Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bahamas Real Estate Laws

Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) chief William Wong has issued a strong statement about non-Bahamian brokers selling real estate in the Bahamas.
Wong has urged banks and people to immediately stop using unconventional methods to sell real estate here. He said Bahamas property is being illegally auctioned online.
Wong pointed out that the real estate industry is reserved for Bahamians or permanent residents with the right to work. They must also hold a valid Bahamas Real Estate Association licence.
“It’s wrong, I cannot go to Florida and sell real estate.
“What they should have done is work through local agencies, but they think the Bahamas is another state of the U.S. and they could do whatever they like.”
The Nassau Guardian, in reporting the matter, said American companies are advertising auctions for Bahamas property to “bargain hunters” in New York.
One listing claims that 10 lots totaling 2.5 acres located on a Bahamas island will be offered to New York prospects for the first time.
The starting bid on seaside lots, valued at $595,000, will be $29,000 with each lot including 200 feet of beachfront, the ad claims.
Sales by auction are reportedly on the increase as a result of the U.S. mortgage meltdown with American lending institutions calling in bad loans.
While the process may seem innocent, Wong told The Guardian it’s outside Bahamas law.
“This is not their territory, this is our territory, our advantage and not theirs,” he said. . “These banks need to call the local contact, which is BREA, and ask them how to go about this.”
But it goes deeper. Real estate agents outside the Bahamas do not know the lay of the land and are not familiar with our laws.
The Bahamas is part of the Commonwealth and we inherited our legal system from Britain. The Bahamas makes its own laws.
Just as a Bahamas real estate broker does not know the ins and outs of U.S. law, the same is true in reverse to American brokers.
A local realtor knows the truth about property, including neighbourhood data, the geographic lay of the land and any pitfalls ^ such as land that’s below sea level and prone to flooding.
Be safe and use a Bahamas Real Estate Association licensed broker.

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