houseThere are a number of benefits to investing in residential real estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including strong profits, ongoing supplemental income and the access to credit these properties provide. However, there are a few legal considerations you should understand before deciding to make your first investment in residential property in the islands.

The following are some of the most common legal issues surrounding residential real estate:

Title insurance

These policies, provided by title insurance companies, insure the title for the owner of a residential property. They protect against financial losses related to the title and any costs associated with defending the title through litigation. Before finalizing a real estate transaction, you consider obtaining a title report and title insurance.


A deed is a legal document that verifies the ownership of property by an individual or organization. There are several different types of deeds, including the following:

  • General warranty deed: This guarantees to the buyer that the seller has the legal right to sell the property in question. It also signifies that the real estate does not have any liens or debt attached to it.
  • Special warranty deed: This type of deed only applies to damage done to the property while the seller has owned it, and not for the entire life of the property. While it is more common in commercial real estate transactions, there are certain applications in the residential realm, as well, especially foreclosed residential property.
  • Quitclaim deed: This allows one party to transfer any real estate rights or claims it may have to another party, typically without the exchange of money. A quitclaim deed is most appropriate when transferring property to a family member or close friend.

Zoning issues

Even though you own a property, you may be limited to what you can do with it due to local zoning laws. Running a business out of a house or apartment, for example, may be illegal as the property is not zoned for business use. Generally, if you own a piece of real estate and the local government later amends the zoning designation after you have bought it, you don’t need to change the way you use the property as it is considered “grandfathered” under the old designation.

These are just a few of the legal matters you may need to consider before investing in residential real estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you have further questions, speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

BoltNagi is a well-established and widely respected real estate law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alliance Title & Trust Company, LLC is a licensed Virgin Islands title insurance agency, an agent of Stewart Title Guaranty Company and a wholly owned subsidiary of BoltNagi PC.