Tag: property cayman

A Testament to Cayman’s Strength

2021 has arrived. And in certain respects, the uncertainty and tangle of 2020 continues. But there can be powerful wisdom that comes from even the most negative experiences.

Traditionally January is a time for reflection. A time to take stock, a time to look back, and dare I say, find gratitude for the past year. So that is what I did. First personally, and then professionally.

And while I will not bore you with the details of gratitude and self-reflection (we’ll need some slow-sipping rum & coconut water for that conversation!), I do want to share a professional review of Cayman’s 2020 real estate market and what it means for 2021.

Cayman Real Estate – A long year. A brief review.

Since 2003, I have reviewed the industry movements every quarter, like clockwork. I analyse market-wide transaction stats, list to sold prices, inter-market relations, external pressures, and even average days on the market.

So last week, I sat down and pulled the numbers. Starting with the last quarter of 2020, and then the entire year. And I have to say I am beyond impressed.

In March 2020, at the beginning of lockdown, we all braced for impact. And yet despite the numerous challenges the year brought us, this island nation proved its resilience. The Cayman real estate market speaks volumes. And after taking a brief look at the stats for yourself, you will see why my national pride is at an all-time high.

Recap of Q4 2020 – Cayman Islands Real Estate

Year-on-Year Review- Cayman Islands Real Estate

Cayman’s 2020 Real Estate Stats Summarized

Even though the number of sale transactions was down this year, the total sales value was up 15%.

  1. The overall number of transactions was down but,
  2. The average residential sales price was up 27%
  3. The average value of total residential sales was up 4%
  4. The number of high-end sales increasing by 90%
  5. Land sales value was up 1% yet the average price was up 12%
  6. Supply of listings to market is projected to decline through 2021
  7. Record sales prices throughout the various sectors:
    • Highest homes sale in Cayman history was US$14M (in lockdown no less!)
    • Highest home sale in Rum Point was US$7.15M (in lockdown no less!)
    • Highest canal lot sales in Clipper Bay, CIYC, Crystal Harbour, Baccarat Quay, Diamond’s Edge and on…
    • Highest condo sale prices at Pinnacle, Ritz-Carlton, RPC, Vela, Palm Springs, Windsor Village and on…

*These are overarching stats, please let me know if you would like us to delve further into any particular analysis of your specific property performance.

These bigger picture market statistics are a clear testament to the strength of Cayman. Locked down on a closed border island that traditionally relies on tourism, would have you thinking otherwise, but Cayman has maintained a healthy economy. Real estate is, after all a reflection of, and supported by the stability of our government, the structure of our financial sector, the social harmony, compounded by warm sunsets!

Confidence in the 2021 Cayman Market

What’s the big deal? 2020 is done and dusted. But this impressive level of activity and stability nourishes our confidence in the year’s to come. It is the foundation of the real estate industry. So it comes as no surprise that we are receiving a record number of inquiries from local and international buyers. We all want to shelter in a safe environment. And the Cayman community weathered the storm of 2020 incredibly well, gaining global recognition for strength amid the pandemic.

Team Property Cayman in 2020 – Bucking the trend!

Let me share with you another one of my professional rituals; this one is weekly. At 10:00 am, every Monday morning, our team meets to review sales, listings, potential buyers, and new offers. We discuss challenges and market trends. It is the ideal way to start the week, allowing us to learn from one another, to support each other, and share the journey.

This past Monday our final 2020 stats were tallied. While the year-on-year market stats were stable for the industry as a whole, Property Cayman saw a 30% surge in the number of families we served and a 41% increase in property sales volume (the total value of properties sold).

One of the top-performing real estate agencies in Cayman

I am beyond proud to say that Property Cayman, the boutique firm that Stefan Prior and I formally launched in September 2019, is now one of the top-performing real estate agencies in the Cayman Islands.  We await the formal results next week on just where we ranked.

We are a team of six agents supported by four incredible administrative staff and currently recruiting. We are small but mighty. We work really, and I mean really, hard – but we never look at it that way. We remain grateful to the community that nurtured our success and gave back over 295 community service hours (with plans to double that this next year).

So, after reading the 2020 recap, maybe now you won’t think I am completely bonkers when I say we found gratitude for 2020! It served to accelerate much-needed change for businesses and industries alike. It also reaffirmed a continued confidence in the Cayman real estate market.

2021 Cayman Real Estate Predications

Before I provide my real estate predictions for 2021, let me preface that the real estate market has a series of different sectors – each with varying brackets of price. To an extent, they ebb and flow in their own eco-systems and will react to the various market pressures in different ways. But they are also co-dependent on the other. So, when you ask how is the market doing? Know that it depends on a lot of things. (If you would like a tailored market analysis, then please feel free to reach out.)

New Year. New Home.

Believe it or not, people have real estate New Year’s resolutions. Empty nesters looking to downsize, growing families needing more space, and first-time buyers, all spring into action with the new year. Our team is noticing a significant uptick in traffic. We expect to see a continued flurry of activity throughout 2021.

International Investors

The long-lasting effect of North American and European economic stimulus packages, the inevitable increase in taxation, as well as political turmoil and rolling lockdowns will continue to bolster the international demand for Cayman. We are a safe harbour, providing calm and stability amid a storm world.

The influx of high-net-worth individuals purchasing in Cayman will continue to decrease the supply of properties in the US$2.4M+ range (the magic number needed to qualify for permanent residency by independent means). What is already a hot commodity, will become even more so. In short, we project a shortage of inventory in the high-end residential market.

When it comes to the luxury real estate market, my colleagues and I are sharing similar stories. It is a challenge to secure feasible options for buyers, especially as we are working in an already small sector of a very small marketplace.

Seven Mile Beach has been looking for fresh inventory. And on that note, Property Cayman is proud to bring the new luxurious Lacovia’s redevelopment to the market place, and believe us when we say it is spectacular. The trend to redevelop older (80’s & 90’s) developments will continue for decades to come as it evolves to meet significant market demands. Lacovia only has 30% remaining and has yet to actually break ground!

A Seller’s Market

We are nearing an all-time low in inventory, not just in the high-end residential market, but across the board. On the whole, this drives pricing and values upwards. (Again, please keep in mind, that a large inland condo is different to a small beachfront condo. Just as a Rum Point homes is different to a preconstruction apartment in Grand Harbour. Each of these are mini markets with varying experiences.)

Low inventory, without a change in demand, means it’s a seller’s market. So if you were already thinking about it, perhaps it is time to cash in your chips and list your home. Whether it is time for you to sell and benefit from the current market demand will be determined by your personal property journey. But my advice is, and always will be, to only make a property move with a long-term mindset. This approach will protect the security of your tomorrow.

A Transitional Year

As vaccines take hold, we can anticipate more travel and further opening of borders. This will bring fresh economic winds to these shores. Population growth is economic growth, and whilst many sectors have survived or even ‘thrived’ in the 2020 market, it is not sustainable.

However, even with the vaccine rollout, 2021 will remain a transitional year. Tourism is not coming back quickly, so the return of seasonal workers will be gradual. Therefore, with a shortage of tenants, some landlords/investors may start to get antsy and begin negotiating further on their investment properties. In the more desirable locations, real estate under the CI$500,000 range will remain hard to come by. Whereas in other areas we may see an oversupply and therefore a new level of affordability for entry-level buyers. Not the worse news for first-time buyers looking to get into the market.

2021 Cayman Real Estate Take-aways

My final message to buyers, sellers, international investors, landlords, friends, and family is to play the long game. We all want a quick return on investment but be patient, realistic and be smart. Choose a growth mindset and harness the experience of the past. And most of all let’s enjoy and be grateful for a strong Cayman market. It is resilient. It is confident and all with valid reason.

Real estate is an investment for you and your family’s future. It is the choices you make today (that you can reflect on over a rum & coconut water), that you will be grateful for tomorrow.

Be kind & stay safe.

Celebrating Our 4th International Award

There is no other word for it, resilience. The Cayman Islands and our property market have been incredibly strong throughout the pandemic – and our team is grateful to represent the thriving islands, we love so much, at the International Property Awards this month.

“Cayman is our home. We love these islands, and we work hard every day to ensure we represent them with pride in all that we do. We are driven by bringing like-minded people together to create a community around our love for Cayman, and it’s beautiful real estate.” – Stefan Prior, Property Cayman Associate Broker

The International Property Awards recognize excellence and the highest level of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry around the world. In their 27th year, the awards are the largest, most prestigious, and widely recognised programme, covering over 45 different residential and commercial categories.

At this year’s virtual red-carpet ceremony, Team Property Cayman was delighted to receive ‘Real Estate Agency Website of the Year’.

“Simply put, we love what we do. We are immensely proud to be recognized while representing Cayman in the International marketing arena and offer special thanks to Collective Design for bringing our vision to life. Redefining our approach to industry standards makes digital marketing a huge part of our business and in turn our success.” – Michael Joseph, Property Cayman Broker Owner

Judged by an independent panel of over 80 industry experts for our quality of information, community content, accessibility and overall aesthetics – our team is honoured to be recognized on such a prominent global stage. A big thanks to Collective Design for their collaboration and ongoing support.

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Property Cayman: Redefining real estate.

Innovation and community are at the core of everything we do.

A day in the life of a real estate agent in the Cayman Islands

Have you ever wondered what real estate agents do every day? It’s not an easy question to answer, because there really is no typical day for us. Real estate agents work in a fast-paced whirlwind environment, which keeps things rather interesting. We need to be quick on our feet, ready to respond and react to the incoming needs of buyers and sellers, at a moments notice. In short, no two days are alike. Each day brings its own sets of challenges and an equal share of excitements. It’s one of the things I love most about the job!

Location, Location, Location.

We are not expected to be in the office every day, as our job is first and foremost to sell properties, at the best price, in the shortest amount of time, and that can’t be done from sitting on our butt. We are running around, hopping in and out of our cars, visiting multiple properties and clients, all the while balancing endless phone calls and emails. We are professional multi-taskers and remote working pros.

Real Estate To-Do List.

Here’s a list of some of the things that we do in a “typical” day. 

  • Check CIREBA every morning for new listings that fit buyers’ criteria. 
  • Consultations with new customers
  • Set appointments to show homes 
  • Prepare purchase agreements and present offers
  • Stay on top of conditions to purchase and timelines
  • Schedule inspections 
  • Meet with valuation officers 
  • Stay in close contact with bankers for financing approvals 
  • Negotiate contracts, repairs, etc. with listing agents
  • Monitor transactions through escrow to closing
  • Analyze the market for sellers to determine the market value for their homes
  • Navigate the listing agreement with selling clients
  • Coordinate sign installations
  • Schedule photography and videography session for listings
  • Devise a marketing plan for selling clients
  • Plan, schedule and run open houses
  • Compile pro forma financial statements for income property sellers and buyers
  • Coordinate simultaneous closings for clients who require them
  • Make phone calls… lots of phone calls

Calls are a big part of our day! I mean big. Calls to and from:

  • Lenders
  • Inspectors
  • Appraisers
  • Clients/Customers 
  • Other agents
  • Repair people
  • Our administrative staff
  • Pest control companies
  • Contractors
  • New referrals

Yes, the list is long and makes for long days sometimes. But, we wouldn’t trade what we do for any other job in the world! 

Keep Calm and Stay Organized.

As a real estate agent, we are, in a sense our own “boss”. It is up to us to manage our own schedule and go about our day to day activities, to support our clients and master our to-do list. In my experience, each agent works differently. Some opt for a looser “go with the flow” schedule approach. Others have daily habits and schedules they aim to stick to, such as office work in the mornings and appointments in the afternoon. Personally, I need to plan my days the night before because, well, I like being organized, and it feels damn good to be efficient! Plus, I know I am more effective that way, and my customers appreciate it.

No such thing as 9 to 5.

One of the perks of the job is flexibility. But as you can imagine, a profession with no set office hours can also get tricky. Real estate agents need to be accommodating of the varying schedules of their clients. For example, nurses, doctors, those in the service industry, and other shift work jobs require different hours of attention. As real estate agents, we often find ourselves working very early in the mornings or very late at night, and a lot during the weekend. But it is our job to adapt to the needs and wants of those we are serving, and there is nothing more rewarding than making, what is often thought of as a stressful experience, seem effortless for a client.

Working hard, so you don’t have to.

Your real estate agent should be working hard to make things happen for you at all hours of the day. Property transactions are complex, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see. There are a ton of moving parts and people involved: bankers, attorneys, estate agents, valuation officers, home inspectors, administrative staff, deposit or escrow account managers, etc. Each player and task, even if they appear minor, are crucial to the property closing, and the smallest blip could turn a deal on its head. So as a client, you are leaving a lot in the hands of your agent. Frankly, this is one of the reasons why trust is such an important aspect when choosing a real estate agent.

We are on it!

A real estate agent’s ability to be organized, multi-task, and be “on it” is essential. It is what keeps buyers and sellers coming back to us time and time again. Service is everything in this industry, and at Property Cayman, I am proud to say that we take that to heart. We are passionate about connecting good people with great places today, tomorrow and always. Loving what we do and working with fantastic people are two things we luckily get to do, every single day, at Property Cayman.

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Anyway, there you have it! No day is the same. And if you are ever looking for me, you’ll have the best chance of finding me in my car. Or at Bluestone coffee next to our office on Fort Street, grabbing my fifth (or tenth) cup of Joe for the day! 

Welcoming Digital Nomads to Cayman

The highly anticipated details of Cayman’s digital nomad program have been announced.

We’ve read the government regulations, listened to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism webinar, and spoken to Cayman’s immigration expert Nick Joseph.

Here’s what you need to know:

Cayman’s Global Citizen Concierge Program

The Global Citizen Concierge Program is an initiative which allows individuals who are employed outside of the Cayman Islands with the financial independence to work remotely, to relocate and live in the Cayman Islands for up to 24 months.

Cited as the Global Citizen Exemption, the regulations were gazette on October 16th 2020, under the immigration transition law and will have effect until on November 30th, 2023.

Who qualifies for Cayman’s Global Citizen certification?

Individuals who can provide proof of employment, with the ability to work remotely, and meet the minimum annual salary requirements.

  • Individuals earning an annual income of US$100,000
  • Couples earning a combined income of US$150,000
  • Families with an annual income of US$180,000

Applicants and dependents must have current health insurance, and be able to provide a notarized bank reference as well as a police clearance from their country of origin.

How do you apply for Cayman’s Global Citizen certification?

Applications will be reviewed and granted by Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman in conjunction with the Cayman Islands Border Control. The deadline to apply is October 31st, 2021.

Application Form: https://ourcayman.formstack.com/workflows/gcc_application

Website: visitcaymanislands.com

Email: [email protected]

Call: 1-833-418-1191

The application fee is US$1,469 per annum for an applicant and spouse, with a 7% credit card processing fee. There is an additional charge of US$500 for each dependent.

The maximum period of residency under the Cayman Global Citizen certification is two years. The first-year fee is due upon application submission, and the subsequent annual fee is due on or before the first year expiration.

Cayman’s Global Citizen Bylaws

The regulations stipulation that the digital nomad must be present in the Cayman Islands for a minimum of 90 days in the year and can not provide goods or services to any person or entity within the Cayman Islands.

Cayman’s global citizen certification can be terminated upon the loss of employment, conviction of a criminal offence, or due to a communicable disease or severe mental illness. The Cayman government can also revoke the certification if the digital nomad fails to comply with any of the program regulations.

Impact on the Cayman economy and property market

Enticing financially independent, remote workers to Cayman, will stimulate the economy without affecting the local job market. The program is fantastic, long-awaited news for local businesses and landlords, as the remote workers will need accommodation, transportation, food and other necessities, as well as entertainment.

The Cayman property market will see an increased demand for long term rental units, reinvigorating the price of rentals since our border closure. There is also no stipulation against a global citizen purchasing property, so we anticipate an influx of buyers interested in affordable to midrange single-family homes.

Our Advice: Capitalize on the influx

For many overseas remote workers, this will be a straightforward and cost-effective way to dip a toe into all that Cayman has to offer. They will arrive on the island looking for ocean views and beachside living, so short-term vacation property owners should consider putting their property in the long-term rental pool. This will allow landlords to secure reliable income while the demand for long term rentals is high, and the borders remain closed.

Similarly, the wait is over for property owners who have been unsure of whether to sell. While individuals and families arriving as part of the Global Citizen Program are initially in Cayman temporarily, a good percentage of these will inevitably love the island and end up staying longer term. Naturally, a lot of these will want to own their own homes, and so will end up purchasing. We have seen a large increase in demand for homes in the $1 million to $3 million price bracket, so if you have a home that falls within these parameters and are considering selling, the time is right.

If you have questions about renting your property long term or listing your home for sale, please feel free to contact us.

Maximize your vacation rental property income.

Outside of a pandemic, the demand for short term vacation rentals in Cayman is more than steady. As a coveted travel destination, second home investment properties in Cayman, provide consistent healthy profits for owners – often generating returns in excess of 10%.

The current landscape has undoubtedly disrupted the playing field. While tourists may be dreaming of our white sandy beaches more than ever, travel restrictions and our border closures mean those visits will, unfortunately, have to wait.

Recapping COVID-19’s impact on the Cayman rental market

At the onset of the lockdown period, we were inundated with calls and emails from anxious vacation rental property owners. To counter the closed borders and lack of tourism, we strongly suggested that these property owners switch from short term rentals (nightly or weekly) to long term rentals (six to twelve months). This strategy proved effective at attracting local renters, jumping at the chance to live on the beach at discounted rates. And although the return on investment would be less than the previous year, it prevented landlords being stuck with vacant properties.

Other property owners with more remote East End, Northside, and Cayman Kai locations, have reduced their nightly rates and offered specials to encourage local vacations. With residents unable to travel overseas, this has spurred Cayman’s very own ‘Staycation Nation’. A trend which continues as residents seize the opportunity for a change of scenery, at a discount. We know we are!

The end result? The COVID-19 pandemic caused the average price of rentals in Cayman to drop. This drop is a short-term response. We foresee a rental market rebound once Cayman’s borders reopen and we start welcoming tourists back.

Tourist High Season

In March and April, when property owners first made the decision to offer longer-term rentals and reduced rates, they were holding out hope for tourism to return in time for high season. The winter months, November through to April, when you can’t find a spot on the beach, let alone a vacation rental in Cayman.

Fast forward to today, we are now approaching the middle of October, and the borders fully reopening before the new year is looking less and less likely. The last few government press releases have made it clear that the risk tolerance, when it comes to potentially exposing the island to the virus from inbound travel, is minimal.

If you couple that with the end of the mortgage holiday, offered by the banks, it’s now time for investment property owners to employ a more long-term solution.

Cayman’s Global Citizen Program

The Cayman Islands government has announced they will start what is commonly referred to as a digital nomad visa. A visa specifically designed to attract employed individuals to the island. Bermuda, Barbados, and Antigua have already introduced initiatives similar to what the government is calling Cayman’s Global Citizen Program. The goal is to entice entrepreneurs and other professionals who can work remotely, to set up office on our beautiful shores. These digital nomads would provide an inject of money into the economy, without affecting the local job market.

Positive news for the rental market

After the rental market dip early this year, the Global Citizen Visa Program is definitely a win for Cayman landlords. The demand for long-term rental properties is going to increase, as more working professionals swap their home office for a temporary beach view. This will drive rental prices back up and make second-home, income properties more valuable.

Our advice: Minimize your risk

If property owners continue to hedge their bets on the return of tourism in time for the winter refuge from the north, they may be left disappointed with empty apartments and pockets.

Rather than rolling the dice, owners should consider listing their apartments in the long-term rental pool. This way, they can attract a digital nomad looking to live the beachfront dream while they work remotely in Cayman.

Yes, the monthly rental income generated will be a reduction from last year, but when amortized across the lifetime that you hold the property, it is relatively insignificant. And some money earned is always better than none.

If you have questions about renting your property long term, please feel free to contact us.

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.

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?

Your safety: Our priority

The impact of Covid-19 on our industry has been unprecedented. Showing properties, which has always been core to what we do, was no longer. 

Fortunately, 90% of what we do, can be done online. We have adapted to the current reality and continue to actively offer guidance remotely and online, keeping you apprised of trends, changes and projections in the Cayman Real Estate market.

As of Monday 8th June, with Government approval and strict safety measures in place, our office is back open and we are able to show properties again. We are definitely not ‘back to normal’ but welcome you all to the new normal…😷

Scroll down for new showing protocols and FAQ ⬇

Image: “The New Normal”-
Your Property Cayman team + Pablo 🐕

Update 17th July 2020: Property showings are in full swing and all properties are able to be viewed safely. Whilst restrictions have eased, we are still taking safety precautions- wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing. Prospective buyers and sellers are no longer required to complete contact tracing forms.

Property Showing Protocols –Prospective Buyers

  • Property Access and Contact Tracing Forms to be completed and signed by every Prospective Buyer.
  • Maximum of 2 adults persons named on the PACT form shall be present at the property along with the agents.
  • Prospective Buyers will be required to meet the agent at the property and will not be driven to the property by the agent and must remain in their vehicle until called to enter the property by the Agent.
  • Everyone will wear a protective face mask(s) before entering the property.
  • Everyone will maintain 6 feet distancing at all times.
  • The viewing is contactless, and will not touch anything whilst in the property.
  • Everyone will sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer upon arrival to and departure from the property.
  • Neither the agent, nor the buyers will use the washroom facilities during access.
  • If prospective buyers should develop symptoms of the COVID‐19 virus, or are later diagnosed as having the COVID‐19 virus, they will contact the CIREBA agent immediately, so that the agent may follow the necessary procedures which could require testing and quarantine, to protect any parties that may be involved.

Property Showing Protocols –Sellers/Occupiers

  • Wherever possible, we will ask that properties are vacated for the duration of the showing.
  • If properties cannot be vacated, occupiers must stay 6 feet from the agent and Prospective Buyers at all times. The best way to achieve this is by staying in one designated room for the duration of the showing, then leaving that room when they need to view it.
  • Properties where someone is shielding, self-isolating, or has any symptoms associated with coronavirus (a fever, a new & persistent cough or flu-like symptoms) will not be shown.
  • We ask that occupiers leave all internal doors open, to minimise the need to touch any surfaces.
  • If the property is vacant the Agent is to disinfect the lockbox, all doorknobs, surfaces, light switches and counters with antibacterial/germ killing cleaners after Prospective Buyers have left.
  • A record will be kept containing the names of those who have visited the property.
Image: Property Cayman Agent Safety Kits

FAQ

I am interested in buying or renting a property, am I able to view it? 

Short answer yes, long answer below.

Viewings are only permitted on your corresponding day based on your surname. A-K being Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and L-Z on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

We also strongly encourage prospective buyers to exhaust all digital and virtual options before scheduling a viewing. There are lots of steps to buying a property, and most of these can and should be thought about before ever stepping foot in a property. Click here for a helpful list of considerations and questions that will help get you started. 

What steps must I take before viewing a property?

Contact your agent for the required forms to be signed prior to any viewing.

You must not be showing any flu like symptoms. If in doubt, stay home and reschedule the viewing for a later date. 

You will be required to find your own means for transport to the property, wear a mask and disinfect your hands prior to entering the property.

I would like to sell my property. Can I work with an agent in the current climate?

Yes. Our agents are able to meet via phone, video or in person to discuss the listing process. All documents required can be submitted digitally.

The majority of our industry has exemptions to operate so we are also able to get professional photos, videos and virtual tours done, in order to showcase your property in the best way possible. 

My house has been listed for sale/rent and I am worried about having potential buyers/tenants coming through. How do I handle the situation?

Your safety is our priority. In adherence to the Public Health Law we have implemented strict safety measures for all property showings. See details above.

We also offer virtual tours as an alternative to in person showings. The virtual tour will only require one person to enter your home to shoot the content which will then be made available to any prospective buyers or tenants. Reach out to your agent if you would like to schedule a virtual tour.

Is your office at 51 Fort Street open?

For the next few weeks, our office hours will be Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The reception door will be locked in order to control the flow of traffic in the building so please try and call ahead.

Our preference will be to schedule meetings in an open environment outside of the company’s premises.

If a meeting has been scheduled within our office,  we ask that proper hygiene and safety precautions have taken place prior to entering, masks or face coverings must be worn and social distancing must be respected.

Amidst uncertainty, we do know that this too shall pass. It may be weeks, it may be months, however, if we remain proactive to these changes, it will never be years. And know this — We are strong and able to overcome these challenges as any nation on earth.

As a final word, we say in unison, thank you, to our exceptional medical community, to those who wake up every day with the mission to be a helping hand, the people who are risking their health in providing essential services, and our political leaders at all levels, who are working tirelessly to keep us safe.  The Cayman Islands owe you all our endless gratitude.

Insider’s Guide To Building Your Own Home

Author: Kate Ryley

‘Some buyers don’t even think about buying land or building their own home – they just assume it’s out of their league or out of their means. But all options are worth exploring and that’s why we’re here 🙂 I’ve been there personally, where I’ve been stuck with buying land vs. buying an existing home, and it can all feel extremely overwhelming. I took out a scrap piece of paper and started jotting down the pros and cons, and it really helped me wrap my head around it all. I figured if it helped me, it would be worthwhile to share my thoughts with our potential customers too!’ – Kate 

Pros to building a house: 

Competition:  When you build a home, the competition factor decreases. If you find yourself in a Seller’s market, there is lower inventory. This, combined with more Buyer’s in the market makes it harder to win that home of your dreams! 

Customization: When building, you’ll get to personalize all the details of your house when you construct from the ground up! This is one of the biggest advantages – from architecture to design to furnishings, you control it all.  

Satisfaction: It’s not easy work, so when you’ve completed your home it feels good! It’s an accomplishment in and of itself, and people say there is a feeling of an emotional connection living in a new home that you have created. 

Cons to building a house:  

Time/ Bridging: It takes an average of about 12 months to construct a new build. That time matters if you are relying on the sale of your previous home in order to pay for construction. Keep in mind that you may have to live in a rental until your build is complete (we all know how much we love moving! 😉 ) 

Variable costs /un-expected expenses: Compared to buying an existing home, the costs associated with the purchase and build are not always clear from the start. Expect out-of-pocket costs that are unplanned.  

Stress: Building a home requires patience. It’s not an easy feat! There will undoubtably be hurdles that will take you on an emotional roller coaster.  

Pros to buying a house: 

Convenience: We can simplify the process by helping you find verified properties, guide you through negotiations and assist you with deal paperwork and lawyers. You will be able to close on the property and move in as soon as possible, generally within 60-90 days. 

Turn-key: The fast rate at which you pay for a house and when you move in is incredibly exciting. Plus, you know exactly what you have purchased. You have touched it and felt it – you know what you are getting! 

Costs: The costs associated with buying an existing home are more fixed than variable. This makes it much easier to budget and balance your personal financial requirements. 

Appreciation: The nice thing about existing homes is that there’s history: You can research the home’s previous sale prices, as well as prices of similar homes in the area (known as comparables) to get a feel for whether prices are rising or falling in your area. If the prices for your home and others in the area have been steadily rising, odds are decent that the trend will continue, which bodes well for you if you decide to sell later on. 

Cons to buying a house  

Perfect” may not exist!  You may not get exactly what you want, and you’ll have to forgo one of your checked boxes. You’ll have to prioritize what matters to you most, and stick to those when looking for a home. It is unlikely you’ll get absolutely everything – floorplans, architecture, kitchen design, flooring, ceiling heights, finishes to name a few! 

Appreciation: New homes, particularly in up-and-coming neighbourhoods, are more of a gamble. Without a proven track record of lots of comps, there just aren’t enough data points to really know what could happen down the line. This is also true for all the latest amenities you might request in your home (think self-cleaning toilets). Are you going to see this return in upgrades down the road? 

Efficiency: Existing homes are less efficient and may need various replacements such as windows, doors or heating/cooling systems. Replacements and updates may be our of your budget after purchasing your new home.