Women in Real Estate
- February 28th, 2011
- in Yachting
Women in BVI Real Estate
A collective, cautious optimism is shared by three female real estate agents.
Dougall and Associates
Hailing from Alberta, Canada, Bonnie Dougall rolls up her sleeves and digs in. She learned the ins and outs of real estate while working alongside her late husband, a contractor. In Canada, she learned to build, design, renovate and market houses and restaurants, so becoming a realtor was a natural progression. Her first BVI property experience was back in the 1980s with an accidental purchase. While here with friends who were in a real estate transaction but hesitated at the last moment, Bonnie and her husband piped up and said, “We’ll buy it.” She then worked with local real estate companies starting in 2002, and during this time, honed her skills in all aspects of BVI real estate requirements as well as protocol and the occasional faux pas in the BVI. With experience and confidence, she launched Dougall and Associates two years ago.
As owner/broker of her business, Bonnie Dougall knows and respects market segmentation, and realizing that one size does not fit all, she has distinct messages to her audiences. To serious sellers, she encourages getting a bank appraisal as a guide for pricing, prior to listing. An appraisal helps both buyer and seller maintain realistic expectations when it comes to pricing. She also encourages sellers to participate in open listings for the benefit of wider exposure of their property. After all, it is still a buyers’ market.
Under the buyer beware caveat, Bonnie recommends having a structural survey done—it minimizes, if not circumvents, future problems. To expats considering purchasing property in the BVI, she says not to be intimidated, but she supports territory regulations that exist in order to control building on speculation and over development. For example, obtaining the Non-Belonger Landholding License can be an eight- to nine-month process, an exercise that can be daunting at times. However, it helps screen serious buyers and investors. Another mechanism to deter overdevelopment is the requirement for an expat to build on property before selling it. Property cannot simply be purchased, left to appreciate over time and resold for a profit. Yet another provision to deter overdevelopment is the requirement to go before an executive council if more than three acres are being bought. These are all prudent measures, she explained.
Bonnie plans to continue enhancing her buyers’ and sellers’ experiences and is always working towards the distinct needs of each. She can be contacted at 284-495-3003 or 284-541-3003.
Sandra has seven years' experience in the real estate business, of which the last two have been at the helm of Property BVI. She caught the real estate bug while at a summer job at a local real estate firm.
Ever on the go, Sandra slowed down long enough to give me a glimpse of Property BVI in action. Her time is spent between managing rental units and real estate sales—primarily the sale of land. She is the managing director of the company, and, like the other realtors interviewed for this article, Sandra explained that prior to the downturn, expats were the primary purchasers of real estate, but the softened economy turned the situation around; for the past year or more, local residents have been carrying most of real estate activities with the purchase of land. On the rental front, units are beginning to move, now that landlords begun lowering their price tags. The average monthly range has dropped from $2,500 to $2,800 for a moderate two-bedroom apartment, to $1,800 to $2,000. A one-bedroom unit remained relative unchanged with a range of $1,000-$1,200 per month.
While it’s too soon to give a total reveal, Ms. Massicote will be rolling out a new component of service: between March and June of this year, Property BVI will be working with a builder to produce affordable homes. To catch up with Sandra, you can call her office at 284-494-0101 or mobile at 284-440-3411.
A common desire among all three agents is to see improvements in the BVI’s infrastructure, thereby enhancing long term viability of its real estate market. The overall tone of these women implies that we have turned the page on the economic downturn and that we’re experiencing incipient movements toward a healthier real estate economy that’s just beyond our Caribbean horizon.
British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty
Maritha Keil explained her introduction to real estate came through part-time jobs in high school and college. Years later, she relocated to the BVI with her husband and continued peripherally working in real estate along with other jobs. She ultimately harnessed her experiences in architecture and interior design, teaching and coaching and combined them to create current operations at British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty and Caribbean Realty Limited. She makes things happen with a combination of wit, patience, a killer database and a staff, her support team, who create a synchronized group of specialists geared toward client-based satisfaction and personalized service.
Maritha says each team member plays an integral role in her business, and in 2009, their unified efforts led to an increase in sales over 2008, as well as a 2010 increase over 2009. She feels the key to the company's success has been largely due to encouraging her team to strive to keep a genuinely positive outlook in all situations, a compassionate heart for all people, the goal of true integrity in each and every business transaction and the humility in remembering to be forever spiritually thankful.
The lull of the past three years prompted Maritha to promote the business internationally by partnering with Sotheby’s International Realty. This partnership yielded increased sales and listings. Another benefit of this alliance has been global networking opportunities. She said the alliance helped save her business in the global economic downturn.
A quiet confidence exudes from Maritha as she speaks; this, coupled with modesty, allows her to remove herself from the focal point and attribute the company’s success to staff. This approach, she states, is the blueprint that allows her to manage150 properties and sell homes. Maritha and her team can be reached at 284-494-5700 or [email protected]