Whether you want a new place or simply want a getaway from your busy life, you’re probably considering buying a second home. Whatever your reason may be, there’s one place you should look into: the Caribbean.
Popular for its amazing weather and natural attractions, the Caribbean is also home to countries offering economic citizenship. This means that you can easily become a legal citizen, especially if you’re looking to buy a real estate property there.
If you’ve made up your mind about buying a second home overseas, you should know that it’s a task that requires thorough preparation and research. After all, you’re not only investing your money but also a significant portion of your life living there.
To help you out, here are six tips in choosing the perfect second home in the Caribbean:
1. Pick a location you’d want to visit often
The Caribbean is a vast region that houses many island countries. With this in mind, it isn’t surprising that vacationers and economic citizens are drawn to its abundant beaches. When picking a location for your second home, it is only natural that you choose a place where you’d want to visit often.
If you choose a house that is ten blocks from the beach, you’ll probably save on upfront costs. However, this would also mean you won’t get a close view of the sights the region is popular for. It could also affect your ability to make it a rental property for when you’re not in the area.
2. Consider the cost of living
If you’re planning to live in a place long term, you should also consider the cost of living. Not only will this help you know whether you can afford to live there but also how much you can spare for your preferred lifestyle.
Among the essential things you should consider are the costs of utilities, transportation, and basic commodities. Knowing the taxation policies and available insurance in the country would also help you get a good grip on your financial options.
For the Caribbean islands, the cost of living is considered generally affordable and reasonable. Local produce is also quite inexpensive.
3. Set a budget and know how you can save
When you decide to buy a second home, you should do so without sacrificing the quality of your life. Aside from knowing the cost of living, you must also consider the price tag of the property you’re planning to buy. Make sure that investing in it doesn’t put a strain on your finances.
To do so, it is recommended that you set a specific price range for your second home. Under this, you should include the down payment, cost of closing, and the price of furnishing. On average, this should amount to 33 percent of your purchase price.
Of course, the actual property you’re about to buy won’t be the only thing you should look into when it comes to knowing how to save.
Another great thing about choosing to live as an economic citizen in the Caribbean is the ability to save on taxes. For instance, dual citizens in Antigua and Barbuda aren’t required to pay capital gains or estate taxes. The same goes for death, inheritance, and personal income tax on your worldwide income.
4. Research about the peace and order situation
Although political situations may change overnight in any country, it would still be a good idea to know the general consensus on the governmental structure in the nation you plan to move to.
This will help you make an informed decision on whether a specific nation can be considered secure and stable enough to become your second home. Remember that this will affect not only the economic aspects of your life should you decide to live there, but also your way of life.
The Caribbean has a politically diverse environment. Despite this, many of the countries in this region have a stable peace and order situation, especially Antigua and Barbuda.
5. Think about how you’ll make connections
Although it is often disregarded in most articles about moving abroad, you should still think about how well you can make good connections when you move overseas.
When you move abroad, you would want people having your back and offer emotional support when you need it.
For some countries, barriers involving differences in religious beliefs, cultures, and language are too extreme, making integration quite difficult. In some cases, expats find refuge in communities where they find friends in other expatriates who face the same challenges they are facing.
Lucky for you, choosing the Caribbean as a second home would probably give you an advantage in this aspect as well.
Like Canada, the region is also lauded for having friendly local citizens. As members of a multicultural community, Caribbean natives are known to be very welcoming. There’s also a good chance that you would hear them speaking your native language as the region is home to many English-, Chinese-, Dutch-, and Spanish-speaking dual citizens.
6. Seek help from immigration experts
Moving to another country is a big deal. To make sure you go through the proper channels, you have to consult experts. In the case of buying a Caribbean property, you’ll need more than your local realtor’s help – you must also seek Caribbean citizenship by investment liaison agents.
Keep in mind that liaison agents should be accredited by the Caribbean country offering economic citizenship, so be sure to check their credentials first. Of course, it is still recommended that you do your own research on the regulations about citizenship by investment through real property. This way, you would know whether you’re on the right path.
Find your perfect second home
People have different reasons for wanting to buy a second home in another country, but mostly, it’s to give themselves an alternative lifestyle that’s far away from the stresses of urban living.
Whether it’s for vacation, business, or permanent residency, be sure to keep an open mind, especially in considering the citizenship by investment real estate options offered in many Caribbean countries.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.