Tag: Cayman housing market

How to choose a real estate agent?

Let’s call it how it is. Real estate agents don’t have the best of reputations.  We get it.

Unfortunately, like any profession, a few bad apples can ruin it for the bunch.

Such a big life decision, buying or selling your home, deserves to be met with professionalism and integrity.

We care about you, and because we care we’ve compiled a quick checklist to ensure that you get the best possible representation, wherever you are on your property journey.

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Your Realtor Checklist

Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, your Cayman realtor should have:

1.      Real Estate Expertise

The property market, particularly right now, is fast-moving. To effectively meet your real estate needs, you need an agent:

  • well versed in the local Cayman property market
  • who understands the financial requirements for purchasing a property in Cayman
  • knows the Cayman stamp duty tax rules and exemptions
  • able to interpret strata regulations and bylaws
  • who is comfortable overseeing the complete property transaction (including contracts, due diligence screening, market analysis reports, disclosures, and other legal documents – effectively managing any roadblocks to ensure a seamless experience for you)
  • who cares about you! Above anything else, choose an agent that has your best intentions at heart.
2.      Objective Real Estate Information

Your agent should easily be able to provide accurate and up to date information on re-locations, utilities, the rental market, zoning, schools, and more. They have objective stats about each property, data that should be shared with you so you can decide how to move forward with listing your home or placing a purchase offer.

3.      CIREBA Qualifications

Real estate laws, regulations, and processes are intricate. You want a realtor who knows the ethical and legal requirements of buying and selling property inside and out. All members of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) must complete specific training and testing to demonstrate their understanding of real estate law, contract law, and their duties as an agent. CIREBA also has a strict code of ethics that all members must adhere to. So by selecting an agent who is CIREBA member, you can rest easy knowing you have a qualified professional in your corner.

4.      Trusted and Candid Real Estate Advice

Life can throw us some unexpected curveballs. It is essential that during these times, you have a trusted and experienced professional that you can lean on. Someone who will tell you exactly how it is and the best way for you to navigate your way out the storm.

“We were about to close on a Seven Mile Beach condo, and then COVID struck. Our household income, like many others, took a hit. And like the rest of the world, we felt uncertain about the economy and the property market. So to say we were stressed about our pending property purchase, was an understatement. I reached out to Jude for advice. We discussed the situation, weighing all the possible scenarios, and ultimately ended up pulling our offer. The feeling of relief was instantaneous. It was the right decision for us, and we can’t thank Jude enough for her honest advice. She put our happiness and security above everything.” – Dr Derek Spence, Property Cayman Client

5.      Real Estate Negotiations Skills

In the property business, there are many elements, unique to each sale, that are up for discussion. You deserve to feel well informed and confident throughout the negotiation process. An experienced realtor should provide helpful insights and knowledgeable advice. They should safeguard your needs throughout the entire property journey.  With the right agent, there should be zero doubt that they have your best interest at heart. Remember, the highest offer isn’t always the best offer.

6.      Professional Networks

Property transactions are complex. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen – buyers, sellers, agents, attorneys, inspectors, lenders, and often financial or investment advisors. An established, well-connected agent can provide their customers and clients access to an instant network of qualified and trustworthy professionals.

7.      Real Estate Marketing

Believe it or not, houses do not sell themselves. Your real estate agent’s marketing strategy is absolutely critical. How your property is listed and promoted will directly influence the number of buyers walking through your door, and the quality of the offers you receive.

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In a nutshell, a good agent can efficiently manage all the intricacies of the real estate transaction process, protecting their client’s interests and minimizing their hassle.

It is about the client, not the sale.

The business of real estate is about relationships.

We provide candid advice, helping clients avoid costly pitfalls, allowing them to minimize the headaches of selling while maximizing their profits.

Thinking about buying or selling? We’d love to chat.

The Market Moves In Mysterious Ways

A completely reasonable and fair assumption dictates that during an unusually slow summer season, closed borders, zero tourists, and a reduced population count all resulting from a world pandemic we should expect ZERO sales right!? Well, when a market moves against all expectations it’s worth looking a little closer.

We have reviewed the Association movements between June and July 2020 (the new dawn) how it differed from July last year (the old world) and finally we also reviewed what we are seeing in August so far and what the latter part of the year will look like.

 

June 2020 Vs July 2020

40% up in Condo sales
150% up in House sales
25% down Land sales – but watch out got lots of August activity.
No change in commercial sales

 

July 2019 (old world) Vs July 2020 (the new dawn)

52% down in Condo sales
44% down in House sales
65% down in Land sales
66% down in Commercial sales


Property Cayman had 9 transaction sides in July 2019 Vs  4 in July 2020 – 44% decline. However that’s 4 more than we were expecting.


Observation:
This decrease is expected however it isn’t what you could have expected with a pandemic underway. Also note it’s only a temporary shift. Despite internal and external pressures, transactions and demand are still very clear and present. This level of activity is returning with gusto which is a direct testament to local confidence. Many are seeing the opportunity to lock in (with the help of pension withdrawals in many cases) a new home or long term investment before the borders open and population with demand increases again.

With a steady incline of new listings, new contracts and a decline of the Back on Market listings, the August/Sept/Oct pipelines are filling up nicely. 

Source: CIREBA

August 2019 (old world) Vs August 2020 (new dawn)

24 Condo sales last August and 8 sales so far this August10 House sales last August and 1 sale so far this August32 Land sales last August and 3 sales so far this August0 Commercial sales last August and none this August… so far


Property Cayman had 10 transaction sides in August 2019 Vs 14 lined up to close this August 2020 (pipeline contracts) – 40% up and we have 3 weeks to go! Watch this space.


Observation:
Another summer season with record number of transactions? Despite a reduced July (year on year) there’s a surge of activity to rebuild the pre-covid momentum. It says a lot. Local demand and confidence is holding its ground and we can expect some good catch up this month.

August and beyond

With borders closed and pension withdrawals slowing down in the latter months of the year we can expect to see a decline in properties going to contract and a consequential increase in inventory (lowered demand with increased supply). We feel however that things won’t slow down and that when borders open up we can safely forecast new and positive influences on the market.

With open borders the market will quickly absorb any oversupply of inventory. With extended border closure into November we can expect pricing pressures to take effect but in reality it will be more of a stabilizing effect than a significant decrease in pricing.

Either way, whilst numbers are averaged down by 50%, most sectors of the market won’t see any significant decreases in pricing as seller’s continue to be patient. Markets ebb and flow over time so be sure to establish your big-picture property plan and consider the different chapters of YOUR journey. If you wait for a market to change to your advantage you will miss out on the opportunities currently in front of you.

This analysis is broad and general and more designed to spark the conversation. We would be delighted, as always, to assist you along your personalized property journey so feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts, ideas and even concerns. We can cut through the noise and give confidence to your next move which every direction that might take you.

NB: ref: CIREBA stats

Why People are Seeking Sun, Sea & Safety in the Cayman Islands

All it takes is one visit to the Cayman Islands to fall in love. Of course our sandy white beaches, crystal blue waters and Cayman-kind smiles take a lot of the credit, but a few more critical factors make it a place that have people coming back time and time again. Especially now!

With the inevitable increases in taxes in the, U.K., U.S and Canada, and with “working from home”, now a realistic option more than ever as, it’s no wonder we are seeing an influx of family offices and high net worth families looking to move here. There was a trend pre-COVID from Canada and whilst this is continuing the inquiries are now coming in from the US, UK, Spain and France. C’est jolie ici.

Cayman is a tax-neutral, British Overseas Territory. We are a safe and sophisticated island, with excellent infrastructure and a high standard of living. Its ease of access to and from multiple major cities, including New York, Toronto and London make it easy for many to catch direct flights back home or to attend business meetings near and far. Sure you can meet on Zoom, but the work-life balance movement is real.

We have top rated international schools, excellent medical care, first world amenities, low crime rate, a top-class and fantastic culinary scene, and of course the endless recreational activities including golf, fishing, and all the water sports you can imagine, all right in your backyard. 

Buying real estate is a simple and straightforward process in Cayman. With no restrictions on foreign ownership, nor any property taxes, the prospect of owning a second home become feasible for many.

International buyers generally start out investing in a vacation condo/rental property, however given the direct impact of COVID on the world economy, we have noticed a (not so surprising) trend over the last few months with international buyers reflecting on their quality of life. So the shift begins; making the permanent move to enjoy life in a healthy and safe environment.  Why wouldn’t you invest in that?

New and/or existing buyers are either:

a) moving into their vacation home, with the intent on staying for longer and longer stints OR,
b) buying a primary residence with the direct intent on becoming a ‘Permanent Resident’ in the Cayman Islands, declaring non-residency in their home country, without impacting their current citizenship.

Owning real estate is by law a direct means to gaining Permanent Residency, so the concept of “living where you vacation” is being realized by many, now more than ever!

In conclusion:  We feel this is a trend we are going to see more and more of; COVID has highlighted new opportunities where ‘lifestyle migration’ is building momentum. Don’t forget there’s a reason why we live here. Ever thought of asking us why?