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All You Need To Know About Property Valuation in Cayman

Crighton Properties  |  March 01, 2024

All You Need To Know About Property Valuation in Cayman

Everyone thinks of ROI before investing, be it a property investment or investing in valuable assets. Understanding how property values work in such a highly lucrative industry of real estate is crucial. These evaluations, which capture the essence of a property's value, are a huge factor in determining the buying and selling process.

In this write-up, we'll dive into why property values matter, shedding light on the detailed process specific to the Cayman Islands.

A property valuation is like a close-up checkup done by an expert called a Chartered Surveyor. They assess many aspects that affect how much a property is worth. Think of it as a smart guide, like a compass, to help both buyers and sellers navigate the complex world of real estate. This evaluation is the solid foundation upon which smart decisions about infrastructure are built.

The Purpose of Property Valuation

  • Role in Mortgage Processes
    One of the primary purposes of property valuation surfaces in the context of mortgage processes. Financial institutions often require a valuation when extending loans for home purchases. This step ensures that the property's appraised value aligns with the loan amount, providing a level of assurance for both the lender and the buyer. In the Cayman Islands, where 80% of valuations are prompted by mortgage requirements, this becomes a crucial prerequisite in the real estate journey.
  • Assurance for Buyers and Sellers
    Property valuations offer a profound sense of assurance to both buyers and sellers. Buyers gain confidence that the amount they are investing aligns with the fair market value. For sellers, it provides a guide on how much their property could attain in the current market.
  • Beyond Home Purchase
    Property valuations play a significant role in refinancing. They help figure out how much your property is worth now, which is important for adjusting your mortgage terms. Additionally, property valuations serve essential roles in estate planning, and dispute resolution. It is crucial to seek accurate and professional advice in such scenarios. 

Top 6 Factors Considered in Property Valuation

  • 1. Property Age:

    Surveyors carefully look at how old a property is because it directly affects how good it is, what people think about it, and if it can be improved. 

  • The current condition of the property really matters when you’re trying to figure out its value. You need to see if everything is in good condition and if there have been any recent improvements or repairs.

  • Larger properties often command higher values, but the configuration of the space and its utilization also come under scrutiny.

  • The geographical location is a key determinant, reflecting proximity to amenities, the desirability of the neighborhood, and potential for future development or economic growth.

  • Surveyors conduct a comprehensive analysis of comparable properties that have recently been sold in the vicinity. This comparative approach helps in gauging the property's market value relative to similar real estate transactions.

  • Defining the worth of a property is a careful and important process. It's not just about looking at the property; it's also about studying various details, i.e., recent sales price, unique features, age, size and more.

Cost of Property Valuation

In the Cayman Islands, the standard land valuation typically ranges from CI$475 to CI$500. When assessing residential properties, the valuation process takes into account various factors such as location, size, and amenities, which collectively influence the overall appraisal of the property.

  • Standard Costs in Cayman:
    The starting cost is around CI$675, with variations based on size and complexity.
  • Responsibility for Costs:
    Usually, the person who opts for or needs the property valuation has to pay the charges. If the buyer's bank says they need it, or if it's mentioned in the offer to purchase, then the buyer will have to bear the cost. Similarly, if a seller requests the valuation, they are responsible for the associated fees.

When Does Property Valuation Happen?

  • Offer to Purchase:
    The property valuation in the Cayman Islands is initiated upon mutual agreement between the buyer and seller to proceed with the property transaction. This pivotal agreement serves as the foundation for subsequent steps in the buying or selling process of a property.
  • Bank's Appointment of Surveyor:
    Following the consensus between the buyer and seller, and subsequent approval from the buyer's bank, the responsibility for property assessment shifts to the bank. The bank appoints a qualified professional, known as a Surveyor, to conduct a thorough evaluation and determine the property's fair market value. This meticulous process ensures that the assessment aligns with industry standards and regulations.

Insights from a Surveyor's Site Visit

  • What does a Valuer examine?

    During a site visit, the valuer meticulously evaluates several aspects of the property:

    • Size: Measurement of the property's square footage.
    • Condition: Examination of the overall condition, including any necessary repairs or maintenance.
    • Specifications: Noting any upgrades, renovations, or unique features.
    • Additional Features: Assessment of amenities like pools, pavilions, docks, etc.
    • Layout and Design: An understanding of the property's layout and key design elements.
  • To facilitate an accurate valuation, property owners can take certain preparatory measures:

    • Access: Ensure easy access to the entire property for accurate measurements.
    • Minor Repairs: Address minor repairs or maintenance issues before the valuer's visit.
    • Provide Details: Offer information on updates or renovations, such as hurricane-grade windows, new roof installation or remodeled kitchens and bathrooms.
    • Sales Information: Inform the valuer about any recent private sales, as these may not be immediately reflected in the public database.
  • Real estate agents serve as essential collaborators in property transactions. They work closely with experts called Chartered Surveyors to determine a property’s worth. This teamwork is crucial for helping buyers and sellers understand and navigate all the tricky parts of real estate deals with clear and confident decisions.

  • The teamwork between Valuers (those who figure out property values) and real estate agents is based on having similar goals. Real estate agents share important information with valuers, like market updates, recent sales, and details about the property. This collaboration ensures the property value is figured out accurately and is more relevant.

  • Real estate agents contribute significantly to the property valuation process by:

    • Offering information on the number of viewings, offers, and market insights.
    • Providing context on comparable sales, helping valuers understand the dynamics of the local market.
    • Sharing their expertise on list price rationale based on property features and market demand.
  • When there's a property valuation gap, it means the expert's (Chartered Surveyor) value and what the buyer and seller agreed to pay don't match. This difference can be a bit concerning for both parties in the deal.

    • Differing perspectives on the property's condition or value-adding features.
    • Varied assessment methods between valuers, influenced by subjective interpretations.
    • Lag in official records reflecting recent market changes, impacting the accuracy of comparable sales data.
    • Comparable Sales: Provide information on recent private sales or offers that might not be reflected in public records.
    • Second Valuations: Commissioning a second valuation from a different valuer can offer an alternative perspective.
    • Contract Renegotiation: Real estate agents can guide buyers and sellers in renegotiating the terms of the offer based on the valuation report, finding a middle ground that satisfies both parties.
      Navigating property valuation gaps requires open communication, negotiation skills, and a collaborative approach between all parties involved.
  • The saying "it's better to prevent a problem than fix it later" makes sense when it comes to property valuations. It's a good idea to get expert advice. It helps determine how much a property is worth right at the beginning of the buying or selling process. This early information helps them make smart decisions, so there are fewer chances of unexpected issues or differences later on.

Tips for Buyers and Sellers Closing the Gap

Navigating a property valuation gap requires finesse, communication, and a collaborative approach. Specific advice for both buyers and sellers can pave the way for constructive negotiations, ensuring a balanced and fair resolution.

For Buyers:

Engage in open communication with the seller, discussing the valuation report openly and professionally. Consider the property's long-term investment potential and evaluate whether bridging the valuation gap aligns with your financial goals.

Work closely with your real estate agent to strategize negotiation points that acknowledge the concerns of both parties.

For Sellers:

Be receptive to buyer concerns and open to renegotiating terms based on the valuation report. Leverage your real estate agent's expertise to present compelling market insights and features that justify the property's value.

Property valuation goes beyond real estate transactions; it's a vital step to maintain your property's value in the market. Whether you're a resident or an investor, actively participating in each step of the valuation process with the help of a professional advisor/agent provides detailed insights into how your property's value has been evaluated. By embracing ongoing evaluation, you can navigate the real estate landscape, ensuring your assets remain resilient and well-positioned in the market.


Real Estate Company Based in the Cayman Islands

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