To fix, or not to fix? That is the question!

If you are considering selling your property in Cayman, it can be challenging to know which changes would make your home sell more quickly and potentially add extra value to the sale price — and which would just be a waste of your time and resources. Each home (and each homeowner) is different; that’s why we at Milestone have shortlisted 8 key questions to ask yourself before making any improvements to prep your property for sale on Cayman’s blossoming property market.

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General Questions

These first three questions will help you gauge the real estate market of comparable properties and assess the competition of other properties listed for sale.

1. How active is the market in your area? Are comparable properties being snapped up within weeks of being listed, or are they languishing on the market for months, even years? Are homes being sold at or near the asking price, or for much lower? Are open houses bustling with people, or is attendance sparse and mainly attended by nosey neighbours? If your property is not listed and you are unsure of the current market conditions in your area, or island wide talk to Milestone Properties Cayman Ltd and check the local listings on CIREBA’s new and upgraded property portal http://www.caymanpropertymls.com. If it’s a seller’s market, you may be able to get away with doing fewer repairs and modifications before selling, and still have good results — in a buyer’s market, expect to do more work to make a positive impression on those precious purchasers.

2. How quickly are you looking to sell? If you need to sell your home immediately — say, because you have already committed to buying another home — it is in your best interest to do everything in your power to ensure a quick sale at the highest price possible. If you have more flexibility, and you feel uncomfortable making too many pricey changes to your home before selling, it may make more sense to focus on cleaning, decluttering and making small cosmetic changes (like painting) or a thorough landscaping session— particularly if the market is hot and favours the seller.

If you aren’t getting the offers you would like, you can always decide to bite the bullet for a few significant upgrades, in line with Cayman market trends.

3. What is the condition of comparable homes on the market? It can be quite helpful to know a little about the homes that buyers in your area are looking at. Examine photos of homes for sale in your area or offering similar lifestyles such as beachfront or canal front, even attend a few open houses, and make a mental note of how the other homes compare to yours. Are the kitchens and bathrooms updated? Are the floors in good shape? If all of the other homes you see have a certain feature (for instance, an updated kitchen) that yours lacks, consider making that a priority. You don’t need to make your home exactly like all the other homes on the market; just make sure there isn’t a single factor that could give your home a disadvantage.

To Fix or Not to Fix: Deciding Which Repairs and Upgrades Are Worth Tackling

The next five questions will help you assess whether or not to make a specific repair or change before selling your home in Cayman.

4. Do the faulty or tired item(s) give the impression the property has not been well cared for? Leaking taps, cracked tiles, an overgrown or parched garden, broken appliances or anything else that doesn’t work, as it should can immediately turn off buyers. When viewing property, purchasers often wiz through quite quickly, especially when they are looking at multiple properties, and if they notice one or two things that send up red flags, they may not give your home another chance. Also, you may think you home is clean, but do not under-estimate the effectiveness of a professional cleaning crew that will scrub and polish the areas you might have missed!

5. Can you find a less expensive fix? Let’s say you scoped out the comparable homes on the market, and they all have updated kitchens, but yours hasn’t been touched since the ’80s. Rather than spend big on a full kitchen remodel, why not give your kitchen a less costly refresh? For instance, you could paint the cabinets, swap out cabinet hardware, change the light fixtures and upgrade the appliances to something current and functional but not top-of-the-line. You will put some money into it but not nearly as much as with a full remodel — well worth it if it gets your home in the running in a competitive market.

6. How much will you realistically need to lower the price if you don’t fix it? If you have a lot of costly repairs to tackle to get your home ready to sell, you may be considering selling it as is. But keep in mind that buyers looking for a fixer-upper will also be looking to discount the selling price for the repairs plus the hassle. In other words, you won’t be able to simply estimate how much the repairs will cost and deduct that from the selling price; you’ll need to deduct even more to make it worth the buyer’s time and effort. If your property is not yet listed for sale, discuss this with Milestone who can research other properties in a similar state and evaluate an appropriate selling price for you.

7. Is it one of the first things potential buyers will see? First impressions last, and that is never more true than in Cayman’s real estate market! If you have a repair you are unsure about tackling, use this as a litmus test: Is it something affects the curb appeal, and the buyer will see as he or she approaches your house and walks through the front door? If so, FIX IT! AL Thompsons and Kirks Home Centre have a superb range of products and materials for home improvement, and those few dollars invested into updating or repairing your property may add thousands, if not more.

8. Could it be a deal breaker? Some home repairs and upgrades which are now industry standard, like a new roof or hurricane rated doors and windows, are just so major that they will scare off all but the most determined buyers. If the market in your area is hot (see No. 1) and you have ample time (see No. 2), there’s no harm in trying to sell without making the big repair, as long as you are willing to price it accordingly (see No. 6). If it’s a buyer’s market but you don’t have time to make the repair before listing, you could offer to pay for it as part of the sales agreement — otherwise it’s probably best to make the change first and then put your home on the market. The other option that one could explore for the big ticket items is get some quotes from a couple of reputable contractors to re-assure and educate a potential purchaser that its not perhaps its as bad as it seems.

Contact Sophie at if you are considering selling and would like an up to date market evaluation of your property, and discuss further what to fix, or not to fix!

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