The average sales time for a listed home or condo in the Cayman Islands is on average 365 days, that is not a typo, it is one year on average.
I say on average because a Seven Mile beach condo under US$1.5 million will be on the market for maybe 14 days before it is under contract. However, larger home in Bodden Town can be on the market for over one year. Alternatively, a 500 acres parcel of swamp land in the middle of Grand Cayman could be on the market for five years raising our average time listed. Typically, if a home or condo is priced correctly, in a desirable area, it can sell in three to six months if it is presented to the market accurately and there is a lot more than just sticking the home on eCay or putting a for sale in the front yard.
Below you will find 12 steps to help make your home stand out and show ready. List with Engel & Volkers and our Advisors can assist you in getting your home ready to sell, and because of our international exposure, we can market your home worldwide and locally much more effectively than other local real estate companies.
1) Have an Engel & Volkers agents give you a CMA or a Comparative Market Analyses.
Modern technology has helped the Advisor at Engel & Volkers know the recent past sales that have closed in CIREBA and also private sales. We have access to a paid subscription at the Lands and Survey records at the title office in Grand Cayman. We can tell you what your competition is, what other homes are selling around yours and why they are either priced right or priced too high. Then we advise you of the abortion rate in your area. All of these things a computer or a valuation cannot tell you. Don't spend $1000 on appraisal as the evaluator will look at what sold in the area in the past five years, they are only looking in the past, and as you well know, real estate is growing leaps and bounds, so we are not shackled to the past sales.
2) Furnished or Unfurnished?
Most homes in the Cayman Islands are sold with the appliances and furniture. However, please tell you real estate advisors what items are leaving with you. Better yet, pack those particular pieces up and store them until you sell your property. If you love your grandmother's chandelier, and you will be taking it with you when you sell, it is a good idea to buy another one and install it before listing the home for sale. Depersonalize the house, remove as many things as you can so the buyers can feel that you are ready to leave.
3) Finish up any repairs and projects
Are there half-finished projects, is there a cosmetic crack in the wall, or worse - a structural break in the wall. Make sure to fix the problem or disclose this to your agent. Although it is buyer beware in the Cayman Islands, it is not fair or ethical to conceal problems you know. More and more purchasers are getting inspections, and they will find out the issues, so best to fix them before you list your home with Engel & Volkers. A fresh coat of paint to refresh is always a good idea and not very costly.
4) Clean up!
Many buyers or investors are turned off if they view photos that have cluttered surfaces and messy spaces. You won't even get a showing based on your photos. Our Advisors at Engel& Volkers are skilled at helping you stage and taking pictures that make your property look inviting and encourages a viewing request. I know it is hard to keep the house tidy when your family is living there but try to keep it clean and to smell the best.
5) Awesome Photos of Each Room
Videos and photos are what catch the buyers attention, and your property will make the shortlists of homes they want to see. Our Engel & Volkers luxury Photographer is skilled at know what angles to take and the lighting she uses.
6) Make sure your Listing Description is informative
The Advisors at Engel & Volkers Cayman are skilled at writing entertaining and informative listing description. We do not overuse the words such as smashing, brilliant, out of this world, absolutely stunning, absolutely incredible, exceptional, awe-inspiring, stunning interiors, the most astonishing residence, spectacular residence, translucent turquoise ocean views, (Grand Cayman is located in the Caribbean Sea, not the Caribbean Ocean) It is imperative to be truthful and not exaggerate. The advisors at Engel & Volkers Cayman are honest and accurate in describing the property pointing out the unique quality but also leaving room for pleasant surprises when you view your home and not be disappointed. We do not use absolutes such as The Most beautiful home ever.
7) Make sure your listings is on Cayman Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
Our MLS in Cayman is called CIREBA or Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association. If you use an independent agent, who is new or part-time, you start off at a disadvantage. Some of them offer reduced commission but with that comes reduced results. The saying is right; you get what you pay for. The MLS is our workhorse of real estate in Cayman. All listings are showcased here, as of August 2018 we have almost 200 Realtors who can view your property thru your listing agent. Once it is on the Cayman MLS, Engel & Volkers has what is called EDGE where we syndicate to over 1000 websites worldwide and growing, no other real estate agency in Cayman has that power of advertising worldwide. We are apart of a site that goes behind the Chinese firewall!
8) What is your homes ROI?
First of all, ROI is a property return on investment, and this is calculated by dividing the annual income price by the sale price. This will help you come to a listing priced depending on your income. For example, we have a Park Place Condo listed for sale located across the street from Seven Mile Beach. The condo is listed for US$559,000, and the rental rate for a long-term tenant is US$3600 per mth, the strata or HOA fee is US$731, so the NET income is US$2869 X 12 months equals US$34,428 divided US$559,000 you get 6.15% ROI. However, if you put rent this condo out short term rentals or vacation rentals on Airbnb or VRBO, you can earn $300 a night times for say 182 days a year (conservatively). You will earn Gross US$54,600, if you add a few more days say 270 days X $300 you will receive US$81,000 gross, making your ROI 14%, of course, you need to take your expenses off, but this is much better than the interest you are getting at the bank.
9) Promote the property with a Real Estate Flyer
Real estate flyers or as at Engel & Volkers we call the Exposes. These are fantastic tools for getting your property noticed by local realtors and overseas buyers. We promote your property on social media, youtube, facebook, Instagram, weekly email blasts and much more. Your property is showcased on what we call ShopTV which is in all the Engel & Volkers offices in North America; no other Cayman Real Estate company can do that for you.
10) Open Houses
As long your Advisors promotes their open house events effectively, with advertising tactics such as posting on social media, putting loads of signs at each corner on the way into your home, contacting their list of buyers and past clients, and host when is the best time for traffic the results can be excellent.
11) Provide Buyers with direct cell numbers
Many buyers don't want to call the main office number on the sign only to be told by the receptionist they need to call the agent. At Engel & Volkers Cayman we make sure every lead or questions is answered by the agent directly by you calling their cell phones directly. As experienced real estate agents, we can give just enough information and ask discreet qualifying questions to make sure the person who is calling can afford your million dollar property and not waste everyone's time.
12) For Sale Sign are vital
We make sure your Engel & Volkers For Sale sign is clean and placed in a prominent place so that everyone in your neighbourhood knows your property is for sale. Many people drive the community looking at the curb appeal, so if your home is for sale, but there is no sign out front they will never know you are keen to sell unless their Real Estate Agent tells them about your home.
We know selling your property is a very stressful time and we aim to make it a pleasant experience with the least amount of stress for the most amount of money for you in the least amount of time. Call Engel & Volkers and speak to any one of our remarkable 15 Advisors, and that is no exaggeration.
Heidi Kiss, Broker, License Partner and Advisor