How does a real estate agent operate in the Cayman Islands in comparison to systems in the US and UK?
Agents in the Cayman Islands operate very similar to those in North American. As they also have a Multiple Listing System whereby all agents share all listing information from not only other agents, but also other companies. The fees are agreed upon before hand and are the same across the board.
This is very different from real estates agents operating in Europe, as they do not have a Multiple Listing System. For example, let’s say you are looking for a property in Fulham, England. You are likely to work with 10-15 different agencies just to see the homes, as they do not share listings or information. And in some cases they do not even share them among their own branch offices. These fees are not agreed upon and vary with each independent company
What are the qualities in a real estate agent that a customer should immediately look for?
Find someone you like and trust. This person will be responsible for advising you and getting you accurate and up to date information. A knowledgeable agent will have his finger on the pulse of the market and be able to provide you with invaluable information and immediate service over the years of your relationship.
How important is it for a real estate agent to maintain their relationship with a customer?
This is the most important aspect of our business because lives changes. You need to establish relationships with your client and customers over the long term. They will come to trust you and rely on your input for their investments in property. The intent is that you become their agent of choice for life.
Everyone will buy at least once in their lives. In the Cayman Islands we get an opportunity to work with individuals who do this as their primary means of investing. For some buyers, this will be the most important investment/s they will ever make, therefore it is key that they have an agent who is reliable and gives them accurate information.
Do all CIREBA members get access to a pool of properties for sale? How does this work?
As an agent of a member company of CIREBA, each agent has access to the association’s data base where all the property information, historical and statistical information is housed. This allows them to view all previous sales, past listings and current properties. With this information then can advise their clients on what price to list their property (taking into account the market indicators). This is how agents can provide their customers with all the relevant information on what price a property is listed for and what features the property has to offer. They also have access to almost 1600 current listings on all three islands.
What qualifications do they need to have (and maintain) as a member company of CIREBA?
All members must undergo the CIREBA training course and pass all three segments of their exams. They are subject to the rules and regulations which are enforceable by fines and even dismissal. The association is also in the process of developing further on going education and examinations every two years, so that we can ensure they are up to speed with new laws and regulations.
What qualifications does a real estate company need to set up shop within CIREBA?
Any company can apply to CIREBA for membership. These companies must meet a host of CIREBA’s requirements. The Board of Directors will review their application and make a decision at the board’s discretion.
Who does he/she represent and who pays the real estate agent’s fees?
There are two sides to every deal, the buying side and the selling side. An agent can only represent the selling side and has a fiduciary responsibility to their client. If you are working with the buyer, they are called the customer or purchaser; if you represent the seller they are called the client. The client always pays the agent fees; while the customer always pays the closing costs (i.e. transfer fees, stamp duty, etc.). It is in the customer’s best interest to pay these fees so that the property can get transferred and registered in their name/s.
How do agents of buyers and sellers interact in Cayman and who gets paid what fee?
In Cayman we have a varied range of buyers and sellers from all over the world. The agents do all the work in securing an Offer to Purchase Agreement and provide all the information necessary for a successful closing. In some cases, this means creating an arm’s length situation so that if there are any concerns they can be handled agent to agent. At no time should a buyer’s agent or customer contact the vendor directly. All the agents within CIREBA have a great working relationship, and adhere to the Rules and Regulations and the Code of Ethics. The fees between the CIREBA members are split 50 on the buying side/50 on the selling side.