Shopping for a home is always a big undertaking, and if you want a beachfront home in paradise it can be even more difficult. But if you’re looking through Turks and Caicos homes, you’ve successfully achieved the first step: choosing which Caribbean island nation to call home.
From West Caicos to Providenciales around the horn to Middle and South Caicos islands luxury and affordable real estate is available. The ocean view condo, beachfront villa, or cute single-family home that you’ve been dreaming of is available on the Turks and Caicos Islands (“TCI”), but it will take some work to find it and make island homeownership a reality.
As you look at all of your options for Turks and Caicos homes, it’s important to get all of your ducks in a row and keep them there. How can you make the process go more smoothly? Here’s a look at 7 tips that can help make that a reality.
1. Hire a Real Estate Agent and a Lawyer that Knows Turks and Caicos Real Estate Well
Purchasing real estate is a complex process, made even more so when buying property in a country you don’t currently reside in. It always helps to have experts on your side who know the laws and typical concerns involved.
First, a realty professional or luxury real estate agent that is familiar with Turks and Caicos in general and the specific islands, in particular, is going to make it a lot easier to navigate the waters of real estate listings. They know property laws, can help you get around the red tape, and make sure that you have direct access to the properties and new listings that you’re most interested in.
The more they know about TCI, the better. Whether your dream is a beachfront villa in an unspoiled area like South Caicos or a more typical luxury condo in a more developed area like Providenciales, you’ll want a realtor that knows where to look. Plus, a good real estate agent helps any home purchase go faster and more smoothly.
A lawyer is also an important ally to have in this process. Sometimes, your real estate agent will have connections to an attorney that knows the ins and outs of Turks and Caicos real estate law. In other instances, you may have to find one. Either way, they’ll be able to help interpret laws and deal with red-tape that your realtor can’t.
2. Don’t go too long without getting your funding in order
Like many Caribbean countries, the Turks and Caicos government requires you to have all of your funding in order before you sign a contract to purchase a home. In some instances, you may be able to get funding from within the TCI; in others, you will need to get it from your home country. You can research that with your lawyer and/or real estate professional.
You may be curious about exchange rates in TCI, and the answer is – it depends. They have two official currencies: the Bahamian dollar and the United States dollar. It used to only be the U.S. dollar, but they added the Bahamian dollar in 2013.
No matter what, you need to consider and understand the exchange rates between your home country and the Turks and Caicos Islands. You want to be sure that you are getting the best price and that you aren’t going to end up getting hurt from those exchange rates. Your lawyer and realtor can help with that.
3. Research to learn which parts of the archipelago you want to live in
Sure, you may have loved the vacation that you took to Grace Bay Beach, but would you want to live in the midst of all of that busyness all of the time? There are dozens of islands throughout the TCI, each of them a little different in terms of population and atmosphere.
For example, the smallest of the main islands is Salt Cay, and its island life has a very different atmosphere than Providenciales. Much less popular and developed, it fits the stereotypical image of old-time Caribbean islands. With its lack of tourism and quaint, historic architecture the tranquil small island is the epitome of a “take it easy” life. Salt Cay has plenty of opportunities for purchasing Turks and Caicos real estate, plus, the quiet beaches mean more flamingos than in a populated place like Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales.
Like Salt Cay, there are flamingos to be seen in South Caicos, but its atmosphere is different. South Caicos is not “settled”; the island has spectacular white sand beaches and a truly unique ecosystem that the few inhabitants like to protect and celebrate. Beachfront villas and condos are available to buy but the island is sparsely developed – on purpose.
Salt Cay, Providenciales, South Caicos, and the other Turks and Caicos islands all present a unique lifestyle. It’s no different than visiting different states in the US or different countries in the EU – the unique people and unique geographies create unique atmospheres.
Look into the different islands (yes, even the private islands) and see what areas are best for the type of home you want. Some places may have a better water view, or you may be able to find a retirement community on another island. The more you know about your potential home island or cay, the better.
4. Never Choose a Home Without Visiting the Property
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they’re buying a home overseas is that they just take people at their word and go by pictures before signing the dotted line. They never take the time to go and see the property itself, which can be a problem.
How do you deal with this if you live out of the country? There are a few ways. First, you could go out to the islands every time that you see a home that you think you’ll want to buy. But, that could end up costing a lot of money and time.
Scheduling a week or so to look at several properties works for most prospective buyers. That way, you can talk with your realtor face to face, you can see every sq. ft. of the properties and walk through them, plus you can put in multiple offers if that is applicable.
Along with this, always be sure to get a full report from the surveyor (inspector) of the property, as well. You want to know absolutely everything that you’re looking at and have a full understanding of the things that are going to need to be fixed or changed before you can purchase the property.
Sometimes, those things can change the price of the property, or you can request that they are dealt with before you complete the transaction. This is where your realtor can help you out – they’ll make sure that you get the best deal and that everything is taken care of properly.
5. Island Property Can Be Just As Beautiful As Oceanfront Property
Many of these islands are not very large to start with, and you can typically see the ocean from most places on each island. So, even if you go a little further inland you’ll still get that ocean view that you are looking for, perhaps at a lower price than a beachfront villa.
Some of the larger islands, like Providenciales, won’t have the same real estate opportunities to purchase inland properties with an ocean view. But, you are still getting a paradise home that you can enjoy, and you aren’t typically much further than a few miles from the shore if you live in Provo.
We say this because, if you’re looking for something a little more affordable, then it’s likely that you’re going to see a difference in price the further inland you go. While it may only be 1% to 5% less, it’s still a price reduction, and you still get the amazing benefits of living in Turks and Caicos.
6. Make Your Move Fast
Like any destination in the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos real estate can be a hot commodity and, typically, sells very quickly. If you find an oceanfront property in South Caicos, or a luxury home in Turtle Tail or North Caicos and you want to bid on it, do it fast.
The sooner that you put in a bid on a Turks and Caicos luxury home or land for sale, the sooner you’ll know if it’s the paradise home of your dreams and there will be a lower risk of it getting swiped out from under your nose. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be able to look at more property types and see what’s out there.
7. Be Patient
After you put in your offer on a Turks and Caicos property, you’re going to have to wait. This is true whether you’re waiting on a penthouse in Sapodilla Bay or a beach house at Long Bay Beach. You may need to put in a few offers and sort out some details, but patience will pay off.
While you’re waiting, continue to search a bit. There are so many opportunities in Turks and Caicos real estate that you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of them. If you keep searching, you’ll be ready to make another offer if the first one falls through.
Shopping Starts Now!
With these tips in your back pocket, you’re prepared to start looking and get your dream home in a smooth and streamlined way. Whether you’re looking at Chalk Sound, Long Beach, Grand Turk, Leeward, or Parrot Cay, you’ve got plenty of choices and you’ll be happy with whatever home you decide to purchase!