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Hi there, we are currently in the planning stages for buying a vacation home in Grand Cayman. The prices of properties in GCM can vary wildly, and we are leaning towards the cheaper side of that swing.
The budget we're currently exploring, for the most part, eliminates any beach view/beach front properties, and I'm concern about the overall rentability of non-beach properties in a beach destination like Grand Cayman.
All beaches in GC are public, and there are plenty of nice beaches that all visitors will have access to, which is nice. We actually typically stay away from the busiest part of the island and drive to the beach.
We are purchasing the property mainly for personal use, in the late Winter, leaving the high season available for renting. We are not 100% reliant on the rentals to pay for the property (part of the reason to look at lower priced properties,) but I hate to have the property sit empty, especially during the high season.
My assumption is that if the price is right and the property is nice, "they will come," but I'm not entirely sure, and I'd like to gain some insight from folks here. Our personal preference is to stay at a cheaper place (off beach), so that we can stay longer, and I also assume there are others like us out there.
Can others please advise that own properties of this type, and any other advice you may have? Thank you!
Well, we will take the plunge, although not sure our advice is worth much. We think the situation may be somewhat "island specific" and a close look at other rental properties and their locations will help you. On our island, only a tiny percentage of vacation homes are actually on or have easy walking access to a beach. That's because St. John is mostly National Park and all the beaches are public, with no construction on the beach allowed. So, almost everyone drives to the beaches, including us as our house is 5 minutes from the nearest beach.
We are not familiar with Grand Cayman, but you are. For a rental, you are correct that if the house is nice and priced well, it will rent and your job becomes one of marketing to best advantage. Top notch photos, clear, attractive descriptions and reasons why your home should be considered will overcome not being right on a beach, although some people will always want that and not even look at yours. Also, maybe you have special amenities: If the house you consider has a pool, even a small one, it will be a BIG selling point even if guests have to drive to the beach! Good luck.
Thank you so much for your reply, it helps put my mind in the right frame, so to speak. We have found some properties that are available in our price range that have water front, but GC beaches can be quite "rocky." Makes for wonderful scuba and snorkeling, but the main sandy beaches are more of a drive, which doesn't seem to be an issue.
Of course, sandy beach front is better, but you pay for it, as do the renters. Since it'll be a 2/3 rental and 1/3 vacation home, we have to balance price with our wants/needs and then rentability, I guess.
It does appear that my assumption of marketing, pricing, and the right renters make a difference. As long as I don't expect to get top dollar and 100% occupancy, the reality and expectations should align well.
Glad you found our ideas helpful. Just play up what your rental has not what it doesn't. We remember now that the Caymans are a big dive area so tell renters how close you are to dive shops or whatever. You're on the right track!
Just to add support:
I agree with 'stjvilla', and I like their response.
Not every Traveller seeks an ocean front or even an ocean view. In my area which is also an island, there are so many gorgeous locations to rent and so many of the properties are not ocean front, ocean view or walking distance to a beach --- some are even miles and miles from the ocean -- some are inland, upcountry properties that are beautiful and desireable by Travellers. Each property offers an experience unique to the particular area.
My mindset (from day one) was always to offer more than a bed and a bath --- offer my guests "a lifestyle". Create a special accommodation experience that demos the lifestyle of your island so the guests feel as if they "live" there, relaxed and carefree. Your provisions and interior/exterior will create this. Don't skimp on amenties...unless you want to "market" island simplicity. Your possibilities are endless. But, what stjvillar said is just what I would have said --- they beat me to it...and they're "on the right track" IMO with their answer.
There will be travellers that will want to be away from the main thoroughfare of tourists. On my island, just about everyone has to drive to get to the most popular, white-sand and black-sand beaches people associate with a tropical vacation. There is a "target group" for this...and those people are the ones you should be "marketing" to.
On my island, most people even have to drive to the trail heads for those less known glorious beaches that are only reached by "hiking in"....the waterfall experiences, the rainforest experiences, etc..
Just "upsell" your property as a benefit being "away from the tourist fray"...that's a selling point in itself.
You need to use time to visit other advertisements and websites to see how Owners in similar areas promote their properties. The "homework" will be worth your while.
We agree with you, too!
I'm in an off area in the Keys but I have some amenties that do offset the less desirable location. One thing that I am very explicit about is my location. I make sure that there is absolutely nothing that misleads my location, almost to the point of overkill. You also have to price accordingly. This has worked very well for me and in the 3 years I have been renting, I've only had one guest that felt the setting wasn't what they expected, which only proved they didn't read the descriptions and 28 reviews.
Wow, cayowest, what a beautiful house. A boater's paradise!
Thanks for the great advice! This gives me much more to shoot for and some more confidence in proceeding into this unknown territory for us!