We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Costs of home ownership

West Olive, Michigan
Level Contributor
75 posts
22 reviews
Save Topic
Costs of home ownership

Hello All,

Like many others, we have fallen head over heels for Eleuthera. Some might say obsessed. Struggling with matters of the heart vs. head, I'm wondering if anyone can provide some data? If we decide to purchase, it would ideally be in five years, a modest house (700-900 sq ft, simple details) and hopefully with a view of water. I understand everything is on a case-by-case basis, but a general idea for the following would be helpful:

1. From what I've read, plan on about 18% above the purchase price of a home to cover taxes, surveys, legal fees, etc. True?

2. Is it possible to get round-about estimates for insurance, caretaker fees, electric, etc?

3. Generally, what do you pay in government fees such as property taxes, non-resident fees, etc?

4. What are other hidden costs?

Thank you for any help. I love this forum, both in pure entertainment, and occasionally for legit information.

Windsor, Canada
Destination Expert
for Eleuthera
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Costs of home ownership

Taxes and duties have changed since the VAT was introduced, so this is a good source:

bahamasrealestateassociation.com/page.php…

For a modest home that is occupied about 200 days a year through a combination of renters and owner: $3k yearly house insurance; $250 a year car insurance on a beater; caretaker only gets $100 month but this just pays for a pair of eyes (also gets tips from renters, rents cars to renters, cleaning fees etc.); $100 a month for a little gardening; electricity about $1500 a year. Water, phone, internet, TV would be similar to back home. Property tax is zero up to $250k value; can't recall the first rate above that. There are no non-resident fees, and most expats don't bother with a home owners card.

Hidden costs are mostly maintenance, repairs and replacing items, and these really add up.

Enjoy the adventure.

Eleuthera
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Costs of home ownership

When we bought our home many years ago, an expat friend with years of experience and a meticulous approach to management advised that his carrying costs — insurance, taxes, utilities, maintenance, casual labor, repairs, one modest vehicle, etc. — averaged 4% per annum of the purchase price. So if you bought a home for $500K, figure $20K per annum, minimum, to keep it up and running. That’s exclusive of travel, food, etc.

We sold our home this summer, after 16 terrific years, and I can say that my friend’s advice, over time, proved pretty accurate. Some years less, some years more, but it was a pretty darned good estimate. It’s also affected by how much time you spend there. My expat friend was a full-timer; we averaged 8-9 months a year on the island.

Best of luck ...

Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
179 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Costs of home ownership

...a little expansion on WindsorDave's real property tax advice. If the property is valued up to $250k and is registered as OWNER-OCCUPIED, then it is exempt. It is my understanding that if you rent the property, it does not qualify as OWNER-OCCUPIED and would therefore be subject to tax. In that case, the tax rate is 3/4 of 1% of assessed value (up to an assessed value of $250k).

Windsor, Canada
Destination Expert
for Eleuthera
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Costs of home ownership

Hi Cookie, you make a good point about the exemption on the first $250k. In 2009 the government modified the Hotels Act to include a new definition of "owner-occupied rental homes (OOHR)". From my reading "The first $250,000 of value is exempt (residential and licensed rental homes)". So I assume that you were supposed to pay property tax on the first $250k of your owner-occupied rental home if you failed to license it and pay hotel tax. Of course they only started licensing rental homes when they wanted to collect hotel tax on them, and then they stopped collecting hotel tax on rental homes when they brought the VAT in (even though they don't collect VAT on gross income less than $100,000 which excludes most rental homes), so are they still licensed rental homes? My head hurts trying to figure this out, but now that expats need a property tax receipt to register a car it does need to be dealt with.

Back to the original posters question about other hidden costs: lots of rum consumed while trying to interpret regulations, taxes, and duties.

tourismtoday.com/sites/default/files/oorh_ba…

Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
179 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Costs of home ownership

Ho ho! WD, you managed to come up with a term I haven't previously encountered - OORH - in my very frustrating research. Residential? Commercial? Owner-occupied? Does renting it make it commercial? Does it matter if you are a Bahamian citizen or not? And I LOL'd at your mention of the Road Traffic licensing requirement - the VERY thing that prompted us to get it all sorted out. (Somehow our lawyer seemed to drop the ball on that at the time of closing.) It took 4 months to get our little place properly registered with Inland Revenue, so we could have that Tax Certificate showing ZERO due - all to get a car registered for the road.

On the positive side, rum is cheap. =)

Windsor, Canada
Destination Expert
for Eleuthera
Level Contributor
2,024 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Costs of home ownership

Owner-occupied rental home is a wonderful term isn't it Cookie. Unfortunately they don't seem willing to specify how much you can rent your OORH before it is no longer owner occupied and is just a rental.

Newton...
Destination Expert
for Newton
Level Contributor
3,576 posts
TripAdvisor Staff  
Save Reply
7. Re: Costs of home ownership

Hi Elizabees,

Welcome to the Tripadvisor Forums. We have closed this topic, as it does not meet our Guidelines, but we wish you luck in considering your move.

Some common relocation topics or questions that are not permitted under our guidelines:

-Real Estate and similar questions

-Long term relocation

-purchase or sale of real estate

-best neighborhoods for permanent residence

-cost of living, cost of utilities and services

For our guidelines for posting in the forums, please visit this page: https:/…200613647-Forum-Guidelines

If you have a question for TripAdvisor Staff about our forums moderation policies or if there is an issue with your account, contact us via the Help Center: https://www.tripadvisor.com/GeneralSupport

Thanks again for your participation; We look forward to your future contributions!

Kind Regards,

Jeanine

TripAdvisor Community Moderator