You may find yourself asking a lot of questions during the real estate process. My goal is to make sure I answer anything and everything you might have on your mind. If you can find an answer you are looking for on my F.A.Q. page, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly! I'm here to help.
Can I See Everything That is Available With Just One Agent?
The process of co-brokerage (a non-automated form of sharing listings among agencies) works well in Bermuda. If you have chosen one agent who satisfies your needs and with whom you are happy, he can work with all of the other agencies on the island to show you every property available which suits your requirements.
Unless you have specifically arranged otherwise by entering into a 'buyer agency' contract with your agent, you should assume that she / he is working, directly or indirectly, for the owners whose property she is showing you. She / he is however obligated not to misrepresent the facts regarding any property, insofar as she / he knows them.
International Purchasrs are permitted to buy only selected properties in Bermuda: houses with an assessed 'ARV' (annual rental value - our land tax base) over $177,000 and approved condominiums that have a minimum ARV of $32,400 and only in government designated developments. They are prohibited from buying more than one ARV or any undeveloped land. Non-Bermudian property owners are also prohibited from buying 'investment' property or property intended primarily to earn rental income. While they may be given permission by the Immigration Department to rent under certain circumstances, this permission cannot be taken for granted and is generally not given for periods in excess of one year. (A tax of 10% is paid to the government on rental income earned by non-Bermudians).
If you are an overseas buyer, the length of time will be determined by how long it takes the Department of Immigration to process your application for a License to Acquire Property. This can range from 6 weeks to 6 months or more, but is typically in the vicinity of 4 months. Sales contracts usually specify that the closing take place within a set time from the date of the grant of the License, usually 60 days.
The License to Aquire Property (for overseas buyers)
The License to Acquire Property is required for non-Bermudians wishing to buy a home in Bermuda. The government charges a license to purchase fee of 8% of the price of a house and 6% if you are buying a condo, if it is granted. The review process is handled by a local property lawyer available through all the legal firms and is designed to determine that you are financially independent and that you are not an 'undesirable' person. Personal and financial references will be required and some research will be conducted. Your local property lawyer will co-ordinate the process for you.
This is for the most part split by 50% Purchaser and 50% Vendor (in equal shares as a norm), however negotiations can lead to one party paying both legal fees and stamp duty.
Stamp Duties are charged on a sliding scale indicated as follows:
(i) on the first $100,000 of that amount or value, or any part thereof, 2.5 per centum; (ii) on the next $400,000 of that amount or value, or any part thereof, 3 per centum; (iii) on the next $500,000 of that amount or value, or any part thereof, 4 per centum; (iv) on the next $500,000 of that amount or value, (over $1,000,000 but not exceeding $1,500,000) or any part thereof, 5 per centum; (v) thereafter 6 per centum;
Financing: What institutions in Bermuda provide funds?
The three local banks provide financing. Bank of Bermuda (HSBC), The Bank of Butterfield, or Capital-G Bank. Purchasers wishing to finance should get advice from their existing banker and may wish to talk to the local banks about their personal financial position.
Bermuda's Department of Planning ultimately determines what can and cannot be done by way of development, however their guidelines are set out in written form. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from an architect who has a good track record at working with the Planning Department.
The potential for subdivision will be governed by the zoning of the area. Non-Bermudians may not subdivide unless the portion subdivided is sold to a Bermudian and the portion retained has a qualifying ARV. Other rules apply and legal advice should be obtained if this is a consideration.
Residential properties are typically zoned either Residential 1 or Residential 2. Residential 1 is higher density than Residential 2. I can supply a copy of the complete guidelines if you would like more specifics.
The Bermuda Plan 1992 - Planning Statement is the book to which you should refer to find out the details of allowable site coverage, set backs, etc. for any given area. The Bermuda Plan - 1992 MAPS will show the 1992 zoning for every part of the island. A direct resource for this information can be foiund at http://www.landvaluation.bm
Bermuda's land taxes are relatively low by world standards. Payable twice a year, they are calculated annually on a sliding scale based on the ARV (government-assessed 'Annual Rental Value'), not the 'value' of the property. The tax rates are published at http://www.landvaluation.bm
Bermuda's crime rate is low by any standard, with very petty burglaries seeming to be the most prevalent crime. Almost all of Bermuda is, therefore, relatively secure. The prime residential areas have a particularly low crime rate. These include, among others, Tuckers Town, Fairylands, Point Shares, Paget's south shore, Harbour Road, and many other sections of the island.
“Jack Kripl was an outstanding representative. My husband and myself recently moved into beautiful bermuda and it has been nothing but one pleasant surprise after another. I can highly recommend Mr. Kripl and his team at Coldwell Banker Bermuda.”
- Stacy Allen
“Selling our second home with Jack was just as painless as the first time! There is no better realtor in Bermuda.”