Buying costs are moderate in the US Virgin Islands

June 07, 2013

How high are realtors' and lawyers' fees in Us. Virgin Is.? What about other property purchase costs?

Transaction Costs

Who Pays?
Recording Fees 0.10% - 0.12% buyer
Legal Fees 1.00% - 2.00%
1.00% - 2.00%
buyer
seller
Transfer Tax 2.00% - 3.50% seller
Real Estate Agent's Commission 6.00% - 7.00% seller
Costs paid by buyer 1.10% - 2.12%
Costs paid by seller 9.00% - 12.50%
ROUNDTRIP TRANSACTION COSTS 10.10% - 14.62%
See Footnotes
Source: Global Property Guide

How difficult is the property purchase process in US Virgin Is.?

There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership. Owning a property in the US Virgin Islands is "fee simple".

When the property has been decided on and negotiated, hire a lawyer to graft the purchase contract. This states the price, deposit, and terms of transaction. Upon signing, and earnest money deposit of US$1,000 is paid, which is then raised to 10% - 25% of the property value within ten days.

The rest of the process will be handled by the lawyer. A title search is recommended. It is also an option to hire a professional inspector to check if the property is in good condition.

Closing usually involves meeting with the seller when the final payment is made and the deed transferred to your name. Deeds are recorded and filed at the Recorder of Deeds. Ownership of property in the US Virgin Islands has the same guarantees and constitutional protections as any other state within the United States.




Footnotes to Transaction Costs Table


The round trip transaction costs include all costs of buying and then re-selling a property - lawyers' fees, notaries' fees, registration fees, taxes, agents' fees, etc.


Currency:
The US Virgin Islands uses the US Dollar (USD).

Recording Fees:
Recording fee for deeds and mortgages is US$15 for the first US$3,000 of value plus US$1 for each additional US$1,000 of value and US1 per page.

Legal Fees:
Legal fees are negotiable with each party paying for their own lawyers. Some lawyers charge on a per hour basis (around US$150 to US$250 per hour for sale conveyance), others as a percent of property value (around 1%) while others charge a fixed fee (US$1,000 to US$2,000).

Government Transfer Tax or Stamp Duty:
Transfer Tax is paid as evidence of conveyance of real property. It can be paid either buyer or seller, but is typically paid by the seller. The Transfer Tax is set according to the value of the property, and determined as follows:

TRANSFER TAX

PROPERTY VALUE, US$ TAX RATE
Up to US$350,000 2%
US$350,001 - US$1,000,000 2.5%
US$1,000,001 - US$5,000,000 3%
Over US$5,000,000 3.5%

Real Estate Agent's Fee:
Real estate agent commission is negotiable, typically between 6% and 7%.

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