There are multiple reasons why selling your Cayman property privately, or “For Sale By Owner’ could be the ultimate false economy. Whilst some reasons may be obvious the most important reasons are usually not recognised until it is too late. Milestone Properties takes a look at the reasons in greater detail for you.
Security: Would you normally let a complete stranger wander around your home or condo? A good agent will always ensure the correct identity of a prospective buyer prior to viewing. Privacy is under-rated too, on a small island like Cayman do you want to show people you know around your home? Or would you prefer an intermediary?
Qualifying a buyer: Real estate agents should always establish the ability of the buyer to proceed, following up on any chain of information if necessary. Too many buyers say they are “cash”, only for the seller to discover down the line that the buyer has a property to sell and a mortgage to arrange. Milestone’s experienced agents are familiar with the many red herrings used by unscrupulous or naive buyers and can quickly sort the tyre kickers from the real deal. We can also distinguish the nosy neighbours from the serious and qualified buyers.
Valuation: Vendors are notoriously optimistic and ambitious when it comes to valuing their property and coming up with a listing price (as are certain agents of course, but that’s a story for another blog!). The price you paid for your home, stamp duty, and the amount you spent on it, are sadly are not always relative to the value of your property. In fact, whatever some agents and even valuers might tell you, even the apparent “evidence” of what has sold nearby can be misleading. In the Cayman Islands real estate market buyers tend to buy by comparison, so your property has to look good in relation to what is currently available for sale. It might appear to be an easy exercise to assess these competing homes, but only an agent knows why these properties as so many other properties in Cayman lingered on the market and failed to sell. If you simply follow the apparent market trends then you are likely to end up on the same heap as other mislead vendors. The most damaging thing would be to allow your property to go stale on Ecay for example, as it is likely not only to take some time to sell, but will probably end up selling for less than it could have achieved had it been correctly priced from the outset. Learn more about how we, at Milestone assess the current market value of your home.
Property viewings: One of the most misunderstood aspects of the sales process is the way in which viewings are conducted. Of course you want to sell your house, but there is a lot of psychology involved here. Anything you say, as a seller, is clearly biased and not based on helping the buyer to understand how your property could fit their needs, because you don’t know the buyer nor do you have any knowledge of their preferences. If anything you could actually make an unintended blunder. Often times sellers try too hard to sell on a first viewing and distract the buyer with irrelevancies. For example how the AC or pool pump works! A first viewing is simply about the buyer thinking “could I be happy here?” An intelligent and forward thinking agent will explore and show the property with the buyer’s needs in mind.
The unexpected buyer: Perhaps the most compelling yet surprising reason to use a real estate agent in the Cayman Islands is a really simple one. Most buyers end up buying a property that is often quite different to the one which they first enquired about. This is because an agent will identify a buyer’s wants and needs and, in working with them, may well offer the buyer a property that would not initially have been on their radar. The skillful agent then helps the buyer to discover areas of compromise, resulting in a successful sale. A classic example would be a canal front property. Most buyers, especially those new to the Cayman Islands, love the idea of living on the beach. However, canal front properties offer excellent value for money in comparison and the added lifestyle factor of having a boat at the end of the property, plus the extra dollars to buy said boat, can clinch the deal. It usually takes an experienced real estate agent to “cross-sell” in this way and specifically encourage the buyer to view an alternative property following an unsuccessful viewing elsewhere. The buyer will of course be very impressed with the unexpected value for money and will proceed to buy a property as a result of the agent’s involvement.
Whilst buyers might say “I’ll know it when I see it” about their dream property, this is far from true in reality and an agent’s ability to understand buyer requirements in depth and harness compromise is a hugely valuable resource that vendors would be unwise to forsake.
Sheer volume: As realtors in the Cayman Islands advertise many properties he/she by default attracts many buyers. The multitude of buyers make a market and competition between buyers maximize your sales price. It may also give you a choice of buyer thereby enhancing quality as well as price.
Negotiations: In terms of the sale itself, whilst there have been cases of people successfully selling privately, it does stand to reason that they may well have achieved a higher price for their property had they allowed a professional agent, versed in the art of negotiation, to handle the sale. Only an agent who intimately knows the local market and current buyer activity can use this knowledge to facilitate negotiations. Then there is also the emotional aspect – could you objectively and impassively handle your own negotiations? Moving is stressful enough without further anxiety. Once a deal is agreed, the subject of holding a deposit in a client trust account, as CIREBA agents are entrusted to do, and maintaining the contract all the way to closing is a whole separate ballgame. What you may save in realtors commissions, both the vendor and the purchaser may have to pay for legal fees in order to draw up an offer to purchase or sales contract. Learn more about the advantages of using a CIREBA agent.
Exposure on the MLS: Entrusting Milestone Properties Cayman– as members of CIREBA with the sale of your property, will mean full exposure to the MLS (Multiple Listing System), a model familiar to North Americans but not necessarily so to those from other countries. The CIREBA portal is consistently top ranked in Google for ‘Cayman Real Estate’ and ‘Cayman Property’, where as Ecay and Cayman Pal are much further down page results and those sites are also much more difficult to navigate and not very user friendly.
Professional marketing of your property and international exposure is also key to a successful sale, especially to luxury Cayman Islands properties, as the buyers may well be looking from afar and they will associate a brand name such as Chestertons, for example, as having an excellent portfolio of properties in the Cayman Islands. Chestertons in turn feature the Milestone Properties listings throughout their network and on Rightmove and Zoopla.
Most importantly, as a seller, this means you will not only have the Milestone Properties Cayman team working on your behalf – and Milestones global network by way of Chesterton’s International – but all CIREBA members will have access to information on your property, and thus can funnel inquiries, and arrange viewings through your Milestone Properties listing agent. This system essentially means that a vendor has the benefit of over 150 agents working for him/her to get the best possible deal, yet only having to deal with one!