Which Island to Live on in the British Virgin Islands

When choosing to purchase a home in the British Virgin Islands, take time to explore and find the island that suits you best as each island has its own unique character, vibe, size and landscape. There is a possibility to fall in love with an island you might have never thought of. Below we highlight the uniqueness of the 6 main islands that are a part of Nature’s Little Secrets here in the BVI. Go out, explore and live the life you imagined! It might be just a ferry-ride away…

Living on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands
Diversity and natural beauty: from majestic views on tropical hill tops to a seemingly untouched North Shore with secluded white sandy beaches to the shops and restaurants of Road Town. Most residents stay close to Road Town and enjoy living in the surrounding hills, but there is so much more. The sailing enthusiasts aim for the view of Sir Francis Drake channel on the South side and proximity to world renowned marinas, while beach and surf lovers enjoy country life on the green hillsides from West End all the way to Josiah’s Bay.

Living on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands
An exquisite way of life amidst the rich & famous, with pristine white sandy beaches and extraordinary sailing, whilst enjoying the privacy and tranquility of a small island community. The areas of Windy Hill, Coppermine and Spring Bay with pleasant, rolling hills, provide tranquil living with close proximity to the Baths. From the west side up towards the exclusive resorts on North Sound, the focus is on refined, exceptional and luxurious living, which makes it one of the most coveted islands in the world. Richard Branson, amongst others, put Virgin Gorda on the map and now attracts wealthy new neighbours from all over the world.

Living on Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands
Luxurious living alongside a world class resort & marina on an island, which has provided sanctuary to world travellers since Christopher Columbus first visited. Scrub Island offers superb amenities along with the flexibility to create your own oasis. Although it is a relatively small island, all the amenities are readily available such as restaurants, bars, gourmet market, beaches, health club and various water sport activities. Its central location offers close proximity to the airport but more importantly to various hidden treasures, all just a short boat ride away.

Living on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands
Timeless Caribbean island life with your toes constantly touching the sand. Enjoy your cocktail at one of the many world famous beach bars on the west side. White Bay Beach, which is one of the BVI’s premier vacation destinations, was made famous by Kenny Chesney in his song “No shirt, No shoes, No problem”. The hillsides provide magnificent views of nearby islands including St. John and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Choose to live on the eastern side for the spectacular views, and more importantly, proximity to Little Jost Van Dyke, Diamond Cay and the picturesque islands Green Cay, Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay.

Living on Great Camanoe in the British Virgin Islands
A daily ride in a small runabout is part of the joy of living on this unique island, helping to fulfil the pleasures of this glorified Robinson Crusoe existence. With almost no amenities and back to basics mentality you will truly unplug from daily life. What sets this island gem apart are the incredible views, often allowing you to see from Anegada to St. Croix. The other captivating differentiators are the “big skies” at night and during the daytime the protected and cosy feeling you get from looking down on the reef of Marina Cay.

Living on Anegada in the British Virgin Islands
A world apart, with luminous sandy beaches, miles of unspoiled reefs all around the coral island and, unlike the other islands, almost flat. Not many choose to live this secluded life, but those who can and do, remain as close to nature and its glorious beauty as one possibly can. Plus, the chance to indulge daily in eating, reputedly, the Caribbean’s best lobster.

10 Tips For Creating The Perfect Social Space

This article originally appeared on Virgin Islands Property & Yacht. To see more content like this, follow them on Facebook.

Perfect social space Caribbean home

If you buy a home in the Caribbean, you will most likely be entertaining guests and the idyllic social space is crucial in forming a comfortable and welcoming setting.

Here are 10 tips to help turn your home into a pleasing and relaxed social scene for all to enjoy:

1. A spacious and open floor plan allows for movement, mingling, and conversation to flow, as well as for comfortable breezes

2. All the beautiful colours of the late afternoon sunset when the heat subsides and the sun’s glare dims are often the most sought after cocktail hour locations in a private home or villa. Approximately 12 feet of outside covered deck space offering views and breezes toward an eastern sky are optimal

3. A combination of outside dining and BBQ with sinks or stove tops near the entertaining areas are a plus. Often the chef enjoys joining the revelry while their guests amuse themselves at the bar

4. Offer comfortable deck seating for viewing the white sandy beaches and idyllic blue waters

5. Choose warm Caribbean colours and soft ambient lighting to accentuate the inviting atmosphere

6. Create playlists for your sound system. Perhaps a cocktail hour mix, dinner music, and a post dinner dance list to set the mood and invite conversation

Welcoming setting for entertaining guests

7. Create your Caribbean paradise by planting fruit trees such as coconut, mango, papaya, and breadfruit, or a herb garden with rosemary, basil, and lemon grass. This makes for an exotic botanical feast at meal time

8. Pleasant floral aromas from a variety of colourful plants are a joy for the senses

9. Relaxing in a heated pool or spa under the bright Caribbean stars compliments the evening experience

10. A hammock can be a nice spot to relax after dinner, talking and stargazing in the warm Caribbean night

With execution of just a few of these ideas, your Caribbean home will take advantage of the tropical climate and lifestyle, allowing further enjoyment and satisfaction of a move to the islands.

BVI Sotheby’s Achieves Highly Acclaimed Real Estate Awards

International Property Awards BVI
The results of the Americas’ stage of the International Property Awards 2015-2016 have been announced and BVI Sotheby’s International Realty is justifiably proud to be among the winners. The objective of these awards is to recognise excellence in the property industry worldwide and to promote an international standard.

BVI Sotheby’s International Realty has won awards in the following categories for the British Virgin Islands:

  • Real Estate Agency Marketing (Five Star)
  • Real Estate Agency (Highly Recommended)

BVI Sotheby’s International Realty competed against a number of the region’s most accomplished real estate agents to receive this recognition.

The award is a major achievement for BVI Sotheby’s International Realty as entrants are judged against a strict set of criteria. Judging was undertaken by a panel of over 70 experts from all over the world and chaired by two active members of the House of Lords: Lord Caithness and Lord Best.

Stuart Shield, president of the International Property Awards, commented, “I’m delighted that the Americas’ real estate agents, property consultants and lettings agencies have demonstrated such an extensive range of exemplary services, They have also embraced the latest in new technology and managed to achieve the extremely high levels of customer support that is vital to succeed in this competition.”

More information about the awards can be found at www.propertyawards.net.

BVI Sotheby's International Property Awards

BVI Island Living & Purchasing Property

This article originally appeared in the yearly publication Experience BVI. To see more content like this, visit their website.

Island Living in the British Virgin Islands

A Caribbean vacationer’s first impression of the islands is often focused on the unspoiled natural beauty, but as time passes they realize there is more to these enchanted islands. After a few days of gazing at the stars at night through pure fresh air, floating silently on crystal clear waters of various shades of blue, stretching sun-soaked bodies across warm soft sand, cruising to various white sandy beaches, or diving/ snorkeling amongst a kaleidoscope of tropical fish, one gradually begins to finally relax and let go of the “rat race” mentality often found in Western or European cultures.

There is the feeling of family, that can not be found elsewhere easily. It is a “lay back” charm, which is part of an island culture that one grows to appreciate over days, weeks and months. The people of the islands have a genuine desire to connect on a more personal level, and once that connection is made, unique “island family” ties are formed. A quality of life, influenced by relationships with others within the island’s indigenous community, becomes the core of their existence. As these genuine ties are formed, foreigners eventually decide to purchase a home or land to build on, as they wish to join this island community, their “home away from home.”

Purchasing in the islands remains a gentle process, just like learning to relax, learning to appreciate people and their heritage, culture and conversation, like learning to say “Good mornin”, “Good afternoon” or “Good night”.

Purchasing will usually take about 3 to 6 months, provided the paperwork is all in order, and most efficiently brought to completion by having a BVI Solicitor help process the paperwork alongside an experienced real estate firm, who can help channel and chase.The application process is not really complicated, it just has various steps required along the way. Part of the process is designed to help protect the island people and their inheritance, wherein the property will be advertised for 4 weeks in a local newspaper at the negotiated price, so a BVIslander (Belonger) will have the opportunity to purchase their country back at a price that the owner was willing to accept. If no Belonger comes forward, then the application is submitted and the process begins.

All foreign investors, including citizens of the United Kingdom are required to obtain a Non-Belonger Holding License (NBLHL) to purchase property in the BVI. Agreements to purchase property are therefore made contingent upon a license being obtained by the purchaser. A License gives entitlement to own a specific property. An overseas investor who wishes to rent their property will need permission to rent granted on their NBLHL, thereafter one can apply for a Trade License to commence renting their property. Neither Purchaser nor Vendor need be present in the BVI at any stage of the transaction.

At closing, a Non-Belonger Purchaser is required to pay 12% stamp duty on the Purchase price or the appraisal price (whichever is higher) for both leasehold and freehold property. A Belonger will pay a 4% stamp duty which is less because they are already contributing in other ways to the government employment taxes. This one time stamp duty is used by the BVI Government to provide for various forms of infrastructure within the country, such as police, social services, roads, waste management, schools, etc. This stamp duty is reasonable for all the services a Purchaser(s) will be benefiting from, over the course of time they own their home.

Purchasing Property on the BVI

Leasehold property are taxed at a lower rate with various terms and conditions. The majority of land in the BVI is owned in fee simple. A purchaser will normally acquire absolute title which is registered in the BVI Government land Registry. Registered titles relate to a detailed cadastral survey which defines legal boundaries. No transfer of land can take place unless the boundaries of the property have been determined to the satisfaction of the Registrar of Lands. Property in the BVI may also be held on long lease from the Crown or private individuals. Most often the duration of such leases is 99 years. For practical purposes a purchaser of such a leasehold interest will enjoy all the benefits of an absolute title for the duration of the lease.

Annual land and house taxes are nominal. Land Tax is assessed annually at the rate of $50 for sites up to 0.5 acre, $150.00 for sites between 0.5 and 1.00 acre and $50 for each additional acre or part thereof. House Tax at the rate 1.5% of the assessed annual rental value, are levied. In practice this means that for an average 2 or 3 bedroom house the annual taxes will be less than $500.00 per acre.

Purchase of a property in the BVI does not in itself establish resident status. However an identification card is available to a person who holds a Non-Belonger Land Holding License which will allow the holder to be granted leave to land in the BVI for a period of up to six months. A certificate of residence, entitling the holder to land or embark in the Territory for an indefinite period, may be granted to a person who intends to reside permanently in the BVI.

Development in the BVI is governed by Land Development Control Authority who are concerned with planning matters and by the Building Authority who are responsible for ensuring that the building conforms with the building code guidelines. It is preferred that working drawings submitted to these authorities are prepared by architects based in the BVI.

If you are ready to consider a purchase, we are here and ready to help guide you through the process, making your dream a reality, your “home away from home” in the BVI.

Top 10 Purchases for Your BVI Home

This article originally appeared on Virgin Islands Property & Yacht. To see more content like this, follow them on Facebook.

Hammock BVI

1. Hammock, rocking chair and/or porch swing
There’s nothing like sitting in the breezy shade sipping your favourite beverage.

2. All-weather wicker outdoor furniture
No point in using indoor furniture outdoors which can’t handle the elements of the tropical climate.

3. Shade canopy
Sunshine in the tropics is a wonderful thing until you cannot escape it – get some shade.

4. Binoculars and telescope
Admire the passing sailboats in the daytime and at night, revel in the majestic starry sky.

5. Plunge pool
If you don’t have the space or resources for a full on swimming pool, a plunge pool goes a long way to help spend those sultry days relaxing at home.

6. Aloe and key lime plants in your garden
Aloe for the inevitable sunburn and key limes for the ever popular pie and margaritas.

Outside outdoor shower BVI

7. Outdoor shower
It is refreshing to bathe in the natural elements while enjoying the view.

8. Hurricane shutters and a hurricane tracking chart
Hurricane season begins in June and extends through till November. Winds can be very strong. Protect your windows from flying objects such as coconuts and branches.

9. Hummingbird and bananakeet feeders
Bird watching – a new hobby you might want to take up with your property. Use a bird identification book such as Audubon or Sibley guide.

10. Wooden louvered shutters
Functional to keep the home cool and beautiful with a classic traditional look and feel with clean, rhythmic lines (screens and mosquito nets are also helpful to enjoy bringing the outdoors inside without the bugs).

Bonus Point: Snorkel gear and a fish identification book
The Caribbean is recognised as one of the top dive and snorkel destinations in the world. Explore!