A licensed real estate agency provides the professionalism required to realize the transaction under the best conditions for all parties. It is essential to rely on qualified professionals with expertise, know-how and ethics. They will assist you throughout the particulars of the transaction and act as an intermediary between both parties, offering a genuine guarantee of security.
The agency fees are a maximum of 6% of the sale price stipulated in the deed. The fees are included in the sale price and are paid by the seller to the agency according to the listing agreement signed for the purpose of selling the property. It is paid to the agency after the sale is completed and final deed is signed.
There are no legal restrictions related to ownership of St Barth property by foreign citizens. As a foreigner you can purchase a property on St Barth.
This answer to this question depends almost entirely on your personal objectives. If you want a property that you can use and/or rent out right away, then a finished villa is right for you. If you are not in a rush and you want something designed and constructed to your exact specifications, then building is a better option.
Most transactions for the purchase of properties on St Barth are completed without financing. That said, it is sometimes possible to secure a loan for a purchase, through either a local bank or one in Metropole France.
It is required, at the time of the drafting of the preliminary sales agreement, to carry out a series of technical inspections at the expense of the seller to certify the condition of the property (house or apartment) to the buyer. In St Barth, the mandatory inspections are the following:
- Electricity: Verifies if the home’s electrical system is compliant to standards or has defects. This report is valid for 3 years.
- Gas: Verifies if the interior gas installation is compliant to current standards or has defects. This report is valid for 3 years.
- Termites: Verifies if there is a presence of termites on the property. This report is valid for 3 months.
- Asbestos: Verifies if there are materials or products containing asbestos. This inspection is done for all properties constructed under a permit delivered prior to July 1, 1997.
- Septic: Verifies if the septic or purification system is compliant to current standards. This report is valid 3 years.
Unlike in mainland France, the regulations relating to the ”DPE“ – standards relating to energy efficiency — are not currently applicable on St Barth. Likewise, a structural inspection of the building is also not mandatory.
The agreements are prepared by a notaire. The notaire acts as the legal representative for real estate transactions in France and is responsible for the authenticity of the final deed of sale.
Once the offer is accepted, the first step is the preparation and execution of the preliminary sales agreement by a notaire. This document establishes the terms and conditions for the sale. The required information concerning the seller, the buyer, the property and the transaction are compiled in this contract, which typically takes between 30 and 45 days to finalize. At the signing of the preliminary contract, a deposit of 10% of the sale price is paid by the buyer to the notaire’s escrow account. The second step is the signing the final deed of sale. Approximately 3 months is required for the file to clear the Collectivity’s right of first refusal and to clear title verifications. Subsequently, a date is set for signature with the notaire, and the balance of the purchase price and notaire fees must be credited to the escrow account by that date. Once the deed is signed, you become the owner of the property.Therefore, the entire process usually takes between 4 to 6 months on average.
It is not necessary to be present for signing. You may give power of attorney to a person of your choosing to represent you and sign for you at the office of the notaire handling the transaction.
As a seller, you are responsible for paying the agency fees, the cost of inspections, the third-party expert for capital gains calculation, the capital gains tax to the Collectivity, and translation fees if applicable. In addition, depending on your fiscal residence and the ownership structure, there may be a social tax of 17.2% of the capital gains due to the French government. As the buyer, you can expect to pay the purchase price plus and an additional 6% to 6.5% of that purchase price to cover notaire fees and a one-time tax to the Collectivity, as well as translation fees, if applicable.