Sellers and Buyers Guide

View of Signal Hill from Wallings Resrvoir
View of Signal Hill from Wallings Reservoir

Antigua is an ideal spot for non-residents looking to purchase property in the Caribbean, with a good business climate and a stable political system. The government in general encourages foreign investments.  However, non-citizens have to acquire a licence to be able to purchase property in Antigua.

Once you have settled on a property you truly like, an application for a “Non-Citizen Land Holding Licence” is made through an Attorney here in Antigua. This can take 3 to 6 months to process and costs 5% of the value of the property.  Note that this licence is specific to the property that you have put an offer on.

When the license is approved, the transaction can proceed to closing.

This license has a stipulated maximum period within which its holder must begin site improvement or construction.

Real estate sales transactions are subject to a 10 % transfer tax/stamp duty. This is made payable to the Inland Revenue Dept (IRD).  Transfer costs are divided between the Vendor and Purchaser in the following manner

Seller’s legal responsibilities

  1. Payment of 7.5% Stamp Duty based on estimated value of property
  2. Survey fees for demarcation of boundaries where the last boundary verification occurred more than ten years previously.
  3. Payment of outstanding land or property taxes up to the date of execution of the instrument of transfer.

Buyer’s legal responsibilities

  1. Payment of 2.5% of estimated value of property.
  2. In accordance with the legal local practice the Purchaser pays the legal fees for the instrument of transfer, but this maybe shared equally by agreement.
  3. Payment of “Non-Citizen Land Holding Licence Fee” (where applicable)

Legal fees – Fees are calculated based on a sliding scale which varies from 1% to 3.5 % of sale price.

Home Owner’s Insurance:  Ratio is used to calculate insurance premium.  Construction type, roof type and location are part of the evaluation process. There is a deductable of 2% from the sum insured in the event of damages sustained during catastrophe such as may be presented during natural and or man- made disasters.

Insurance Cost 1% – 2% of sum insured
Lending Institutions offer up to 95% financing
Interest rate Rate varies

 

Antigua has had a system of Registered Land since 1975. Real estate sale transactions are recorded and registered at the “Land Registry Department”.  There is no title insurance.

Important Tips

  • Commercial properties are subjected to payment of 15% Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) on rental income.
  • Property taxes are paid annually and are based on a percentage of the accessed market value. Generally speaking, property taxes are very low compared to other countries.
  • Real estate agent commissions usually range from 5% to 7%
  • Property management fee is usually 10% of rental income.
  •  To encourage and facilitate project development, the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority offers attractive incentives and concessions to Developers.
  • Municipal electricity, water and telephone services are provided on island. Cable television and broadband services are privately owned and operated.
  • Most houses are serviced by septic tanks as opposed to a centralized sewage system. Water cisterns are required
  • Development Control Authority (DCA) is a government body that regulates the standards in the construction and planning industry – building codes residential or commercial, and all other categories of development.