Luxurious Ocean Front Condominium.  See details here on our site. This is a luxurious 3 bedroom 3 bath apartment. Both the master bedroom and living room open on to a screened patio overlooking the stunning Caribbean sea. 10 ft. Cathedral ceilings and designer furnished in a prime location, this apartment comes with an enclosed parking garage. Excellent value and no tourist rentals make this a very private and exclusive residential complex. 

The home-buying process can be daunting, particularly for the first-timer. Liz Pulliam Weston with MSN Real Estate suggests the following timeline as an ideal one for someone purchasing their first home. Of course the steps can be accomplished in far less time, particularly if you employ trusted industry experts for advice. 

As soon as possible (Ms. Pulliam Weston suggests one year)

Obtain a copy of your credit report. In the US, the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion offer free credit reports. You should scan the report for errors: accounts that aren't yours and other mistakes will negatively impact your credit and may cause you to pay higher interest rates. Errors and mistakes can usually be dealt with and usually without assistance from an attorney. If you are outside the US in a country without a formal credit tracking system contact a local lender and ask them if you have doubts about your ability to finance a home purchase. Lenders can have vastly different opinions about late payments, repossessions and bankruptcies depending largely upon how badly they want to make the loan.  

Improve your credit rating.
In the US most mortgage lenders use the FICO credit scoring formula. For $50 you can buy your FICO score for all 3 credit reporting agencies at In the US or not, you can improve your credit standing by avoiding late payments, pay down credit cards and don't open or close any new accounts while you're in the market for a mortgage. 

Deal with your debt. 
Eradicate high interest 'toxic' loans: credit card balances and pay-day loans because they are indicators you are living beyond your means. Low interest debt such as student loans or auto loans generally won't present an obstacle.  

Save, save, save.
You will have more financing options the more money you have to put down. 5% is minimum but 10% is better and if you can demonstrate that you saved this money on your own over a period of time, so much the better. Don't show up at the mortgage lender's office flush with a cash infusion from Uncle Bob. That doesn't show character. But if you can accumulate the down payment over a period of time by avoiding eating out, dropping your cable TV subscription or other, that does.  

Put your bills on automatic.
Use on-line bill paying and the recurring payment feature. Better yet, consider using automatic debt payments so that the bill is paid directly from your checking account. A single late payment can harm your chances of getting the loan to purchase your dream home. 

Next Week: 6 months out 

Very attractive opportunity on Jellico Quay in Governor's Harbour. See it here. Three bed, 3 bath on 110 ft. canal frontage. Rare opportunity to own a canal front home in Governor's Harbour. Attractive layout. This home is perfect for the local executive or yachtsman looking for a retirement home. Dock in place. Easy access to Cayman's North Sound play ground. This home is in need of cosmetic repairs from Hurricane Ivan including dry wall repairs and furniture replacement. A great opportunity to customize to your own taste.

Breakfast at Tiffany's benefit at the Ritz-Carlton attracted about 200 donors for the annual Cayman Islands Cancer Society fundraiser. 

On Cayman Brac, one Christmas tradition centres around the Lions Club's Santa Claus riding through the island on Christmas Day delivering gifts to the children. It is also customary for the club members to visit the homes of the elderly and personally deliver gifts to them before Christmas Day. 

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman's annual Christmas Tree lighting was held in Celebrations Square in George Town Dec. 1. The lighting has been an annual event of the Rotary Club for 43 years. 

Barnes Dance Academy Ltd, in collaboration with Hopscotch Studios and Celebrations, hosted its 4th Annual Community Christmas Parade on Dec 6 in Heroes Square, downtown George Town. 

Cayman Islands Crisis Center will receive proceeds from the sale of Christmas ornaments at their Enchanted Christmas Store in the Mirco Centre. The ornaments are available in Flame Red and Velvet Green. 

We could go on - but you can see the variety of fun and worthwhile events throughout the Caymans this time of year! 

I am still trying to gather information on the Brac and timetables to return to business so to speak. Power is being restored to essential areas in Stake Bay not far from the Power Plant such as the hospital and District Administration Building. With our office located on the south west side, we are looking at a few weeks before power is restored. This may change as more crews and help arrive.  

Government is saying about 4 months before tourism and non essential businesses return as any rental rooms that do become available will be used for government officials and those involved in the recovery process. In some aspects recovery for the Brac will be faster than we experienced in Ivan and in some aspects it will be slower.