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What are the steps involved in buying a villa in St Barth?

Posted by Guillaume on Oct 25, 2022 10:25:57 AM

In Villas, Real estate, Luxury

Are you planning to buy a villa in the little corner of paradise that is St Barth? What a great idea! For such an important purchase, you need to be well informed. We are here to prepare and guide you through your purchase. Here are some tips for buying your villa in St Barth, step by step.


1. What’s your budget?

Define your budget

First of all, you need to define the amount you are willing to pay for your villa. To do this, check out the average prices of villas on the island, as well as the price per square meter of land. This will allow you to be sure that your budget is in line with the real estate market prices in St Barth. Note that prices may vary depending on the location, facilities and amenities offered by the villa.

For example, a villa located on the seafront will have a higher price than a house located inland. Similarly, a villa with a sea view will be more expensive than one without a view. So, take the time to find out all you can about it so that you don't get any nasty surprises when you buy.

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Define your criteria

Once you have defined your budget, the next step is to determine the essential requirements for your dream villa at the time of purchase. Not all people have the same expectations and are looking for the same amenities. Some people want a swimming pool, while others prefer a house with a spacious garden. Others are interested in the number of rooms in the house, the size of the bedrooms, the living areas, the size of the land or the number of bathrooms in the villa.

It is therefore important to take the time to think carefully about what you are looking for to ensure that you buy the right villa for your needs and expectations.

2. Find out more about the real estate market in St Barth

To buy a villa in St Barth, start by researching the local property market. This means doing your research on the internet, in the press and through your network of contacts. 

It is also important to consult a reputable real estate agency such as Corcoran St Barth. We have years of experience helping our clients find their dream home on the island. 

3. Contacting an agent, visiting properties (in person or virtually)

Once you have defined your budget and criteria, and researched the local market, then it's time to start looking for your future home on the paradisiacal island of St Barth!

For this, we strongly recommend that you seek the help of a professional who is experienced in finding and buying property in St Barth. They have an in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market and will be able to find the ideal villa that matches your budget and your criteria in a short time. In addition, they will also be able to accompany you throughout the property transaction to ensure that everything goes smoothly and surprise-free!

If you are considering buying a property on St Barth, now is the perfect time to do so. The island's economy is strong and thriving, and there is significant demand for holiday rentals, as well as primary residences. For more information on the St Barth property market, or to start looking for your own piece of paradise, contact Corcoran St Barth today. We are available in person at our office, or by video call.

Once we have selected properties for you, we can also conduct virtual visits before you come to view them on site.

4. Assess the costs and then make an offer to buy

When buying a property, it is important to take into account all the expenses related to the purchase so as to not be surprised after signing the deed of sale.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of these costs:

  • Notary fees (depending on the property price)
  • Land registration fees 
  • Property tax 
  • Building work (renovation, decoration...) 
  • Co-ownership fees (if it’s a flat)

Some of these costs (notary, land registration) are fixed, while others (works, renovations) are variable and depend on your needs and preferences. It is therefore essential to take them into account when making your offer.

Who can help us estimate these costs?

  • For notary and land registration fees, allow for about 6.5% of the price of the property.
  • For the building works, we advise calling a number of different professionals such as builders or decorators to obtain quotes.
  • For the co-ownership fees, if you are buying a flat, your agent can tell you.
  • And for property tax, in St Barth there is no property tax!

When it comes to buying a luxury villa in St Barth, there are a number of different financing options to consider

5. Search for the best solution for financing

The first option is to use your own funds, or equity. This can be an excellent option if you have the financial resources at hand as it will also act as a negotiating point with the seller. A transaction without a loan condition precedent will always be preferred to an equivalent offer with a loan, which is bound to be more uncertain. 

You can also take out a bank loan with an institution on the island or abroad. 

If you aren't a French citizen, a bank loan is still possible, but banks will often ask you for a larger contribution and often prefer you to have interest in St Barth. In this case, setting up a local company to own the property is often the best option. Your Corcoran agent will be able to advise you on these matters or put you in touch with a chartered accountant who is familiar with these arrangements.

Whatever the case may be, make sure to be prepared. The current market in St Barth is a seller's market, properties are scarce and you will need to be able to make an appealing offer quickly once you have found the property that suits you. 

6. The purchasing process

Have you found the villa of your dreams? That's fine, your Corcoran agent will walk you through the process of making an offer to purchase

This first document is usually one page long and contains the important points contained in your offer: the price and any contingencies. If the seller accepts your offer to purchase, they will countersign it and your agent will send the file to the notary, who will draw up the preliminary sales agreement (or the promise to sell).

The notary's role is neutral. They arbitrate the sale between seller and buyer, in an impartial manner. In France (and therefore in St Barth) it is very rare to be accompanied by a lawyer during a traditional property transaction. The notary needs about a month from the receipt of the offer to purchase to prepare the preliminary sales agreement.

The preliminary sales agreement is a binding document between buyer and seller. If one of the parties withdraws from the sale, the other party may request the forced execution of the sale or compensation to be paid.
However, it is possible to include some contingencies: obtaining a loan, a planning certificate, a building permit, etc.

On the signing of the preliminary sales agreement, the buyer leaves a deposit with the notary (generally 10%), which is refundable if one or more of the preconditions are not met. 

In the case of the purchase of a property for residential use by a non-professional buyer, the latter has a withdrawal period of 10 days from the signing of the preliminary sales agreement. 

It is important to note that there is no property tax in St Barth, but buyers can expect to pay around 6.5% of the purchase price in 'notary fees'.

7. The purchase

The purchase is confirmed by the signing of the deed of sale at the notary's office and the payment of the price of the property. It generally takes between 2 and 3 months from the signing of the agreement to the signing of the deed. The transfer of ownership is then carried out by the notary.

You have now completed all the steps to make a purchase in St Barth. To help you in your search until your purchase, Corcoran St Barth is at your disposal.

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