A guide to selling your home in Cayman — Property Cayman | Real Estate

A guide to selling your home in Cayman

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Courtney Henderson Zimmer

Real Estate Agent

Considering selling your home? A lot happens between deciding to put your house on the market to finalizing the sale. There are multiple moving parts and things to consider, from getting your home listed to vetting offers and negotiating terms, to accepting an offer and closing the deal. Right down to completing the property transfer. So what is the process of selling your home in Cayman really like? Let's take a look.

Starting the process of selling your home

When you've decided you are selling your home, you'll want to reach out to a CIREBA member agency. Real estate agents have resources available to them the public does not, such as current market data. We know what other properties in your area have sold for, the condition of the homes, and even how short or long they were on the market for. This all goes a long way in accurately determining how to price your home to sell.

Of course, you can choose to sell your home without an agent. However, in my experience, the majority of for sale by owners end up listing with an agent. This is often because of the stress of arranging showings and dealing with numerous inquiries, or in contrast, the home receives little to no interest because of a lack of marketing.

You may have concerns about sales commission (which the seller pays and varies from about 5-7% depending on the sale price). That's completely understandable. But it is important to note that Sellers who don't engage an agent on average net 23% less for their home. I have seen this personally. A couple I know initially set out to sell on their own. After chatting through the obstacles they were facing, they let me represent them. And together, we were able to sell the property for approximately $50,000 more than they were initially hoping for. In short, agents save you time, reduce your stress, and ensure you get the most for your home. It's a win-win.

Finding the right Cayman real estate agent

When it comes to selecting your real estate agent, there should be mutual trust and a feeling of honesty. A good agent will focus on doing what's best for you and your family. Our purpose is to support you in your long-term property journey, helping you make smart investments, not just for today's sale.

Among many other questions, your agent should ask you:

  1. How quickly do you want or need to sell your home? and why? What is your motivation to sell?
  2. What do you think is the market value of your home? and why?
  3. How much did you buy your home for, and how much equity have you put into it?
  4. What sale price would you be comfortable receiving for your home?
  5. Do you have a mortgage on your current home? What currency is it in?
  6. What is your long-term property plan? Where will you be moving to?

How to price your home for sale?

There are many factors to consider when establishing the price of your home. To begin the process, your agent should provide you with sale statistics of similar properties that have recently sold in your area. This information will help establish a starting point for the listing price. Your agent should then consider your timeline to sell, any home upgrades or renovations, current market trends, and new developments in the area.

Cayman is currently in a seller's market, but many personal variables may impact the price you choose to list your home for. For example, if you're in no rush to sell, your home could be listed at or above comparables. In contrast, we would need to price your home a bit more modestly should your situation requires a quick sale. That being said, if your home is in a high-demand area (think Seven Mile Beach or the Seven Mile corridor, South Sound and, more recently, West Bay), you can likely keep the listing point higher even if you've got a shorter timeframe in which to sell.

It comes down to comparables and market trends, coupled with your timeline. And the right agent is integral to helping you navigate these distinctions. They will help you price your home so that you don't leave money on the table. Set yourself up for success by finding an agent with whom you can have an honest dialogue about these details.

Listing your home for sale in the MLS

At an absolute maximum, we will have your property listed on the CIREBA website within two weeks of when we begin to represent you. And boy, is there a lot going on behind the scenes within those days.  

To start, we will do our due diligence on you, the seller, which is required by law. That means we will gather all the necessary paperwork and information on you so that when the right offer to purchase is received, nothing is standing in your way.

We'll arrange for a professional photographer to come out and capture high-resolution images of your home. This is one of the areas where our team stands out. We use visuals to highlight your home and attract buyers. We work with top photographers on the island and will never list with cell phone photos. We may also have a professional videographer film your home, create a virtual tour, and map floor plans. In addition, our agents, and our in-house marketing team, write a custom description for each home. These are carefully crafted to reel in buyers after they have seen the home's visuals. In short, we do everything to ensure your home hits the market as strong as possible.  

Marketing your home

Immediately our team arranges signage to go up outside your home to capture foot traffic. Simultaneously, digital advertising will begin across multiple channels and platforms. The initial traffic within the first two weeks after a new listing hits the CIREBA website is always enormous. But we keep the momentum going after that first wave with open houses and multireed marketing campaigns. It's another area where our team excels.

Receiving an offer to purchase your home

Your agent will discuss all offers received with you. Depending on the offer to purchase, the seller usually has anywhere from 24 hours to 3 days to accept the buyer's offer. That is why it is integral that your agent notifies you of any offer to purchase within the same day, absolutely no more than 24 hours after receiving it. A good agent will also walk you through the offer, explaining the conditions and how they would impact you. From there, it's up to you to choose to accept the offer, counter, or decline. And it is our job as your agent to handle this part of the transaction. To act on your behalf and protect your interests.

Accepting an offer to purchase on your home

When you accept an offer for the purchase of your home, our team will prepare closing conditions. It is important to note that the offer to purchase itself is a contract whereby the seller and buyer agree to move forward with the transaction. Offers to purchase can vary greatly depending on the conditions stipulated in the contract, which will affect the timeframe in which the deal closes.

The most substantial and common processing difference when it comes to selling your home is whether the buyer requires financing or whether they are making a cash offer. Buyers requiring bank financing need to take a few more steps to secure funds. These include but are not limited to; a property valuation, life insurance, completing bank paperwork and due diligence requirements, as well as remitting bank fees. This can take a while. Anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, should there be delays.

Extensions and going back on market

If the buyers are unable to meet the deadlines for the conditions within the timeframe stipulated by the Offer to Purchase, then they can ask for an extension. This is a signed document sent over to your agent. You can then decide if you would like to approve the extension, which allows the buyer to have more time to meet the conditions, or you can choose to come out of contract and go back to market. Because of this, it is very important to be realistic when setting out conditions deadlines within the Offer to Purchase.

Completing the sale of your home

Once all the conditions of the offer to purchase are met your property sale status will move from pending conditional to pending, which means your property is ready for closing. Closing is usually organized between the buyers' and sellers' attorneys. At which point, you, as the seller, will sign a series of legal documents indicating the property now belongs to the purchaser. If financing was required, then you and the buyer will also meet with lending officers from the bank so they can prepare a bank draft for you.

And finally, the keys! The vendor's agent usually provides the keys to the buyer's agent or the buyers after the property has officially closed and the buyers have the title in hand. Unless agreed beforehand, the property should be vacant at the time of closing. A good agent will always organize a final walkthrough on the day of closing or the day before. A final walkthrough will ensure and document that the buyers are happy with the state of vacancy of the property.

Selling your home in the Cayman Islands

There are many steps involved with selling your home. It can sometimes be confusing and burdensome. That's why we're here, to help you through it all and make sure you're getting the best return on your investment.

Whether you are looking to sell today or ten years from now or simply have questions about the sale process in Cayman. Shoot me an email, and let's talk. I'm always happy to help.

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