These are the six most important points to consider when buying Cayman Islands real estate.
- Do Your Research: So, you want to buy a dream home in the Cayman Islands? First, ask yourself some simple questions: Will it be an apartment, house, or condo? How big, how many bedrooms, how about a pool, garage or garden? Do you prefer bustling beachfront, vibrant downtown, something close to work and amenities, or someplace quiet and secluded? How much money do you think you are willing to spend? Browse the listings, tour around, get a feel for what’s out there before you…
- Seek Professional Help: Cayman real estate agents know their market, they’re overseen by a professional association, CIREBA, and they use the internationally known MLS system, where all association agents share listings information, meaning all brokers and their clients have access to information on all available properties in the market. Also, don’t forget that a broker’s services are free to you when buying real estate property in the Cayman Islands, as commissions are paid only by the seller.
- Get Your Finances in Place: Cash buyers make up a large portion of Cayman Islands real estate sales, but if you’re not in this enviable position, you’re probably going to need a mortgage. If you ask a local bank for the loan, then expect to put up a 30% deposit. Paperwork requirements vary but expect a two-month lead time to sort out the loan and be prepared for additional cost items such as bank attorney fees, valuation fees, and some sort of life or mortgage insurance requirement. It is essential when budgeting too.
- Work Out the True Cost: On top of the purchase price of your new home, you should consider the related expenses that will add approximately 10% to the purchase cost of your Cayman Islands property. By far, the biggest hit is government stamp duty, which is currently 7.5% on property purchases. On top of that is a 1% to 1.5% stamp duty on mortgages, depending on the amount borrowed, plus around 1% in legal fees. Valuation fees, insurance requirements, and any structural inspections should also be considered.
- Watch Out for Unforeseen Problems: Structural inspections and background research help reduce the risk of unforeseen problems emerging after your purchase. Make sure the structure, its fittings, and fixtures are in good order, the AC system is well maintained and fit for purpose, that the previous owner hasn’t left any unpaid utility bills, and, if buying a condo, you need to fully understand the strata management’s role, costs, and authority.
- Make the Deal: Finally, you’re ready to make your decision and sign the contract. If you’ve done a thorough job on the five points above, then your chosen CIREBA agent will have arranged all the paperwork and done all the running around on your behalf. They will prepare the purchase offer, coordinate with the mortgage lender, help you with getting the utility bills transferred to your name, and handle the changeover of ownership with the strata management if necessary. Now all you have to do is pack up and move to your new Cayman Islands dream home. Welcome to our tropical island paradise.