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Buying land and building in Grenada

Buying land and building in Grenada

Old May 26th 2014, 8:04 am
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Default Buying land and building in Grenada

Posted for someone i was talking to on tripadvisor, this belongs here. I will try. To answer but im sure other people will add hteir experiences.

I am a Brit now living in USA, considering purchase of a piece of land in La Sagesse to build a modest holiday home. I first visited Grenada 20 years ago and loved it - stayed at La Sagesse hotel and went all over the island
Question - do you have any view on the wisdom of purchasing land and planning construction of a home? What are the biggest obstacles I should expect? I am familiar with alien land holding license etc - I am thinking more of logistical issues - thanks
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Old May 26th 2014, 8:13 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

Firstly, buying land is easy, just pay the taxes monies bills etc and use a reputable attorney on the island.

However there are lots of half finished houses on the island because of the minefield of employing a builder in a place. Where there are no codes/standards, there are actually almost no surveyors who work on houses, where rogues exist, where standards are not uniform, and materials can be suspect.

I would never start a build unless i knew the builder fairly intimately, knew their history of house building over a decade plus, had interviewed their current owners and knew their finances were sound.

I would also never build unless i was on the island fulltime for the build. There are a couple of big construction cos who build hotels etc, they will cost you more but are professionals and surprisingly do build one off houses.

That all said, you can still go wrong. If you can find a house that you like and has been there for 2 hurricanes, and looks in good condition, thats a lot safer... However not easy to find unless you go out and rent for 12 months, whhich isnt a bad way to safely find out about the place, companies, locations etc.
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Old May 26th 2014, 8:26 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

All the "ingredients" for a house are available locally, you can get excellent hardwood shipped from guyana for floors and roofs, everything else is there. Import duties make most of it expensive compared with europe or the states.

House and land prices are interesting but a lot wilder as a marketplace as theres less of it around and of course little uniformity of design , a lot of what is seen online is speculative, if you get serious, big discounts can appear, as its definitely a buyers market, with the prices down 30 sometimes more percent on the highs when the dollar was considered a dominant currency.

Required reading - a us author wrote 2 books a couple of decades ago, how to live in the caribbean and how to retire in the caribbean. He discusses at lengh selecting attributes of islands, how to choose a good house location (its all about the breezes believe me) and loads of other things. I established some important rules from him before i bought.

I think i probably personally wouldnt like la sagesse, definitely too far from st georges facilities for me, the beach is nice to look at but not for swimming or diving, and i have concerns about the lack of drainage in some areas there, is it too sandy in soil, and is there too much fresh water lying around in the area. These mean mosquito and sandfly issues and pose a hurricane risk.
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Old May 26th 2014, 8:34 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

House / location issues that are potentially dangerous.

Never buy a house less than 60 feet above high tide. In a hurricane the storm surge is dangerous. If any of your land is low, or you need to pass low land to get to safety, you may die...

Similarly that nice stream at the back of your property becomes a raging river in a hurricane. Never buy or build near a valley floor or stream, the distances and heights are difficult to figure out, but horizontally it can be hundreds of feet as are the rapid erosion consequences, but you get the idea.

Dont buy or build in completely exposed circumstances like the top of the only tall hill arounnd. You are guaranteed the full force of the hurricane, and as a bonus may also get hit by lightning. People do do this, but the wise ones build very strong structures and accept replacing all the windows and seeing the furniture exit at high speed...
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Old May 26th 2014, 8:40 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

Pests like mosquitos need fresh water to breed, sandflys like well drained sand. Both are nasty neighbours, so dont buy/build near standing water, or in a very sandy but sheltered area (a good breeze wil remove a lot of the menace)

A good thing to do, is before buying, spend serious time in the land, over a few weeks, at different times of day. Where is the breeze, does it seem overly insect ridden, does the house or proposed location catch the breeze? How noisy are the neighbours?

Anyway hope htis helps, do ask any questions you have.
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Old Nov 2nd 2014, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

Theres a law about not building taller than a palm tree. Joke is that it was written before those monster palms were imported. I have seen some truly hideous designs, and workmanship is very variable from cowboy to proper professional european or american standards, but theres no official control. Things like using beach sand for concrete only shows up nasties a few years on.

There are also almost no surveyors on the island accessible to private people, a few valuers and liternally less than a handful of useful structural engineers working for the big construction co's who can help if you know them.

In theory you could get into some legal dispute over construction with a neighbour, the laws are based on old english ones so i suspect right to light and similar are still on the statutes, but you never hear of it being an issue.

If you go with the reputable big companies and anything is possible. They happily take on and deliver to high standards individual house building and big hotel projects, but it costs.
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Old Nov 2nd 2014, 9:51 am
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Default Re: Buying land and building in Grenada

Heres the process i just found for commercial construction, its taken from a govt website i suspect, its actually about getting fees paid for various connections and making sure the infrastructure cabling can cope, note it actually says, in practice there are no inspections...

For private dwellings, its going to be less.

Dealing with Construction Permits in Grenada - Doing Business - World Bank Group

Last edited by uk_grenada; Nov 2nd 2014 at 9:54 am.
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