Buying Real Estate in the Cayman Islands
Buying real estate in the Cayman Islands is a complex process. Before you begin the real estate buying process, meet with your bank or financial advisor about your purchasing power. If you need a bank loan, this ‘pre-approval’ gives you the edge when making an offer. This also keeps us on track with your budget when looking for property options.
Banks require life insurance on all borrowers to cover the mortgage (no mortgage protection insurance here). Meeting with and organizing life insurance ahead of time speeds up the bank process and can shorten the closing date. This may make your offer more attractive over another person’s offer.
Stamp Duty (Transfer Tax) is a one-time only fee paid at closing by the purchaser to the Cayman Islands Government. This is all you will EVER pay to the Government for property ownership. When/if they sell, the buyer would then pay their Stamp Duty on their purchase price.
Right now, Stamp Duty in Grand Cayman is 7.5% island wide. Caymanians can apply for a Stamp Duty waiver if they are a first-time buyer.
Stamp Duty is paid only on the Real Property. The value of the inventory included in the sale is deducted from the purchase price before duty is calculated. Duty is also calculated in CI$ so there are conversion rates involved to come up with the US$ figure if paying in US$.
Government guarantees title so you don’t have Title Insurance; land holdings are a matter of public record and ownership is clearly displayed on the Land Register for every property.
General closing costs include Stamp Duty, bank and legal fees, as well as an evaluation on the property being purchased. You can average 9% of the purchase price for this: it’s generally less but this figure will help you factor in all costs so you know what to expect at closing
An Offer to Purchase is prepared by the buyer’s agent and includes of course price, as well as conditions to the offer, closing date, deposit amount. When the offer is accepted, the property’s status is changed to “pending/conditional” which means the buyer is locked in to buy it and must work on satisfying.
Properties can be sold furnished or unfurnished: most existing properties are sold furnished. Pre-construction properties tend to have a furniture package or a referral to a design team for furnishings and décor once the property is ready for occupancy.
Closings can be fast or up to 90 days out from when an offer is made. This is part of the negotiations of an offer and is largely dependent upon the situation; there is no ‘rule of thumb’ and it’s completely up to the parties to determine a date that works for the buyers and sellers.
We assist buyers with transferring utilities, property services and any other vendors or suppliers needed by the buyer at or after closing.
Buying in Cayman is fairly straight-forward but based on English Law so it differs from North American practices somewhat. We provide complete guidance and assistance in every facet of buying. Please feel free to ask us about the process and costs as it relates to your particular purchase.