Buying or Leasing Property in Bermuda
I don’t want to discourage you, but the fact is, there have been many who quickly stepped back and given up on this aspiration once they knew what it takes to actually buy a property in Bermuda.
On the other hand, there are real opportunities, and the Bermuda Government does allow a foreigner to buy a property in the island, under many restrictions though.
By the way, even if you get to buy a house in Bermuda and own it permanently, it does not make you eligible to get a citizenship of Bermuda or a permanent residence.
Citizenship will always require a person to be married to a Bermudian and live in the island for a minimum of 10 years. However, getting a long term residence is possible if the Department of Immigration grants exemption to your work permit, which has a maximum renewal term of only 6 years in normal cases. Such exemptions take place in special cases only where the role of a person in Bermuda’s economy or otherwise is considered critical. Update February 2013: The term limit for work permit has been eliminated.
So, unless one of the above options works out, you will need to keep leaving the island and come back as a visitor. While you can’t buy a property or a piece of land in Bermuda for the purpose of renting only, the Immigration Department can give permission to rent out your house while you are away. Such permitted rental duration rarely exceeds a period of 1 year and will attract a tax of 7.25%.
But what it takes to buy a house in Bermuda? Firstly, enormous amount of money, much more than what a local Bermudian would need to pay for a similar property. A nice 3-bedroom house with a lawn and close to the sea can easily cost over 5 million dollars to a non-Bermudian.
That’s primarily because of three reasons.
2) A foreigner like an American or a British would need to pay a license fee which for a house is 25% of the purchase price, and for a condo is 18%. You can own a house only once the government issues a property license to you. However, there is a separate consideration fee that needs to be submitted along with application for the license. If rejected, this amount would be forfeited. UPDATE February 2013: License fees have been revised downwards in the recently announced national budget for 2013. Check out 2013 Bermuda Budget
3) A foreigner can buy such international property in Bermuda usually from another foreigner only. The exceptions are the tourist accommodations like the Bermuda Timeshare Properties.
So, if your heart and financial capacity are large enough to fight out all these, do pursue an ownership property in Bermuda.
It would certainly be an effort to shape a fantastic dream into reality, which to many non-Bermudians including me, would likely remain as a far fetched dream for ever.
Another option that you may consider is to lease a property or a house in Bermuda which is a far easier process than buying one outright. And there can be short term as well as long term leasing arrangements.
So, how do you lease or buy a residential property in Bermuda? Best is to take professional help as the property dealing in Bermuda is fairly complex. Check out Real Estate Agencies in Bermuda who can give you the best professional guidance in dealing with Bermuda Properties.
UPDATE (April 2011): Recently the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Regulations Act has been amended and more condos have been added to the list of units that can be purchased by non Bermudians. A total of 500+ condominiums are now available for purchase by foreigners.
The units are spread across many top residential areas in the island including The Waterfront at Pembroke, Manor House in Smith’s, Mizzentop at Warwick, Southdown Farm, Warwick Villas, Innwood at Paget, and many other places. Additionally there are some condos at Pink Beach Club/Hidden Cove property, Palmetto Hotel & Cottages, and former Mermaid Beach Club that are also available for sale to foreigners.
1) Check out Bermuda Real Estate & Rentals for a guide to property dealings in Bermuda.
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