Admit it: your dream home is a traditional plantation house tucked into a hillside amongst banana trees and with views of a sparkling blue sea… Sounds idyllic and there’s one destination famous for this type of property – the Caribbean. Some of the most stunning homes in the Caribbean are wooden plantation homes – the ones with those gorgeous verandas – brought back to life so they retain all their original features but have mod cons subtly incorporated too.
The Caribbean is a colourful mix of islands, each with its own jurisdiction and local regulations, so for more detailed advice specific to renovating and property law, speak to an expert on that island, otherwise here some broader tips for choosing and renovating a property.
Speaking to local estate agents is a good start – they should be able to provide background info about the vendors of each of their properties. Why? Because hidden complications can arise when attempting to buy a local property privately. Older properties in need of renovation may stand empty for long periods of time, but there is often no urgency in selling them as they have been in families for years, and have no financial binds, such as a mortgage. Properties are commonly left to several members of the family, which can result in a dispute over whether to sell or not, and even once on the market the legal process may be a longer procedure than the buyer initially expected.
Often with what you can do with a property lies in the floor-plan and you need to consider what you will be using the property for – the functional lay-out of a holiday home won’t suit the living habits of a permanent home. It goes without saying that you should find a good architect and lawyer and check what you can and can’t do to a property before you commit to it.
As a guide to cost, one agent in Antigua quotes anything from $35,000 and $95,000 as necessary to renovate a villa in the popular Jolly Harbour area.
The same agent gives an example of renovation project is has on its books for $250K: a three-bedroom family house on a third of an acre and in a good in location, it is structurally very good but has been neglected and needs a fair amount of work. Renovation costs would include $3,500 on the structure, plus anything between $5,000 and $50,000 could be spent renovating the overall house. This is rough guide - what you will need to spend will naturally depend on the state of repair, or disrepair, of your property.
Always bear in mind, it is easy to underestimate the cost when entering into a project. The main (cost) problems are usually encountered when dealing with unfamiliar tradesmen. It is easy to get ripped off so take time to do your research and find the right team. It is also essential that the buyer takes into account all the fees and taxes that come with buying their property.
Start your hunt for a home in the Caribbean here…
If you’re searching for a Caribbean property, a good place to start is the Caribbean Buying Guide’s property search facility. To start your search now visit http://www.caribbeanbuyingguide.com/content/caribbean-properties