Tag Archives: realtor

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. 🙂


An Adventure

May 2013

Ever watched “Up”?
Well this is our adventure: two years, two fifty-somethings, never-done-anything-like-this-before, we surprised our family and got on a plane…. To Bermuda.

I will tell you more about us as we get further in, if its important, but mostly this is my grown-up scrapbook (remember all those camping trips when your parents made you keep scrapbooks of your holiday while it rained outside and you even glued in the French crisp packets?) OK, no glue and no crisp packets.

May 1st
Window seat for flight with amazing cloud formations as we came down to land. Bermuda looks very small such that I am impressed the pilot could even find it in the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

May 2nd
My body clock is four hours out so woke at 4am with energy that seems to have dissipated without any apparent achievements beyond getting dressed. Today is househunting day.

May 3rd
This is the slowest fast food ever:
KFC Bermuda.
And we now have 3 bank managers

May 4th
Explored the home furnishing possibilities in Hamilton shops.
Some very costly, wood more so than metal.

May 5th
Fruit muffin and banana feels like a healthy breakfast, but suspect the calories are hiding and will jump out as soon as I have swallowed them.
I ventured into the hotel pool, perhaps should have waited till the sun has warmed the water, but refreshing swim and made me feel good. But must work on those thighs, they have grown somewhat since I last saw them stomping along beneath a swimming costume. I would like to call it lymphoedema but it is more accurately described as fat.
So this afternoon I have started my adventure into study….. If you haven’t worked it out that it is creative writing by now then I am clearly not doing very well.
Robert suggested a walk, but neither of us seem to have gelled to the idea and we remain firmly seated in front of computer and iPad. It is Sunday, and even in Bermuda Sunday feels like Sunday.

May 6th
I am proud holder of a Bermuda Learners Permit with a lesson booked for Wednesday. I actually passed the theory test. When I can drive and we have the car it will all begin to feel less strange.

May 7th
Just two things to do today: inventory for flat and collect bank cards.

May 8th
Well of course the bank cards weren’t ready – this is Bermuda so what did I expect .
Today has been like a mountain, I had a driving lesson. Conclusion? Needs more practice. 30 years of UK driving has not prepared me for Bermuda.
The list of things I did wrong runs into double figures:
Not coming to proper stop at stop signs
Stopping when it wasn’t a stop junction
Stopping too far forward at junctions
Going left when told to go straight on
Turning into wrong lane of oncoming traffic ( it was an odd junction)
Speeding again.

And that was all after numerous attempts to reverse in zigzag and parallel park.

After all that I am not sure I want to drive at all.

Then I had a funny email from the bank:
” good day Mrs Law, we have in our possession your husband and your debit cards for collection from ….”
Sounded like they had taken him hostage.

So right now I am waiting for happy hour and free wine from the hotel.

May 21st

Yes a long gap, and lots has happened in that time, not least that I passed a driving test – never ever again.
There are three parts to it,
1. Drive forwards through a zig zag section marked with poles and bollards and yellow lines, stop at far end then “in your own time” which means not more then three minutes, reverse throu the same section, not touching either pole or line and stop beside examiner when finished.
2. Parallel parking – There’s apparently a fail safe way of doing it, if you only obey the rules…. For one who hates rules and rebels everyday that’s hard….
It’s all to do with positioning and turning the wheel, turning it to full lock, noe of this nanny pamby half hearted quarter turn, full lock and keep going slowly even though it feels as if you are at right angles to the impossibly small space.
2. The road test – they only take you on this if you pass parts one and two, so at last there is some relief half way through. Do not relax though, there won’t be many road signs and the instructor will speak rarely if at all. If he says nothing keep going straight on. So you can imagine the horrible feeling that prickled all over me when I turned right at a roundabout the approach to which he had been impassively silent…. And the even worse feeling as he said “did I tell you to make a right?” I heard myself respond (Oh Katie, surely you know it’s a rhetorical question) “No, but …” (For heavens sake you do not argue, years of driving with my husband have taught me that) The sentence dried up even as I thought it and was replaced with “sorry” and a certainty that I would be retaking this test next month. But somehow, somehow, I managed to pass, with the only two negatives being “that roundabout” and “you don’t need to give way at City Hall” (as if I knew where that even was).
I was ecstatic, jelly-like and nauseated, all at once.
A Bermuda Driving Licence, let me tell you, is something to be admired, and I will keep mine forever … Actually only for ten years, but by then, who knows.