Even in these times  –  The January 2, 2009, CBS Evening News broadcast ran a headline that proclaimed, “Once Booming Dubai Goes Bust.” Persons who might not have been living on planet Earth these past 10 years might not know about the almost absurd amount of money that was invested in developing real estate in the oil-rich country. So much money that developers managed to engineer islands first in the shape of a palm tree then the world, literally all for private sale off the Persian Gulf. Given the recent gloomy predictions for the world’s economies for 2009, it was no surprise that after its $20 million opening party, sales on Palm Island have gone down by forty percent. A seven bedroom villa that was once going for $10 million last year is now only under $6 million. The story concluded, “Banks aren't lending. Projects are shelved. And the normally secretive government has had to acknowledge it has one of the highest levels of per-capita debt in the world — and not enough oil to pay for it.”


With the doom and gloom predictions after the to collapse of the United States housing market it is an uncertain time for almost everyone, especially persons seeking to sell property. Buyers are holding on even tighter to their dollars, banks worldwide are tightening up their lending practices and all of this is leaving sellers a little uncertain whether they are going to break even on what was once an investment in property.

Though we might not be able to sell a villa on Palm Island, we still think we have a few tips to help the average seller in the BVI real estate market.

Know your market
As fabulous as you think your home might be, trying to sell a $2 million dollar house is going to be difficult in the current market. The Territory is filled with valuable real estate agents that can give you accurate appraisals as well as provide realistic expectations for selling in today’s market. If your home is unoccupied and has been on the market for a while, you might want to consider short-term leasing of the property. With the Territory's transient population, the islands' new arrivals are always looking for an abode with a breathtaking view and cool trade winds. A luxury of our islands is knowing that such a view and breeze can be found at most any location in the Virgin Islands – chances are, your property is one of them.

Staging is everything
Preparing your home for a viewing can be exciting and frustrating at the same time. The prospect of someone purchasing is something to look forward to. However, you want to make sure that purchasing will be on their minds after a prospective buyers leave and not poorly painted walls or overdone decorating that does not allow a possible buyer to picture themselves living in that space. Though we live in the Caribbean we can get carried away with our paint colours. Let the style of the region inspire you and not isolate you. Paints should be warm and inviting and not too bold. If buyers want bold, they know that once the place is their own they can be bold with their colour choices. Make sure your wall paint is as professionally done as possible. A little time and a gallon of paint can freshen up any room.


Arrange furniture carefully to allow the best flow of air and space into your home. If you have a magnificent view, do not hide it, display it as if you would your finest piece of art. Lighter-coloured drapes help to brighten any rooms as well as fool the eyes and makes the room appear larger.
Rooms should be thoroughly cleaned. Pay special attention to storage areas such as closets, cabinets, and pantries—storage space being an important factor to many buyers.

Simple fixer ups
Nowadays buyers want to make sure they get value for money. They do not plan to pay a dime over what they think a home is worth. Do not give them any reason not to give you your asking price. Simple fixer ups around your property can be vital. Go through your home and ensure your plumbing is intact. Make sure you have no leaky pipes or damp cupboards. On the exterior of the property make sure drains are clear and there are no random puddles of water. If there are, find the source and fix the problem. Ensure all light switches are working and no faulty wiring is hanging around the home.

Cleaning grout between tiles can brighten up kitchens and bathrooms, make sure screens and windows are clean to let that extra bit of sunlight in. Something as simple as fixing squeaky doors and rusty hinges can provide a positive nod from the most meticulous buyer. Knowing that you have taken good care of your property lets them know that there aren’t likely to be too many surprises once the property is purchased.


Simple things like changing the hardware on cupboards can make a kitchen appear newer as well as punctuate the style of the room. Since kitchens and bathrooms are major selling points in a home, spend time cleaning the area and ensuring its presentation is at its best.

Tidy the yard
As soon as prospective buyers drive up to your property you want them to feel as though they can come home to the dwelling. The exterior of the property is the first thing they see, therefore your landscaping must be well manicured. Your exterior walls should be painted evenly and beware of water stains that can be telling on the property. Ensure trees and hedges are trimmed properly. If you have fruit trees make sure fallen fruit does not litter the surroundings.