Why did the US couple and owners of Rainbow property John and Anita decide to buy a home in Eleuthera and spend most of the year on this island?
On July 23 of 2006 I interviewed John. On that day his wife Anita was in the US for family reasons.
Interviewer: John for how many years have you owned your home in the Rainbow area of North-Central Eleuthera?
John: It would be two years effective August of 2006. But we actually purchased the property three years ago.
Interviewer: Was it a new house?
John: No, it was 25 years old when we bought it.
Interviewer: What was the reason that the now owners of Rainbow property John and Anita wanted to have a home on Eleuthera?
John: We wanted to leave the United States and retire over here because of the beauty of the island and the relaxed atmosphere.
Interviewer: What else did you like about Eleuthera?
John: Coming to Eleuthera it's like going back in time 40 years. I mean you don't have all the amenities which you have in the States. So consequently when you come here it's not for every one. Some individuals are looking for a great variety of restaurants. They want to go to the movies and are looking for fast food. You have non of that here. You have to be a pioneer so to speak.
Interviewer: What in particular made you like Eleuthera?
John: The beauty of the beaches, the ability to go fishing right off your back yard. You know, swimming all the time... and the weather is fantastic. You can't ask for much more. Laughs.
Interviewer: Now that we've talked about the advantages of living here, let's talk about the difficulties you have encountered during the building phase.
John: I'm building as we speak. I'm making an addition onto my property.
To be on the job site is the most advantageous way to build a house here. When you are not on the island all the time you may run into problems of being slower than you should be. Why?...
You have to control how you get your materials to the building site. You have to decide whether to buy the materials from the States or from Nassau which is over 70 miles away or whether you are going to buy your building materials locally.
Obviously if you buy them on the island they'll be much more expensive than buying from Nassau and having them shipped over. And even more so if you buy the building materials from the States where everything is a lot cheaper.
But importing materials from the US will be taxed with around 42% duty which are even added to the freight charges. And that process of bringing stuff in from the US can be time consuming. So you have to weigh and watch your costs.
Interviewer: How has Eleuthera changed since you arrived in 2003?
John: Well, let me see... the change is subtle and slow but it is coming. I can see that with the Cotton Bay Club down South, with the marina which is under construction in South Palmetto Point and with the SkyBeachClub north of Governor's Harbour where construction has started only recently. So, things are moving.
Interviewer: What do your friend say about Eleuthera once they've lived with you here for a while?
John: All of my friends love Eleuthera. Many of them said that although they love to come and visit, they don't believe that they could live here on a permanent basis... Because of the inability to have all of the amenities that the States have.
Interviewer: What would you advise a potential home owner to do if he decided to build or buy a home in the Rainbow area?
John: The most important thing to do when you come to build or buy a home is to do your research first. Do not go into this new venture without all your ducks in a row.
You also have to understand that to do things here, you have to do them in the way of the locals. You don't do them the United States' way or the European way. You are doing them the Bahamian way which may take time and a lot of effort on your part. But in the long run you'll save money and you'll be legal.
In a nutshell... Ask questions from many different people on the island. And talk to different contractors, different residents to find out what their experiences are and how they would go forward in building a home in Eleuthera.
Interviewer: What else would you advise the potential home owner to do?
John: He should make several trips to the island prior to going forward in buying or building. So that he will be assured that this is what he wants to invest his money in. Understanding the culture here is important, too.
Interviewer: Were you happy with your attorney's services and if yes, would you let me know his name and address?
John: I would certainly do that. I was very pleased with the services of my Nassau attorney Peter Fletcher. His address is: Charlotte House, Shirley St., P.O.Box 3950 Nassau; phone 1-242-322-2871.
Interviewer: How do you see the near future of Eleuthera?
John: I see growth but slow growth. I do not see the main things that I would like to see grow here. For instance I would love to see a large grocery store, a kind of a center of the island where everybody could come.
The price differences between Nassau and Eleuthera for food items for example are sometimes exorbitant. But this is a typical supply and demand situation which is taken advantage of by some of the local grocery stores.
Interviewer: John, would you be prepared to share building information with potential Eleuthera home owners?
John: Yes, I would. And if they want to contact me they can call me on my telephone at - area code 242 - 335-0431.
Interviewer: Thanks very much, John, this will be most helpful.