Real Estate Matters
A significant number of U.S. citizens who have purchased or sold real estate in The Bahamas have reported tremendous difficulties in the process, some even losing their entire life savings. It is important that U.S. citizens work with a trusted attorney to make sure there is clear title to their property or proof that the sale was properly recorded or documented with the Real Property Tax Department. There are at least five law firms/real estate practices that offer title insurance, so please look into the availability of title insurance at the time of the purchase. Be wary of any firm/practice that tells you that title insurance is not available or that it is not needed in The Bahamas.
Even with title insurance, U.S. citizens still encounter large issues. U.S. citizens have reported losing large sums of money after “purchasing” property in The Bahamas, only to discover that the seller did not have clear and/or undisputable ownership of the property. Court proceedings related to rightful ownership can be costly and time consuming. There are civil disputes regarding fraudulent real estate deals that have gone for many years. When selling a property, similar issues arise. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Prospective purchasers are advised to check the veracity and status of the prospective seller’s ownership with a trusted attorney and/or title agency. A prospective purchaser may request that the Registrar General’s Office for Deeds and Documents verify the name under which a deed is registered. A prospective purchaser or seller may contact the Business License/Valuation Unit to check for any discrepancies in ownership of property, assessment for taxes, and when taxes were last paid. For additional information to ensure the proper handling of title deeds, refer to this website.