$18,000,000. That is the amount of money my clients and customers have spent in the last 3 months on homes that they have never set foot in; in some cases, on an Island that they have never visited.
Virtual real estate is here and it is empowering a new wave of high-net-worth investor to access Cayman’s Luxury real estate market.
So, it’s no surprise that I’m often asked how people can buy real estate without actually ever setting foot in the property. The reality is that with the right help and expertise at your side, it’s not as daunting as you may think.
As a result of the prominent confluence of global events throughout 2020, including the global pandemic, the most contentious US Presidential election in recent history, the uncertainty surrounding ‘Brexit’, and any number of geopolitical and socio-economic happenings, remote real estate purchases are rapidly increasing. Buyers are seeking opportunities to re-domicile or invest in locations, such as the Cayman Islands, that are perceived as ‘Safe Havens’. Recent international travel restrictions have necessitated these transactions happening remotely. I’ve been helping many clients to buy their next investment or home without physically seeing the property. So, with this in mind, I wanted to share my guide to buying real estate remotely.
When I begin to work with my clients, the first step before anything else is discussing their needs, both in terms of their lifestyle and the property they are looking for.
It’s important to be as detailed as possible, especially when buying property remotely. It’s not just about surface-level characteristics such as square footage or the number of bedrooms but also about the lifestyle that they aspire to lead in their new home and community. For example, do they dream of living the classic tropical island lifestyle? Then I will present options for a beachfront property with spectacular ocean views in neighbourhoods that offer a more authentic Caribbean experience. The more details I have, the easier it is to narrow down listings that are close to your criteria.
Of course, there’s the caveat that the more specific the requirement, the fewer properties will be on the market that offer an exact match. But I like to think I’m good at seeking out properties that deliver upon my clients’ expectations.
Some of the common lifestyle questions I ask include:
Then there are specific needs to do with the property like:
Acting as your eyes and ears, knowing exactly what you do and don’t want, helps me hyper-focus on only showing you properties I know you’ll love!
With your criteria in mind, it’s then up to me to show you my expertise and hunt for listings that match. As a proud member of CIREBA, I have access to their entire multi-listing system which allows me to search through all residential properties that are on the market right now. I do the dirty work of sifting through all these listings to narrow down the properties that will suit your needs.
Throughout this process, I’ll be sharing with you listings that I think best suit what you’re looking for, as well as comparisons on each property, and any other important information such as school proximities and neighbourhood details.
While many Cayman luxury property listings offer 3D virtual tours and video walkthroughs for you to peruse at your convenience, I’ll also do an in-person tour of the entire home with you over video chat. You’ll get a real feel for the home as I tour you around. This also allows you to ask questions, get a closer look at certain details, and take as much time as you need, just like an in-person viewing. I can also record any rooms or details for you to refer back to later on.
Congratulations, you’ve found your next real estate investment! But don’t think that my services stop here. Once you’ve decided on a property, there’s still lots to do. But it doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming as I provide a list of experienced surveyors and lawyers to streamline the closing process.
If your property needs remodelling, furnishing, or a structural assessment, I can arrange these services through my trusted network of contractors, engineers, and interior designers here in Cayman. I’ll take care of the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Author: James O'Brien, Sales & Investment Consultant