The road to buying one’s first home is filled with excitement and anticipation, but finances, fees and contracts can make one’s head spin. Amongst all the technicalities, mindfulness of both everyday practicality and long-term vision is key, as well as optimising your home for the future.
Choosing a Home
Alvin Sluchinski is a real estate advisor at Engel & Völkers. Says Sluchinski, “The savvy buyer will think of resale when they make a purchase, but they want to be comfortable whilst they’re in the place, and they want to grow with the house.” When choosing a home, first-time buyers should consider whether they plan to have children or pets in the future, with need of extra bedrooms or yard space, or the amount of storage required for leisure items like dive gear or grilling equipment.
Specifically in the condo and townhome market, many communities have very precise rules concerning storage on balconies and patios, which may come as a surprise to first-time buyers. It’s important to be well versed in these regulations in order to choose a space that’s synergised with your life.
Says Sluchinski of the Caymanian rhythm, “There’s a lot of outdoor time spent here; that’s why the patio and the outdoor spaces are very important to a decision whilst buying. It’s an al fresco lifestyle. You want to enjoy the warm air and tropical breezes.”
Furthermore, buyers should look ahead towards whom might purchase their home next. Close proximity to parks, yoga studios or bike trails all amplify the future value of a home, whether the current buyer engages in those recreations or not.
First-time buyers are also increasingly aware of and interested in emerging energy initiatives. Max Hillier, chief catalyst officer and broker at Jasdip Properties, explains this building momentum in Cayman. “Everyone who’s buying a home wants to know: Is it energy efficient? What does it cost to run this home? It’s definitely a massive conversation that’s being had.”
In the quest to dream green, buyers have plenty of options. Solar panels, geothermal units and LED lighting may come with high costs initially but provide long-term value and benefit. Hillier advises researching opportunities per one’s community, as well as further tuning your space by designing your infrastructure’s windows and outdoor areas to fully embrace the Caribbean sun and ocean breezes.
And whilst the world of renovation and DIY shows has ushered in a wave of buyers wanting to take on dream projects, buyers should be aware that these can come with a much higher price point than anticipated, creating challenges in their project timeline. Investing in market and product research, and discerning what’s practical, can save first-time buyers much unexpected cost and frustration.
Perhaps the most important advice, however, is to enjoy the journey. Says Hillier, “We have such a powerful little Caribbean island. We have amazing construction teams, design businesses, brokers and real estate agents to help and support you have an incredible experience when you’re buying real estate here.”
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By Jessie Gilmartin