Blog :: 2020

Going Green: The Growth of Solar Energy in The Bahamas

 

As a country with an abundance of sunshine, The Bahamas is slowly but surely taking advantage of all the benefits that come along with solar energy in terms of improving the country and livelihood of its citizens. In fact, The Bahamas has about 340 sunny days a year! As people begin to look for more sustainable ways to reduce energy consumption and save on costs, more individuals and companies in The Bahamas are opening their eyes to all the possibilities solar energy can bring. 

 

Cutting Down the Electric Bill 

The residential real estate industry has seen an uptick in solar-powered homes throughout the years, with some homes even going completely solar, like this home on Paradise Island which was recently sold by Bahamas Realty agent, Andrea Brownrigg which is completely powered by its own solar grid.

Luxury Home in The Bahamas with Solar Panels | Bahamas Realty

 

Homeowners have recognized the positive impact solar energy can have on their cost savings in the long run. For many homes, the electricity bill makes up a large portion of the expenses so when the energy costs are cut, money will be saved. In addition, the rising energy costs make the transition to solar energy a no brainer for so many homeowners. Even a smaller solar panel for hot water can produce significant savings for the average household. 
 

Commercial Properties Benefit from Financial Savings and More 

Commercial companies like NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial have started making the transition to more sustainable energy solutions by changing out light bulbs to LED, replacing HVAC units with energy-efficient ones, and having programmable thermostats in offices. Although these changes may seem small compared to installing full-blown solar panels, these efforts have led to 25% average savings in energy across the buildings that NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial manages. 

“Many office buildings in The Bahamas are older, and most are muti-tenant buildings. Achieving energy efficiency in these spaces has its challenges. We work with landlords and tenants to help them make practical changes to reduce energy waste which benefit both parties in the long run,” said Donald Martinborough, CEO of Bahamas Realty and NAI Bahamas Realty Commercial 

Not only are there direct financial benefits of a green, efficient space, but embracing green energy ideals can have positive impacts on a company’s brand and community relations. The added benefit? A strong relationship between tenant and landlord and a more attractive commercial space for future tenants. 

“When renovating or building out a new space, tenants and landlords have a great opportunity to collaborate and go green. Relatively small changes in the design and build-out of the space can have a big impact on its energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Martinborough. 

Bayside Bahamas Commercial Building | Bahamas Realty


The Bahamas Goes Green 

The solarized project forged between the government of The Bahamas and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an agreement signed in 2017 to “accelerate sustainable development” in The Bahamas. This $4 million dollar aims to save The Bahamas $350 thousand dollars and annually offset over 800 tons of carbon emissions by displacing thousands of litres of diesel fuel with a grid-tied solar system. 

Similar to the agreement signed in 2017, Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) launched the Family Island Solar Program with support from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and Carbon War Room’s Islands Energy Program. This program proposes to develop “solar-fueled power systems” on the Family Islands of Andros, Bimini, Eleuthera, and Inagua with hopes of meeting 30% of the electricity by the year 2030. 
 

What changes are you making to move toward a greener, more energy-efficient environment? 

Contact us to learn more about our commercial property management solutions, and how we can offer guidance in a green build-out. 


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Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS) - Live and work or study from The Bahamas!

Find your rhythm and call The Bahamas home for a year!

The Bahamas government has introduced the Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay (BEATS), a one-year extended-stay visa that offers the opportunity to live and work remotely or study from any of our beautiful islands. 

The Perfect Work-Life Balance

Make your work-from-home experience one of tropical breezes and sunshine soaked days. There has never been a better time for a change of scenery. The Bahamas offers a relaxed and fun beach-going lifestyle, with modern infrastructure, amenities, and services. With many direct flights from the East Coast and one-to-one US & Bahamian currency, doing business is as simple as opening up your laptop. 

Go Beyond the Classroom

With the BEATS program, students are invited to discover life on a new island, while having full access to the University of The Bahamas' counsellors, online library databases, and facilities. With campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and an open learning platform, the University of The Bahamas (UB) extends your learning environment to the entire island chain of The Bahamas.

Learn more and apply for your BEATS visa: www.bahamasbeats.com 

 

There is a beach view to suit every budget. Contact us today to start exploring. 

Positives in The Bahamas retail space. Is this the push we needed?

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a dramatic shift in how in-person business is conducted in The Bahamas. How retail businesses have adapted, or in some cases, faltered, during the crisis may hold valuable lessons for the future of commerce in the country. If these lessons learned can be applied to our commercial spaces, could this be the push needed to revitalize downtown Nassau?

The Bahamas’ lack of urban planning and infrastructure is not well suited to home deliveries, yet we have seen many examples of innovative Bahamians offering grocery delivery across New Providence. Most Bahamian businesses have used a messenger service for years to deliver documents to other businesses, but imagine the industry’s growth and effectiveness if we invest in urban planning for our Capital city. 

Due to a lack of available land, and the age of most commercial buildings, drive through operations are a scarcity around town, yet over the past few months we witnessed curbside delivery of everything from paint to lawn mowers. Makeshift drive through pharmacies were established in parking lots with nothing more than construction cones.

Will we see a push to remodel or replace our commercial buildings to allow for the new norm?

The tourist retail market has become a ghost town, most stores shuttering their windows and doors painfully awaiting the day when the cruise ship industry returns. Could this be the ideal time for the downtown revitalization project to take hold, to replace the t-shirt shops and jewelry stores with unique cafes, boutiques, green spaces, music venues and a beautiful boardwalk?

Cities across North America have transformed their deserted downtowns into tourist attractions, why can't we?

The idea isn't a new one, but change has been slow to come. The Downtown Nassau Partnership , a public and private sector joint venture, was established in 2009 to assist with overseeing the restructuring of urban space on New Providence. This includes a social and economic transformation of the city of Nassau. However, few of the groups plans have come to fruition due to lack of funding and other roadblocks, including a lack of support from business owners in the more dilapidated downtown areas. 

A step in the right direction.

Recently, demolition began at the Prince George Wharf as the transformation of the new Nassau Cruise Port kicked off. The nearly $300M project is being spearheaded by Global Ports Holding, the world’s largest cruise port operator, and aims to completely revamp the area into a world-class port destination complete with open spaces, a museum and amphitheatre. The ambitious project aims to lead in the much anticipated, and long overdue redevelopment of Nassau's struggling downtown core.

Will this pandemic be the push The Bahamas needs to move forward?

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Welcome Back - No More Travel Quarantine: Everything You Need to Know About The Nov. 1 Changes

The Bahamas is preparing to welcome visitors back ahead of the holiday season with new travel and testing protocols starting November 1st, 2020. Here's everything you need to know about the changes:

No More 14-day Quarantine

Up until October 31st, 2020, all individuals arriving in The Bahamas from abroad were required to quarantine for a period of 14-days. Visitors were required to "Vacation in Place" during this 14-day quarantine period, remaining on the grounds of the hotel or vacation rental they were staying at. As of November 1st, this restriction will be lifted.

New Protocols

  1. The new protocols will require visitors, returning citizens, and residents to obtain an RT-PCR test no more than FIVE DAYS prior to arrival.
     
  2. All travelers will then be required to apply for an electronic Bahamas Health Travel Visa at a cost depending on the length of stay. Note: Health visa processing takes up to 72 hours, so be sure to leave yourself enough time.
     
  3. For the duration of the visit, complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.
     
  4. After five days, all individuals who entered The Bahamas and are staying longer than four nights and five days will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test. The cost of the rapid antigen test will be included in the Travel Visa.
     
  5. In addition, beginning November 14th, 2020, all visitors will be required to opt-in to mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for their Health Travel Visa. The insurance will cover travelers for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas.

 

Visitors and residents are required to follow all Covid-19 requirements including wearing a mask and social distancing in public places.

For details about the new travel protocols and exemptions click here. To apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa, visit travel.gov.bs. As protocols are subject to change, and restrictions may vary from island to island, we recommend travelers check the status of their island destination before traveling by visiting Bahamas.com/travelupdates

We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful Bahamas Islands. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate. You might just find it's the perfect place to call home.

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Celebrating Halloween During A Pandemic

Halloween looks a bit different this year, especially here in The Bahamas where we currently have evening curfews and social distancing remains a priority, but that should not take away from the joy of dressing up and celebrating with family and friends. Here are some ideas that will allow for Halloween enjoyment while still ensuring that safety measures are taken.

Mask decorating- With masks being an integral part of keeping safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, people should still have the opportunity to have their fun. All you need are some disposable masks and colorful markers to get the fun started. With the markers, you can draw anything from beards and moustaches to full blown characters! Once decorated, you can swap out your costume masks for these fun and creative masks.

A picture of a young boy holding a pumpkin, wearing a pirate hat and a mask decorated with a beard

 

Spooky house decoration contest- Homes in the neighborhood should take part in a spooky house decoration contest where members of each household will decorate the exterior of their homes (or just their doors) to be super spooky. People within the neighborhood will vote on each home and whichever home receives the most votes for being the “Spookiest home”, wins.

Porch decorated with pumpkins, paper bats

 

Candy scavenger hunt- Social distancing is still important, so Instead of trick-or-treating this year, why not have a candy scavenger hunt in the backyard? The candy scavenger hunt is similar to an egg hunt but with candy-where assortments of candies and chocolates will be hidden all over the home or yard. we found this great set of free printable Halloween Scavenger Hunt Cards from The Best Ideas for Kids.

Halloween printable scavenger hunt cards

 

Halloween virtual party- Not having that annual Halloween party will probably be a little saddening this year but what about a virtual Halloween party? Everyone can dress up in their Halloween’s best and even set out snacks and drinks for themselves and then hop on Zoom with their friends! Kick it up a notch by creating a Halloween party playlist just for this party. 

A boy with a laptop, smiling. Halloween decorations behind him.

 

Halloween movie night- Nothing says Halloween better than a Halloween movie night! Grab some popcorn and treats and gather around the TV with family and or friends to watch Halloween themed or horror movies. By simply typing in “Halloween” into subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu, you’ll be given many movies to choose from and if that doesn’t satisfy you, check out this list of 49 best Halloween movies ever.

A group of people on a couch watching television and looking frightened

More ideas for Halloween Fun from home:

https://www.care.com/c/stories/16984/fun-halloween-ideas-pandemic/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/halloween-tips-for-safe-fun-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.seventeen.com/life/g1558/best-halloween-movies/

 

Five Unique Ways That Small Businesses Have Pivoted in The Bahamas

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an economic toll around the globe, and The Bahamas is no exception. In these difficult times, it's inspiring to see how businesses acted quickly and innovatively to diversify their business models to help the country in new ways.

1. Virtual Tours

Although virtual tours have been used in real estate as a form of convenience for years as a way for prospective clients to get an idea of a property and its features, the safety measures that have been put in place as a result of the Covid pandemic to avoid social gathering have made virtual tours a necessity for the real estate industry. 


The versatility of virtual tours is what sets it apart from in-person tours. With virtual tours, prospective clients no longer have to physically be in contact with agents when choosing their homes; they can view these properties from the comfort of their own homes and conduct their own process of elimination that way, saving both parties valuable time.

Whether it's a large commercial office space, or a contemporary condo development, Bahamas Realty agents can offer their clients virtual viewings, personally “walking” their clients through a property. And for many of our listings, we offer 3D virtual tours using state-of-the-art Matterport technology. [View some of our tours here]

 

2. Masks

Mask wearing in public has become a part of our daily life - at least for the foreseeable future. Medical-grade masks are reserved for health professionals, so many local businesses and even individual entrepreneurs are getting creative, producing masks & face shields creating a new product in an in-demand market.

A few businesses that have found new industry in mask production:

  • Bahamas Hand Prints is known for its beautifully handprinted fabrics and uniquely Bahamian-inspired designs and like other small businesses, they have taken advantage of the need for masks. Bahamas Hand Prints has combined its passion for creating wonderful designs and taken it up a notch by creating fashionable masks with signature fabrics, making them recognizable and setting them apart from regular disposable masks. The masks are “available in assorted prints and colors” and are also machine washable.
    Woman wearing face mask
     
  • Signarama Bahamas, known primarily for their signage (like Bahamas Realty's custom property signs), window clings, and vehicle wraps, have added custom face shields to their product offering which can even be personalized or branded with company logos.

 

 

3. Hand Sanitizer

John Watling’s Distillery located in Nassau, Bahamas decided to shift its business to accommodate the Bahamian people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the business has an inventory of Ethyl alcohol, co-founder, Jose Portuondo told Eyewitness News that the distillery decided to shift its “business to meet the needs of [the] community and those on the front line.” The distillery still produces its famous rums and vodkas, but hand sanitizers are an additional priority. The distillery has also donated many bottles of the sanitizer to local food distribution centers such as Hands for Hunger and The Bahamas Feeding Network to help ensure the health of all Bahamians.

4. Remote Fitness

Some fitness facilities have understood that in-person group classes are not conducive to limiting social gathering, so as a way to stay in business and still motivate people to stay on track with their exercise routines, fitness facilities are hosting virtual fitness classes via Zoom. Both parties benefit from this.

An example of the shift in fitness is Bowflex Barbie Fitness, a fitness company specializing in personal and group training. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this company hosted in-person one on one and group classes but after seeing the demand for at-home fitness programs, Bowflex Barbie Fitness now provides virtual group fitness classes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Team Bowflex Barbie Fitness (@team.bowflexbarbiefitness) on

 

5. Online Ordering & Delivery Services

Online ordering app

Delivery service is not a new concept to many, but The Bahamas has been slow to embrace the convenience service; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses have decided to offer delivery and curbside pickup options to properly abide by the guidelines set in place by the government of The Bahamas. Businesses like Bahamas Office and School Supplies (BOSS) which offer business, school, and art supplies (essential for virtual learning!), and Ports International, which sells medical supplies and equipment, have built new websites with online inventory and convenient ordering. Other food and grocery businesses like Discount Distributors, Kraven and Bahama Eats have developed mobile apps in recognition of the need for online ordering and delivery services.

The owner of Discount Distributers, Ryan Turnquest, told Eyewitness news that before the pandemic their app “averaged maybe 10 orders a day, now [they] are averaging 100.” People are satisfied with utilizing services that do not require them to leave their homes.

 

The Most In-Demand Luxury for Affluent Homebuyers: Personal Wellness

Luxury Portfolio International's recently released report The Great Wellness Surge: Bringing the Best Life Home takes an in-depth look at how personal wellness has become the newest and most prioritized luxury from the perspective of those with homes worth $1 million USD or more.

Loving the luxury spa-like bath featured on the cover of the report? We are too! This luxurious bathroom is in the master suite of one of our listings! Check it out here and take a virtual tour around this serene oceanfront oasis built with wellness in mind. La Cieba is a luxury estate on Paradise Island, listed with Bahamas Realty broker Andrea Brownrigg.

According to their findings, there has never been a larger market of potential luxury homebuyers, with personal wealth at a record high globally; however, the luxury market is not immune to challenges, "Buyers face the possibility of economic or political instability, evolving tax structures and climate-related purchase considerations. Beyond these evergreen challenges, novel issues like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have impacted market activity."

What is the response to these uncertainties? A focus on wellness to tune out the noise of the world.

The report breaks down five key wellness-oriented trends that are predicted to impact the purchasing decisions of homebuyers in the time ahead, including the rising demand for residential wellness amenities, the pursuit of wellness through international travel, and stress management.

A change in work styles, from in-office to remote, has prompted an increased need for self-care at home. Consumers are focused on residential offerings that help them unwind and disconnect, such as spa-like baths and amenity-rich indoor-outdoor living areas.

How these factors influence affluent consumers will be pivotal in their home-buying decisions. 

Some of the key takeaways:

1. Wellness is central to a life well-lived: More than 90 percent of luxury homeowners say their overall personal wellness is of utmost importance and are therefore committing free time to wellness activities, transformational experiences, social bonding, and leisurely travel. This is particularly true with the rapidly growing number of millennial luxury homeowners. 

2. Home wellness is in growing demand: Wellness at home can be found, for example, with specific kitchen elements* for the management
of dietary preferences (e.g., temperature and humidity-controlled cabinets, cellar-like storage for root vegetables, apples and other fall harvest produce), meditation spaces, exercise rooms, home spas or saunas, special lighting features for sleep hygiene, air and water filtration and more.

Download the complete report: The Great Wellness Surge: Bringing the Best Life Home
 

Bahamas Realty Sees Major Boost In Website Traffic, Predicting Market Bounce-back

Bahamas Realty, a full service Bahamian real estate firm specializing in residential and commercial property across The Bahamas, is seeing a major increase in website traffic and inquiries, a change which the company predicts is an indication that interest in Bahamian property is rebounding after the initial industry slowdown seen during the Covid19 pandemic.

The pandemic has brought with it unprecedented disruption, impacting economies and industries globally, of which Real Estate is no exception. According to economists from The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, an invite-only organization encompassing some of the world’s top real estate firms, of which Bahamas Realty is a member, the silver lining is the prediction of a firm recovery of the industry. In a recently released Global Market Update, the organization stated that while the contraction has been sharp, “the recovery is expected to be sharp as well … this outlook is due to the cause of recession, which is not fundamental or economic, but rather public health. In short, the demand for products and services is just stalled”.

Disruption to the Bahamian market is consistent with global trends; however, Bahamas Realty’s website data shows a major uptick in users visiting the website since June 1, with visitors to the site increasing by more than 60% over the prior six weeks, and 130% over the same period in 2019.

The increase in web traffic has also been accompanied by a steady increase in property inquiries, according to Bahamas Realty’s CRM (Client Relationship Manager) software. New inquiries through the website were up 125% in the recent period, and nearly 50% year over year.

“This data is incredibly positive for our business,” said Donald Martinborough, CEO of Bahamas Realty. “We see it as an encouraging sign for the Bahamian real estate industry as a whole”, adding that the rebound in property inquiries may well lead to a market recovery at levels “better even than pre-pandemic levels” over the next couple of years.

 “We’re seeing major increases in web traffic, particularly from the United States,” said Iona Henderson, Marketing Coordinator at Bahamas Realty. “The U.S. is typically our largest audience demographic, with visitors originating in The Bahamas coming in second, but we have seen U.S. visits increase by more than 250% in the last six weeks, accounting for 70% of our traffic.”

Ms. Henderson believes there are several factors driving this change, most notably The Bahamas’ swift action during the early stages of the pandemic. “There seems to be a link between The Bahamas’ response and interest in property from offshore buyers, particularly from the U.S. where they have, sadly, seen cases steadily increase.”

“The Bahamas has always been a draw for the American buyer because of our close proximity to the U.S., and the relative ease of doing business,” said Mr. Martinborough. “However, this pandemic has highlighted one of our other major appeals: the safety, privacy, and seclusion that many properties on our beautiful islands offer.”

 

Bahamas Realty Represents Home Featured in HGTV's Ultimate House Hunt

HGTV’s 9th annual Ultimate House Hunt contest, featuring listings exclusively from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Luxury Portfolio International® members, is officially underway! The annual contest curates the world’s most stunning real estate listings. The 2020 HGTV Ultimate House runs from June 30 through August 4th. During the contest period, consumers are invited to vote for their favorite homes in the US in eight different categories and tour featured Global Homes from 13 alluring locations around the world.

This year, we’re honored to announce that a property listed with Bahamas Realty has been selected for Global Feature by editors of HGTV.com based on its extraordinary features and inspired design, captured by striking photography. The sprawling estate, named La Cieba, is located in the exclusive beachfront and golf community of Ocean Club Estates on Paradise Island.

“We are delighted that this estate has been included in the HGTV Ultimate House Hunt,” said Bahamas Realty CEO, Donald Martinborough. “It’s an extraordinary home that represents the best of Bahamas living. It’s like a secluded private island retreat with access to world class amenities.”

Listed with company director and estate agent, Andrea Brownrigg, La Cieba is currently the most expensive property on the Bahamas MLS at $39.5M. The ultra-exclusive property is a serene oasis obscured from view on all sides and has water features, waterfalls, ponds, two swimming pools and 300’ of spectacular beachfront.

“La Cieba is the epitome of luxury island living,” said Brownrigg. “Between the spectacular beachfront main residence and exquisite stone walled guest cottages nestled amidst lush tropical landscaping, it’s the ultimate retreat for family to come together to create cherished memories.”

Ocean Club Estates homeowners benefit from the added privilege of a private Beach and Tennis Club, optional golf membership, access to the wide array of recreation venues at Atlantis and exclusive membership in the Four Seasons Ocean Club to enjoy the pools, spa, gym, tennis courts, beach and restaurants.

Click here to view the listing and take the 3D virtual tour!

 

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update March 20, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update March 20, 2020

As the threat of Coronavirus is felt globally, The Bahamas is joining other nations worldwide in attempting to limit the spread through enacting preventative measures throughout the island archipelago, including a temporary 11-day closure for all non-essential businesses and public gatherings.

Bahamas Realty has, since the company’s inception, been people-focused. Our foremost concern is the personal health and safety of our families, clients, and employees. We are also focused on keeping your real estate transaction moving forward.

These are extraordinary times and we are taking extraordinary measures to complete your real estate transaction in a safe and secure manner, including:

  • Using video conferencing platforms and other digital tools. Bahamas Realty’s agents will offer clients the option to conduct business digitally, no matter where they are at in the process.

  • Our administrative, marketing and support staff will continue to be on hand, working remotely to assist our agents with transactions, inquiries and marketing your properties to the world.

  • Our property management division is hard at work to keep our buildings safe and secure

  • The appraisal department continues to operate remotely

We are all feeling this disruption to our daily lives, and we encourage you to take advantage of this time with your families and to look for the silver linings.

We will continue to update you as the situation unfolds in The Bahamas and as it relates to any economic impacts, and we will continue to be your best resource for all of your real estate needs. We wish you and your family health and safety. We will weather this storm together. Donald Martinborough CEO, Broker Bahamas Realty Ltd.

Link: http://https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/17/silver-linings-how-to-stay-positive-during-the-coronavirus-crisis