Having decided that you wish to sell your land or home in the Caribbean for whatever reasons, how do you make your property stand out from other properties for sale?
A jungle or a residential lot?
Land in the Caribbean can become overgrown with bush and vegetation far more quickly than land in colder climates. This growth is even more rapid during the Caribbean’s rainy season (June to November). The costs for clearing your land will very much depend on the size of the lot and who you employ to undertake the task. It is therefore worth noting that a residential lot that has been cleared of bush and vegetation is far more appealing to potential buyers than one that looks like a jungle.
Clear the bush not the fruits
If your land is a mix of bush and fruit trees, then it is advisable to clear only the bush leaving the fruit trees in situ. You don’t know who is going to buy your land, but bear in mind that an overseas buyer may for many years have paid high prices for limes, mangoes, coconuts and other tropical fruit. What could be greater for them than being able to make a smoothie every morning from fresh fruits grown in their own back yard!
Seeing is believing
Where boundaries are not clearly defined by coloured pegs, it is difficult for potential buyers to be able to see how these run insofar as neighbouring properties are concerned. A cleared lot will make it much easier for potential buyers to determine boundaries with the naked eye, which can sometimes help them to envisage where best to position a home on the land.
Lots that are overgrown with bush provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which we all know are responsible for such illnesses as dengue fever and the chikungunya virus (chick-v). No buyers viewing land for sale should find themselves as the ‘dish of the day’ to a colony of hungry mosquitoes. This will be most off putting to potential buyers.
Getting your Caribbean home ready for sale
As in the case of land sales, a well presented home is much more likely to attract interest from potential buyers than one that is filled with clutter and/or in obvious need of a lick of paint. Clearing clutter to present a tidy home will cost you nothing more than time. On the other hand, unless you do this yourself, there will be costs to paint your property. The costs will, of course, depend on whether painting is required both internally and externally. In any event, a freshly painted home (in neutral colours) will always be more attractive to potential buyers, as opposed to one that is tired looking and discoloured. Any hairline cracks should also be treated, as these can frighten some buyers into thinking that the property is prone to more serious defects such as subsidence, when in essence, there are simply hairline cracks that can easily be repaired.
Pay attention to external areas
The grounds on which your Caribbean home sits should also receive attention. Lawned areas should be trimmed and any unwanted items that have been ‘stored in the yard’ should be removed from the property. (Remember that mosquitoes like dark places and where some discarded items collect rainwater, you will be providing them with lovely rent-free homes). Outdoor furniture should also be cleaned thoroughly and any bird or bat droppings removed completely. Garages and carports should also be tidied.
Determining sale price
It is not always easy to determine the price at which your Caribbean land or home should be offered for sale. Getting a valuation is advisable as this will ensure that the price at which your property is offered for sale is neither too high nor too low. If you choose to price your Caribbean land or home for sale based on how much you want to live comfortably or think it is worth, just remember that a prudent buyer will obtain an independent valuation which will show that your sale price is way in excess of the current market value for similar land or homes in that area. Sellers who do this will often find that their properties take a very, very long time to sell, if at all.
There is nothing more distracting for potential buyers than viewing property images showing people and/or vehicles. If your real estate agent has taken such photos, which any agent worth their weight in salt should never do, then you should insist on them taking fresh photographs of your property minus people and/or vehicles.
Getting your Caribbean home ready for sale
As a seller of land or a home in the Caribbean, you will not only want to find a buyer quickly, but you will also want to ensure that you receive as close as possible to your asking price. If your property is poorly presented, then you cannot expect a buyer to fall in love with it. In order to sell quickly and for top dollars your land or home will need to ‘stand out from the crowd’. Remember that it is what the potential buyer sees and feels that matters above all else. How you got the property, what you went through during ownership of the property and your sentimental ties to the property should all take second place.
Presentation is paramount when selling land or homes anywhere in the world and selling land or homes in the Caribbean is no exception. You should therefore ‘dress’ your land or home for sale in the Caribbean as you would dress yourself when going to church on Sundays!
Article by Maureen Smith, Caribbean Property Consultant – Published in the April 2015 issue of The Phoenix Newspaper.