5 Things to Know Before Buying a Property in the Turks and Caicos
There is always great excitement working with buyers looking to purchase their part of paradise in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Freed from concerns of school districts and the length of a commute buyers here can’t wait to have a base to work from in the Islands and call this beautiful part of the world home.
There are however a number of important considerations that buyers should look at before they proceed in order to ensure that they have made the right decision because for most of them this will be an investment that not only provides them with a beautiful property to use for themselves but also as an income generating asset.
Here are my Top 5 Things To Know Before Buying a Property in the Turks and Caicos
1. Do Your Homework
Before you make an offer do your research on the island and area that you want to purchase in. We are a small Island and you are never more than a 20 minutes drive from anything you would want to do but that doesn’t mean that every area will be for you. A Wall Street Journal study found that 44% of all respondents visited the location of their second residence 3 or more times before they made an offer so chances are you will already be confident in which neighbourhoods are your favourite.
Time To Dive In
2. Use Local Knowledge
There is more to buying a second home abroad than just looking through the MLS. Buyers can lose out on opportunities and time by not seeking the advice of a local real estate agent. A second home is an investment and receiving good investment advice is important to ensure that your interests are protected. It is also important to have someone who will introduce you to lawyers, engineers, contractors and electricians that will help you with the purchase, construction and inspections. One of the most important things your agent can do is give you the history and background to the property and areas you are looking at so you are completely confident with your purchase.
3. Why Do You Want It?
What is the reason you want to purchase a property in the Turks and Caicos? Are you looking to hold land in an appreciating area? Do you want a property that is primarily an income generator or is owner usage more important to you? None of these considerations exist in a vacuum and just because your usage is important it doesn’t mean that you have to completely forgo revenue. Historically villas and single family homes outperform condos on a rate of return basis but that return and independence comes with additional costs and risks for the owner. Likewise land purchases and intended development use are guided by the best fit for the property, an under developed or overdeveloped parcel can pose differing challenges when it comes time to sell so you always need your local advisors to give you the best advice on how the market is performing and what best suits your wants and needs.
4. Get Your Dollars
A great benefit of the Turks and Caicos is that we use the US Dollar as our currency. Coupled with a British based legal system and an easy to understand land registry system it is one of the cornerstones of our real estate market. If you are coming from Canada, Europe or other non-US countries you need to consider your foreign exchange rates and what effect that may have between your offer and closing. You also need to consider that the lending market operates differently here to many other parts of the world. Bank loans require significant due diligence and the Banks often have limited categories that they will consider for lending, which change depending on market conditions. They will also often cap their loans at a50 or 60% debt to equity ratio. Private Trust companies and lenders also operate and are swifter in their decision making process but their rates are typically 2-3.5% higher than the commercial banks. They play an important role in the process allowing purchaser to complete the acquisition and refinance with a commercial Bank in the future.
310/311 West Bay Club | Grace Bay | Turks and Caicos
5. Remember It’s Fun!
Buying a second home in the Turks and Caicos is a fun process. You are viewing incredibly beautiful properties set amongst golden sand and crystal clear turquoise waters. Enjoy the process as that is going to make you feel more comfortable as you consider your options. Trying to view 10+ houses in a day is going to tire you out and turn an exciting process into a slog. Do your research, speak to your advisor and hone in on the properties that match what it is that you are looking for. Good advice is key and you need to be certain that the real estate advisor you are working with understands the market, knows the areas and the properties and has your interest first.
I am lucky to call the Turks and Caicos home. Sharing the beauty of the country with visitors and discussing the history of the Islands is always entertaining. By considering these tips you will be able to both enjoy the process and make the right investment for you and your family.
I look forward to sharing our beautiful Islands with you and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to