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Style At Home: Buying Vacation Property Abroad

August 17th, 2010

This month, is helping readers learn what to consider when buying vacation property abroad through a focus on Serenity Point.

Serenity Point Main Entrance

Read the full article: Style at Home, “Buying vacation property abroad” by Lauren McPhillips.

Buying vacation property abroad

Summers in Canada are associated with cottage life and living by the water — but what happens when summer turns to winter?

A minority of us plow cottage roads or winterize our summer houses, but many of us do a few jaunts to sunny destinations throughout the snowy months, and a growing number of Canadians are actually buying second properties abroad.

The planned community [at Serenity Point in Abaco, Bahamas] is nothing short of fabulous — buying a property here would make anyone feel like they are on an eternal vacation. So whether you’re buying the land for a winter escape or as a retirement property, Serenity Point is a place of relaxation and island-living — a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Create your dream home on the beach

Customization is a priority for home owners, and it should be no different for your vacation home.

One of the great things about the homes at Serenity Point is that they are custom designed to your liking. The developers have combined forces with Chancey Design Partnership to allow buyers to design their dream home on the beach. Whether you have a budget or want all the luxuries they have to offer, the designers create a space that works for your lifestyle.

Home Design by Walt Chancey

Equally important when considering buying vacation property abroad is access to amenities.

Serenity Point, a 40-acre gated community on Schooner Bay Beach, offers miles of pristine beach, tennis courts, a club house, a neighboring village full of restaurants and other services, plus all the amenities of home.

Style At Home writer Lauren McPhillips rightly recommends that readers research things like water treatment, internet access, air conditioning, and other needed amenities. Many islands have less than favorable services, but Serenity Point offers all the necessities and plenty of luxuries — personal chefs, bone fishing, pre-arrival shopping service, private golf lessons, and a maid/butler service to name a few.

McPhillips’ 5 Things to Consider When Buying Vacation Property Abroad include:

1. Chose Your Location.
Off the beaten path, with plenty of activities, Abaco is only a 50 minute flight from the coast of Florida, making it a quick escape.

2. Research amenities.
Know what home utilities are available, including internet access, but also consider your day-to-day needs. Abaco’s international airports, international banking services, hospitals, gas stations, markets, and schools make Abaco one of the top 20 global real estate markets.

3. Understand the culture.
For example, on Abaco there is an intense respect for natural resources, “a factor that the Serenity Point developers have taken into consideration through working around vegetation and natural sand dunes when building.”

4. Work within your budget.
Vacation property on Abaco ranges in value on the island from $200,000 USD to $1 million plus. As a luxury property, Serenity Point prices depend on the home site location: beach front, ridge, or hilltop.

5. Maintenance.
Be sure to take into account year-round maintenance care, including the costs of gardening, lawn care, housecleaning and damage control.

Read the full article at for all the details.

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Rare Beachfront Opportunities at Serenity Point

May 4th, 2010

Situated at water’s edge on Schooner Bay Beach, home owners on Beachfront Lots 1 to 7 will enjoy a view that is unique to a fortunate few.


Key Aspects of the Beachfront Lots

  • Lot sizes range from 21,041 to 47,391 square feet.
  • Beach frontage per lot ranges from 90 to 112 feet.
  • Residents have direct access to a 200-300 foot wide, 5 mile long beach.
  • Schooner Bay harbour village is a 5-minute stroll away.
  • A stroll to the north brings you to Serenity Point’s full-service Beach Club, then to miles of pristine, untouched beach.

The beach at Serenity Point remains relatively untouched by development, and its beauty and sand quality rival the best known beaches of the islands. The dunes, beachfront and associated vegetation are not only picturesque but form an ecosystem that is critical to the health of the shoreline and the nesting grounds of the island’s turtle population.

Serenity Point’s commitment to the sustainability of Schooner Bay Beach means that the community plan adheres to practices that will best protect the dune and waterline.

  • Lot owners may create a winding path to the beach.
  • Existing vegetation may be minimally trimmed to establish and maintain views.

Owners also benefit from the well-planned nature of this community. Each lot has a proposed driveway location, front and side setback, 2nd story building zone and beach setback.

Serenity Point’s pre-approved architectural and building professionals are available to create custom home designs. Or home site owners may select from pre-approved home plans in Serenity Point’s Builder’s Program.

Preview Lot 4

Exterior Rendering of Lot 4

Exterior Rendering of Lot 4


For more information on Serenity Point’s beachfront lots download the Full Siteplan (PDF) or visit the Interactive Siteplan.

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Serenity Point and Sustainable Development

April 14th, 2010

Azure Waters and White Sands of Serenity Point, Schooner Bay BeachAbaco is the fastest growing island in the Bahamas and, as such, real estate is a major industry. Many North Americans and Bahamians are drawn to the peaceful, laid-back existence, the absence of traffic jams and the environmentally conscious nature of the island’s residents.

Sustainable development is a major concern on the island, and one that Anco Lands took seriously when undertaking its real estate development. Serenity Point is devoted to preserving the breathtaking beauty of its location; ensuring that the ocean, air and land are natural extensions of the each home; and designing for luxury using best practices in sustainability.

Serenity Point’s architectural guidelines mandate design techniques that significantly reduce energy use and encourage water preservation, such as a 25-thousand gallon rainwater tank for each home site.

Responsible green choices for this low-impact, residential community include:

  • Solar-powered golf cart for each home site
  • Recyclable waste disposal
  • Rainwater holding tanks
  • Low-impact irrigation system
  • Solar-panel-powered clubhouse
  • Indigenous tropical landscaping

Solar-Powered Golf Carts
golf-cartFully charged by the sun, solar-powered carts can run up to three hours. And, of course, with all the sunny days on Abaco, you’ll never run out of juice. Solar-powered carts are carbon free, which means zero greenhouse gases emissions.

Recyclable Waste Disposal
Recycling is the norm for those who understand the effects of non-recyclable waste disposal on our environment. Concern about waste disposal practices for Serenity Point and its surroundings is an important issue to all island residents and local governments.

Rainwater Holding Tanks
Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting and storing rainwater for use as an alternative or supplemental water supply. It is considered the worldover as an energy and water saving environmental enhancement because it reduces reliance on municipal water supplies, reduces storm water runoff, and is great for gardens as it is low in minerals. Serenity Point is building three rain water holding tanks for the community that will collectively hold up to one hundred thousand gallons of water.

Low-impact Irrigation System
Low-impact irrigation systems use smart controllers that either monitor the conditions of the property (such as soil moisture) and set irrigation accordingly, or base the irrigation schedule on pre-set timing or, in more sophisticated models, on weather data received from satellite, radio or internet feeds. In all cases, the system prevents over watering and water waste.

Solar-panel-powered Clubhouse
Solar energy reduces local air pollution, offsets greenhouse gases, and conserves energy. In short, we couldn’t think of a reason not to power the clubhouse with solar power.

Indigenous Tropical Landscaping
Serenity PointOnce established, indigenous grasses and flowers function much like a natural system – they sustain themselves because they are have already adapted to local environmental conditions. In addition, if you let the natural process of indigenous growth happen, the native plants balance the eco-system and control pests, which eliminates the need for pesticide and therefore maintains the water quality at the property by preventing pollutants from entering the water supply.

These are just six of the many steps Serenity Point has taken to protect the environment and to ensure a sustainable development site.

Attention to the environment amongst developers in Abaco is a key differentiating factor for the island, and one that has received attention from residents, visitors and even the prime minister.

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Opening Preparations Underway

March 5th, 2010

Serenity Point’s official opening is March 6 and preparations are underway for the grand event. With our infrastructure virtually completed and beautification well under way, we’re looking forward to meeting our guests this Saturday and taking them on a tour of the 24 home sites.


What to Expect at the Opening

  • Our beach—Schooner Bay Beach—will be decked out with umbrellas, beach chairs, lounge chairs, wooden patio tables and chairs for seating for the main party.
  • Along with the cocktail bar, we will be serving conch salad and coconut drinks.
  • One of Abaco’s popular bands will be playing, and we have some special appearances planned to provide extra Abaconian flavor.
  • Tours of the properties are planned, and guests will be able to see the sights from several viewing towers.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

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Investment Incentives for Canadians Buying Luxury Property in the Bahamas

January 28th, 2010

Aerial view of Serenity Point, Schooner Bay Beach

Investing in high-end real estate has become much easier for those Canadians who have cash saved and are interested in taking advantage of the investment incentives offered in the Bahamas.

While there are many luxury properties around the world, the Bahamas is a sound and durable base. The country continues to retain its attractiveness for Canadians, not just in its natural beauty, but in terms of tax planning, in particular the use of testamentary trusts and certain inter vivos trusts that can yield rewards.

Beyond simply owning a second home in the Bahamas, many Canadians choose to conduct some of their business in the Bahamas.

The Bahamas Investor notes:

There are not many tax havens that offer benefits comparable to The Bahamas in terms of flexibility of corporate structure, top-quality accounting and legal services, readily available first-class financial and banking services, proximity to major world markets and good docking and harbour facilities.

Given the current economic state, for Canadians in a position to make an investment in properties, certain regions in the Bahamas offer exceptional value and strong appreciation prospects, with financial analysts anticipating a significant return on investment as the market continues to shift. We recommend seeking the professional advice of experts in tax planning, however, there are several articles that provide an overview of the investment opportunities offered to those buying property in the Bahamas.

A portion of the 2010 edition of the Bahamas Handbook is available online here and covers:

  • Residence: Taxation for individual residents in Canada, non-residents of Canada and corporations.
  • Canadian withholding tax: The basic Canadian withholding tax is 25% and applies to investment income, certain pensions, dividends, non-arm’s-length interest, rent, certain types of royalties, income from a trust and certain other forms of revenue paid by Canadian residents to persons abroad.
  • Special withholding tax exemption: Interest paid by a Canadian resident corporation to arm’s-length non-resident creditors is exempt from Canadian withholding tax.
  • Thin capitalization provisions
  • Bahamas benefits: The modernization and liberalization of the Bahamian company and trust law and the introduction of foundation law now provide a flexibility previously unavailable in The Bahamas. A number of Canadians looking to the Bahamas to conduct some of their business become non-residents of Canada and set up their homes in the Bahamas to suffer no income tax in Canada, except on income from employment in Canada, the profits from business done there, gains from taxable Canadian property or the 25% withholding tax on certain kinds of investment income derived from Canada.
  • Capital gains tax on non-residents
  • Becoming a non-resident of Canada: “Once a former Canadian resident has become a non-resident, he may return to Canada each year for temporary visits without being taxed … Thus, because The Bahamas imposes no income tax of any kind, a non-resident Canadian citizen may reside there with the advantage of paying to Canada only 25% on certain kinds of investment income derived from Canadian sources and no withholding tax on certain kinds of interest.”
  • The exit tax
  • Succession duty and estate tax advantages
  • Corporate uses of The Bahamas by Canadians
  • Foreign affiliates
  • Non-resident trusts: “A non-resident of Canada who has not resided in Canada during the 60-month period preceding the end of a taxation year can establish, by will or gift, a Bahamian resident discretionary trust (NRT) for the benefit of Canadian resident family members, which will escape the application of the income attribution rules governing offshore discretionary trusts … Expert professional advice in this area is essential, but use of Bahamian trusts can pay substantial dividends.”
  • Current attitudes towards tax planning

Read the full article.

Investing in the Bahamas will mean different things to different people so we are unable to offer detailed advice for each scenario, nor are we a substitute for experts in tax planning.

While there are many luxury properties in the Bahamas, Abaco, the fastest growing out island, offers serenity, easy access to international destinations, plenty of amenities, and a glorious lifestyle.

For information on Serenity Point:

Gustaf Hernqvist
Senior Sales and Marketing Director – Anco Lands. Ltd.
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
ABACO – Marsh Harbour Office
East Bay Street
Office: 242-677-5333
Office 2: 786-270-2287
Cell: 242-376-6806

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Bahamas Guide: Serenity Point on Great Abaco, The Bahamas

November 16th, 2009

Serenity Point on Great Abaco, The Bahamas
November 2009

The Abacos: Known as the “sailing capital of the world”, the Abacos have become a preferred location for those seeking sea, sun and sand. The Island of Great Abaco is the third largest island in The Bahamas and is home to the charming city of Marsh Harbour and the breathtaking Schooner Bay Beach, where Serenity Point’s residences will be located.

Location: The Abacos are located only 180 miles from Florida. Easy access to Serenity Point will be facilitated by daily direct flights to and from the U.S. into The Abacos at two international airports, or, for those traveling by private plane, a modern FBO airport.

Read the full article.

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Bahamas Post: New private community at the heart of Bahamian paradise: Serenity Point on Great Abaco Bahamas

October 11th, 2009

New private community at the heart of Bahamian paradise: Serenity Point on Great Abaco Bahamas
October 11, 2009

Emphasizing the importance of eco-conservation, the community will feature low-maintenance landscaping, rainwater holding tanks and renewable energy sources.

With Serenity Point’s Builder’s Program, homeowners have the option to engage the services of the internationally renowned architects and interior designers at Chancey Design Partnership to create their ideal Bahamian home. The team of professionals will provide owners with a choice of complete schematic designs that perfectly align with the ambiance of the community. Owners can tailor these designs to their needs, or they can start with a fresh palette to design their dream home. Homeowners may also select their own team for home building according to the community’s building guidelines.

Marsh Harbour, a few minutes from Serenity Point, is the third largest town in The Bahamas, and has all the subtle charm of a true Bahamian village. Located in the island of Great Abaco, this city is a bustling marina, offering full services for yachts and sailing vessels of every description. Marsh Harbour offers delicate fine dining, excellent shopping, medical facilities, and countless departure points for sea excursions, to the various cays lining the coastline, replete with enchanting colonial towns, each with their own hidden charms.

For a unique island lifestyle experience, Serenity Point is also be conveniently located adjacent to Schooner Bay Village, an exciting new seaside village, currently under development, which will feature a world-class harbour, restaurants, inns, extensive storefront retail and shops, including a farmer’s market, with local produce and fresh seafood. For Serenity Point residents, this charming community is just a short walk down the beach or a short roll down the road by golf cart.

Read the full article.

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