The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Check out this great write up on Realtor.com if you are buying, selling, re-financing, settling an estate, investing or even considering building.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/five-things-your-appraiser-wishes-you-knew/?cid=soc_20151206_55988936&adbid=673292277788205056&adbpl=tw&adbpr=17351940

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The 17th annual Big Hill Box Cart Derby on Elbow Cay (Hope Town) in the Abacos was once again a cool day of racing and fun.  The event raised over $2,500 which will aid in supporting youth programs on the island, which include the Hope Town Junior Sailing Program, the Abaco Swim Club and in the past has helped to build the community children’s playground among many others.  It happens every year on the Saturday of American Thanksgiving, this year’s date was 28th November 2015.

Held every year and organized with the leadership of Stafford Patterson, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hazel, it wasn’t always so.  The early days involved bric-a-brac carts built out of anything participants could find in the backyard.  Stories are told of carts made of dock pilings and steel drums or plywood with skateboard wheels and other crazy contraptions.  In the beginning there were many epic crashes, sadly (though maybe a good thing) this is long before everyone walked around with a smartphone video camera.  I was not around for these first iterations of the derby but the stories are entertaining to say the least.  And fortunately there were no tragic accidents to dampen the spirit of the event.  There have been some serious crashes over the past years involving a few broken bones and lots of road rash. Happily this year there were no major crashes which is a testament to how far things have come and the quality of the carts and drivers.

The winner for the 6th year straight in the Senior division was Otis Christian Wilhoyte with the gravity defying custom built cart named “White Lightning”.  The youngest driver and the winner of the junior division was Blake Cash who was fearless and determined.

This years Derby saw a total of 13 Junior entrants (age 9 – 14) and 9 Senior (15 – up) entries, 1 down from last years 22 (Juniors 8, Adults 12) so our Junior entries saw a 50% increase due to the introduction of a kit for beginners.   The two classes (Adult and Junior) run under local rules, very simple and basic with emphasis on safety. Overall winner of the day is determined by a combined score from the 3 categories (Downhill, Slalom and Showmanship).

A breakdown of the entry types show that the Juniors had:

  • 5 American Soapbox style carts
  • 4 Beginners wooden kit cars (new Class)
  • 3 Scrapped together
  • 1 Skateboard

The Adult class had:

  • 3 Scrapped together
  • 3 fancy homebuilts
  • 2 American Soapbox
  • 1 Skateboard

 

There were many more attendees this year and most of whom stayed longer to watch than past years due to the addition of 75 bleacher style seats alongside the racetrack. Attendance estimated to be 300+.  The event could not happen without the support of almost 40 volunteers who help to organize, get permits, track preparation and clean up, bleacher setup, food and beverage setup and sales.  The event truly speaks to the community spirit of the island.

Here is a short video ditty of the carts running down the hill:

More Photos:

In summary, this is a wonderful example of why Abaco is a great place to live, visit or invest in a second home.  Hope to see you there next year.

Hi Dwayne,

I ran across your blog ‘myabacoblog.com’ and I was hoping you could answer a question I had since you seem to be familiar.

I’ve read that to work in the Bahamas (I’m a US citizen) you need a work visa, which is somewhat of a difficult affair to secure. What about vacation rentals? Is it legal for me to purchase property in the Bahamas, and then earn income on it as a vacation rental without having a work visa?

Thanks for your help!

-Steve

___________________________________________________________________________________

Hi Steve,

Glad you found my blog useful. I don’t write as often as I should.

The short answer is no you don’t need a work permit to own and operate a vacation rental home. The Bahamas has no income tax. income from a rental property is not considered work although it is income. You would need a work permit if you wanted to work as a bartender or store manager or construction etc. etc. Non-Bahamians can buy/sell/own/lease etc. real estate with relatively little regulation from the government. The majority of the vacation rental homes and condos are owned by non-Bahamians. Many use VRBO.com or similar websites and most have property managers who deal with everything in return for a percentage of rental income.

It is very similar to the situation when a non-US citizen comes to the USA. They can get a 6 month visitor visa, they can purchase real estate in the USA and they could rent it (I believe they have to pay tax on the rental income) but the non-US citizen does not need a work visa to own and collect the rent. They would need a work visa if they were actually gainfully employed by a company though.

Best regards,

Dwayne Wallas

I just have to share this amazing opportunity for a little investment. Drastic Price Reduction! Affordable Investment. It won’t last long and the area is beautiful.  8 miles of stunning sandy beach nearby, Abaco/Bahama Parrots stop by every morning to say hello.  Utilities ready for connection.  These lots regularly sell for $15k to $20k, leaving the lucky owner with instant equity.

If you have any young children, buy it now and save it as a college tuition investment fund.  The cost of tuition always goes but historically the prices of real estate have risen at the same rate.  In the USA, currently the average cost of college tuition is $10,000 per year according to collegedata.com.  Assuming the area of Bahama Palm Shores grows and the value of the land in the area rises over the next 13 years, if you have a 4 year old child, and they head off to college at the age of 17 this investment could cover the cost of 2-3 years tuition.  This could be your ‘ace in the hole’.  Call today.

http://www.hgchristie.com/property-details/abaco/vacant-land/AS11377/

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Albany Resort Residences, Gym Facility

by Lee McCoy

When looking to start or expand your current business, there is no better way than to utilize a pre-engineered steel building. These buildings are custom designed to your requirements – whether your end use is open retail space, storage & warehouse space, a garage, or a back-of-house facility, the buildings are tailored to your location, specifications, and requirements.

Available on the market are many used facilities. These buildings can be relatively new builds or can be over fifty years old. Steel buildings have been in the Bahamas since the early 20th century. Not only have these buildings been subject to our extreme weather conditions (think salty, humid air), but design requirements have been drastically improved over the decades. From a safety standpoint, you want to make sure the building will withstand hurricane force winds and the environment they are located in.

The first step would be to get an appraisal done by a licensed real estate company, such as HG Christie. The real estate agent (or the buyer/seller) can hire an authorized manufacturers representative to inspect the building also. This inspection would point out any obvious problems and compare the cost of a new building to repairing the existing building. TMC Engineering Ltd. is an authorized Star Buildings distributor and a 100% Bahamian company, with experience in refurbishing and installing new buildings throughout the islands. Any inspection fees charged (which are nominal) are applicable to any work done on the project post-purchase.

There are a host of things to consider when purchasing a used steel building. Many modifications can add value and life to the building, such as a retrofit roof system, added insulation for energy efficiency, and replacing wall panels. Structural steel can be repaired and any damaged secondary structure can be replaced with new, galvanized materials; screw and bolts can be replaced with new long-lasting fasteners. If anchor bolts are worn away, new bolts can be drilled and epoxied into the foundation.

Whether you choose a new build or a renovation project, there are a variety of other considerations. PBR and standing-seam roof systems both offer excellent features, but vary in cost. Factory applied material coatings (essentially paint) can add years of protection to new materials. Wall panels come in a variety of options, including hidden-fastener panels and insulated metal panel systems. Insulation facings and thicknesses can decrease your BEC bill significantly, with a quick pay-off. Doors and windows can add function and curb-appeal, while skylights and ventilation make the building comfortable.

If you’re going for a new building or a used building, be sure to get an experienced builder on your side early in the process. This can save you on costs and schedule, and make sure your facility is up to your standard.

About the Author:

Lee McCoy is the President of TMC Engineering Ltd., a 100% Bahamian company founded in 1999 and based in Nassau. They are an award-winning, authorized Star Buildings distributor and installer. TMC has experience in projects large and small throughout the islands of the Bahamas & the Caribbean.

Contact:

TMC Engineering Ltd.

#8 Moseley Lane

Nassau, Bahamas

242-394-3410

www.SteelBahamas.com

info@steelbahamas.com

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Last week, the Prime Minister who is also the Minister for Finance in the Bahamas gave a budget communication which had very significant changes to the real estate landscape in the Bahamas.

The changes that have been made are a follow on from the introduction of Value Added Tax in the Bahamas. For the first 6 months of this year, 2015, VAT was not applicable to the sale of real estate itself. Any attorney fees or a broker commission or any other service related to a real estate transaction was “Watable” however the actual sale of the real estate was exempt from the tax.

Beginning July 1st though, real estate transactions will now be subject to Value Added Tax in the amount of 7.5% of the price in addition to a 2.5% flat rate Stamp Tax. Gone is the graduated scale which elicited lower tax rate at the lower price transactions.

Palmetto Villa

Above: Beautiful New Listing Palmetto Beach Villa, Click and check it out.

What are the actual implications?

Real Estate sales under $100,000 are exempt from paying VAT, therefore the sale of a piece of land for $60,000 will not only attract a tax rate of 2.5%, whereas previously that same transaction would have attracted a stamp duty rate of 8%. This is an extremely positive move for the lower price range of real estate. Closing costs for land and homes under $100,000 has been dramatically reduced which will have very positive effects on the market place.

A purchase of a home for $250,000 will attract the same amount of tax now as before. Before the applicable tax was 10% Stamp Duty, NOW it is 2.5% Stamp Duty + 7.5% VAT. In essence the closing costs on a $250,000 purchase will remain the same. And this is effective at all price ranges above $100k up to the multi millions.

Of particular note, is that by converting the tax payable from Stamp Duty to VAT, the government has dramatically lowered the transaction costs for a Bahamas VAT registered business in purchasing or selling real estate. The VAT registered business can now credit their real estate purchase tax liability back. In essence for VAT registrants, the closing costs on real estate have changed to 2.5% stamp duty instead of the 10% is was previously. (+Attorney fee +Broker Fee).

There was also mention of a pending change to the Bahamas Real Property Tax Act whereby a new ‘category’ will be created for ‘Residential’. At the moment there are 2 categories for property tax in the Bahamas, ‘Owner-Occupied’ and ‘Non Owner-Occupied’. Essentially if you live in your home you see a drastically lower tax rate, and everything else including commercial, retail, industrial, residential rental properties, even a home you own but don’t rent and don’t live in could attract the higher rate of 1.5% of the value.

With the creation of a Residential tax category, all Residential properties whether lived in or rented would be within this category. This is a substantial concession for owners of duplex and triplex residences who would have had to pay a relatively hefty property tax on the rental apartments. The ‘Residential’ category will likely incur the same rate as the current ‘owner-occupied’ rate of 0.75% however the legislation has not yet been tabled or approved, but the communication indicated the change would occur prior to the October bills going out this year.

These two adjustments which may seem minor on the surface will have significant impacts on the ownership of real estate in the Bahamas. In essence improving the attractiveness and lowering the soft cost of acquiring, holding and selling real estate here.

Also of note was the elimination of import duty on bicycles, so everyone go out and buy a bike, get out and see the Bahamas on 2 wheels.

And a reduction of duty on ‘Stuffed Pasta’??? Someone has a food fetish there hey?

Lastly, another important point was the extension of the “Family Island Encouragement Act” whereby home construction and repair is permitted to bring in building materials duty free. The spirit of the legislation is to spur economic growth and create short and long term employment through the development and construction of homes. The Act is supposed to be extended to Eleuthera and Abaco which previously were excluded. I welcome feedback from someone who access the Act benefits in Abaco.

Here is how it should be done.  If a small private charter company can operate a regular charter service at comparable rates to the big airlines (Silver Airways, Bahamasair, American Airlines) and over a quicker more luxurious ride, then why can’t the big guys do it?  Seriously!  I recently looked up flights from Marsh Harbour to Miami roundtrip and the fare was $800.  looked up a fare to Fort Lauderdale recently too, $700.  This Saab plane is designed to handle 50 passengers, but these guys have outfitted to extra legroom and only accommodate 30 per trip.  How great is that? and the fares are significantly lower…  You know who I’m flying with next time…!  www.wildcattouring.net

Now if we could just get Delta to fly from Atlanta….

new air service

Ever dreamt of having your own private island complete with deep water marina and 2 beautiful beaches all within an 15 minute ride to amenities?  And at a reasonable price?

Here is a sneak peek at an upcoming Private Island Listing, and this one has it all:

Cove panorama

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