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Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Old Jul 5th 2011, 2:29 am
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Default Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Hi folks, not sure if any of you recall but last year I posted here asking for suggestions on a suitable Caribbean country for my wife and I to build a future retirement home. (By the way, I'm Canadian and my wife is Canadian+Trinidadian.)

After much deliberation we settled on St. Lucia. So now, our real estate agent in St. Lucia has shown us information on an interesting small parcel of land in St. Lucia which we're seriously considering.

Now we're new to buying land and to the real estate process in St. Lucia, so a couple of questions come to mind which we'll ask our agent, but I also wanted to get some unbiased comments from folks like yourselves:

1. Is haggling acceptable -- or even expected -- between the buyer and seller?
2. What extra costs, if any, are there in such a real estate transaction?
3. What is the procedure involved in buying St. Lucian land by foreigners?
4. Our agent has mentioned previously that the process is made a little faster if the purchase is made just under my wife's name, since she's a CARICOM citizen. Is this true and are there any other advantages/disadvantages to doing this?
5. Other things keep in mind?

Any help greatly appreciated.
thx, george
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Old Jul 5th 2011, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Originally Posted by nomad416 View Post
Hi folks, not sure if any of you recall but last year I posted here asking for suggestions on a suitable Caribbean country for my wife and I to build a future retirement home. (By the way, I'm Canadian and my wife is Canadian+Trinidadian.)

After much deliberation we settled on St. Lucia. So now, our real estate agent in St. Lucia has shown us information on an interesting small parcel of land in St. Lucia which we're seriously considering.

Now we're new to buying land and to the real estate process in St. Lucia, so a couple of questions come to mind which we'll ask our agent, but I also wanted to get some unbiased comments from folks like yourselves:

1. Is haggling acceptable -- or even expected -- between the buyer and seller?
2. What extra costs, if any, are there in such a real estate transaction?
3. What is the procedure involved in buying St. Lucian land by foreigners?
4. Our agent has mentioned previously that the process is made a little faster if the purchase is made just under my wife's name, since she's a CARICOM citizen. Is this true and are there any other advantages/disadvantages to doing this?
5. Other things keep in mind?

Any help greatly appreciated.
thx, george
George why not haggle, you have to get the best deal for yourselves. I can put you onto a Trinidadian who draws house plans and made the movce to St Lucia himself a few years ago. You can them get his perspective and maybe his wife will have a trini girlie talk with your wife. The former PM of St Lucia is married to a trini and you can even by trini roti on the island now. If she is a caricom citizen it should make things a bit easier for you, but you can also have your name added to the property at a later date. Where on the island are you looking at ?
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Old Jul 5th 2011, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Originally Posted by pgtips View Post
George why not haggle, you have to get the best deal for yourselves. I can put you onto a Trinidadian who draws house plans and made the movce to St Lucia himself a few years ago. You can them get his perspective and maybe his wife will have a trini girlie talk with your wife. The former PM of St Lucia is married to a trini and you can even by trini roti on the island now. If she is a caricom citizen it should make things a bit easier for you, but you can also have your name added to the property at a later date. Where on the island are you looking at ?
Hi pg, I was waiting for you to come in first - I must be getting lazy in this heat.

I've not been able to find anything concrete which would yet suggest that CSME is already in place ref buying real estate. So I'm not sure how a Caricom citizen gets a leg up on this.

I personally do not like the idea of one spouse getting the title deeds when they are not on an equal footing having been screwed ref this in Bermuda.

Hence it is better that the connected citizen (if indeed the connection works) takes a majority stake in a company that owns the property so everybody ends up happy. Legal guidance should be sought on the current tax state of play ref this route as the tax advantages may not be there as much as they were when we bought this way eight odd years ago.

Ref haggling, you should ALWAYS come in with an offer well below the asking price, at least 30% below and in this thin market you should be in luck if you have cash.

There are several St Lucia real estate websites which can give you the low-down ref legal and other costs associated with your land purchase. I'm not sure now the Caricom issue will help this as there seems to be no mention of it.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Jul 5th 2011 at 9:25 pm.
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Old Jul 6th 2011, 1:41 am
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Hi pgtips and pistolpete,

pgtips: Yeah, we weren't sure about the haggling at first; I figure it's done almost everywhere in the world, but we just wanted to make sure. Sure, PM me your Trini friend's contact info if that's ok; don't mind having more folks to contact for help if needed. Hey, we did have roti at a little place off the side of the road on our drive up towards Rodney Bay last year; wasn't bad at all. Regarding places we're looking at: we've had the agent looking around most of the island, finally settling on a couple of sites. Sorry, my wife says we have to keep the locations a secret for now; she doesn't want to jinx it! ;-) But if any deal goes through ok for us, we'll let you know for sure.

pistolpete: We'll talk to our agent regarding any Caricom advantages a bit more. You're right; I was able to find some info on additional costs. Looks like we could pay up to an additional 7% of the purchase price towards legal fees and government taxes. We'll also look into the possibility of buying through a corporation as you suggested. And thx for the haggling tips too! ;-)

thx, george
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Old Jul 6th 2011, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

1. Is haggling acceptable -- or even expected -- between the buyer and seller?

Yes it is accepted and is moreorless expected.

2. What extra costs, if any, are there in such a real estate transaction?
Lawyers fees normally between 3-5% of the cost of the property
Aliens land holding licence around $2000US.
3. What is the procedure involved in buying St. Lucian land by foreigners?
You apply via a lawyer for a land holding licence after putting a 10% deposit on the property to hold it, returnable if the licence is not granted. once it is the papers are drawn up and money exchanges hands, you then own the property.
4. Our agent has mentioned previously that the process is made a little faster if the purchase is made just under my wife's name, since she's a CARICOM citizen. Is this true and are there any other advantages/disadvantages to doing this?
I am not aware of this and I would advise against it, just from personal experience, the whole process can take between 3 months to 2 years and if you are a St Lucian a few weeks.
5. Other things keep in mind?

Pick where you want to live carefully.

I currently have my land and a house for sale if you want the details please PM me.

Sarah
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Old Jul 6th 2011, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

I second that Sarah "Pick where you live carefully", that is why initially asked where abouts in the island you were buying. we can give you the ins and out's and we all already own property on the island have been through the buying process...Nomad.
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Old Jul 6th 2011, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Originally Posted by pgtips View Post
have been through the buying process
.........and then some!

1. Find an honest Real Estate Agent

2. Find an honest Lawyer

3. Find an honest Vendor and not somebody selling you what they don't already own

4. Find a location that you will be happy with for the long haul* taking into account i) Climate/rainfall - varies throughout St Lucia ii) Crime iii) Access to your desired facilities and road access quality iv) Water Supply v) The social side

vi) Take note that there are notoriously arrogant politically-connected St Lucians and Syrians etc. etc. that can act like a law unto themselves (there are few enforceable laws with teeth anyway) that can end up making your life fairly miserable if their "operations" find a way into your daily life and there is NO help at hand from anybody in "authority", believe me.

This is much more likely to be the case in rural areas where the locals are struggling and can only take care of their own personal agenda so they will not help you. I've seen it happen in Marigot Bay TWICE.

Make sure your lifestyle and property set-up and rights of way look VERY straightforward so there is little likelihood that vi) can be an issue.

So again, be careful!

*Most St Lucia real estate is notoriously illiquid.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Jul 6th 2011 at 8:28 pm. Reason: added Vendor
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Old Jul 7th 2011, 2:24 am
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Hey all, thx again for the info.

In terms of the one site that we're now looking at, we have done some additional research in the area, and we're pretty comfortable with it, even for a long-term stay. Crime isn't too bad in the area (compared to Castries or some other areas), climate is right for my wife to do the large-scale gardening that she wants to do, the land has decent right-of-way, and the price seems right, but as recommended, we'll still try negotiating.

thx again all,
george
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Old Jul 7th 2011, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Originally Posted by nomad416 View Post
Hey all, thx again for the info.

In terms of the one site that we're now looking at, we have done some additional research in the area, and we're pretty comfortable with it, even for a long-term stay. Crime isn't too bad in the area (compared to Castries or some other areas), climate is right for my wife to do the large-scale gardening that she wants to do, the land has decent right-of-way, and the price seems right, but as recommended, we'll still try negotiating.

thx again all,
george
George, if your wife gets that garden right it will be beautiful. There are some amazing gardens and you can grow things so quickly. Nothing like waking up in the morning than to some freshly picked fruit and veg from your own garden.
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Old Jul 7th 2011, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Questions on buying land in St. Lucia

Originally Posted by nomad416 View Post
Hey all, thx again for the info.

In terms of the one site that we're now looking at, we have done some additional research in the area, and we're pretty comfortable with it, even for a long-term stay. Crime isn't too bad in the area (compared to Castries or some other areas), climate is right for my wife to do the large-scale gardening that she wants to do, the land has decent right-of-way, and the price seems right, but as recommended, we'll still try negotiating.

thx again all,
george
Good luck! Hope all goes well for you.
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