What is the process of purchasing a house in the Cayman Islands?
There are currently no restrictions in place that prevent people from buying property in the Cayman Islands. You can be a foreign investor or a local purchaser and have the same ability to own your own piece of paradise with full legal title and no property taxes.
The Search: There are many tools to finding your perfect property, some individuals prefer searching for their own potential homes, while others instruct a Realtor to assist them in finding their perfect home. Realtors are supported by robust laws and professional standards that they should adhere to. A realtor can find a list of suitable homes depending on your specific requirements. Realtors on island work on a multi-listing system that enables any agent to sell any property listed by any other agent, similar to that used in the USA.
The Offer: Once you have found your Property, the first simple step is to submit a written offer. Your Realtor will provide you with the associated paperwork, although we would always advise that you instruct a property lawyer to provide professional advice. Realtors can advise on where your offer should be, given the current market conditions, but for peace of mind, you should always seek the advice of a Registered Valuer, of which there are many firms on this island, Plum being one! You can of course make any offer conditional and if you are not paying cash, it is important to include a finance clause before placing a hard deposit. Other conditions that are common are a home inspection, a title check, legal check and a structural report.
The Deposit: Typically, a deposit is held by the Realtor or in escrow and is refundable, if the conditions outlined in the contract are not met. If all the conditions outlined in the contract are met this deposit will become non-refundable once a waiver has been signed and agreed. Check the terms of your agency agreement as if the sale falls through after a deposit becomes non-refundable, some agents require that a large proportion of this deposit is paid to them.
The Attorney: Attorneys are strongly recommended when dealing with a sale, to ensure that all documentation relevant to the property is provided, checked and registered. Other important factors are checked including that anti-money laundering regulations are met.
The Mortgage: If applying for a mortgage loan, there are a number of local retail banks in Grand Cayman that provide loans to national and international purchasers. Plum work with a number of these banks to ensure the acquisition is suitable for loan security purposes by undertaking a valuation report outlining the Market Value, as well as the Market Value with any special assumptions that have been requested by the respective bank.
The Close: There are a number of costs associated with closing on a property in Grand Cayman. Stamp Duty of 7.5% on the Market Value is required upon close, as well as any legal fees, utility deposits, Strata fees and if you used a Realtor, their sales commission. There is also a 1.5% government Stamp Duty based on the value of the loan. Once you have closed on your new home, the Title Deed will need to be transferred at the Land Registry Office, which typically takes under a month to transfer the name on the title to the new owner.
If you need any assistance buying or selling a property, PLUM can help! We also offer Valuation services as our team has a number of experienced Registered Valuers! Contact us now at email@example.com or call us on +1 (345) 925-4129.