While there are likely several reasons you might be tempted to tackle the Cayman real estate market on your own for many this avenue of sale is rarely successful.
Selling a property by yourself might seem like an easy way to avoid paying commission, especially if you have a law or finance background. However, according to the National Association of Realtors in the US, even though roughly 70% of people start out as a For Sale By Owner, these private sales usually aren’t successful.
Real Estate Statistics released in 2017 revealed that For Sale By Owners only accounted for a meagre 8% of total successful US home sales.
That same year, the National Association of Realtors reported that the average For Sale By Owner sales price was $185,000, while the average price for an agent-represented home was $240,000 — a staggering difference of $55,000.
While it’s true, the Economics and Statistics Office in Cayman does not correspond with CIREBA and the LIS (Land Information System) there are parallels between Cayman’s real estate market and the US.
It’s a fact that your agent will make you money and can be pivotal to the success of selling your home. Here’s how:
According to Sophie Miles, Owner/Broker of Milestone Properties Cayman “our focus is to help vendors understand where their property stands in the current market conditions and what the process is.”
In other words, the top Cayman real estate agents have much greater access to local market trends and data. Not only do they have exclusive use of the Multiple Listing System (MLS) and most can access the LIS, they’re able to assess the market, equity of the home, and price the home as effectively as possible in the local landscape — steps that can prove extremely testing for home sellers without an agent’s expertise and guidance.
Sophie recalls several recent private sale scenarios during which vendors tried tirelessly to complete sales using various online platforms. In all cases, the sellers found it difficult to negotiate the sale to contract. In fact, the one vendor that managed this process was unable to get a valuation to the necessary amount for the bank to approve a loan.
Once Milestone Properties Cayman got involved with the listing, they were able to find qualified buyers, negotiate good prices, get them up to valuation and complete the sale.
Perhaps most importantly of all for the vendors, we netted them more than their best offer even after paying commission.
A prevailing problem in this rising market is that we are continually breaking new price ceilings, this would be a challenge for most sellers and realtors, but the valuation experience of realtors like Nick Sellars, Senior Sales Associate has attained over the years has been instrumental in securing financing, and therefore sales.
In anticipation of listing a property, agents add tangible value to a listing by preparing the house to be shown.
Pricing the property correctly, staging the home to be more appealing to potential buyers, professional real estate video and photography, and overall presenting the property with a thoughtfully written and an appealing description that highlights the home’s most enticing qualities are all part of our process. While these steps may time consuming and feel daunting for an inexperienced seller, it’s a process Sophie and her team of professional real estate agents that comes as second nature to them.
“Whether it’s a South Sound condo or a canal front home in the Yacht Club, we execute a full marketing strategy on each and every property,” Miles detailed. “Whatever the property needs, we have the right contacts to present the property. It can be a stager or a cleaning crew, even in this ‘seller’s market’ we know what today's buyers expect and how to get the most out of them.”
Miles recounted one particularly poignant experience she had with a couple in who owned sea view.
“They were determined to sell it themselves, and they thought they knew exactly how to go about it with their snaps and conducting the viewings whilst in the throes of packing up to leave the island. Unfortunately, this suggested urgency, and perhaps desperation to many of the potential buyers” Sophie described.
“They were excited by the ‘Mega Hot’ status they got on Ecay, but they weren’t getting enough qualified buyers through the door and didn’t know handle the ones that did eventually turn up to view. A few fraught months went by, and they then reached out to us. We went into overdrive, moved the packing boxes, a fresh coat of paint and rebranded the home to launch it on to the market and broadcast it across all of our platforms.”
“We sold it in about two weeks, for CI$60,000 more than their best offer.”
Navigating all the pitfalls of the For Sale By Owner process, likely, a vendor won’t know all the intricacies and short-cuts that an experienced real estate agents have spent decades learning.
Sophie, who has spent over 26 years in real estate, and other CIREBA agents have already mastered how to market a home, coordinate with all parties involved, and orchestrate an effective and desirable sale and completion.
“It’s not just dollars and cents that make the best deal, there’s also timing, valuation, chattels lists, holding deposits in Escrow, conditions to the contract, that we have to choreograph,” says Sophie.
Right now, the prevailing problem in this rising market is that collectively we are continually breaking new price ceilings. This is a challenge for most sellers who are inexperienced in the market, but the valuation experience that realtors at Milestone Properties Cayman have — such as Nick Sellars, a Senior Sales Associate — are instrumental in securing financing, and therefore sales.
We understand that it’s tempting to lean towards a private sale in our fast-paced age, but it’s clear that a leading real estate agent’s reach and prowess is unparalleled in the Cayman Islands when compared to those of a typical private seller.
Right from the start, realtors have real-time access to market data to better price your home in the Cayman marketplace and can better coordinate between potential buyers, necessary inspectors, local banks and lawyers.
And, as evidenced by Milestone's experiences, real estate agents are connected much better on social media, they have access to much larger networks both locally and internationally, and have worked substantially in contract negotiations, and have far more experience staging a home for potential buyers.
There’s no doubt that you know your home better than anyone else, it doesn’t mean you’ll be the best at selling it - and how ever well you know your proeprty, we know the market better!
Don’t be fooled into how appealing a private sale may seem on your initial consideration, and much money you might save in commissions, think about how much value an agent can add. You never know just how much you might regret that choice later on!