COMMON REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS:
What is CIREBA?
The Cayman Islands Real Estate Board Association which oversees the 34 Broker Members that have 164 Realtors. All the Brokers and the Realtors are a part of the MLS (multi-listing system). CIREBA keeps their members up to date with changing laws that pertain to Real Estate. That means you only need to work with 1 Realtor inside of calling ten different Real Estate agents to see ten different properties.
Who pays the Realtor fees?
The seller does. The seller pays the listing Broker, and they split this with another agent if they bring the purchaser.
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty is a one-time fee paid at 7.5% of the purchase price, and this applies to the islands. The Purchaser funds the stamp duty on the sale of the property minus the value of the used chattels/furniture.
Are properties sold furnished or unfinished?
Approximately 95% of all condos and homes are sold furnished. For example, the 7.5% stamp duty is calculated on the price you paid for the property minus the value of the used furniture. For instance, if you buy a home for US$500,000 and the furniture is valued at US$22,489, you will then pay stamp duty on US$477,511.
When do I get to see the Strata documents? Otherwise knowns as HOA or Condos documents?
Also known here as Strata-by-Laws, and similar to HOA or condo docs, that is registered on the title for each condominium complex. You can request to see them as a condition to the Offer to Purchase along with the latest AGM minutes and financial records for the Strata Corporation. Owning part of a well-run Strata or HOA will hold and increase your property values.
What are Strata Fees and what do they cover?
They are like HOA fees. It is a fee charged based on per sq. ft. of the condo. These expenses have been set by a budget, and the cost is for insurance, building maintenance, landscaping and pool maintenance, Strata Management Company, bulk cable packages and ordinary area water and power usage to name a few things.
What happens if a Seller/ does not pay his/her condo fees?
Any outstanding Strata Fees not paid before closing will be deducted from the Sellers funds and paid to the Strata Corporation. Your Attorney will request from the Strata Ex-Co or the Property Management Company what is called a “Section 6.4”, and this will outline any fees not paid and also if there are any future assessments for the property.
Are there title insurance companies or Escrow companies who facilitate the closing?
No, we do not need Title Insurance because Government guarantees the title. However, we highly recommend that you hire an Attorney to research the claim and advise you if there are any liens or problems with the title. The cost is between .55% and 1% of the purchase price.
Is there Freehold land or Leasehold land?
The majority of the land is Freehold, but there are some parcels of land that is leasehold from the Government. Leased property is uncommon, but as your CIREBA agent and also your attorney.
Can anyone own property?
Yes, there is NO restriction on foreign ownership. You can own up to 3 properties in your name, after that you will need to have a license and check with your Attorney can help with that.
Is there Property Tax in the Cayman Islands?
It’s $0.00, and that is not a typo, there is just no property tax charged on your property.
Can I get a Mortgage at a Cayman Bank?
If you are a non-resident, you can obtain a mortgage to purchase. However, you will need anywhere between 30 and 50% as a down payment and a healthy credit score. The banks are very conservative and are prepared to produce a lot of paperwork, banks statement, income tax returns and reference letters, proof of ID etc. Interest rates fluctuate, and cane is between 1 -3% above the US prime rate.
Can I get Cayman Island Residency if I buy property?
Yes, the government encourages investment in the island and if you purchaser up to a certain amount of property you can have Residency in the Cayman Islands. Please consult a local Immigration Attorney. Call us, and we can give you our recommendations.
Are there inspection and valuators companies on the island?
There is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS Valuation Standards), and if you are obtaining a mortgage thru a local bank, they will assign an independent evaluation to value the home based on recent past sales. There are also home inspectors, ask your CIREBA realtor for a list of respected Inspectors.
Can I buy land and buy my dream home?
Yes! You can find that perfect beachfront lot or a canal lot or an estate lot We have many qualified architects and contractors. Ask your CIREBA agent and someone at Engel & Volkers for a few recommendations so you can interview them.
Why does it look like the entire island is for sale?
It isn’t! There are only 1,600 listings on CIREBA. About 800 homes and condos, and another 800 parcels of land over the three islands. There may seem to be a lot of signs that look like Realtor signs, but they are Vacation Rental signs, or names of homes, like in Cayman Kai.
Call one of the top Realtors in Cayman at Engel & Volkers today! Read all about our real estate testimonials of Cayman Realtors and then pick an Agent to work closely with.