Buying in St. Lucia
Buying a property may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information you can make knowledgeable decisions that are best for you. Our sales representatives are here to help guide you through the process; we also advise that you consult an attorney regarding all legal documents. If you do not have a local attorney we will be happy to provide recommendations.
Important Facts You Should Know:
Foreign individuals (non-Caricom) and companies wishing to purchase property in St. Lucia are required to first obtain an Alien’s Landholding License. The application for the license can be made by the applicant; however once granted it must be registered with the Land Registry Department by an attorney.
The following information is to be noted:
- The non-refundable application fee is EC$1,500.00 (US$560.00)
- Once the application is approved, the license fee is as follows:
- - For properties measuring less than one acre: EC$5,000.00 (US$1,860.00)
- - For properties measuring more than one acre: EC$10,000.00 (US$3,750.00)
- The license is permanent and does not require renewal
- The license is not transferable
- The license is specific to the given property or land; those wishing to purchase multiple properties must apply for a different license in each case
- There is a 10% (percent) tax liability (known as a ‘Vendor’s Tax’) due to the Government of St. Lucia upon resale of the property
License applications are usually made at the beginning of the property purchasing process, often upon the parties’ signing an agreement of sale, and take approximately four to six weeks to process. Once the application has been processed by the Ministry of Physical Development and has been approved, a draft license is sent by the applicant’s attorney to the Attorney General’s chambers for further approval. Once approved, the license is prepared and sent to the Prime Minister’s office for signature. Once signed, the license is then sent to the Land Registry to be registered and entered on the Deed of Sale, conveying the property into the name of the newly licensed purchaser.
Application Requirements for an Alien’s Landholding License for a given property:
Completed application form
- Property map sheet
- Property land register
- Property survey plan
- Recent property valuation
- Completed tax account application form
- Signed agreement for the sale between vendor and purchaser
- Statutory declaration by applicant indicating no previous convictions
- Four notarized passport-sized photographs of applicant
- Police certificate of character or extract of non-conviction from applicant’s local police station
- Employment letter indicating nature and duration of given position
- Banker’s reference
- Certified fingerprints from a police station
- There is no requirement that fund to purchase the property must be acquired from external sources. Many local banks offer the option for non-resident mortgages.
- All financial arrangements and details including purchase price, deposits and mortgages should be in place prior to entering a binding agreement.
- Purchasers must hire a local attorney to search the register and establish title to the property prior to the sale’s completion.
- Property passes by conveyance of title as evidenced by the recording of deeds and certified survey plans at the registry of title and the issue of a land register in the name of the purchaser. The land register document is proof of title.
- Attorney’s fees are approximately 3% to 5% of the sale price of the property, which includes the application for the Alien’s Landholding License.
- The buyer is responsible for paying the stamp duty on the Deed of Sale and all registration fees.
- The seller is responsible for paying the Vendor’s Tax, sales commissions and survey costs.
- Both buyer and seller are responsible for their own attorney’s fees.
- A 10% deposit is required for payment when signing the purchase agreement. This is a binding contract. The seller’s attorney holds the deposit with the balance payable upon completion of the sale.
- The real estate agent’s commission is generally 5% of the purchase price.
- There are various corporate structures available to international buyers purchasing property. This initiative may help reduce some of the associated costs and simplify the process when selling the property.
Development Control Authority (DCA)
If the purchaser is buying a built property requiring physical improvement or intends to build a property on the purchased land, planning permission is required from the DCA. Planning permission is granted in accordance with guidelines established by acts of Parliament and statutory instruments, as well as zoning and environmental considerations.