Whether you’re renting or purchasing, location is just as imperative as a property’s size, layout and amenities offered. The best way to navigate moving house, whether from just down the road or another country, is made much easier by utilising a real estate professional. These wonderful professionals have their finger on the pulse of Cayman rentals and purchases and will keep you in the know and in the driving seat for this challenge!
Your real estate agent can start searching for properties and sending you links to review and offering feedback before you have even arrived on-Island. Once they have a better idea of what you want in the way of budget, location and size they can search properties up until you arrive or are ready for the move. Rentals in Cayman move very fast and places become available and then get leased and sold very quickly! In Cayman, because of the Multi Listing System (MLS) all CIREBA agents can access and show their inventory, meaning they do all the leg work and you can relax and enjoy seeing everything that is available and stay organised with your one agent relationship.
Living in the Cayman Islands is very safe for expats and locals alike. A small country that’s big on international business, education and attracting overseas investment, the local authorities do a good job of keeping things running smoothly. In fact, it has one of the lowest violent crime rates of any country in the world. It is probably the most secure country in the Caribbean and there are no areas of the island to avoid. Cayman has been growing and continues to attract new residents from all over the world. Many brand new options and amenities are available for those who ‘want it all’; as there are just as many options for those of you whose families want a more laid back Island style pace and lifestyle… there’s something for everyone!
Buying and/or building a home is a large and important investment decision and involving a real estate professional is always a very wise choice. Owning a home allows you to invest in yourself! Pay into your own equity instead of the landlords. Renting is a fine option if you are not sure how long you will be here in Cayman and don’t want to commit…but don’t wait too long! Real Estate investments are A+ here in Cayman and you only pay tax at the point of purchase. It is referred to as Stamp Duty or Transfer Tax and is typically 7.5% of appraised value of property less the chattels (moveable items).
Always bear in mind that you are much better off buying a property that offers flexibility and is affordable. This will give you a fall-back position should you need one. ‘Right sizing’ is key. High-end homes do not sell every day in Cayman and they can sit on the market for a long time, so instead buy a good property within your means. If you are going to use real estate for points in your Cayman PR application one day, be sure to speak to an immigration specialist to get all the facts. There are several levels of real estate that are required for different types of residency.
Always shop around when looking for a mortgage. Research your options with various banks as there are a myriad of finance options available which constantly change. Cayman’s retail banks usually do not offer mortgages to buyers over 65 years of age, so start early! To increase your chances of obtaining financing from a bank, you should have a good sense of your future income, have been working in Cayman for a minimum of six months and be in a solid financial position. A general rule of thumb is that you will need a minimum of 10% of the negotiated sum to secure a mortgage. This will include a bank deposit, bank fees, stamp duty, legal fees, an appraisal fee, and also government fees.
If you fall in love with Cayman and would like to stay a while, think about buying a property as soon as possible. There are fairly easy exit strategies even if you plan to leave the Island later; it has traditionally been possible to earn a good rental income while overseas. Plus, Cayman has the advantage of having no annual property taxes. Real estate agents encourage their clients to rent for no longer than one year (if possible). So, avoid being a tenant indefinitely and invest in your own property!
Deposit: You will usually need to put down a security deposit and the first month’s rent in advance. For utilities, estimate approximately CI$100 for water, CI$200-CI$500 for electricity and CI$100 for telephone if setting up direct-debit standing orders.
Maintenance Costs: Make sure the landlord will take care of maintenance costs associated with garden and pool care, garbage collection, pest control and servicing of general systems such as air conditioning.
Insurance: Insuring personal belongings is the responsibility of the tenant.
Furnishings: A lot of units come ‘fully furnished’ (linens, kitchenware and appliances are supplied, as well as furniture). Prior to signing your lease ask for an inventory showing everything that comes with the unit. You will have to be prepared to supplement anything missing.
Pets: Some complexes do accept pets but will ask for an additional non-refundable security deposit, which can be as much as CI$500 per pet.
Smokers: Many landlords will not rent to smokers.
No Sharers: Sometimes landlords will require apartments not be shared, i.e. only one family per unit.
Click here for our checklist of how to prepare your home in the event of a hurricane.
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