Buying and selling real estate in the Cayman Islands
Whether you are buying your primary residence, vacation home, or investment property, the Cayman Islands are an easy and secure place for all real estate transactions. The Cayman Islands operates the Torrens system of land registration, which is also in operation in Canada and Australia, and this system is generally considered to be simple and effective. In addition, there is the so-called “statutory guarantee” of title whereby the Government of the Cayman Islands will pay compensation to any person who suffers a loss due to an error in the Land Register which cannot be rectified. On the basis of this so-called “statutory guarantee”, obtaining title insurance is generally considered unnecessary in the Cayman Islands.
A short conversation with one of our knowledgeable agents can help you understand the process for buying and selling real estate in the Cayman Islands. Generally speaking, the transaction takes place in two stages leading up to exchange of contracts and closing (or “completion”). The form of contract used will set out the terms and conditions of the transaction and the most commonly used contract is the standard agreement promulgated by the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (or CIREBA). Closing will occur at exchange of contracts, at which point title to the property is transferred from seller to buyer and recorded at HM Land Registry.
After you have made the decision to buy property in the Cayman Islands, you must first find that perfect property. Our agents will help you with finding a property (condo, house or land) which will best suit your preferences and lifestyle whether it is based on location, size or price range. Our agents are available at any time to meet with you to help you search for that property and make arrangements for showings. Azure Realty is a member of CIREBA and therefore has access to CIREBA’s multiple listing system (MLS) which lists a large proportion of the properties for sale in the Cayman Islands. This allows our agents to do desk top investigations to narrow the field of properties to those which fall within the client’s chosen parameters and therefore saves the client an enormous amount of time and energy which might otherwise be wasted on looking at unsuitable properties.
Once you have found the property you would like to purchase, an agent can assist you in moving the transaction forward. When both parties have agreed on the price, the purchaser is usually required to pay a deposit as a sign of good faith and part payment of the purchase price (generally, 10% of the agreed purchase price). Closing and transfer of the property can take place rapidly but the process usually takes in the region of 30 to 45 days. The closing date will be a term of the contract for sale and purchase so that each party is fully aware of the time frame in which they must operate.
There is a one time transfer tax in the Cayman Islands, which is called “stamp duty”. Stamp duty is payable at various rates but the usual rate applicable is 7.5% or 6% of whichever is the higher of open market value or price paid as at the date the transfer is executed.
After closing the sale, we will be more than happy to assist you with logistics such as setting up utility accounts, where to buy furniture, shipping options to the Cayman Islands and help you settle into your new home!
When it comes to selling your property, we are here to help you and make it an easy and successful sale. Contact us with information about your property and we can guide you and advise you on what direction to take with marketing and setting an asking price.
Our knowledgeable agents will research past comparable sales by accessing information on the MLS and at HM Land Registry and combine that with their know and experience to come up with the best strategy to sell your property at the highest possible price in the shortest period of time.
After you have decided on an asking price, you will need to sign a standard Listing Agreement. The Agreement is valid for a minimum of one year with an option to renew for six month periods after that. All owners who are listed on the Land Register must sign the Listing Agreement.
Once both sides have agreed on the purchase price, we will work with an attorney to prepare documents and handle details to ensure a quick and trouble free transfer from you to the new owners. If you do not have a local attorney we can make recommendations.