Buying your Home in the Caribbean

Scotiabank’s US Dollar mortgages make it convenient for non-residents

Who among us hasn’t dreamed of a vacation home in an exotic location?  Visitors to the Caribbean are attracted by more than a balmy climate and crystal waters – they find a stable political structure, friendly citizens and a relaxing lifestyle.  Many return year after year and eventually commit to owning a home in the region. 

A wide variety of home ownership options exist: single family detached or semi-detached, townhouse or condominium.   The homebuyer can choose from new communities or more established neighbourhoods closer to the main towns, dramatic rural views or beachfront property. 

The prospect of purchasing property in a foreign country may seem daunting but a good financial partner can help guide the homebuyer through the process.  Scotiabank is one of Canada’s most successful banks with an unparalleled international presence.  The bank has been in the Caribbean since 1889, and its stability and reputation make Scotiabank a financial provider of choice for visitors from Canada, the US and UK, looking to purchase a vacation home.  

The International Vacation Home Buyers Programme at Scotiabank facilitates overseas buyers with a US Dollar mortgage.   “It is designed for US, UK or Canadian residents purchasing a second home for personal use,” says Carla Boyce, International Private Banker, Scotia Private Client Group.  “Other nationals are considered on an exception basis.”  The Scotia Private Client Group typically handles mortgages over US$500,000 for applicants who meet the Group’s criteria whereas mortgages under US$500,000 are handled by Carolann Walkes, Scotiabank’s Mortgage Specialist. 

Buyers can borrow up to 70% of the property value, and amortization is up to a maximum of 25 years.   Attractive three year and five year fixed rates are available.

“Some buyers prefer to purchase land and build the home of their dreams,” notes Carolann Walkes.  A residential lot purchase can be financed up to US$750,000, up to 50% of property value and amortized up to 15 years.  Scotiabank offers financing on vacation home construction up to 70% of the property value, up to US$1.5 million and 65% over US$1.5 million up to US$2.5 million.  Costs may include land, architect and contractor fees, permits, land development and landscaping, materials and construction, utility connection and related fees.  The purchaser pays monthly interest payments only during the construction.  Once completed, the loan is converted into a residential mortgage.

Mortgage properties must be located in a master plan project, developed by established real estate developers known to the Bank.  Building specs must meet hurricane grade standards.

Criteria for the International Vacation Home Programme include that the home must be a secondary home or vacation residence for personal use, an appraisal report will be acquired by Scotiabank, and a Credit Bureau report is required.  The applicant must have verified income supported by tax returns and only personal income will be considered.

It is reassuring for visitors that the banking sector in the Caribbean is reputable and there are strong institutions like Scotiabank, which can offer guidance and attractive terms for the second homebuyer.  So if you’re sitting on the beach wishing you could spend more time on your favourite island, why not consider an island home?  “Thousands of visitors own their homes in the Caribbean, often returning several times a year with family and friends to enjoy a lifestyle that really is very special,” says Carla Boyce. 

 

BIO

Carla Boyce has a wealth of banking experience having worked in Retail, Corporate and Premium Banking for nine years in Barbados before joining the Scotia Private Client Group team in March 2013. Prior to relocating to Barbados, she worked in the United States after finishing her MBA with specializations in Finance and Management.
Carla can be reached by telephone at 246-417-2024 or by email at carla.boyce@scotiabank.com

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