Realtor Realities: Bermuda Estate Agents

New home!

New home!

In England we call them Estate Agents but the Americans have the term REALTOR, a term which they invented in 1916 and trademarked in 1949.
Real estate refers to immovable property, realty in American language.
Then the suffix “or” is the more prestigious variation of “er” – the site where I found this nugget used the illustration “author” being superior to “writer” so
should teachers henceforth be teachors? Is that why there are “doctors”? Perhaps we could use this device to differentiate between Docters of Philosophy and Doctors of Medicine. 😉

I am moved (pun intended) to talk about Bermuda Realtors at this precise point in time because this week we are moving home and again I want to say a huge thank you to one particular agent who has found us another lovely place to live. Earlier this year she drove us around the island in atrocious weather (occasionally it does rain in Paradise) to property after property. Having lived on the island for a year now we felt ready for a more traditional Bermudian style home and particularly wanted to be near the water. Yes, I know, with just 21 square miles then practically everywhere is near the water, but our new home has direct access onto Harrington Sound.

As we wandered into closets large enough to sleep in and stood in the middle of empty rooms imagining our very few pieces of furniture in situ, D. patiently waited our decisions. For those of you who don’t know, I have to say it feels as if we have been moving home constantly for the last four years in UK and we have established an understanding between us: say little, look, stand and listen. We must be a nightmare for realtors, how do they interpret our silence into a list of preferences?

In our married life we have lived in a number of homes, owned, rented, permanent, temporary and each one has added in some way to our current “requirements”. There was the house where the next-door kept a horse in their garage, another with bats in the loft, downstairs neighbours who called to each other in the early hours, the cellared lodgings during house jobs where we wished we could hover above the bed and feared the scuffling in the dark, one above a supermarket, another next door to a robot-lawnmower-machine that enjoyed two hours of unrestrained wandering each Saturday morning regardless of any late Friday we might have experienced. So we have some ideas of what works for us, and lots of ideas of what doesn’t. Our tolerant realtor coped with all that and came up with “a little place that you might just like” – and we do.

I shan’t be telling you where it is, but in time will find some photographs.

How did we find an estate agent? Some have windowed-offices in town while others rely on a web presence. There seem to be two sites that showcase several different agents properties: My Bermuda House and Property Skipper. They are helpful but don’t expect Rightmove or Zoopla – floor plans and maps may pop up but here you really do need to go to see the property in person. The websites won’t tell you the kitchen is dingy or a streetlight is outside the bedroom window, and the phrase “water views” has many interpretations.

Here is a list of the REALTORS or agents that deal with property on Bermuda:

and the following papers and websites have property sections:

The * indicate sites which list multiple agent’s properties – the Bermuda equivalent to Rightmove.

More than 25 agents on 21 Square miles? Apparently so. One per square mile.  I understand the market has been more active in the past and it has had a quiet period but is reportedly picking up  – so the papers say.

In the UK, perhaps because we had quite a wide search area, the process was to look at Rightmove, spot a possible property and contact the agent directly.  Here we ended up seeing far more properties, leaving it to the agent to select suitable places after we gave a few clues as to what might work.  To be honest the first time we didn’t really know what was available for the budget or whether we preferred traditional or new.  As I said a year ago, we chose a modern apartment in a new development with full mod cons and air conditioning and an amazing view across to the horizon from our living room and from the bed!  A huge thanks to R for being a great landperson (never sure what to call a female version – landlady conjures up images from The Ladykillers, definitely doesn’t fit this instance). This time round we have selected a more traditional style, built around early 1900s at a guess, more quirky in the layout, with a beautiful garden leading down to the water. Yesterday we floated about in the early evening as the sun began to cast shadows and felt as if we were on holiday 🙂

Thank you J and J for taking us as tenants and thank you D for an excellent choice. 🙂

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