Making an Investment in Real Estate

With today’s economy, investing, where possible, is essential. After all, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to prepare for the unexpected. If property investment is something you’re considering, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Real estate values can fluctuate on either end of the spectrum, with some failing to produce returns and others having an average or higher than average return rate. While real estate as an investment can be high risk (it’s one of the reasons commercial banks often ask for a large percentage payment down before approving a commercial mortgage), like most high-risk investments, the rewards can also be great. After all, there’s a reason so many of the world’s magnates, moguls, millionaires and billionaires have made – and increased – their fortunes investing in real estate.

You can make money from real estate properties in two different ways: with the appreciated value of the property over time, and cash flow from rental income.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to property investment, so you’ll need to do your homework and make a decision about the type of property you’re looking to purchase, based on your personal goals and available finances. Are you considering a vacation rental you can market through the likes of Airbnb or VRBO? Perhaps you’d rather invest in a long-term residential property, like a duplex or an apartment. Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little more simple, like a vacant lot in an up-and-coming community.

Despite the ups and downs of the real estate market, most properties increase in value over the long term. Home values in some areas have been on a steady increase for nearly a decade. This is known as appreciation. The key to buying real estate that appreciates is location and timing. That’s where working with a trusted and licensed real estate agent is a must.

While a rental (or income producing) property can offer a more immediate return, it also requires active management, from day to day decision making, moving on through maintenance and management of the property. If you have a vacation rental property, you’ll also have guest services to consider. Some of your main questions should be:

  • Who is going to deal with your tenant’s or guests requests and payments?
  • How should repairs and maintenance be handled?
  • What physical improvements might need to be done to increase rental income on your property?
  • If you have a vacation rental property, how are you going to market it?
  • How is the area changing, and what does that mean for your investment?
  • When would be a good time to sell or buy?

There are many decisions to be made with a Bahamian real estate investment, and knowledge is power here. To ensure you’re making an informed choice, gather your team of professionals. These should include your accountant, your banker, and your attorney, of course. Another key member of your team? Your  licensed professional real estate agent. They will assist you in familiarizing yourself with the Bahamian market and its opportunities. Whether you’re ready to start your search, or think you’d like more information before making a move, reach out to us.  We’re here to help.

Curious about vacation rental properties? Check out some of these previous articles we’ve shared:

Investing in a Vacation Rental 

Exploring Amenities and Investment Opportunities in Palm Cay

Commercial Real Estate Designations

When it comes to commercial real estate, every property’s potential and each investor’s goals are different. Working with an agent who brings experience, in-depth knowledge, and expertise to the table is vital. 

As the Principal Broker for Morley, David has been involved in almost every aspect of real estate since 1987. His particular skill set is best utilized by specializing in commercial real estate services. He provides financial analysis and modern investment strategies to help Bahamian and international clients make sound decisions about purchasing, selling, owning, leasing, and managing commercial properties in The Bahamas.

Supporting his extensive expertise are David’s commercial designations and certifications – the CCIM and CIPS. While those of us in the real estate industry may know what these certifications represent, it’s essential for us that our clients and customers also understand their meaning and how they can help in navigating the world of commercial real estate.

The Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) is a designation awarded by the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute to certified professionals in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, asset management, valuation, and investment analysis. For more than 50 years, professionals with this coveted accreditation have been recognized as leading commercial investment real estate experts. 

“Above all, the CCIM designation represents proven expertise in financial, market, and investment analysis, in addition to negotiation. Courses in these core competencies are taught by industry professionals, ensuring all material reflects the state of the industry,” states the CCIM Institute. CCIM designees use their skills to help their clients minimize risk, enhance credibility, make informed decisions, close more deals, and maximize the return on investment. We’re proud to share that David is the first and only realtor in The Bahamas to earn the CCIM designation. 

A Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designee has undergone specialized training to complete global transactions seamlessly and with reduced risk. “Global transactions are significantly different and more complex than domestic deals. From currency issues and financing to visa and tax laws, working with a REALTOR® who knows how to handle these differences can make or break a real estate transaction. Because of these nuances, it is essential to work with a knowledgeable and trusted professional, such as a CIPS designee,” states the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Designees are relied upon as expert resources in the international real estate market. Specifically, critical aspects of international transactions, including currency and exchange rate issues, cross-cultural relationships, regional market conditions, investment performance, and tax issues, are at the core of this designation. The CIPS designation is the only international designation recognized by NAR.

So now you know. When we say we’re here for good, we mean it. We’re committed to the best practices and understand what it takes to complete a successful real estate transaction. If it’s time to put your commercial property in the hands of professionals, give us a call at 394-7070, and we’ll start the conversation. 

We’re Morley. We’re here for good. We’re here for you. 

 

Golfing in The Bahamas

In the land of (almost) 365 days of sunshine, there’s every reason to enjoy the outdoors, soaking up that vitamin D and fresh air. If you’re looking for a little healthy activity, with lots of social distancing, the great game of golf can’t be beat! While we can’t claim to be the original home to this great game, we can proudly stand behind our incomparable courses that offer unparalleled views and amenities. Golf in The Bahamas is truly an experience, and you don’t need to be a pro to enjoy the sport here. Regardless of the level of your game, here are some courses you’ll want to check out. Listed in alphabetical order!

Albany | New Providence

Albany Golf Course

The luxury community of Albany is home to the world-famous golf course designed by professional golfer Ernie Els. An 18-hole championship course, Albany welcomes players of all levels. The layout combines the best of links and desert features with windswept dunes and numerous scenic and strategically challenging water features. 

Additionally, Albany offers first-class practice facilities. These include a 400-yard driving range, a short game area with chipping and putting greens, and a state-of-the-art swing performance center. A large clubhouse with a grill room, men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, and a golf shop further complement the course. 

This oceanfront community includes a luxury boutique hotel, a mega-yacht marina, various restaurants, pool and lounge area, full-service spa, fitness center, and a future equestrian center.

Architect: Ernie Els | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,400

www.albanybahamas.com

 

Baker’s Bay | Guana Cay, Abaco

Baker’s Bay Golf Course

With exceptional service standards, land conditioned for optimum play, and an extraordinary course plan, Baker’s Bay, designed by Tom Fazio, offers “timeless golf experiences” for various skill levels. The Baker’s Bay golf experience includes multiple holes along the ocean, offering incredible views, two on-course bars, comfort stations accessible from six different holes, as well as a music-infused practice facility. 

This exclusive community enjoys a marina, Marina Village resort area, and a private club that includes a beach club and spa.

Architect: Tom Fazio & Logan Fazio | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,390

www.bakersbayclub.com

 

Emerald Bay | Great Exuma

Emerald Bay Golf Course

Located at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort, Greg Norman’s award-winning golf course design preserves the landscape’s pristine beauty and natural barriers. As the longest course in the Caribbean, winding through seaside dunes along a stunning peninsula, this 18-hole, par 72 championship course is consistently regarded as one of the best in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure Golf.

Architect: Greg Norman | Number of holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,001

https://www.sandals.com/golf/bahamas/

 

Jack’s Bay | Rock Sound, Eleuthera

The Playground at Jack’s Bay

Nestled just south of Rock Sound, “The Playground” at Jack’s Bay is one of the newest golf courses in The Bahamas. Created by Tiger Woods’ TGR Designs, this 10-hole, 3 par short course traces the stunning shoreline, providing a playing experience that perfectly complements Jack’s Bay’s natural beauty. Slated for a grand opening in April, the short course rests atop a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Holes range from 55 to 170 yards and can be played in a variety of configurations. Adding to the experience is Saltspray, which features a bar, restaurant, and golf shop.   

A second Woods-designed 18-hole course is also in the books. 

Architect: Tiger Woods | Number of holes: 10 | Par: 3 | Yards: 55-170

https://www.jacksbayclub.com/

 

Lyford Cay | New Providence

Lyford Cay Golf Course

The iconic Lyford Cay championship course has been a favorite among members since it was created by American Architect Dick Wilson in the 1950s. 

In 2006 Bryce Swanson of Rees Jones Design updated the course, adding length to the magnificent design and several features that allow the course to keep up with today’s golf technology. The course is bordered by spectacular residential sites and dense, tropical foliage, further lending to its charm. 

Architect: Rees Jones, Bryce Swanson & Dick Wilson | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,007

www.lyfordcay.com

 

Ocean Club Estates | Paradise Island

Ocean Club Estates Gold Course

The setting for the challenging Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course showcases well-manicured greens, white-sand bunkers, and incredible views of the ocean and nearby Blue Lagoon Island. Set along the eastern peninsula of Paradise Island, even the most experienced golfers will find the crosswinds here challenging. This course has long been the host for many events, including the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, Golf Channel’s Big Break, and the LPGA Pure Silk Classic. 

Architect: Tom Weiskopf | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,100

https://oceanclubgolfcourse.com/

 

Royal Blue | Baha Mar Resort, New Providence

Royal Blue Golf Course at Baha Mar

The Royal Blue at Baha Mar is a thrilling 18-hole course to play and is stunning to see. The front-nine features dramatic views of the fairways, rolling white sand dunes, and the Atlantic’s turquoise waters. The back-nine transports you to limestone “moonscapes,” elevation changes, and a dense “jungle” environment. 

Each morning the Golf Professional Team places tee locations on the course according to the day’s weather and playing conditions—ensuring a unique experience every time you play. Their extensive CaddieMaster program will guide you through the course, while their state-of-the-art golf carts make the journey as pleasant as possible.

Architect: Jack Nicklaus | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,068

https://bahamar.com/experiences/golf/

 

Winding Bay | Abaco

Winding Bay Golf Course

The Abaco Club offers a Scottish-style links design that makes the most of its seaside setting. Designed by renowned golf course architects Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie, the Abaco Club course is created to play firm and fast. Classic links design features abound, from the pot bunkers that dot its rugged location in the dunes to the challenging, sloping greens. 

The club also features a world-class practice facility that opened in the summer of 2016. This extensive facility features a double-ended range, as well as a short-game practice area designed to enable you to practice every shot of 100 yards or less that you might encounter on the course. 

Architect: Donald Steel & Tom Mackenzie | Number of Holes: 18 | Par: 72 | Yards: 7,120

https://theabacoclub.com/golf

Working with a Licensed BREA Agent

Whether buying or selling property, you want to ensure your interests are best protected. Work with a fully-licensed BREA (Bahamas Real Estate Association) agent is a must. As licensed agents, it’s our job to support you as you navigate the world of real estate. Not only do we have years of experience and knowledge about our industry standards, property values, neighborhoods, etc., but it’s also our job to ensure that we adhere to the law, put ethics above all else and act in accordance with our industry rules and regulations.

As BREA agents, we know real estate values. We are trained to determine the fair market price of your property at the time you want to sell it. As your Listing Agent, whether it’s commercial or residential real estate you’re trying to sell or lease, it is our responsibility to serve your best interests as the seller. We make it our job to understand your needs, as well as the details of your property. What neighborhood are you in? Are there building codes that are to be considered? Is your property close to public transportation, schools, churches, shopping, or service businesses? 

When it comes to marketing your property, networking is key. As licensed agents, we work closely together with our Morley team and other BREA agents to source pre-qualified prospects – people who have a serious interest in buying. 

Another great tool we have access to as BREA agents? The MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The Multiple Listing Service is a great tool that not only helps to sell and rent properties from islands to homes throughout the 700 islands of the Bahamas, but it also offers a wealth of data and statistics regarding the real estate market in The Bahamas. We then use this data to determine crucial factors like comparable sales and determine if a property is priced correctly. 

You will enjoy broad exposure for your property when your listing agent uploads the property to the Bahamas Multiple Listing Service database because it feeds through to real estate websites throughout The Bahamas. Other benefits include:

  • Streamlining: Any price changes, showing times or availability, or anything that may affect the property, only needs to be transmitted to one person, the listing agent, who will ensure that any cooperating agents are fully informed. 
  • Direct contact: Your listing agent will provide you with updates on all potential inquiries, offers, and all showings on your property. They are your eyes and ears in the market.
  • Whether or not a cooperating agent is involved, the seller or landlord only pays the listing agent the agreed fee. This fee is shared with the co-broking agent, if applicable.

 As BREA agents, we help to navigate the sale and buying process between the vendor and purchaser by remaining objective and offering professionally sound opinions regarding the value and condition of your property. 

For buyers, A BREA agent also offers support you won’t find anywhere else. As your agent, our fiduciary responsibility is to you in the capacity of a buyer. Whether you’re purchasing for the first time or looking to make a move that better suits your lifestyle, our knowledge of local financial institutions, lending facilities, and legal requirements is invaluable.

From start to finish, we are there to help you navigate the purchasing process. We help our buyers obtain mortgages, explore down payment requirements, and offer advice in other matters such as escrow payments, property taxes, closing costs, and anticipated utility bills. If you are a first time home buyer, we understand you probably have a lot of questions as well. How do you start the home buying process? How much property can I afford? Where should I focus my search? How do I prioritize my wish-list? As BREA agents, it’s our job to help you find the answers you need, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. 

 Whether buying, selling, or leasing a property – commercial or residential – having the right person by your side can make all the difference. It’s crucial to feel properly supported and to have trusted guidance. At Morley, our BREA licensed agents are here to help and guide you.

 

 

A New Year, a New Website for The Bahamas

A new year, a fresh start, and the hope for better days ahead. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has embraced this sentiment whole-heartedly with their revamped bahamas.com website.

Taking advantage of the quiet moments found within the last 12 months, Director General of Tourism and Aviation, Joy Jibrilu stated in a recent interview that their Digital Communications Team has been working diligently behind the scenes to develop a new site that is representative of their efforts to position  the country as the leading travel tourism destination brand.

Photo: bahamas.com

When marketing and advertising efforts are focused almost solely on the digital stage, the MOT has found creative ways to bring The Bahamas to the world and is making it easier than ever to book that trip. With their new site spanning over 1,500 pages, as Ms. Jibrilu proudly stated, the new bahamas.com is best described as a discovery. “That’s the best way to describe it,” she says.

More than just visually captivating, the new site allows for greater functionalities and additional features that help visitors (and locals) plan their trips with ease, with tools to explore vacation activities by category, from romance to adventure.

The New Itinerary Planner with Bahamas.com | Photo: bahamas.com

Using the site’s new itinerary planner, travelers can examine and select Bahamas hotels, restaurants, and attractions to craft personal itineraries and book vacation experiences. There are also several curated itineraries available for visitors to select from, ranging from three to five day trips.

Perhaps most exciting is the new “Experiences” function, which offers a detailed listing of available activities, from fishing and diving to culture and landmarks, and aligns visitors with activities tied to their interests, which they can add to their itineraries. Blog content highlighting the various sites and activities provides users with an insider’s look at the destinations and experiences.

“The new features will help future travelers discover the hidden gems of our islands,” said Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism. Indeed, a new “Discover Your Next Adventure” function highlights experiences linked to travelers’ interests, encouraging potential visitors to consider more of The Bahamas’ numerous islands and cays.

The revamped website “provides consumers with a first look at all that our islands have to offer,” added Joy Jibrilu, Ministry of Tourism director-general. “We are thrilled to introduce the relaunched site and share our islands and stories with the world.”

Embrace Bahamian Culture | Photo: bahamas.com

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the beautiful new bahamas.com website, it’s time you did. Be sure to share it with your friends, family, and social media connections and let’s all help get the word out there – The Bahamas is open and waiting to welcome you!

But don’t forget – in a time when supporting local is a ‘must’, if you’re considering taking a vacation this year, why not look within.

As Bahamians, we are enormously proud to share our islands’ beauty and many wonders with our foreign friends, yet how many of us have taken the time to experience the magic for ourselves?