BUYING AND SELLING

Can anyone buy property in the Cayman Islands?
There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, which can be acquired in a number of ways and some of which do not reveal the actual ownership.

What taxes will need to be paid?
The Cayman Islands has no direct taxes including sales tax, income tax, capital gains tax, property tax etc. These charges are included as duty in goods upon shipment into the country. The only payment to the CI Government includes stamp duty which is required to be paid within 45 days of transferring your title.

What property taxes will need to be paid after the closing?
The stamp duty rate, which is calculated in Cayman Islands dollars, is 7.5% on the purchase price or the market value of the property, whichever is higher. Payment must be paid by the buyer, unless contractually stated otherwise, within 45 days of the contract signing. Stamp duty will vary based on whether a buyer is purchasing raw land versus land including a completed building.

Are there incentives for Caymanian buyers?
First time Caymanian buyers, as defined by the 2007 Immigration Law, pay zero Stamp Duty if the dwelling is to be owner occupied and the consideration or market value is below a CI$300,000 threshold.

For undeveloped land, first time Caymanian buyers pay no stamp duty on purchases valued up to CI$100,000 provided an owner-occupied dwelling will be built.

Caymanians can also use up to $35,000 of their pension funds towards the purchase of a property if it is their only personal dwelling.

Is homeowners insurance available?
Residential owners will be required to have house insurance including liability and building insurance. Rates average about 1.8% of the property value. Contents insurance is optional and at the discretion of the homeowner or tenant and can be purchased through a local company.

What are the expected closing costs related to a real estate transaction?
– Buyer’s attorney fees = 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price;
– Stamp Duty = varies between 4-7.5% of the purchase price (minus chattels), depending on the location of the property;
– Land Registry Fees = CI$200;
– Surveyor Fees = approximately $700 – $900;
– Bank fees – will vary based upon your mortgage, around 3% of the amount borrowed.

What is CIREBA (Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association)?
Nearly 90% of all real estate transactions are negotiated using a CIREBA broker, an organization that was created to improve and elevate the general knowledge of real estate in the Cayman Islands. To be a CIREBA member, agents and brokers must complete a professional training program, pass a test and adhere to a strict code of ethics established by the association.

 

LEASING

When is rent paid?
All landlords require a 1-month security deposit, equal to approximately one months’ rent which is held by the owner until the term of the lease. Payment dates vary depending on the lease agreement, but generally the monthly rent is paid in advance for the following month.

What utility bills can I expect?
Lessees can expect to pay for electricity, water, internet, cable TV and telephone over and above rental fees. Utilities are higher than in many countries and must be well regulated to avoid significant costs throughout the year. All strata fees should be covered by the landlord and included in the monthly rental fee.

Should we rent furnished or unfurnished?
The decision is up to you. However, most rental units are fully furnished and require little to no additional purchases outside of the basic rent and utility costs.

 

THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

How many islands make up the Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands is made up of three islands: Grand Cayman (22 miles long), Cayman Brac (12 miles long) and Little Cayman (10 miles long).

What form of government exists?
The Cayman Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory with a written constitution by the British Crown since 1959. The government is a parliamentary democracy with judicial, executive and legislative branches with the people of the island electing the members of legislature and the legislature electing the Cabinet. 

A governor is appointment by Her Majesty’s Government and presides over the Cabinet when making decisions concerning defense, external affairs, security, police and civil service. The governor acts in the best interests of the people of the Cayman Islands while keeping interests consistent with that of the United Kingdom.

May I bring my pets?
Yes. Pets can be brought from foreign countries, but planning ahead is critical during the months prior to travelling. An import permit is required from the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture. Also, you may be required to put down a pet deposit of approximately $500 in a rental unit. Permission to have a pet must be sought out in advance and written into the lease. Some individuals and strata’s do not permit any pets.

How and where can my kids be educated?
All three islands include primary and high schools; however, expatriate children must attend a private school such as Cayman International School, Cayman Prep & High School, First Baptist Christian School, Grace Christian Academy, Triple C School and St. Ignatius Catholic School. There are also options for college or university on-island including a law school, medical school, veterinary school and university.

Is there crime?
Violent crime is infrequent in the Cayman Islands, but petty thefts occasionally occur from time to time. It is important to always remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings when in a new country.

How easy is it to get around?
Most residents drive a car, take the local bus or ride a bike to and from their workplace. Residents and visitors are required to drive on the left, like the United Kingdom, and speed limits do not exceed 50 mph. Rental cars are also available for short and long-term periods of time and can be found through various rental companies.

What is the legal drinking age?
The legal drinking age is 18 on all three islands.

What services are available on island?
The Cayman Islands has a great selection of retail shops, supermarkets, fine good and home stores, clothing boutiques and specialty shops. There are no large shopping malls or big box retailers, but there are a number of locally run stores that provide similar services and products. The supermarkets are well stocked with both local and international produce so residents can have a taste of home while living in the Caribbean.

Items such as jewelry, sunglasses, fragrances, certain makeup, cameras and leather goods are duty free.

What is the general climate like?
The Cayman Islands generally has two seasons – summer and winter. October to April feature northeast trade winds,which bring cool sea breezes during the evening hours, making it the perfect time for tourists to escape the cold up north.
The summer months from May through September can sometimes bring heavy rainfall during the afternoon hours, especially if a tropical storm or hurricane is in the area. Rainfall is usually short-lived and doesn’t last long.

What currency is used?
Both Both US and CI can be used in the Cayman Islands at most hotels, restaurants and businesses. The exchange rate is on average: CI$1.00 to US$1.25.

What languages are spoken?
English is the official language, but there are other dialects such as Tagalog and Spanish along with a variety of other languages since there are over 100 different nationalities of the residents on the islands.

What is the costs of living like?
The cost of living in the Cayman Islands is considerably high compared to other countries, because most items need to be imported from overseas. These high costs are offset by that fact there is no income tax on earnings. Basic necessities as well as luxury items, such as cars and boats must arrive by boat and are subject to a 22% import duty payable to the Cayman Islands Government, which is included in retail prices.

 

For more information about the rules and regulations of importing products please visit: www.customs.gov.ky.