A new era for the real estate industry

The digital age

The digitalization of the real estate industry is happening just as quickly as in any other industry. Improvements in the transfer of property and the closing of real estate transactions is currently taking place, with such transactions soon moving to an online system. Moving to an online method for legal processes within our industry has been the point of focus for a committee of real estate and conveyancing professionals and government representatives. We can see real progress being made, with the goal soon to be achieved of creating an easier, quicker and more cost-effective method for closing transactions for everyone concerned.

I am pleased that such forward-thinking steps are being taking within the real estate industry, yet I cannot help but think that digitalization still does not lead to less paperwork, or even more security. In particular, I am concerned about the possibility of information being disrupted, essentially, of data becoming vaporized. Data, it seems, is becoming reduced to literally an electronic pulse, one which I am concerned could evaporate in an instant. As much as people talk about the security that surrounds digital information, there always seems to be someone who is able to hack into that information. It is therefore a real concern, not that the information is so private but rather the inconvenience of losing it and what that means.
The cost of digitalizing the way we do business is another drawback to this progress. The licensing process for software is one example. Securing the security is another. I have at present 85 different passwords that I need to remember in my daily life. Storing these passwords securely is therefore another worry.

While I am pleased at digital progress speeding up processes and making them more efficient, I am conversely pleased that government is to retain a physical file for the original deeds to parcels of land, which are a vital backbone of real estate in the Cayman Islands, just so long as they are kept safe from hazards and disasters, both man-made and natural.

Immigration a key point, moving forward

In the last edition of the Cayman Financial Review I looked ahead, speculating how the new American president might affect Cayman’s real estate industry. It is interesting to note that, since that article, the world has probably focused the most on President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, more than any other changes he has made in his first 100 days in office.
Likewise, we, too, have had considerable focus drawn upon our own immigration policy, in particular the rules around permanent residency. I noted that the topic of immigration came up at a recent real estate and property conference held in February by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) at the Kimpton Seafire in Cayman. In fact, an entire panel discussed the implications of immigration on the industry and it was noted that government policies on this issue were crucial for the health of the real estate industry.

Wealthy retirees, it was heard, looking to purchase property to qualify for their 25-year permanent residency certificate, were having to wade through an incredible and off-putting amount of red tape in order to attain their residency.  Those in limbo waiting for their permanent residency grant, who also reside and work in Cayman, were unsure as to whether they ought to sell up or remain, with the uncertainty surely being an extreme inconvenience and terrible worry for themselves and their families.

Additionally, local construction firms rely on the efficiency of the immigration process, having to hire a considerable number of skilled and semi-skilled workers from overseas to meet the shortfall of available labor in the Caymanian workforce. This is another reason why it is crucial that Cayman’s immigration laws need to meet the appropriate needs of the industry. With the expected growth in our population over the coming years, I believe it is critical that government works to quickly resolve these issues.

Professionalism in this new era

At the RICS conference, John Hughes, RICS president-elect, spoke about professionalism within our industry, another point which I touched on earlier last year in this publication. Last year I detailed how the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) worked diligently alongside government to ensure that our members behaved with the utmost professionalism, transparency and respectability. As far as the conveyancing industry was concerned, RICS members could not just keep pace with a changing world, they should strive to set an example, Mr. Hughes advised. Professionalism, he said, was about being accountable to others, about being at the top of your technical ability and about the behavior you display. These are sentiments that I believe are particularly relevant to our real estate industry as we move into a new and exciting era of growth for the Cayman Islands.

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James Bovell
James has been a part of the real estate industry in the Cayman Islands since 1991. Born in the Caribbean and educated in the UK, he has achieved great success in listing and selling many of Cayman’s choice homes, waterfront condominiums and developments, land parcels and investment opportunities.  James has received many of RE/MAX International’s awards including The Circle of Legends, (the highest career achievement within the RE/MAX international network with fewer than 200 inductees to date).
James Bovell
Broker/OwnerRE/ MAX Cayman Islands
PO Box 30189 Grand Cayman
KY1-1201 Cayman Islands
T: +1 (345) 945 4000 E: [email protected] W: www.bovell.ky 


RE/MAX, which stands for 'real estate maximums', was founded in the 1970's by Dave & Gail Liniger in the United States of America. They developed a unique franchise system that allows real estate agents to maximise their potential by having the security of a franchise and at the same time having the individual freedom to run their own business. Today the RE/MAX network comprises over 6,000 offices with around 90,000 associates in 85 countries.

RE/MAX Cayman Islands is such an independently owned and operated office within the real estate network of RE/MAX International and RE/MAX Caribbean/Central America. The office at 7 Mile Shops on West Bay Road unites 21 real estate professionals and 9 administrative staff under one roof. All our associates and administrative staff are highly experienced and constantly expand their knowledge with ongoing training. Within the office, our associates use the synergy potential. Not only synergies within the office are important but we also work closely with RE/MAX offices all over the world as part of our international referral system.

Locally and internationally we are dedicated to maintain a high degree of visibility which will benefit our highly valued customers and clients as well as our Sales Associates. A comprehensive marketing strategy across all media including print and internet ensure our consistent exposure.

We are well established in the Cayman Islands real estate market as a strong office, capable of producing outstanding results. Referrals from satisfied buyers and sellers are a proof of it as well as the many awards the office has received. 

Physical address:
Seven Mile Shops
215B West Bay Road
Grand Cayman

Mailing address:
PO Box 30189
Grand Cayman KY1-1201
Cayman Islands