Tuesday, June 30, 2009


As we approach the end of June that means that we are half way through 2009. These past 6 months have given some of us a lot of gray hairs and taken all of us on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Many experts predict that the real estate market is close to or has reached the bottom. Unfortunately no one can tell you exactly when we reach bottom because when the market prices begin to rise you missed the bottom. There is no doubt in my mind that if you are looking for motivated sellers and deals in real estate this is the time. It’s one of those times when the aggressive people make a lot of money and the timid just look from the sidelines and become what I call a “Would of Could of Should of”.
If you are a potential Homebuyer, Condo Buyer, Duplex buyers, land speculator, canal home buyer or commercial buyer get up off your seat and look around for deals. The market is soft right now so this is the time to get your deal at the right price. Listing prices have not fluctuated on paper but as I have said many times the actual deals that are being made reflect reduced prices. No one knows for sure what is in store for the world economics and Freeport but what we do know is that throughout history Real Estate has always been a great investment and while prices are down and sellers are motivated this may be the right time for you. So don’t be surprised if prices begin to rise again as local sellers start to feel more confident about the future of the market.
Prices really are a reflection of psychology or consumer confidence. So if you have been thinking about real estate this is the time to get out there and start looking now. How do you begin your search?? First, find a real estate professional that will help you identify and locate the features you’re looking for in a property. Ask your family, friends and business contacts for referrals of real estate professionals that they have worked with and helped them successfully with their real estate purchase and sale. When you find the real estate agent/broker talk with them about your practical needs and describe the property of your dreams.. Work with a realtor you feel you can trust, who communicates a clear understanding of your goals and shows you listings that match your search criteria. Do your financial homework.
Meet with the banks to determine how much you can borrow based on your income, and research interest rates. Decide how much cash you can put together for a down payment and how much you need to put aside for closing costs, which typically amount between 4 % and 7% to purchase price of a property. Do your home work. As you go out property-hunting, concentrate on neighborhoods that are ideal for your needs. Look at homes that have enough square footage, a pleasing floor plan and a suitable yard for your family, and boat dockage if that’s important to you. You can always repaint the walls and replace the carpet, but changing the “footprint” of the home is more complicated and costly.
Don’t procrastinate. If your realtor has a property to show you, go out to look at it immediately. If you really like the home and can picture yourself living in it contentedly, consult with your realtor about making an offer right away Before entering into negotiations for the home, ask the seller to fully disclose any serious defects that may require repairs, particularly any that involve one of the major systems in the home. Don’t wait for interest rates to climb – initiate your home buying process now because the future of Freeport might just surprise you. Many of us who have been around Freeport for many years know that Freeport has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride but the time is coming that Freeport will in spite of itself fulfill its potential. We all become very jaded and think that Freeport will never get ahead but it is impossible that Grand Bahama Island with all its potential will stagnate for ever. From a pine barren island inhabited by Aarwak Indians, then re-discovered by Columbus, settled by The loyalists and slaves and re-discovered again by Wallace Groves, the island has come a long way already. Consider the size and scope of the container port, the shipyard, the industrial sector, the airport, the infrastructure, the homes, the condos, the communities, the utilities, the schools, the restaurants, the shops, the business owners and employees, the canal system and the people.
Freeport is a city with great potential and it will move forward. Sure we could improve on everything but it only takes a small change to make a major shift. If we fix things like the airlift situation, create a first class cruise port, develop medical tourism, create more jobs, attract more investors and visitors, beautify this island and have all of Freeport working together then these changes will create a major shift in the economy and Freeport will be reborn. This will of course change the Real Estate landscape and this market could change from a buyers market to a sellers market almost overnight. There are many people working towards this change and we all need to pitch in to help our community fulfill its potential. It will not be done for us. All of us in our small way must make it happen and it will.
It is time to bring the magic back to what was once proudly called the Magic City. There are many new players on the scene now and the old guard is changing. There will be new opportunities soon to present themselves and new optimistic people from the Bahamas and around the world who will see the potential and act. At James Sarles Realty we believe in the future of Freeport. Good Luck with your property hunting and as I always say, don’t be a “woulda coulda shoulda” become a proud owner !

Friday, June 26, 2009

Legendary King Of Pop, Michael Jackson, dies at the age of 50 of Cardiac arrest.

At 5.50pm EST on Thursday 25th June 2009, I was at the checkout counter in a grocery store here on Grand Bahama, when the cashier turned and asked me if I had heard the news that Michael Jackson had died.
The news she delivered was so incredulous to me I immediately laughed and told her that there was no way that could be true, as I was speaking a young boy walked in and repeated that Michael had been taken to hospital as he had had a heart attack.
I immediately got on my Blackberry and went online, then drove home & turned on the news stations.
The images shown on both the BBC & CNN were overhead helicopter shots of the UCLA hospital in LA, there were unconfirmed reports from news organizations such as The LA Times, on celebrity gossip blog TMZ.com, that Michael had indeed died, but BBC were reporting he was in a coma. Needless to say whatever the case, his health situation was dire.
My whole body was in shock, my Blackberry & Facebook accounts were in overdrive with messages from friends who had bought tickets to see him perform in a few weeks in London, with friends who, could not, like me, accept the fact that this great musician, regardless of his faults and eccentricities, a man that had made us all try sliding backward on the dance floor at some point in our lives, that had made us scream" I Love This Song!!!" and run frantically, making space for ourselves on a packed dance floors at house parties, weddings, clubs, casinos, discos, proms, baby christenings, birthdays, and even funerals.
Because that what Michael did for us. He was present in our lives everyday, in ways we sometimes, never even knew.
From his days with the Jackson 5, Belting out ABC, I Want You Back & Ben, to the monumental occasion that was Thriller, with Billy Jean, Bad, The Girl is Mine, Black & White, and so many more songs.
Michael Jackson has influenced so many of today's artists, artists that we love so much. He was a humanitarian as they have been reporting on the press, He wrote & sang the song "We are The World" he encouraged us to look past race & color with " Black or White" to look within yourself and acknowledge your own contribution to the world with "Man in the Mirror".
So I ask that we look past his faults, his crazy tactics, his dancing on the roof of the car during his court case, appearing in his pajamas, his wanting so desperately to be light skinned, and remember him for what he gave us through his music.

Rest in Peace Michael Jackson,

Below are videos of Micheal performing in The Bahamas in 2006 & a link to Michael in the studio singing "We Are the World"
Click here to watch video

More Aerial shots of Beautiful Grand Bahama

The response to the aerial photos posted last month on the blog were so positive, we thought we'd post some more.
These shots are taken on the south shore of the island and specifically over the Port Lucaya area & Coral beach.

Thursday, June 25, 2009



After nearly two years of steep declines in the housing market in the US and the Bahamas there are small signs that the housing market may be close to finding a bottom. And when you get near the bottom that means that the sluggish real estate market will begin to rebound. We have a very unique situation on Grand Bahama because the list prices or advertised sale prices have not changed that much in the last 2 years but the actual sales transaction numbers have. What this means is that the sellers still think that their properties have not gone down in value but when it comes time to really make a deal the sellers accept less for their property to reflect actual market value. No matter what anyone says, Grand Bahama prices have come down and that is based on actual list price to selling prices data.
I think the international and local numbers are showing that we may be seeing a bottom which means that this is a good time to buy as the market will begin very slowly to improve. So if you do decide to buy you of course have to figure out how to finance your purchase. Since real estate is usually the largest single purchase you will ever make you need to explore every option available to borrow funds to pay for this large purchase. I suggest that you meet with several banks right away to determine how much they will lend you based on your income, determine what is the interest rate they will charge, how much do you have to put down as a deposit and how long of a mortgage can they offer.
The banks have money to lend and if you have a steady job they will finance your purchase. Be prepared to give the banks a lot of information but with a little patience you can borrow funds and get in the real estate game and finance your dream property. One of the financing options other than a borrowing from a bank is seller financing where the seller in essence acts as the bank. Let’s take a look at how this works.
A seller can finance the entire purchase transaction if they own the home free and clear. Why would a seller choose to do this? Typically it is because the buyer has difficulty qualifying for a conventional mortgage loan. Often the seller in this situation has personal reasons to sell the home to a particular buyer, or is in a hurry to complete the transaction. Sellers who agree to finance can often get a higher price for the property and sellers who carry a loan earn a return on their investment in the form of interest. The interest rate on an owner-carried loan is negotiable.

Seller financing differs from a traditional loan because the seller does not give the buyer cash to purchase the home, as if the seller were a bank issuing a mortgage loan. Instead, the seller extends a credit against the purchase price of the home. Typically, the purchaser pays a deposit and works out a monthly payment schedule for a set number of years that includes principle and interest with standard monthly amortization schedules based on the interest agreed. You can find these schedules on the internet. Everything is negotiable and if the two parties are willing (buyer and seller) terms can be worked out that make sense for all concerned.
The lawyer will prepare the necessary paperwork after the terms of the sale are worked out between the buyer and seller. The buyer executes a promissory note or enters into an Agreement to Deed and the title deeds are held by the seller until the house is paid off so the seller is not at risk. If the purchaser can not make the monthly payments the seller keeps all the money paid and takes back the house.
Sellers who decide to finance the sale of their own home are taking a risk that the purchaser will default but it could be a win win for both parties. If you choose this option, you are accepting greater responsibility for the transaction, and should rely strongly on the expertise of your lawyer and your real estate agent. It may not be the ideal option for everyone but it may be right for you !
If you are seller who is going to use this self-finance option, you should proceed with seller financing only if you are confident that the buyer will live up to their end of the deal. Until next week.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pelican Bay at Lucaya selected within the world's best hotels and resorts ranking no. 11 in the Caribbean

By Marva Monroe

Expedia.com’s Exclusive Insiders’ Select List Ranks Pelican Bay
No. Seven Within The Caribbean’s Best Hotels

Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas – Expedia.com’s exclusive Insiders’ Select List has positioned Pelican Bay at Lucaya as one of the best hotels in the world with a score of 86.03. Their glorious water views, distinct architecture, and choice amenities, came in at the top at 11th in the Caribbean and the highest ranked hotel in The Bahamas. And, The Reef Atlantis and The Cove, Paradise Island are the only one other resorts in The Bahamas to receive this designation.

Millions of customers and in-house experts choose Expedia Insiders’ Select rankings as a source when choosing the appropriate travel destination with first-class appeal. Expedia ranks hotels around the world using a rating system based on its traveler opinions, expert input, and value, producing a list so exclusive it represents the top 1% of all its hotels and resorts. Pelican Bay’s score and rating was calculated with Expedia’s Insider’s Select Methodology calculating Traveler Opinion + Value + Expedia Hotel Expert Input = Expedia Insiders’ Select Score.

A favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, Pelican Bay at Lucaya is where guests find the finest combination of unique Caribbean charm and up close and personal service. Overlooking the Bell Channel Bay, Pelican Bay’s state rooms feature furnishings from around the world, water views, private balconies, and patios. When guests of Pelican Bay’s state rooms wake up each morning, they will find breakfast and news updates from The New York Times waiting for them. The resort delivers a delicious breakfast of pastries and breads through a specially designed pass-through on the door. Other amenities, such as an espresso machine, complimentary espresso, fully stocked refrigerator and lush bathrobes, make the stay memorable and comfortable.

The resort also features three swimming pools. Guests can relax poolside and savor a Caribbean-inspired meal or tropical drink at the resort’s al fresco dining option—Sabor Restaurant and Bar.

Sabor is the place to savour all the tastes of the tropical. With its innovative fusion menu and Latin beat, Sabor is one of the hottest restaurants in The Bahamas.

The magic starts in the kitchen where chefs use only the best seasonal catches and ingredients. Diners can always expect gourmet meals with an emphasis on taste and flavour. Located in the garden of Pelican Bay, diners have a marvelous view over the yachts in the Port Lucaya Marina plus swaying palms and exotic lounge music.

Sabor Saturday a weekly happening. Is a “must” experience. Live entertainment featuring the island's best bands, drinks at discounted prices and cool mattresses for a relaxing dinner and drinks as the sun sets overlooking the marina and Bell Channel Bay await you...

Open 10 a.m. to 12 midnight, lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., happy hour 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., dinner 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday Brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sexy Ibiza Latino Party will be held Friday, May 22 from 7:30 p.m. to 12 midnight. www.sabor-bahamas.com

Pelican Bay at Lucaya is perfect for corporate and romantic getaways. For more information or reservations at Pelican Bay call 242-373-9550 or visit www.pelicanbayhotel.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009


James Sarles


You hear about a friend of a friend who bought a house and is renting it out to make some extra income. You hear that this person just sits back and collects the rent check every month and goes fishing. Sounds like a no-brainer.
Buying a house to rent or turning your own house into a rental instead of selling can be a good way to make some passive income. It can also be a way to cover the mortgage on an investment property. BUT . . . there are a lot of issues you need to consider before you decide to become a landlord. There are two ways to approach renting your property: you can be the landlord yourself or you can hire a property management company to oversee the property. If you try to do it yourself, remember that your property will need to be maintained and you have to be aware of all the expenses that include: repairs, landscaping maintenance, costs between tenants, painting, new carpet, cleaning , utilities, insurance, advertising, real estate fees etc. You will also have to take into account the possibility of getting a tenant who does not work out. And there may be times that you cannot rent your house for a month or more between tenants. If you plan to make your house a vacation rental, you need to be courteous to your neighbors and assure them that there will not be all-night wild parties going on every weekend and in many of our condos in Freeport the condo rules only allow longer term rentals as stipulated in the by-laws.
You may want to use the services of a good property management company if you want to reduce your personal involvement with the management of your rental. It will affect your profit but they will handle the day to day maintenance and any unusual problems that may come up. Fortunately, we do have a new property management service on the island that is doing a great job. If you are interested please call us and we will be happy to give you the phone number.

If you do decide to become landlord, keep in mind that exclusive of your monthly mortgage payments, the average cost of renting your home may be approximately 20% of your income. Using a property management firm could add an additional 10% - 15%. You need to take all of these numbers t into account when setting your rental rate. You should also consider your cash flow situation. It is often difficult to break even or show a profit from your rental income for the first few years that you own an investment property. However, the property will appreciate while you own it, and you will build up equity each year. If you are planning to become a landlord, consult a Realtor and a good accountant to help you make an informed investment purchase; it can be a real way to make some extra income and pay off that mortgage on your investment property or future retirement home. Until next week….

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wallace Groves: The Man who Launched Freeport, Bahamas

A very interesting reenactment of the Famed Wallace Groves interview. Produced by Mackeymedia.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bahama Friday!!!

We here at Taste of Grand Bahamas know we live on a gem of an Island. But what makes us truly happy is when others recognise this also.
I found some honest reviews of Hotels And local spots on our island and wanted to share them with you.
It's Better In The Bahamas;-)
Happy Bahama Friday

Friday, June 12, 2009

Champagne Summer Party

Sabor & Clegg-Missick Events is doing it again!!!
Get ready for this month's most talked about event.
After the success of her previous events hosted at the Upscale & Glamorous Sabor Restaurant at the Pelican Bay Hotel. Clegg-Missick is throwing the ultimate summer soiree, A Champagne Summer Party.
With music by The President & exquisite delicacies by resident top Chef Worly, Residents & Visitors to Grand Bahama are destined to experience a night of pure Luxury.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grand Bahama Regatta - June 18-21st at Taino Beach

Bahama Fridays Office Policy

I know that a lot of people think this is just a gimmick to get people over here to the Wonderful Islands of the Bahamas, but as long as it works & it's all harmless fun then so what!
Let us know if this is a policy that could work at your office. But we here at Taste of Grand Bahama LOVE IT!!!!!