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!



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.




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.


TMC Engineering Ltd.

#8 Moseley Lane

Nassau, Bahamas





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

Total Bahamas MLS listings active right now:  2,145

Total Listings Sold On the Bahamas MLS in the past 6 months: 86

However, it is worth noting that I personally have been involved in 3 transactions in the last 6 months, that are not being recorded on the MLS for various reasons, either it was a ‘pocket listing’ or just recently expired etc. If one assumes that one quarter of the licensed agents in the Bahamas have been involved in one transaction that was not recorded on the MLS it bumps up the number of sales transactions up to 221.  This sales volume figure is modest but indicates strong gains over the previous year.  In the past month, every active broker or agent I’ve spoken to has seen a marked increase in inquiries, visits, showings and offers.  This is all leading to a significantly improved real estate market for the year of 2015.

The long wait since 2007 is definitely officially over in my opinion.


Above: Beautiful Luxury Estate on Man O War Cay. Multiple dwellings, 3 beaches, large private marina. More information here:


Every company in the Bahamas is seeing major improvement across the board. In the local Bahamian real estate market, it seems the commercial banks are starting to make loans a bit easier to reach although the lending standards are still quite high. Typically Scotiabank is looking for the borrower to have 30% equity, however they are currently offering extremely low interest rates. RBC has in my opinion been the easiest bank to work with in terms of securing a mortgage with 10% deposit/equity and they will allow the borrower to finance closing costs which is a major help to a first time real estate buyer looking to start out. The government stamp tax of 10% (usually split between buyer and seller) is still a major financial hurdle for most buyers of real estate in the country, so being able to get financial assistance with that is a blessing. CIBC Fist Caribbean is offering 15% equity/deposit with interest rates on par with the other institutions.

In the non-resident or second home owner market there has been a large increase in interest from potential buyers and the sales activity is indicating a strong improvement. The problem I am seeing now though is that sellers who had been on the side lines waiting for the past couple of years have now seen the market improvement and chosen to put their property on the market. This has had the effect of increasing the inventory of available properties on the market which causes the market to skew in favour of the buyers. That said, I believe we are out of the woods and it is still a great time to buy.

When you have multiple people looking at making offers on one piece of real estate that definitely shows a vastly improved market for the past years. I have seen multiple offers at the same time on 5 different occasions in the past 6 months.

Happening right now a reality TV show called ‘Below Decks’ filming in Abaco right now. It is a Bravo network show similar to Big Brother set on a luxury yacht. The film crew is based out of Abaco Beach Resort and has been using the beautiful scenes of Abaco as the backdrop. Good exposure for the island, however I think it only appeals to the teenage audience so economic spill over is likely to be very limited.

I have heard mention of the possibility of the Marsh Harbour airport runway being extended so we might finally see direct flights from New York and Atlanta. Something that will make getting to the Abacos from Europe and the Northeast US much, much easier.

The Friends of the Environment Annual Reef Ball was recently held at the Abaco Inn with great success, and the Marsh Harbour edition is coming up in about a week. Great Cause, Great Food and Great Fun to be had at the Marsh Harbour Marina.

Upcoming events in Abaco – Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend (Triathlon), Fishing Tournament season, Hope Town Music/Songwriters Festival (Happening Now).

Get out of the snow and come down for a visit.

Here’s to wishing you are thoroughly enjoying your holidays, be it Christmas, Chanuka, Kwanza or just having fun.  And may you have a wonderful 2015.  I know I am looking at it with positive thoughts. – D.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Southworth Development LLC has joined the investors who see value in the island of Abaco.  a recent announcement in local news was made recently.  see the ZNS video on youtube:

In other news, the sipsip is that the buyer for Treasure Cay walked away, so nothing will be changing there.  Shame, the hotel and commercial areas really need a major facelift and a nice 20-30 room boutique hotel on that beach would be a wonderful addition to the Island.


Happy Holiday, Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy…  well you know what I mean.

Heres to making a better effort to write updates move regularly in 2015.


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