Guidance on Buying Property in the British Virgin Islands
- November 27th, 2013
- in Lifestyle
What’s Hot in the British Virgin Islands?
– Buying Property in the BVI
By Chris Smith, Managing Broker – Coldwell Banker
Photography by Rainbow Visions BVI, provided by Coldwell Banker
It’s true, I tell you.
It is possible to own a heavenly hideaway in the BVI.
Now, we don’t like to make a big song and dance about it and we don’t want you telling everyone – or they’ll all want a piece and then what would be left? But, if after sailing in the BVI or staying on one of our breathtakingly beautiful islands, your heart breaks when it’s time to leave, then maybe, just maybe, you should consider owning a home in the BVI.
Be forewarned, it’s not for everyone. Those looking to make a fast buck from real estate and sail off into the sunset will have a challenge. And if the thought of having to wait the six months or so it takes to obtain a Land Holding License incites irritation, then you may want to reconsider. But, if you share a love of the islands, the people, and the culture, then you will be welcomed with open arms.
Choosing a BVI
Choice of island is the standard starting point. If you have visited more than once, you may already have a favourite island.
Tortola is the largest island offers a wider choice of properties and land options – a greater selection of bars, restaurants and the convenience of Road Town for shopping and banking may be more appealing than the stunning natural beauty of the beaches and boulders of the quieter island Virgin Gorda.
Property or Land?
Having decided on an island, the next decision might be whether to buy land and build from scratch or purchase a completed home. There are some wonderful home sites available throughout the BVI and each will offer striking views.
The dream for many is a home on the beach, but don’t dismiss a home in the hills of Tortola where you can catch the breeze and the views really open up.
Options for Land
Consider perhaps the lots available at Tower’s Estate on the South West shore of Tortola. These parcels of land are just under an acre and provide a unique combination of island, ocean, and sunset views, looking all the way from Norman Island, St John and out over Soper’s Hole Marina to the islands beyond.
Your home will catch the cooling trade wind breezes coming up Sir Francis Drake Channel from this private, gated Estate.
On Virgin Gorda, the high-end development at Oil Nut Bay offers a range of lots from approximately half an acre on the beach to several acres of pristine hillside. There are few places in the world that can match the seascapes from the hills above Oil Nut Bay, looking down on the reefs and crystal clear water. Also, there are very few developments in the world that are achieving the sales prices that Oil Nut Bay has accomplished over the past few years.
For those of us with slightly smaller cheque-books, Nail Bay on the North West coast of Virgin Gorda is under new stewardship and is proving popular. On offer are great value hillside and beachfront lots of approximately half an acre with completed infrastructure and three stunning beaches.
If building from scratch is not for you, then there is a choice of ready built homes currently listed for sale. For many who buy in the BVI, a property such as Sea Grape Cottage — a delightful three-bedroom villa with a pool and guest apartment on the water sitting just under an acre at Brewer’s Bay – is everything dreamed of in a Caribbean home. You can stand on the terrace of this beautifully designed island home almost any time of the day and watch the amazing spectacle of gigantic tarpon feeding on schools of bait fish, only a few feet below the house.
Alternatively, homes like historic Gun Point at Smuggler’s Cove on Tortola offer larger acreage—over 5 acres in this case—and ensure the privacy of the residents.
If the ease and simplicity of condo ownership is more appealing, the waterfront townhouses at Nanny Cay Marina should certainly be on your list. These two and three bedroom homes with docks have been amongst the best selling homes in the BVI for the past few years due to the ease of ownership, simplicity in renting, and high potential for resale.
When you are in residence at Nanny Cay, you receive the benefits of a lovely marina village with its beach, pool, restaurants, and spa. Furthermore, you can lock your property up and leave it in the capable hands of the hotel management team. An entirely optional rental program is also available for owners. Particularly appealing to sailors in the BVI, Nanny Cay is the largest working marina in the territory with two travel lifts and every conceivable marine trade on hand to take care of your vessel.
Having found your perfect piece of paradise and negotiated an agreeable price, the next step is to obtain a Non Belonger’s Land Holding License from the BVI Government. With the right advice and guidance from one of several good property lawyers on the island, the process isn’t too complicated.
With a little patience, you can be one of the very few fortunate enough to own a piece of “Nature’s Little Secrets”.
In many ways, it’s likely to be the most rewarding property purchase you ever make.