Moving to St Lucia

Old Aug 4th 2011, 8:54 pm
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Default Moving to St Lucia

My wife and I are looking to move to St Lucia, current plans are to buy a small guest house/b and b.

We are looking to the north of the island and Gros Islet currently tops our choice. Its been a few years since I have been to St Lucia and would appreciate peoples thoughts on long term residence (both UK nationals).

What is the local tax on top of house purchases?
Can I import a container of home goods etc?

Thanks for any advice, visiting in November for proper recce.

Rgds
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 11:37 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Originally Posted by guscameron View Post
My wife and I are looking to move to St Lucia, current plans are to buy a small guest house/b and b.
It is your dime The last two years the occupancy in Rodney Bay/Gros Islet area hotels have been abysmal. Unless you have an assurance that you will fill it with tourists from back home, do a rigourous financial analysis before you move a single dime.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Originally Posted by guscameron View Post
My wife and I are looking to move to St Lucia, current plans are to buy a small guest house/b and b.

We are looking to the north of the island and Gros Islet currently tops our choice. Its been a few years since I have been to St Lucia and would appreciate peoples thoughts on long term residence (both UK nationals).

What is the local tax on top of house purchases?
Can I import a container of home goods etc?

Thanks for any advice, visiting in November for proper recce.

Rgds
Hi good luck to both you and your wife, I moved here a few years ago and although it has been hard it is worth it, you never have as much money as you had in the UK, but you do get by and the quality of life is great, i.e waking up to the sun each morning, fresh fruit on the trees, the friendliness of (most) of the people.
However I will say do your research carefully, it is hard to make a living here so I agree with the previous post, the worldwide recession has hit us hard and as the island relies on tourism for most of its income and tourist numbers are significantly down, hotels and guest houses are struggling badly, there are two hotels close to where I live, one has just gone into receivership and the other has 1 room occupied out of 30! So its not good at the moment, however I will say it is currently the low season ( our high season is December until May) so things are quieter anyway.

On saying that I know of two guest houses that are for sale and they are very popular with lots of repeat business ( which really is the key), and as they are a small concern run by couples they are doing OK and the owners are making a living, both couples are ex-pats and they are looking to return to their own countries that is the only reason they are selling so you can make a go of it if you do not expect to make a fortune.

In regards to your question about the local tax on top of a house purchase it is 2% (stamp duty). The normal procedure is that you put down 10% deposit, this holds the property whilst you apply for an Aliens Land Holding Licence, once this is granted you pay the balance, stamp duty I believe is paid on completion, expect to pay around 3% for solicitors fees.

I understand that you can bring in a container of personal items duty free if it is within 6 months of your purchase.

Hope this helps,
Sarah
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Originally Posted by guscameron View Post
My wife and I are looking to move to St Lucia, current plans are to buy a small guest house/b and b.

We are looking to the north of the island and Gros Islet currently tops our choice. Its been a few years since I have been to St Lucia and would appreciate peoples thoughts on long term residence (both UK nationals).

What is the local tax on top of house purchases?
Can I import a container of home goods etc?

Thanks for any advice, visiting in November for proper recce.

Rgds
His Gus, welcome to the forum. Strictly speaking the running of BnB's and small guest house with less than 10 bedrooms is supposed to be reserved for nationals of the island. It is because this rule has not been enforced why there is a glut of BnB's on the island and just not the people to fill them. The problem was added to when the governement encourage so many people to build additional rooms for Cricket World cup in 2007 and the numbers just did not come. Will the idea work, I guess that is down to you and your efforts, it helps if you have a massive contact book who you can persuade to visit the island. Maybe a good time to buy a BnB as you may well get it cheap, but getting many people to stay will be the hard job. If you are going to rely on this income to stay on the island you may well struggle. If you have other income or lots of disposable capital and see this as a pastime, you may well enjoy it. The world economy and that additional passenger air duty slapped on Caribbean flights from the UK is not helping things.I can see why a lot of people who retire or semi retire to St Lucia make sure they have outside sources of income. St Lucia desperately needs to diversify away from just tourism, please someone open some call centres. Good luck.
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 9:38 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Thanks very for all the replies, very interesting reading. We don't intend to make our fortune doing this and are just looking for a better quality of life. We will have additional monthly income so we are looking at it as it the Guesthouse isn't busy it will be all the more room for us.

Just means I will have to play more Golf...hehe (if I can afford the membership at the local club). I am also into sailing so a smally yacht may keep me occupied too.

We initially looked at Margarita Island but was always concerned with the level of crime on the island, our mind was made up to look elsewhere after the Brit was killed in a B and B. Are their any issues on St Lucia with Robberies and home invasions etc. (they are common on Margarita).

Well thanks once again for the advise...any recommends for a hotel to stay at during our forthcoming visit. Would prefer a larger hotel as this will be our annual holiday too and not just a fact finding mission.

Thanks again folks very useful feedback.
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 9:54 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Originally Posted by guscameron View Post
Thanks very for all the replies, very interesting reading. We don't intend to make our fortune doing this and are just looking for a better quality of life. We will have additional monthly income so we are looking at it as it the Guesthouse isn't busy it will be all the more room for us.

Just means I will have to play more Golf...hehe (if I can afford the membership at the local club). I am also into sailing so a smally yacht may keep me occupied too.

We initially looked at Margarita Island but was always concerned with the level of crime on the island, our mind was made up to look elsewhere after the Brit was killed in a B and B. Are their any issues on St Lucia with Robberies and home invasions etc. (they are common on Margarita).

Well thanks once again for the advise...any recommends for a hotel to stay at during our forthcoming visit. Would prefer a larger hotel as this will be our annual holiday too and not just a fact finding mission.

Thanks again folks very useful feedback.
Gus from what you say and if you are not dependent on the income from the guest house you will be just fine. The golf club is in Cap Estate, and I don't think the membership fees are that much. There is some crime on the island, but very few places now have no crime. Choose your property in the right location, from what you say you seem like you will slot right into Cap Estate or Rodney Bay without much problems. "It's all about the money honey" that is what speaks in the Caribbean and you seem like someone who has made their money and now can afford a more relaxed way of life. ENJOY !!! Maybe try Le Sport in Cap Estate and you will be close to the golf course and a few lovely beaches.
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Old Aug 26th 2011, 5:29 am
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

This post is very informative to me and helps me in the future. I am also looking to move St. Lucia but before moving, i want to gain all the knowledge and information regarding to living and housing deeds at St. Lucia. The discussion is so insightful and clear my doubt up to some extent.

Regards
Pearl
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Old Aug 26th 2011, 12:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to St Lucia

Originally Posted by pearljhonson View Post
This post is very informative to me and helps me in the future. I am also looking to move St. Lucia but before moving, i want to gain all the knowledge and information regarding to living and housing deeds at St. Lucia. The discussion is so insightful and clear my doubt up to some extent.

Regards
Pearl
Hi Pearl,

If looking to move to St Lucia I suggest that you peruse all the posts under:

Living & Moving Abroad / Rest of the World / Caribbean

which have St Lucia in the thread. There are actually not that many of them but they give an insight into what life is like here from the perspective of different individuals living in different parts of the island.

I do not agree that there is crime in St Lucia like anywhere else. The level of crime in the Caribbean as a whole will give you pause for thought and St Lucia is no exception and it is not all gang-related but the key so far seems to be to live and frequent areas of the island(s) that are not known for trouble be they away from back streets and from isolated rural areas but preferably in areas known to be well patrolled by the police as a starter.
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