covid19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update March 20, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update March 20, 2020

As the threat of Coronavirus is felt globally, The Bahamas is joining other nations worldwide in attempting to limit the spread through enacting preventative measures throughout the island archipelago, including a temporary 11-day closure for all non-essential businesses and public gatherings.

Bahamas Realty has, since the company’s inception, been people-focused. Our foremost concern is the personal health and safety of our families, clients, and employees. We are also focused on keeping your real estate transaction moving forward.

These are extraordinary times and we are taking extraordinary measures to complete your real estate transaction in a safe and secure manner, including:

  • Using video conferencing platforms and other digital tools. Bahamas Realty’s agents will offer clients the option to conduct business digitally, no matter where they are at in the process.

  • Our administrative, marketing and support staff will continue to be on hand, working remotely to assist our agents with transactions, inquiries and marketing your properties to the world.

  • Our property management division is hard at work to keep our buildings safe and secure

  • The appraisal department continues to operate remotely

We are all feeling this disruption to our daily lives, and we encourage you to take advantage of this time with your families and to look for the silver linings.

We will continue to update you as the situation unfolds in The Bahamas and as it relates to any economic impacts, and we will continue to be your best resource for all of your real estate needs. We wish you and your family health and safety. We will weather this storm together. Donald Martinborough CEO, Broker Bahamas Realty Ltd.

Link: http://https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/mar/17/silver-linings-how-to-stay-positive-during-the-coronavirus-crisis

 

Group Wearing Face Masks

The Most In-Demand Luxury for Affluent Homebuyers: Personal Wellness

Luxury Portfolio International's recently released report The Great Wellness Surge: Bringing the Best Life Home takes an in-depth look at how personal wellness has become the newest and most prioritized luxury from the perspective of those with homes worth $1 million USD or more.

The Great Wellness Surge: Bringing the Best Life Home

Loving the luxury spa-like bath featured on the cover of the report? We are too! This luxurious bathroom is in the master suite of one of our listings! Check it out here and take a virtual tour around this serene oceanfront oasis built with wellness in mind. La Cieba is a luxury estate on Paradise Island, listed with Bahamas Realty broker Andrea Brownrigg.

According to their findings, there has never been a larger market of potential luxury homebuyers, with personal wealth at a record high globally; however, the luxury market is not immune to challenges, "Buyers face the possibility of economic or political instability, evolving tax structures and climate-related purchase considerations. Beyond these evergreen challenges, novel issues like the Coronavirus (COVID-19) have impacted market activity."

What is the response to these uncertainties? A focus on wellness to tune out the noise of the world.

The report breaks down five key wellness-oriented trends that are predicted to impact the purchasing decisions of homebuyers in the time ahead, including the rising demand for residential wellness amenities, the pursuit of wellness through international travel, and stress management.

A change in work styles, from in-office to remote, has prompted an increased need for self-care at home. Consumers are focused on residential offerings that help them unwind and disconnect, such as spa-like baths and amenity-rich indoor-outdoor living areas.

How these factors influence affluent consumers will be pivotal in their home-buying decisions. 

Some of the key takeaways:

1. Wellness is central to a life well-lived: More than 90 percent of luxury homeowners say their overall personal wellness is of utmost importance and are therefore committing free time to wellness activities, transformational experiences, social bonding, and leisurely travel. This is particularly true with the rapidly growing number of millennial luxury homeowners. 

2. Home wellness is in growing demand: Wellness at home can be found, for example, with specific kitchen elements* for the management
of dietary preferences (e.g., temperature and humidity-controlled cabinets, cellar-like storage for root vegetables, apples and other fall harvest produce), meditation spaces, exercise rooms, home spas or saunas, special lighting features for sleep hygiene, air and water filtration and more.

Download the complete report: The Great Wellness Surge: Bringing the Best Life Home
 

Five Unique Ways That Small Businesses Have Pivoted in The Bahamas

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an economic toll around the globe, and The Bahamas is no exception. In these difficult times, it's inspiring to see how businesses acted quickly and innovatively to diversify their business models to help the country in new ways.

1. Virtual Tours

Although virtual tours have been used in real estate as a form of convenience for years as a way for prospective clients to get an idea of a property and its features, the safety measures that have been put in place as a result of the Covid pandemic to avoid social gathering have made virtual tours a necessity for the real estate industry. 


The versatility of virtual tours is what sets it apart from in-person tours. With virtual tours, prospective clients no longer have to physically be in contact with agents when choosing their homes; they can view these properties from the comfort of their own homes and conduct their own process of elimination that way, saving both parties valuable time.

Whether it's a large commercial office space, or a contemporary condo development, Bahamas Realty agents can offer their clients virtual viewings, personally “walking” their clients through a property. And for many of our listings, we offer 3D virtual tours using state-of-the-art Matterport technology. [View some of our tours here]

 

2. Masks

Mask wearing in public has become a part of our daily life - at least for the foreseeable future. Medical-grade masks are reserved for health professionals, so many local businesses and even individual entrepreneurs are getting creative, producing masks & face shields creating a new product in an in-demand market.

A few businesses that have found new industry in mask production:

  • Bahamas Hand Prints is known for its beautifully handprinted fabrics and uniquely Bahamian-inspired designs and like other small businesses, they have taken advantage of the need for masks. Bahamas Hand Prints has combined its passion for creating wonderful designs and taken it up a notch by creating fashionable masks with signature fabrics, making them recognizable and setting them apart from regular disposable masks. The masks are “available in assorted prints and colors” and are also machine washable.
    Woman wearing face mask
     
  • Signarama Bahamas, known primarily for their signage (like Bahamas Realty's custom property signs), window clings, and vehicle wraps, have added custom face shields to their product offering which can even be personalized or branded with company logos.

 

 

3. Hand Sanitizer

John Watling’s Distillery located in Nassau, Bahamas decided to shift its business to accommodate the Bahamian people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the business has an inventory of Ethyl alcohol, co-founder, Jose Portuondo told Eyewitness News that the distillery decided to shift its “business to meet the needs of [the] community and those on the front line.” The distillery still produces its famous rums and vodkas, but hand sanitizers are an additional priority. The distillery has also donated many bottles of the sanitizer to local food distribution centers such as Hands for Hunger and The Bahamas Feeding Network to help ensure the health of all Bahamians.

4. Remote Fitness

Some fitness facilities have understood that in-person group classes are not conducive to limiting social gathering, so as a way to stay in business and still motivate people to stay on track with their exercise routines, fitness facilities are hosting virtual fitness classes via Zoom. Both parties benefit from this.

An example of the shift in fitness is Bowflex Barbie Fitness, a fitness company specializing in personal and group training. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this company hosted in-person one on one and group classes but after seeing the demand for at-home fitness programs, Bowflex Barbie Fitness now provides virtual group fitness classes.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Team Bowflex Barbie Fitness (@team.bowflexbarbiefitness) on

 

5. Online Ordering & Delivery Services

Online ordering app

Delivery service is not a new concept to many, but The Bahamas has been slow to embrace the convenience service; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses have decided to offer delivery and curbside pickup options to properly abide by the guidelines set in place by the government of The Bahamas. Businesses like Bahamas Office and School Supplies (BOSS) which offer business, school, and art supplies (essential for virtual learning!), and Ports International, which sells medical supplies and equipment, have built new websites with online inventory and convenient ordering. Other food and grocery businesses like Discount Distributors, Kraven and Bahama Eats have developed mobile apps in recognition of the need for online ordering and delivery services.

The owner of Discount Distributers, Ryan Turnquest, told Eyewitness news that before the pandemic their app “averaged maybe 10 orders a day, now [they] are averaging 100.” People are satisfied with utilizing services that do not require them to leave their homes.

 

Celebrating Halloween During A Pandemic

Halloween looks a bit different this year, especially here in The Bahamas where we currently have evening curfews and social distancing remains a priority, but that should not take away from the joy of dressing up and celebrating with family and friends. Here are some ideas that will allow for Halloween enjoyment while still ensuring that safety measures are taken.

Mask decorating- With masks being an integral part of keeping safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, people should still have the opportunity to have their fun. All you need are some disposable masks and colorful markers to get the fun started. With the markers, you can draw anything from beards and moustaches to full blown characters! Once decorated, you can swap out your costume masks for these fun and creative masks.

A picture of a young boy holding a pumpkin, wearing a pirate hat and a mask decorated with a beard

 

Spooky house decoration contest- Homes in the neighborhood should take part in a spooky house decoration contest where members of each household will decorate the exterior of their homes (or just their doors) to be super spooky. People within the neighborhood will vote on each home and whichever home receives the most votes for being the “Spookiest home”, wins.

Porch decorated with pumpkins, paper bats

 

Candy scavenger hunt- Social distancing is still important, so Instead of trick-or-treating this year, why not have a candy scavenger hunt in the backyard? The candy scavenger hunt is similar to an egg hunt but with candy-where assortments of candies and chocolates will be hidden all over the home or yard. we found this great set of free printable Halloween Scavenger Hunt Cards from The Best Ideas for Kids.

Halloween printable scavenger hunt cards

 

Halloween virtual party- Not having that annual Halloween party will probably be a little saddening this year but what about a virtual Halloween party? Everyone can dress up in their Halloween’s best and even set out snacks and drinks for themselves and then hop on Zoom with their friends! Kick it up a notch by creating a Halloween party playlist just for this party. 

A boy with a laptop, smiling. Halloween decorations behind him.

 

Halloween movie night- Nothing says Halloween better than a Halloween movie night! Grab some popcorn and treats and gather around the TV with family and or friends to watch Halloween themed or horror movies. By simply typing in “Halloween” into subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu, you’ll be given many movies to choose from and if that doesn’t satisfy you, check out this list of 49 best Halloween movies ever.

A group of people on a couch watching television and looking frightened

More ideas for Halloween Fun from home:

https://www.care.com/c/stories/16984/fun-halloween-ideas-pandemic/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/halloween-tips-for-safe-fun-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

https://www.seventeen.com/life/g1558/best-halloween-movies/

 

Tips for Buying in the Post-Pandemic Seller's Market of 2021

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It’s been one year since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the housing market. It was a year of extremes for the global real estate market. It started out looking bright but was soon derailed by the pandemic which caused world economies to falter. Going into the latter part of 2020, the rebound was sharp with demand for residential real estate surging. The housing market is expected to continue its winning streak in 2021 as a strong seller’s market.  

A seller’s market is when there are more people buying houses than houses for sale. In the Bahamas, a strong demand for housing from both local and foreign buyers has led to a shortage in inventory that reflects the global home price growth. This news should have sellers smiling. But what does the booming 2021 housing market mean for buyers?  

Buying in a Sellers Market 

The rule of thumb in real estate is that the best time to buy is when you are ready. Demand is up right now for many reasons - buyer's who delayed purchasing during the unpredictable past year are ready to buy, people are looking for larger homes to accommodate working from home, a move away from cities is shifting demand, and Millennials - the largest generation - are jumping into the housing market as the fastest-growing group of buyers.

Whatever your reason for buying, here are some tips to help make the process work in your favour in a seller’s market. 

  1. Know what homes are selling for in your desired area 

Listing prices are not always an accurate reflection of what the property will sell for. Some properties may be listed underprice in hopes of generating a bidding war, while others may be priced in the seller’s hope of taking advantage of the low inventory market, rather than value. An experienced agent can tell you what similar properties have sold for, and what features are driving value.  
 

  1. Expand your search 

Prices are always higher in the most popular neighbourhoods. Don’t limit your search to just a few of your top locations. Newer developments and condo communities are springing up with better amenities and square footage for less money. Similarly, homes and condos in established communities are coming back on the market as Baby Boomers reach retirement age. These older homes often offer more bang for your buck and require little investment to modernize.  

Start with our list of Featured Communities and Condo Developments
 

Coconut Cove Residences

The newly constructed Coconut Cove residences offer modern amenities in a small gated community in Western New Providence at affordable prices. Photo: Brian Austin, Bahamas Realty Agent & Broker

  1. Get prequalified 

If you require financing, being prequalified shows true intent and gives the seller confidence that the deal will go through. Taking the time to meet with your bank/ mortgage lender before you begin your home search will give you a better chance of getting the home you want before someone else snaps it up. Similarly, cash offers indicate faster closing times and eliminate the risk of a mortgage not being approved - a big incentive for the seller to accept an offer. 
 

  1. Re-evaluate your wish list 

With inventory low and demand high, you may need to re-evaluate your priorities. Perhaps a slightly longer work commute is made up for by a shorter school run. New construction and a spa-like master suite might make up for the lack of ocean views. Fewer bedrooms might be a sacrifice easily made up for by a dock for your boat in the backyard.  
 
It can be helpful to make a list of your priorities before starting your search, but be flexible. Once you have toured a few listings, re-evaluate the list and rank the places you’ve seen in terms of the features that you loved, and those that are less important. 
 

  1. Don’t shop at the top of your budget 

Shopping at the top of your budget can lead to disappointment. Closing costs can be high and it is important to prepare for those as well as any unexpected costs. Mortgages are often contingent on the appraised value of the home, and if you bid too high and your mortgage comes in below the offer price, you may need to self-finance more than you had initially planned for. 

There can be benefits to shopping below budget. You can save money on the upfront cost of the home and use any extra funds to customize it to your liking and even add value for a future sale. 
 

Villa on Paradise Island

Opportunities exist if you know where to look. This unique villa is one of just 6 in a small community on famous Paradise Island. Recently renovated, and priced to sell, a few tweaks will make this the perfect island retreat. Listed with Broker/ Director  Andrea Brownrigg.

  1. Start now 

The sooner you begin the process of your home search, the better. You should start by taking the time to familiarize yourself with the various communities on the island, what closing costs you will have, and how the real estate process works in The Bahamas. The more prepared you are when your dream home hits the market, the better your chances are of sealing the deal. 

The luxury second-home market is also booming and predicted to continue through 2021. While new developments are under construction, availability is limited. According to a recent report compiled by Luxury Portfolio International, the demand from affluent buyers and investors is also far outpacing inventory, with the best properties moving faster than ever. Despite the low inventory 50% of affluent people surveyed believe this is a good time to buy.

 

Contact a Bahamas Realty estate agent today to learn more about the home buying process.

Good News for Fully Vaccinated Travelers to the Bahamas

 

The Bahamas is Eliminating COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Vaccinated Visitors.

Effective MAY 1STFlying to the Bahamas

Effective May 1st 2021, international visitors traveling to The Bahamas from other countries who are fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period will be immediately exempt from testing requirements for entry and inter-island travel. 

Travelers who are fully vaccinated will still be required to apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa. Visitors to the Bahamas can apply for their Health Visa and upload proof of vaccination at travel.gov.bs (click on the international tab). Keep in mind that the visa takes up to 48 hours to process.

 

Beach in the BahamasUnvaccinated visitors above the age of 10 must continue to follow the existing entry testing requirements, including providing proof of negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than five days prior to arrival.

More information on Bahamas travel and entry protocols can be found at https://www.bahamas.com/tourism-reopening.

 

Comments

  1. Brian Austin on

    I live in Florida. Can I travel to Bahamas without any quarantine or delays. I am fully vaccinated.
    • Bahamas Realty on

      Yes! You will need to upload proof of vaccination (such as CDC or government-issued vaccine record card) and apply for the Bahamas Heath Visa, which can take up to 48 hours to process. The vaccination must have been taken at least two weeks ago to ensure immunity. There is no quarantine required.