimum fee of US$1,000.
commercial properties where there is no premium, the commission is 10%
of the annual rental increasing to 20% if property management is
Time-share is not particularly common in Antigua but there are several older developments which were constructed when time-share was very popular and they still have properties which occasionally come available. If this is which appeals, it is worth checking the time-share websites. A few estate agents may have some time-share offerings.
We also advertise our properties internationally on the following websites:
For Antigua and Caribbean property for sale contact
Richard Watson & Company, Antigua
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