Careers in Real Estate
If you're like most working Realtors from the U.S. & Canada or Estate Agents from the U.K., you've probably had the same fantasy as most: Wouldn't it be great to live and sell Real Estate somewhere on a tropical island?
That very dream has become a reality for many ex-pats from the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere. First you need a few facts: licensing requirements, residency requirements, immigration status, etc. And while we can't speak for all of the island countries of the Atlantic and Caribbean, this broad brush will give you an idea where to start.
While real estate remains an un-regulated industry in many islands, there is a growing influence of organized Real Estate Boards. The Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas now have formal licensing procedures for real estate sales agents and modern, computerized Multiple Listing Services (MLS). The need for organization and structure is even being recognized in countries like Nevis-St. Kitts and Jamaica.
Language is only an issue in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. English is widely spoken as the 'official language', and while Dutch and French are the official language on eight other islands, English is also understood and spoken.
Immigration is usually the major issue. In Bermuda for example, you need a certain 'status' to be eligible for a work permit. If you're not Bermudian by birth, then you have to marry a Bermudian or have lived there for 20 years. In the Cayman Islands, a broker might get a work permit for one foreigner on the work force. Other less developed Islands allow a number of work permits per company. Work permits are always influenced by governmental and/or economic circumstances and as a result it is best to speak to someone in that locale to determine current circumstances..
Whichever country catches your fancy, wherever your dream getaway is, you'll find a different set of customs and laws affecting real estate sales. So ask the right questions, and depending on how long you're willing to wait to satisfy immigration requirements you may soon find yourself doing what you do best.
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