Overseas buyers searching for luxury property in the Caribbean should take a good look at Tobago. This small island has so many benefits that overseas investors have been buying land in Tobago at an alarming rate. The Trinidad and Tobago Government have now started a licensing system to monitor international buyers so that the small island does not become so expensive that local people could not buy property on their island. So why is Tobago so popular?

Tobago is still an unspoilt place of natural beauty eco tourism alongside beach holiday is part of its attraction. Real estate in Tobago is still relatively inexpensive compared to islands such as Barbados for example. The tropical climate, easy access and strong, well-rounded economy combine to make it one of the best investments in the Caribbean.

The process of buying land and property in Trinidad and Tobago is straightforward and similar to many other Caribbean nations. Foreigners and foreign companies may purchase up to one acre of residential land and/or up to five acres of commercial land without applying for a license. Any purchases over these amounts and you must apply for an Alien Landholder License through the government.

When you find your desired property and agree on terms with the seller, you both sign a Sales Agreement. The buyer pays a 10% deposit to be held in escrow and the contract is binding on both parties. Traditionally the final payment is paid on closing 90 days from the signing of the Sales Agreement to allow time for all the necessary searches and records work.

After signing the Sales Agreement, the buyer instructs a local lawyer to perform a title search. At the same time, your lawyer should conduct a record search from the utilities and Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) and make sure all taxes are paid. Getting clearance from WASA is probably the longest part of this process, and can take as long as six weeks. It will also cost TT$ 575 for the certificate. Once the title of the property is verified and all records checked, you may proceed to closing.

Closing Fees include a Stamp Duty, any legal fees, typically 1-2%, and insurance costs for the dwelling. A Memorandum of Stamp Duty should go to the Board of Inland Revenue for assessment of Stamp Duty prior to closing so you will know how much to pay. After closing you take the memorandum to the Board of Inland Revenue and pay the duty. Upon payment, the Memorandum of Transfer is stamped and you can now present this for registration with the Land Registry.

The Land Registry prepares a Return of Ownership form, showing change in ownership for paying property taxes. This document is filed with the District Revenue Office and you are done.

By Lela

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