Buying a House in St. Lucia from Overseas
Buying a House in St. Lucia from Overseas if your nationality is St. Lucian is the same process as if you resided on island.
I am a St Lucian living in the USA and would like to buy a house in Saint Lucia. What is the process for doing so?
NIC, Income & Property Tax Clearances
To be able to purchase property in St Lucia you would need to get Income and Property tax clearances from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). If you are not registered you can download the form from IRD website https://ird.gov.lc/index.php/forms-publications/forms. Secondly you need to get NIC clearances from the National Insurance Corporation. Their website is https://stlucianic.org/forms/ . Thirdly you have to send an authorization letter to the person of your choice who you wish to collect the IRD and NIC clearances on your behalf.
Engage the services of a reputable Real Estate Agent – One who is a member of The Realtors’ Association (Saint Lucia) Ltd. Realty St. Lucia have been member for the past 3 years.
You should then decide on your budget, the type of house you want, size and features, location, views and the amount of garden and land space.
You will also need a reputable lawyer or legal firm to handle the legal issues.
I am an American living in the USA who wishes to buy a retirement home in St. Lucia. Can you help me out and tell me the process?
Guide to Buying Property in St Lucia
St Lucia is home to a lot of investment opportunities. You can choose from a wide range of properties on offer from plots of land ideal for single-family homes and luxury villas to lavish developments in spectacular yet serene locations. Now that you’ve decided to buy property in St Lucia, except of course you are entitled to St Lucian citizenship by naturalization, marriage or birth, you will need an Alien Landholding Licence. This is a document issued by the government to foreigners looking to buy property in St Lucia. The document gives you permission to purchase a specific property or plot of land.
Before a Foreign company and corporate body will be allowed to purchase property in St Lucia they must have no less than 50% of their members as foreign nationals. The processing of this license can take around 6 – 12 weeks.
It is important to note that these licenses are permanent, non-transferable and only applicable to the property in question. While waiting for the license to be approved, you can visit the site for inspection. This way, you can determine whether the property has any issues. And if there are any issues, make sure it is duly resolved. As soon as the application for a license is approved, the buyer can complete the transaction process. Any outstanding balance will be paid.
First, you have to pay an application fee of EC$1,500. Note that this fee is non-refundable. For the license, you’ll have to pay an additional fee of
- EC$5,000 for 1 acre or less
- EC$10,000 for 1 to 10 acres
- EC$20,000 for 10 to 20 acres
- EC$30,000 for 20 to 50 acres
- EC$ 40,000 for 50 to 100 acres
- And EC$50,000 for 100 acres and above
To apply for Alien Landholding Licence, you need to consult an experienced local attorney. Some of the information you’ll have to supply include the following
- Four (4) passport sized color photographs
- Copy of passport and citizenship details
- Employment status
- Police Report or Police certificate of good character from country of origin
- Current bank references
- Full set of fingerprints
- A land register and map sheet for the property.
Note that after obtaining approval from the government to buy landed property in St Lucia, you must start developing or building within 2 to 3 years starting from the date of purchase. And if you fail to develop the land within the stipulated may you may lose your license.
Buying Property in St Lucia as an Individual or Business Entity
Of course, you can decide to purchase a property in St Lucia either as an individual or a company. The choice is yours to make. However, it is recommended that you seek legal advice on the right option for you.
Most investors buy property in company name. This way, they can save a considerable amount on stamp duty should they wish to sell in future date. While individuals are entitled to pay 10% stamp duty, offshore companies will pay 0.5% stamp duty.
The procedure for buying property in St Lucia is no different from the UK. In other words, the procedures are similar. Buyers are expected to pay a deposit of 10% property value during the contract signing. However, the payment will be held in escrow by the seller’s attorney pending when the transaction is completed.
If for any reason the buyer pulls out of the deal, the 10% deposit is non-refundable. Also, if eventually, the application for an Alien Land Holding License fails to pull through, then the buyer can get a refund of the 10% deposit. If, on the other hand, the seller is no longer interested in selling the property, the buyer get a refund but this time the buyer gets twice the deposit amount.