Buying a home or making a land investment, especially one dedicated to becoming your home away from home, is packed with moments of total chaos – from finding the best Real Estate Agent who understands your needs,to ticking off all the major needs. Over the years, some hard hitting Dos and Don’ts have become relevant. See the top ones to watch out for when considering taking this journey.
Do choose a great Real Estate Agent
You want a home in the islands and have been there once, twice, maybe a few times. Knowing the lay of the land is great but having an expert who is familiar with the area will make the process a lot more seamless. Do your research and engage an Agent who is great at what he or she does.
Do speak to a bank or lender
Many times the purchaser thinks that they have to choose the property first then seek financial advice on funding after. On the contrary, the prospective buyer should meet a Loans Officer for advice on what his budget is, then commence searching within that range. This allows for a more comfortable search and is highly recommended.
Do make your expectations known
Ensure you share your full expectations when conducting site visits and keep notes. Remaining silent while viewing a home which doesn’t satisfy half your needs is a timewaster. Remember, a picture tells a thousand words, but a real life
visit can show the cracks and dents once you take a closer look.
Do watch the neighbourhood
Be neighbourly. Find out about the neighbours. Are they constantly throwing parties or do they prefer the tranquil
nights? Asking around about the neighbourhood and doing your own private community checks will help you decide if you fit in or want to fit in to the lifestyle in that area. Rent a place in the area you like, to get a personal feel for the place before buying.
Do invest in a professional inspection
You wouldn’t buy a car without going for a test drive, then why would you buy a house and not get it checked out? In some cases, the consumer buying decision may be based more on the physical appearance of the home and not what’s beneath the surface. A professional inspection will check for faults or defects and it is advisable to get a valuation done by a Quantity Surveyor. This will save you money and time.
Do get all your needs satisfied
Have a checklist of what your new house should have and highlight what the deal breakers are. Do you intend on having
overnight guests? Then maybe a one or two bedrooms may not work for you. Like swimming but the beaches get too
crowded? Get a property with a private pool and don’t compromise on what you really want, to only have buyer’s remorse after. It’s your money, get what you want.
Do treat investing like a business
Buying property is always a huge investment. Maybe your initial reason for making the purchase was to set up roots
elsewhere, but nonetheless, this is really a business investment. When shopping around, be cautious of the area you make your purchase in and ask about resale value down the line. Villas rent well in the short term and require good housekeeping and gardening maintenance which appeals to large families or multiple couples. Ultimately, you can be in your villa and rent a portion too! Remember, hire a Property Manager to cater to your property needs while you are
Do take advantage of condos
Especially for a home away from home, the added security features provided in the gated community with manned security personnel is a great option. Condos offer the best rental opportunities, cater to a wider consumer base: executives, couples or families, diplomats, etc and most in Saint Lucia are located in tourist-based communities like Rodney Bay, close to all amenities, beaches and nightlife.
Don’t choose the first option. Shop around
Eager to get on the property ladder? It is a buyer’s market indeed. Don’t get sucked in by the hype, shop around
and compare offers. Quick sales persons may try to get you to make an offer which is supposedly time bound. Although this is sometimes the truth,never rush into a deal you are not absolutely sure about. View more than one option and be settled in your final decision, not anxious. Additionally, since condos are great long- and short term rentals, earn while you are away.
Don’t shop without a plan
Seems like a common sense rule but sometimes, the best laid out plans are not utilized when shopping for property. Your plan should include a full budget – how much are you willing to spend? Is it realistic based on your wish list?

Posted By

Managing Director of Belle Vue Properties Ltd, Heather Floissac, breaks from the family tradition, being the legal profession, to become a real estate entrepreneur. Heather Floissac, with an MBA from UWI, brings a dynamic personality, ten years of real estate sales experience and a comprehensive knowledge of St. Lucia together to the benefit of each client. She has served as the President of the Realtors' Association (St. Lucia) Inc. since its formation in 2009, and was recently re-elected for a second two-year term.
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