Private Islands and Development Land in the BVI

Private islands BVI and development opportunities

Boasting some of the most dramatic topography in the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands offer the potential island buyer an opportunity to create an unparalleled, personal dreamscape. Over 50 islands have secluded pristine beaches with unforgettable turquoise waters, making this region one of the most famous sailing destinations in the world. With annual festivals, super yacht regattas, world famous diving sites, national parks and private island retreats, the BVI is quickly becoming one of the most coveted island investment regions in the world. Among the diverse and extraordinary islands that comprise the BVI, these are the prime development opportunities available for savvy investors:

Scrub Island

Scrub Island development BVI

For those with an eye for luxury, Scrub Island offers world class amenities along with the flexibility to create your own oasis. Building lots on Little Scrub are available to carve out your personal vision of paradise including Governor’s Point, which has yet to be developed and features captivating views, easy beach access and proximity to the Scrub Island Resort and Marina. Connected to Little Scrub by a small isthmus is Big Scrub, a large blank canvas of 170 acres ready to be developed and available to be purchased as a whole.

Nail Bay – Virgin Gorda

History and natural beauty converge on Nail Bay Land, which was once home to a 19th-century sugar plantation. Today, Gorda Peak National Park and sun-bleached beaches provide the backdrop for 64 acres of prime land with connecting roads and amenities available through the nearby resort. As an exclusive neighborhood on Virgin Gorda, expect the rare luxury of privacy and peace in the heart of the bustling Caribbean.

Toad Hall Estate – Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda development opportunity

Toad Hall Estate’s calling card is the direct access and proximity to one of the world’s natural wonders, The Baths, a collection of dramatic granite boulders on Virgin Gorda between Devil’s Bay Beach and Spring Bay Beach. The investment opportunity on these 5.5 acres is its commercial potential to service the countless yearly visitors of The Baths National Park, arriving by land or by sea. Currently operating as a petite luxury vacation rental, the possibilities for expansion are as limitless as the imagination.

How to Decide on the Right Property to Buy in the BVI

Buy the Right Property in the BVI

The choice of options on the British Virgin Islands is extensive. Asking the following specific questions can usually direct you to the right property to buy in the BVI:

  • Is the solitude of a private island the right choice or do you like being around lots of activity?
  • Is a condominium or managed property the way to go for your lifestyle?
  • Will you be a permanent resident of the BVI or will you come and go?
  • Do you no longer want the responsibility of a home or do you value your privacy and autonomy?
  • What is the difference between a leasehold and freehold property?

Lifestyle

If you are looking for a somewhat private island, there are various options, but if you’d like the solitude of a private island and are willing to share with others, Great Camanoe, Oil Nut Bay, Scrub Island, and Blunder Bay are excellent choices.

Both land and residences are available for sale on Great Camanoe, which has both a freehold side and a leasehold side to choose from. Outer island living requires one to be comfortable using a boat for transportation and access to amenities.

The decision to buy a private home, or a managed property, whether it is a condo or free standing home, has much to do with lifestyle. Condos or managed properties are a great option for snowbirds—those who fly home for the summer months—and cater to a more carefree style of living.

Rental income

A managed property has a company look after the residence and rent it if that is so desired. Having your property generate income can be a motivating reason to buy in the BVI as it is a desirable vacation destination and the rental market is very active. A private home may be the perfect choice for families and permanent residents of the British Virgin Islands.

Rental income of property in the BVI

Lease- or Freehold

Property in the British Virgin Islands is either freehold—also known as fee simple—or leasehold. Freehold is simple enough; the owner owns the property outright. With a leasehold property, the land is often owned by the government and leased for a fee for a certain length of time, initially 99 years. It is important to consider the length of time left in the lease as the yearly lease cost is likely to increase upon renewal, which will affect the present owner and the resale value.

Addressing some of the issues and questions in the above paragraphs should be of great assistance in making a decision on the type of property to purchase in the British Virgin Islands.

10 Steps to Buying Your Caribbean Dream Home in the BVI

Buy a Caribbean home in the BVI

The 10 steps listed below will walk you through the process, hopefully toward a great investment and buying the Caribbean home of your dreams to live in paradise in the BVI.

1. Make an offer and give it your best shot

Your real estate agent will write a ‘Letter of Intent’ to purchase the property.

2. Leave an earnest money deposit

Your real estate agency can act as an escrow agent and hold a 10% deposit, usually in the form of a check.

3. Draw up a sales and purchase agreement

This is often best left to the attorneys.

4. Property Advertisement

It is mandatory for the property seller to advertise the property locally, with a contracted price, for four consecutive weeks. If no buyers step up to the plate, you are a step closer to acquiring your dream home.

5. Non-Belongers land holding license (NBLHL)

Non BVIslanders need to apply for a license to own property. Among other documentation, the applicant must present a police certificate, financial statements and personal references. Belongers have the advantage of skipping this step.

Note: A Belonger ‘belongs’ to the British Virgin Islands by birth, marriage, or special designation. A Non-Belonger does not hold these privileges.

Caribbean Dream Home

6. Be patient

It can take 4-9 months for approval of the NBLHL – longer if a sea bed lease is involved in the purchase of the property.

7. Submit the draft license for vetting

After approval, a license executed by the BVI Governor can take several weeks to be issued.

8. Again, be patient!

An important step throughout the process until it’s time to close.

9. Stamp Duty

After closing, duty of 12% of the greater of the appraised value or the contracted price must be paid by Non-Belongers. This amount is less for Belongers

10. Register

Present receipt of stamp duty along with transfer documents to have the property registered in your name.

10 Things to Look for in an Investment in BVI Real Estate

BVI Investment in Real Estate

Even ardent sailors occasionally feel the need to spend some time enjoying the benefits of a stable platform from which to observe the islands, and the boat traffic, from a different perspective. Frequently, it is pressure from the less than ardent fan of a boating spouse that initiates an investment in BVI real estate in the BVI.

Buying a landbase in a foreign country is not a light decision to make but, funds permitting, it’s really not a very difficult procedure. That process has been amply covered in other articles. Here, instead, is a top-ten list of things to look for if you are considering investing in a property with a view to renting out to vacationers while you are at home, presumably dreaming about your next visit.

  1. Easy access to the property is important, but easy access to the water is even more important. The property does not have to be right on the water’s edge but certainly not more than a couple of minutes drive away;
  2. The view from the house should be memorable and readily available from a number of vantage points. Each bedroom should have at least a view of a tropical garden, if not the sea;
  3. The location of the house should provide for sufficient airflow. It should not feel dank or stuffy anywhere in the house, and especially not in the bedrooms. During the summer months, and frequently at other times of the year, the wind can and does die down. Air Conditioning will seem like a blessing at these times;
  4. Finding a property with Caribbean charm and character can make the house more appealing to owners and renters alike, but it also has to fit the physical needs of the owner who may have serious storage requirements if they also happen to be a boat owner;
  5. A large covered deck no doubt adds to the charm of a property. Spending a lot of time outdoors is an important part of life in the tropics; come rain or shine;
  6. If the property has rental income history, so much the better. You will hit the rental ground running;
  7. Construction quality is of course very important, but it is difficult to measure without a trained eye. A structural survey will put your mind at ease and ensure the property will remain in a good condition to sell when the time comes;
  8. Having the electricity and telephone wires run underground will add to the property’s charm and its value. The unimpeded views are what people appreciate;
  9. The costs of maintenance and insurance are not always considered early in the selection process but they are important aspects of purchasing that should be accounted for in the final reckoning;
  10. Crime is very rare in the BVI, but if the area has low quality housing and rusted wrecks around remember, “Location, location, location”.

Tortola Real Estate Investment