Photography courtesy of ReMax

Choosing to sell your property is a major decision and sets off a vast series of events and tasks to be completed. How do you know the steps you’re taking are the correct ones in the right order?

Armed with information, these tips from top BVI real estate expert Bonnie Dougall will help you get the best possible results from your property sale.

First Things First

Plenty of details go into successfully selling property in the BVI. Experienced brokers like Bonnie Dougall, Principal Broker with ReMax in Tortola, says that due diligence before selling will set you up for success.

“Make sure to get a current valuation of any land you plan to sell. This appraisal from a banker or qualified realtor well help you determine a competitive and realistic listing price,” said Dougall.

Employing a surveyor to determine the property’s boundary points is the first step. Any access points to your property must be properly recorded as such by the Land Registry. Many banks require a formal survey of the land that is reviewed and approved by all adjacent neighbours. This ensures no boundary disputes and helps the sale move along smoothly.

One must also consider encroachments. If the Land Registry knows of any encroachments, the land can’t be legally sold. Make sure no one has built anything on your property and that any buildings or other constructions of yours haven’t bled onto another property. This can include actual buildings or less obvious things like driveways.

Once all of the boundary details are taken care of, make sure any potential buyers can see the entire property. Creating a trail into any areas that are full of dense foliage will allow anyone to see as much as possible and know where property boundaries are. This also allows potential buyers to take in the view, which is a major selling point and can greatly affect the sale price and process.

After you’ve taken great care to do your due diligence, a real estate agent or broker can then offer helpful tips on making the property as presentable as possible. They can help determine whether the property could be used for commercial or residential purposes, as well as assessing any dwellings for repairs or staging needed to set the property up for sale. All these things can affect the selling price.

Sale Timing

Real estate sales can be a whirlwind of details and tasks, and it’s important to have a realistic timeline in mind.

Belonger to Belonger

This kind of transaction will move more quickly than others. After banking arrangements have been made and the appropriate legal documents are drawn, the process will take only two or three months. Cash sales can move even more quickly than that.

Non-Belonger to Belonger

After requesting permission to sell from the BVI Government and appropriate documents are ready, expect at least two or three months for the sale to be completed. A month or two longer is possible with banking arrangements. Non-Belonger sellers would do well to obtain a copy of their Non-Belonger seller’s license. The number of beds, baths, and pools allowed on their license should match their property. If it doesn’t match, the Government can fine the seller up to 40% of the selling price.

Non-Belonger to Non-Belonger

In this scenario, the due diligence process can take two to three months. Advertising must run for four weeks giving Belongers the opportunity to review the offer and a Non-Belonger seller’s license must be obtained. This license application must be submitted to the Government and typically takes two to three months for approval. Once approval is received, the Governor must sign off on the actual license, which will take another month or two. This type of sale may take up to nine months total.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Selling property is no small undertaking and making the right moves can be hard if you don’t know the correct process. An experienced broker or real estate agent can be a huge asset when wanting to get the most out of your property sale.

“A good broker will do all the due diligence and ensure the client knows what they are walking into. This relationship can keep deals from failing as lawyers often find issues, but as long as this due diligence is thorough in the beginning, the process smooths out,” said Dougall.

Brokers also have extensive relationships in their communities, as well as vast marketing opportunities at their fingertips. With these relationships and good exposure, a property has the best chance for selling at a good price. A broker or agent can serve as an independent negotiator and alleviate many issues before they become problems for a seller.

When listing a property online, professional pictures are a must. A drone photographer can be very useful and can expertly display the property from various overhead angles, as well as show off a great view.

An astute broker will have a good website to list the property, as well as a social media presence to garner more exposure for the listing.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a long-time BVI resident, now is a great time to be buying and selling in the British Virgin Islands.