Secure Online Auction Site Makes Buying Caribbean Luxury Villa Safe and Easy

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Buying vacation or investment homes at online real-estate auctions is totally safe if both buyers and sellers are willing to observe a few simple rules and if a secure auction process is used.

If you want to buy a vacation property or an investment property in the Caribbean, how can you rely on the available online information supplemented by e-mails and phone calls?

Jacquie Ryan Enterprises, a well-respected and long-established real-estate firm in the Caribbean, has started to market luxury villas in Montserrat in partnership with the carefully selected, secure, online auction site of RBuy.com.

“I have chosen to auction these properties through RBuy.com,” explains Jacquie Ryan, “because they have built-in safeguards that protect both the buyers and the sellers.

“The buyer is protected because only registered realtors can list a property – there is no direct listing by sellers. This means that as the listing realtor, I have the obligation and responsibility to ensure that the property is accurately represented online. I can also provide whatever information a potential buyer may wish to have on Montserrat and on the property.”

Bidders must be pre-approved for financing to provide a safeguard for the seller. This is no different from the pre-qualification usually required when buying a property next door through a real-estate agent.

Pre-approval also works to the buyer’s advantage: bidders are assured that all the competition has been equally pre-qualified and are serious potential buyers. The auction is a level playing field.

Finally, the auction is a contractual commitment between winning bidder and seller, and clear property titles are provided by the seller to a local law firm before the auction starts. This expedites the closing to everyone’s satisfaction.

A real-estate auction with such safeguards presents unique opportunities for the increasing number of buyers and sellers who rely on the Internet for information and communication. How many of the 2.32 million investment homes and 1.02 million vacation homes sold in 2005 were researched online?

Jacquie Ryan believes that the online auction is a natural magnet for everyone who wants to take advantage of all the attractions Montserrat offers and wants to buy their dream island villa for a fraction of what it would have cost if Soufriere Hills, a volcano in the southern sector of Montserrat, had not began erupting on July 18, 1995.

The first property to be auctioned is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, luxury villa with a private fresh-water swimming pool, located at 500 ft elevation on 0.8 acres of land adjacent to a National Park. A picture gallery, slide show and video of the property and information about Montserrat are online at http://www.montserrat-caribbean-villas.com Potential bidders can register and follow the auction from this website.

Bryan and Dyann Hollender, proprietors of Waterworks Estate, rent exclusive, high-end villas in Montserrat, which Mr. Hollender calls “the safest place in the Caribbean.” He envisages a return to the island’s hey-day, when it was a playground for the rich and famous, and is convinced that now is the time to invest in property on the island. “Space is limited and the window of opportunity is small. Property is now a third of the price it was. If you want to get in, now is the time. We really think there is going to be a boom here within the next three years.”

Montserrat, a British colony, is experiencing a phoenix-like revival. Looking at beautiful Montserrat today, it would appear that the volcanic eruption never happened, even though the southern two-thirds of the island is accessible only during daytime entry periods. However the homes and commercial buildings north of the exclusion zone are clean of ash and debris, roads are clear, and gardens and crops have been replanted.

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Annemarie Pollowy Toliver

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