Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is CIREBA?
Answer. The Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association(CIREBA) is a non-for-profit association that provide a professional network for the different real estate companies in the Cayman Islands. CIREBA has grown to have 34 Broker Members with 168 Realtors. The basic premise is that all listings are shared between members and are easily accessible through the CIREBA MLS (Multi Listing System). This means that buyers can select one realtor and stay with them throughout the process instead of having to work with numerous real estate agents. For sellers, it means their property receives wide coverage quickly and efficiently.
In addition, CIREBA ensures that all members are up to date with changing laws that pertain to the Real Estate Industry.
Q. Who pays the Realtor fees?
Answer. It is the responsibility of the seller to pay the Realtor fees. The seller pays the listing Broker and the Broker splits this with the agent if they bring the purchaser.
Q. What is Stamp Duty?
Answer. Stamp Duty is a one-time fee paid at 7.5% of the purchase price and this applies across the islands. The stamp duty is paid by the purchaser on the sale of the property minus the value of the used chattels/furniture.
Q. Are properties sold furnished or unfinished?
Answer. Approximately 95% of all condos and homes are sold furnished. The 7.5% stamp duty is calculated on the price you paid for the property minus the value of the used furniture. For example, if you buy a home for US$500,000 and the furniture is valued at US$22,489, you will be required to pay stamp duty on US$477,511.
Q. When do I get to see the Strata documents? Otherwise knowns as HOA or Condos documents?
Answer. Also known here as Strata-by-Laws and are like HOA or condo documents, Strata-by-Laws are 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 value.
Q. What are Strata Fees and what do they cover?
Answer. Strata Fees are like HOA fees. It is a fee charged based on per sq. ft. of the condo. These fees are set by a budget and are to cover the cost of things like insurance, building maintenance, landscaping, pool maintenance, the Strata Management Company, bulk cable packages, common area water and power usage.
Q. What happens if a Seller/ does not pay his/her condo fees?
Answer. Any outstanding Strata Fees not paid prior to 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.
Q. Are there title insurance companies or Escrow companies who facilitate the closing?
Answer. No, we do not need Title Insurance because Government guarantees title. However, we highly recommend that you hire an Attorney to research the title and advise you if there are any liens, or problems with the title. The cost is between .55% and 1% of the purchase price.
Q. Is there Freehold land or Leasehold land?
Answer. Most of the land is Freehold but there are some parcels of land that are leasehold from the Government. Leased land is uncommon but ask your CIREBA agent and your attorney.
Q. Can anyone own property?
Answer. Yes, there is NO restriction of foreign ownership. You can own up to 3 properties in your own name, after that you will need to have a license and your Attorney can help with that.
Q. Is there Property Tax in Cayman Islands?
Answer. There is no property tax in the Cayman Islands
Q. Can I get a Mortgage at a Cayman Bank?
Answer. If you are a non-resident you can obtain a mortgage for the purchase, however a maximum of up to 70% financing is available. Interest rates fluctuate and can be between 1 -3% above the US prime rate.
Q. Can I get Cayman Island Residency if I buy property?
Answer. The Cayman Islands Government encourages investment in the island. Residency is assessed on a points system considering factors such as occupation, financial stability and local investments. Thus, owning property is considered advantageous to the process.
Q. Are there inspection and valuators companies on island?
Answer. 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 and past sales. There are also a home inspectors, ask your CIREBA realtor for a list of respected Inspectors.
Q. Can I buy land and build my own dream home?
Answer. Yes, it is possible to buy land and build your dream home. We have many qualified architects and contractors. Ask your CIREBA agent for a few recommendations so you can interview them.
Q. Why does it look like the entire island is for sale?
Answer. On average, there are around 1,600 listings on CIREBA. About 800 homes and condos, and another 800 parcels of land over the 3 islands. There are tons of signs that look like Realtor signs, but they are actually Vacation Rental signs, or names of homes, like in Cayman Kai.