Buy in Cayman


Are you thinking about purchasing real estate in the Cayman Islands? Buying a home is probably the largest and most difficult financial and emotional decision you will ever make. However, RE/MAX Cayman Islands makes it easy.

The Cayman Islands real estate market is diverse and unique in many ways; therefore, it is important you are confident the broker or real estate agent in Cayman you have chosen will provide you with the most accurate market information. The agent should also be attentive to your needs and desires and help you make sound decisions. Whether you are looking to purchase your first home, a holiday retreat or Cayman Islands commercial property, a RE/MAX© Sales Associate can help you through the entire process of buying a home, starting with the mortgage and continuing right through closing -- and beyond.

Buying property in the Cayman Islands is a relatively easy and uncomplicated process open to local residents and foreign investors alike. The real estate transaction can be completed in just a few days with the right guidance from a RE/MAX© Sales Associate and all the appropriate papers in place. Unique to Cayman is the 'one time only' property stamp duty (purchase tax). Whether you purchase a home or condo in the Cayman Islands, property owners do not have to pay annual property or sales taxes, inheritance or death tax.

Guide to buy in Cayman

Contact a Real Estate Agent

A RE/MAX© Sales Associate can help you through the entire process of buying a home, starting with the mortgage and continuing right through closing - and beyond. He or she can help you shop for the best interest rate and terms and, if you wish, suggest mortgage lenders.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

Shop around for a mortgage with several lenders. Your RE/MAX© Agent can provide you with a list of banks that provide lending services. Contact several lenders and determine which one will give you the best deal. With pre-approval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level. Being pre-approved when dealing with a potential seller, gives you a distinct advantage, as he or she will know you're one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage. It also avoids disappointment and saves you time as you won't be looking at properties out of your reach. Determine Your Price Range and Area(s) in Which You're Interested By now you should have a good idea of how much home you can afford. This helps you narrow down your home search. You should also begin researching the neighborhoods in which you might want to live. Your RE/MAX© agent can help and provide you with information on Cayman's neighourhoods. Decide Which Amenities and Features You Must Have - and Which Ones Would Be Nice but not Necessary Make a list! How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want? Would you prefer a newer home or an older one with established landscaping? Are hardwood floors a must? Is an updated kitchen important to you? Walk-in closets? A Pool? Which features would you be willing to give up if you find the otherwise-perfect home?

Begin Testing the Market

Right here on, you can find listings that meet your criteria as well as neighborhood data. Identify properties that seem to be fits for you, take an afternoon and go on a driving tour. See what's available in your price range and explore neighborhoods. With Your Agent, Begin Seriously Looking at Homes Your agent can add to the list of homes you've already identified - including ones that have just come on the market. Look at homes with a critical eye - does the floor plan work for you, is the property in good condition, would it be right for your lifestyle? In short, can you imagine yourself and your family living there? Take notes at each home you visit. What do you like and not like? Narrow down your choices; re-visit homes in which you're interested. See them at different times of the day.

Make an Offer

When you've identified the home you want to buy, be prepared to help your agent prepare a written offer quickly. Your agent will be familiar with market values and will help you arrive at a price that gives your offer the best chance of being accepted. At this stage, try not to become emotionally attached to a home. Your offer may not be accepted for any number of reasons. Have backup homes in mind. Be prepared to negotiate through your agent with the sellers.

Once Your Offer Is Accepted:

  • You'll be asked to submit an earnest money deposit that usually isn't refundable.
  • Begin making moving arrangements (select a mover, obtain change-of-address cards, inform friends and relatives).
  • Have the property professionally inspected.
  • If necessary, request repairs.
  • Obtain homeowner's insurance.
  • Contact utilities (phone, water, power, etc.).
  • A few days before closing, stage a walk-through.
  • Obtain a cashier's check for the down payment and closing costs.

At Closing:

  • Make sure the terms and conditions of the loan statement are correct.
  • Carefully read everything before you sign.

Understanding MLS

The Multiple Listing System (MLS) may be familiar to those of you from the USA and Canada, but may be a bit of a mystery to those from elsewhere. The basic idea of the MLS is that all the CIREBA Member firms have agreed to share their property listings and work together on all MLS real estate. This means that you can view and buy any property in this magazine through any CIREBA agent, not just the listing broker or agent. Just contact the agent or broker of your choice and quote MLS the number for any of the properties that catch your eye. It’s as simple as that!

You do not have to make endless visits to different broker firms. As a seller, listing your property with a CIREBA agent means that you not only have that particular firm working for you, all the other Members also have the access to sell your listing through the – that’s 29 firms and over 180 agents working to make your sale, through that one CIREBA listing!

CIREBA performs a self-regulatory role for its Members; all MLS real estate transactions carried out by its Members are subject to CIREBA Rules and to the scrutiny of the Association's Board of Directors. The Association aims to ensure fair, straightforward and trouble-free property transactions for anyone doing business with any CIREBA Members.

Whether you are buying or selling real estate, dealing with a CIREBA Member is your assurance of dealing with a trained, qualified professional who is working under a precise set of Rules and Regulations and whose business is conducted under the strict CIREBA Code of Ethics.

Stamp Duty Rates

The rate of Duty payable is 7.5% across the whole of the Cayman Islands, including Little Cayman and Cayman Brac UNLESS the purchaser is Caymanian AND a first time buyer where concessions in some areas may be available subject to certain qualifying criteria being met (see below);

To qualify as Caymanian, supporting information must be provided. A company purchasing property does not qualify as Caymanian, regardless of ultimate ownership.

Schedule of Stamp Duty rates

Rate Document Type Affected Areas
7.5% of consideration of Market Value, whichever is higher Purchase Agreement, Assignment, or Transfer of Land (RL1 Form) All areas within the Cayman Islands, including Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

Rates for First Time Caymanian Purchasers

Reduced Rates of Stamp Duty may be available to Caymanians purchasing raw land for the construction of a residential dwelling, or an existing residential dwelling, including condominiums, where the purchaser is Caymanian (as defined in the Immigration Law (2007)), and can provide supporting documentation. The purpose of the concession is to provide Caymanians with the opportunity to establish themselves on the property ladder, and is specifically designed to avoid speculative acquisitions. This concession is not automatic, and an application must be made to the Minister of Finance. Application information can be obtained from the Application Form for First Time Caymanian Purchasers (PDF, 277 Kb, 3 pages) or by contacting the Minister of Finance's Office, Government Administration Building, Grand Cayman, or from District Administration, Cayman Brac.

If approved, concessionary rates of Duty will apply. A restriction will be placed on the property preventing further sale for a period of 5 years. In the event that a sale does occur within that time period, the purchaser will be required to pay the rate of Duty prevailing at the date of purchase.

First Time Caymanian Purchasers Caymanian Purchasers ‘Caymanian' is defined by the Immigration Law (2007) as amended Subject to confirmation and conditions laid down by The Financial Secretary to prevent exploitation of this concession

Rate Document Type Affected Areas
Of consideration or Market Value, whichever is higher
Transfer of Land (RL1 Form) For bare land purchasers up to CI$100,000 in value (providing an owner occupied house is to be constructed)
For Houses, Apartments or other dwelling purchases up to CI$300,000 in value, for owner occupation
Applies to all areas except parcels located within the following Blocks:
OPY, 5D, 10A, 10E, 11B, 11C, 11D, 12D, 12E, 13B, 13C, 13E, 14BG, 14BH, 14BJ, 14CJ, 17A, 18A, plus;
5C and 12C (where the parcel has water frontage, or is derived in the future from a parcel which has water frontage on 1 July 2006, and;
13D where the parcel has frontage to Eastern Avenue, and;
13EH where the parcel has road frontage to West Bay Road, Eastern Avenue, or North Church Street.
Of consideration or Market Value, whichever is higher
Transfer of Land (RL1 Form) For bare land purchases above CI$100,000 in value but not exceeding CI$150,000 (providing an owner occupied house is to be constructed)
For Houses, Apartments or other dwelling purchases above CI$300,000 in value but not exceeding CI$400,000 in value, for owner occupation.
Applies to all areas except those specified within the 0% rate above.

Estimated Closing Cost

Condominiums Estimated Cost
Buyer's Attorney Usually 0.5 - 1% of purchase price
Bank's Fee Depends on size of mortgage, usually 3 percent points of amount borrowed (1% goes to attorney who draws up mortgage/legal documents, 1% to the bank, and 1% to Government as a Stamp) if mortgage is over CI$300K (check figure) then 1.5% goes to gov't
Stamp Duty Depends on area, and if Caymanian or not... varies between 4 & 7.5% of purchase price less value of chattels (Seven Mile Beach is always 7.5% whether Caymanian or not)
Land Registry Fee CI$ 50 for Official Search, CI$50 for Transfer to Purchaser's name, CI$100 for Purchase agreement registration
Surveyor Also varies, approximately CI$700-900