Pitfalls to avoid

There are various pitfalls you will want to avoid when buying a property in Cayman. Many, such as unpaid strata fees by the previous owner, will be caught by a conveyancing lawyer during title checks.

However, there are other pitfalls which are less well-known but equally easy to avoid:

Water Bills: Make sure the final water bill on the property has been paid by the previous owner. Though technically both water companies cannot hold you responsible for any outstanding balance, unpaid bills can cause problems

Air Conditioner Servicing: Another thing worth checking is whether the property owner has been regularly servicing the a/c units. A lack of regular maintenance will greatly reduce the life expectancy of air conditioning condensers and new systems can cost thousands of dollars. As a condition of the sale, request that the seller have the property’s units serviced and provide a report on their condition.

Pest Control: It is worth checking if the previous owners have had the property sprayed regularly for ants, roaches and other pests. If you do not have your house sprayed regularly, you will quickly find you have an ant or even worse, roach infestation problem. If you are buying a wooden house, get the house checked for termites before you buy the property.

MEP Report, Home Inspections and Site Surveys: As a condition of purchase, it is very important that you get a Home Inspection and/or a MEP report (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) done on the property, before you finalise the sale. Significant problems can reduce the value of the property. If you are purchasing raw land then a Conditions Site Survey is recommended by a qualified engineer who will assess, among other things, whether your new house will need to be built with pilings, thus hugely increasing the cost of building. More information on what the technician does, and why it is important, is listed in the next section Home Inspections and Site Surveys.

Planned Special Assessments:
If you are buying a condo, a good realtor will request a report from the strata’s property management company that confirms whether any special assessments are planned on the apartment complex. Special assessments may involve considerable costs and you might well be able to get the existing owner to pay for them (or have them deduct it from the sale price.

Hidden Costs:
Ask your realtor to request a breakdown of the monthly costs of running the property in the summer and in the winter months. It is not uncommon for a four-bedroom house on a 1/3 acre (particularly in a windy position) to have an average water bill of CI$650 per month and an average monthly electricity bill in the region of CI$1000-CI$1500+ depending on the month of the year, size of the house and whether the property has been well insulated if the house has Icynene spray foam insulation in the attic, it will not only significantly reduce your electricity bills but help hold your roof together in the event of a major hurricane.