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CIREBA, over 30 years strong!

The Cayman Islands real estate industry is a strong pillar of the local economy and plays a significant part in the annual GDP, being one of the top four industries to contribute to our local economy according to the Economics and Statistics office of the Cayman Islands.

There are currently 34 leading Cayman real estate brokerages governed by the Cayman Island Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) with approximately 180 local real estate agents.  The vast majority of real estate transactions in the Cayman Islands every year are brokered via this well established and respected association.  Currently there are approximately 1500 properties for sale in CIREBA valued at 1.6 Billion.

But what is CIREBA?  It’s a not-for-profit association that provides a professional and ethical network to the leading independent real estate companies of the Cayman Islands.  It acts as a central source of licensing and information for it’s members and plays a vital role in the local real estate industry.  The Board (currently nine members) serve on a voluntary basis.  Royalties are paid on every CIREBA sale to contribute to the running of the Associations’s mandate of governing their membership.  CIREBA also provides a website, social media and a print magazine that showcases to the public the extensive selection of properties for sale.

To qualify as a CIREBA member, course attendance and on-going examinations are mandatory requirements.  Brokers and agents must follow the associations strict code of business standards, rules and regulations.  A high level of competence and ethics is expected from all members, at the same time CIREBA conducts on-going educational courses, professional development  and shares annual and mandatory training on Anti Money Laundering, compliance and due diligence in order that agents understand the myriad of tasks involved with helping clients buy and sell homes.

CIREBA recently celebrated their 30 year milestone of growth across the Cayman Islands and, as such, we took a step back in time to take a topical look at other notable events from 1987, the year CIREBA was founded;

There were 508 banks Cayman registered.  The vast majority of the largest banks in the world.

The Merchant Shipping Law and Labour Law were passed.

Cayman Airways began twice weekly services to Atlanta and Tampa.

The Cayman Islands made their debut at the Pan American Games in Indiana.

Eastern Airlines began daily service to Cayman.

A nursery wing was added to the George Town Hospital.

Grand Cayman celebrated the opening of the Hyatt hotel.

The Harquail Theatre opened.

The Real Estate Industry was already showing great potential, the offshore financial markets were growing exponentially, and it was in 1987 that a small group of already well-established realtors decided to start the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association. (CIREBA)  It was their desire to unify the industry and create a higher standard of practice in the local real estate business.  They realized that sharing available property listings was beneficial for all parties involved, as it meant they could consult with one agent who had access to all listings with the ability to co-operate or co-broke with other companies and agents, and thus the CIREBA Multiple Listing System (MLS) was born.

Additionally, the association established a set of commission rates which meant all CIREBA companies were operating at the same fee structure, affording a level playing field.

The addition of multiple listing system (MLS) took the Cayman Islands Real Estate Industry to the next level.  It was the first of it’s kind in the Caribbean region and it created an actual inventory of all it’s members’ property listings which was easily accessible to each member of the Association creating a mutual space to connect real estate members to bring buyers and sellers together.  The MLS is based on the North American System and allows agents to locate any available properties that suit their purchasers’ requirements quickly and efficiently in a standardized format that is transparent and detailed.  The marketplace is more dynamic and efficient for it.

One often hears commentary around our small islands that the real estate fees regulated by CIREBA are excessive.  Research shows that this indeed is a fallacy, as compared to North America and Latin America rates, CIREBA fees are on par or less than industry standard given the cost of conducting business in The Cayman Islands.

Jeanette Totten, President of CIREBA states; “As we proudly look back at 30 + years of accomplishments, hard work and success within CIREBA and the Cayman Islands Real Estate Industry, I would like to congratulate each of the individuals who had the foresight to start CIREBA.  Today we can proudly say that, thanks to hard work, dedication and passion for the real estate industry, CIREBA has strong ethical, well trained and thriving members of which we are very proud.  I am honoured to be President of CIREBA.”

Today, CIREBA can look back over the past 30 years and be confident that it has established unwavering stability and a high standard of real estate practice which is the envy of the region.  Interesting to note is that several other islands including Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas have taken principles and guidance from CIREBA when setting up their Real Estate Associations & MLS systems in recent years.

CIREBA is a community minded body, with annual donations to several local charities including a significant contribution of $100,000 to benefit our new Hospice Care building.

To learn more about the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association, please visit: www.cireba.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buying Procedures

 

THE PROCEDURES FOR PURCHASING PROPERTY

IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

(by Kass Coleman at RE/MAX Cayman Islands)

 

Once you make a written offer and complete it (as purchaser), we present it to the vendor. The vendor either accepts it as it is or can make a “counter offer”. Once the contract is agreed-upon and properly signed up, the property is then considered “pending”.  If there are conditions to the offer, it is shown as “pending with conditions” (shown as PEN/CON in the system).  We can explain more to you about this. You would then proceed to make the required deposit per Clause 3 “Manner of Payment”); work would begin on any of the conditions that were stated in the contract per Clause #5.

At this time, we would contact your attorney (for your benefit and peace of mind, we highly suggest that you use an attorney) to let them know the current situation regarding the contract.  If financing is involved, we will also contact them to see if they need assistance with valuations, sales history, etc on the subject property and keep in touch with all the involved parties to ensure a smooth closing.

After all the conditions have been satisfied and are in writing to the vendor, the deposit becomes non-refundable (but stays in the account in which it was placed, per Clause 4 of the contract) and a firm closing date is set.  A “Search and Stay” is placed on the property’s land title at a cost of CI$50 (US$60.98 and paid for by the purchaser.  The Search and Stay form ensures there are no outside interests in the property. Since Government guarantees all Land Titles (there is NO  Title insurance in Cayman), this is assurance that you are buying what is represented and that there are no encumbrances on the title.

At closing, the purchaser needs to have all funds available for the vendor and any other expenses – legal fees, utilities deposits, Strata (Association) fees, etc. The amount due to the vendor by the purchaser is detailed on Purchaser’s and Vendor’s Closing Statements, either prepared by your attorney or by our office. All parties involved (sales agents, attorneys, property managers) will work closely together to ensure that all aspects of the sale are handled promptly to ensure that there are no surprises on the day of closing. The sales commission is always paid for by the vendor and all items detailed on the closing statements are distributed at closing.  The fully signed Transfer of Land (title deed) documents and Stamp Duty check are delivered by hand to the Land Registry Department for processing.  About 2 weeks later, the purchaser’s name will appear as the new owner on the title and this information is a matter of public record.   Once this is done, we will provide you with a copy of the Land Register for your record.

Other than Stamp Duty, you will owe no other monies to the Government for the entire time you own your property.  Cayman has no capital gains tax, inheritance tax or any other form of direct taxation on property.  The purchasing party always pays the Stamp Duty. 

 

Approximate Closing Costs borne by the Purchaser in addition to the Purchase Price:

 

  • Search & Stay Registration CI$50 (US$60.98)

 

  • Purchase Agreement Registration CI$100 (US$121.95)

 

  • Stamp Duty is 7.5% of the Purchase Property less the value of chattels

 

  • Registration Fees (to get title in your name) CI$50 (US$60.98)

 

  • Legal Fees (if applicable)- usually 1-2% of the value of the transaction (or some firms offer a flat rate)

 

  • Banking Fees (if applicable) – usually 1% of the value of the loan (some banks charge less than that)

 

  • Utility Deposits – phone, lights, water and cable TV, say- CI$600 (US$730.00). (Fees vary depending on whether you will rent out or live in the property)