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Tuesday, September 08, 2020

information for first time buyers in Aruba

 Frequently asked questions, how to buy property in Aruba for non-residents:

 


Q.: Can a foreign citizen buy property in Aruba?

A: Yes, there are no restrictions for any foreigner on buying property in Aruba.

Q: How much time can I spend in Aruba as a vacationer/ visitors / home owner?

A: Citizens of the Netherlands or the Netherlands Antilles may stay up to six months.

 

For visitors from EU countries and USA and Canada the following applies:

VISITORS WITHOUT A VISA REQUIREMENT FOR ARUBA:

Second home owners in Aruba coming from qualified countries are allowed staying in Aruba for up to 180 days per calendar year.

Q: Can a foreign citizen work legally in Aruba?

A: All visitors wishing to work in Aruba must have a written permit from the Directorate of Alien Integration, Policy and Admission (DIMAS). Visitors are not allowed to be in paid employment by an Aruban employer while visiting Aruba as a tourist. Further information and application forms for written permits can be obtained free of charge at the DIMAS.  For more information please contact:
Departamento di Integracion, Maneho y Admision di Stranhero (DIMAS)
Go to DIMAS website for more up-to-date information and/or an appointment: http://www.dimasaruba.aw

 

 

Q: Would it be possible to retire on Aruba?

 A: If you plan to come to live in Aruba as a pensioner or retiree, please contact DIMAS. See above for contact information.

 Q: How do I go about finding a realtor and a house?

A: we can cover all listings of all realtors for you, no extra costs involved. (The seller pays the commission and realtors share amongst them). That way you only have to deal with one broker, which will save you lots of time during your stay.

Come prepared; the Internet is of course an excellent tool to get started and it is advisable to start your search while still at home. Let us know, what you are looking for in regards to size, location and budget. Also let us know which homes on our website and the other realtor’s websites are of your liking and we will get all additional information for you.

We will prepare a list of possible properties and make all viewing appointments by e-mail.

We will during our first meeting go through the list and also make sure you get a good understanding of the areas, which ones you prefer and what is the general pricing level in that area.

 Q: What is the procedure to buy property in Aruba?

 A: When you have chosen a home and went through price negotiations, a Purchase and Sale Agreement will be signed after proper review. Take your time to understand the different procedures and different laws. We will walk you through the agreement and explain it clearly. 

 A written offer is not always necessary, but when you are almost leaving back home, it might be a good idea to have one made, where at least you agree on the basics, pending the purchase agreement.

 A 10 % deposit payable towards the escrow account of the selected notary is usually agreed upon. The buyer will select the notary.

We will need your ID’s, proof of address, proof of income, proof of funds, and a personal data form.

After submitting all documents to the notary, he or she might need some more documentation.

The deed can be signed in general within 12 weeks after signing the Purchase and Sale Agreement. For legal support concerning the contracts we advise you to contact the selected notary.

After the notary deed is ready to sign, the notary will send a final statement to buyers and sellers. After receipt of payment, the appointment for the closing can be set. The notary will only pay-out the proceeds to the seller after another title search within 24 hours.

You will receive all necessary bank information to make the wire transfers.

Central Bank rules

A few rather complicated rules for the money exchange from and to abroad have to be observed:

As a non-resident you transfer your own currency to Aruba. The Central bank will convert the amount with a 1.78 rate into Aruban Florin, which is Aruba’s official currency.

 

But: In case the seller is also a non-resident and likes to receive the amount in US Dollar, than you transfer to the USD account. If the seller likes to export the proceeds to the US or any other country, he can do so without extra costs. A portion of the purchase price should always be received by the notary in Aruban Florin. This in to ensure that all local costs can be paid out off the escrow account.

 

In any case, where Aruban Florins need to be converted in USD, whether it goes to an Aruban USD account or whether it goes to the US or any other country, the exchange rate is 1.823 (incl. the 1.3 % currency commission).

Also, between a non resident buyer and a non –resident seller: if a mortgage is obtained by a local bank, that portion will always be in Aruba Florin and the conversion costs are for the buyer.

In case a one exports money abroad, a 1.3 % currency commission needs to be paid to the Central Bank.

In any real estate transaction over AWG 300.000 (USD 168.500,-) and between a resident and a non-resident, an exchange permit needs to be obtained from the Central Bank. Of course the notary will take care of this. The costs are for the buyer and are around AWG 250,-

TIP: Never pay the deposit directly to an agent or the seller, but always to the notary, preferably by international bank transfer.

TIP 2: The whole process can be done through email and when necessary with a power of attorney. You don’t need to be here for the closing, but it still is advisable to come to Aruba for closing and do a proper inspection.

Your agent a/o the notary can assist you with all necessary steps and you can do many things by fax or e-mail. In case you will not be able to be on Aruba to close the purchase and you need a power of attorney, the notary will prepare one for you and send it by fax. With this in hand you just need to have it authorized at your local notary public.

 

Q: do we need to have an inspection or survey done?

A:  Aruba has several inspectors and we can coordinate this for you.

You can also contact the building department (DOW) that issues the building permits and keeps copies of all permits. Mostly the sellers can provide the original building permit.

DOW does not however provide a service of inspection. For an inspection you might use an appraiser, ideally one, that has an engineering or architectural background. We can help you finding a reliable one, who can make both a value appraisal and/or a specifically technical inspection.

The property registry , in Aruba called” kadaster  and hypotheekkantoor” (land and mortgage registry) keeps track on all properties, property lines, deeds, mortgages, liens, embargos and so on.

If you like to have your property surveyed or measured, because you want to have certainty in regards to the correct property lines, you can have the kadaster (takes up to 8 weeks) or a private surveying company measure the land and put in new stakes.

TIP: always inquire about the lines, ask for the map (the so called ‘situatieplan’) issued by the kadaster and on whose land the fence/walls are built.

Q: Does the seller have to arrange an appraisal when selling their home?

A: No, the buyer has to arrange and pay for an appraisal, because he will need it in order to apply for a mortgage at the bank and also for the home insurance.

However, in many cases the seller has one made for any buyer’s convenience.

Q: How about financing my purchase in Aruba?

A: Financing in Aruba is expensive (rates are up to 10 %) and local banks only finance up to 50 % for non-residents. Contact any of the local banks for more details or have your realtor arrange for an estimate.

 Please be aware, that US Banks don’t finance properties abroad. Using the equity on your own home is advisable. Contact your bank about the possibilities.

Still you can contact RBC Bank or Aruba Bank about their facilities:

http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/caribbean/ar

http://www.arubabank.com

http://www.cmbnv.com


 

TIP: you will need an appraisal for applying for a mortgage for the local banks. Ask your realtor if there is an up-to-date appraisal (not older than 6 months) or have a new one made.  

Q: What are the additional costs (closing costs) when buying property in Aruba?

 A:

1.      Transfer tax (one time tax) is 6 % of the purchase price or the tax value (whichever is higher)

2.      For locals buying properties over AWG 250.000,- the part under AWG 250.000, has a transfer tax of 3%.

     3.      The Notary closing fees (legal fees) are 1.5 to 2 % of purchase price.

     4.      In case you need a mortgage from a local bank, the taxes and notary fees over the mortgage                     deed are 1.5 to 2% of the mortgage sum.

 TIP: Most notaries use 1.78 exchange rates. Make sure to keep that in mind, while negotiating the price.

 Q: How much are the annual taxes?

 A: in Aruba they are not quite as high as in the USA or Canada.

Property Tax: The so called land tax is a percentage of the tax value. The tax value is determined by the tax department. They re-evaluate every 5 years.  The first USD 34.000, - of this value is free of tax.

On the balance you will pay USD 6, - per USD 1.000, - of the tax value or 0.6 % over tax value.

Long lease fee: Only applicable for long leased land. The amount was determined at the start of the lease period and will remain the same for the full duration, mostly 60 years. Ask your agent for the amount applicable. In case of long lease land you pay the fee plus property tax.

Q: why do I need a notary?

A: Unlike the Anglo-Saxon system, where lawyers work out the purchase agreement, in the Dutch legal system we work with a notary, who is a full lawyer, appointed by the queen and 100% impartial. The notary is your contact person during closing period next to your realtor. They might ask you a lot of questions regarding your marital status and some other awkward questions. But rest assured: they only are doing their job of thoroughly investigating current and future ownerships, current and future mortgages, but also on liens, infringements and so on (title search).

Q: what other costs will occur?

A: the same as in your home country:

 

1.      home and inventory insurance,

2.      maintenance of house, garden and pool,

3.      management of your property,

4.      your monthly utilities (typically in the same price range here as in the US or Canada),    

TIP: remember to get all accounts onto your name on day of closing. You need proper ID’s, copies of proof of ownership from notary, and cash for the deposits.

5.      Fees for condos.

 

Q: How much would a home insurance cost?

 A; Make sure, you have the insurance in place at the day of closing. You might need an appraisal for the reconstruction value.  We can of course help you with referrals and also these issues can be handled by e-mail.

There are many types of property insurance. However typical comprehensive property insurance that covers explosion, earthquake, flooding, fire, riot/ malicious damage, foreign object, etc. costs yearly approx. 0.37% of the reconstruction value.

And don’t forget the insurance on your inventory.

 

Q: How much do I have to calculate for water, electricity etc.?

 A:  WATER: WEB NV is the only water provider on the Island. All the industrial and potable water produced by WEB NV, the world’s largest desalination plant, is from the seawater.

The quality of Aruba’s drinking water is highly regarded and very safe to drink direct from the faucet. The average consumption per month according to WEB NV is $82.00. Houses with extensive landscaping could expect water bills around $ 200.

A deposit of AWG 250.- is required to connect to the water supply of WEB NV.
With an average swimming pool of 30 m3, the monthly consumption of water in dollars is estimated at $250.00. 

For more information contact WEB NV:
Tel: 297-585-4600
Fax: 297-585-7681
W-mail:
services@webaruba.com
Web:
www.webaruba.com

 

A: ELECTRICITY is produced by WEB NV, who in turn delivers electricity to the distribution company ELMAR NV. Power is supplied to all homes and businesses at 60-Hertz frequency and at 110 volts, just like in the United States. Power outages are very rare, unlike on other Caribbean islands. The average consumption of power per month is $130.-. For a house with 3 A/C units the average is around $250.-. with a minimum charge of $3.09. A deposit, equal to your estimated monthly use, will be charged for connection. The deposit will be automatically adjusted (added or subtracted from your bill) every month based on the actual monthly consumption.

For more information contact ELMAR NV:
Tel: 297-523-7100
Fax: 297-582-8991
E-mail:
elmar.aruba@setarnet.aw
Web:
www.elmararuba.com

Q: How much are telephone costs on the island?

 A: Telecommunication services are provided by SETAR NV, a government owned company.

The telecommunication infrastructure is advanced and sophisticated. SETAR provides all telecommunication services on an exclusive basis, except for cellular services, which are also provided by Aruba Digicel as well, which has the best roaming facilities and wireless internet access for US customers.

New connections take between 3 weeks up to 2 months, depending on whether the house is new, with a connection fee of $28.-
For more information contact:

 

SETAR NV
Tel: 297-582-5151
E-mail:
setar@setarnet.aw
Web:
www.setarnet.aw

Digicel (New Millennium NV)
Tel: 297-522-2222
E-mail:
customercare@digicelaruba.com
Web:
www.digicelaruba.com

Q: What about an internet connection?

 

SETAR provides internet access through your phone.
Faster internet services are provided through an ISDN or ASDL account
For more information contact SETAR NV:
Tel: 297-582-0404 or
www.setar.aw

E-mail: admin@setarnet.aw

You can also opt for a Cable TV/ ADSL package.

See the website for the options: http://www.cta.aw/

 Q: What is the difference between long lease land vs. property land?

A: You buy a house that is built on property land which means that you own the land. Besides property land you can buy a house which is built on lease land.

Long-lease fee is applied only to Long lease properties. The Government of Aruba through Domeinbeheer (Directorate of Land Administration) gives out the long-lease properties. The long lease properties are given out for a period, usually, of 60 years. The long lease fee is determined at the beginning of the contract and is fixed for the duration of the long lease period and the fee is fixed for all this time. After expiring the government will extend it for another 60 years, except when they maybe need it for other purposes. They will have to buy you out for the fair market value however.

The long lease fee is collected yearly and is 6% of the appraised value, determined by Directorate of Land Administration. The fee varies based on location and size of property and is fixed for the period of 60 years. Long lease fees range between $200.00 and $ 600.00 per year. The only thing that may happen when the lease period is extended, is that the yearly fee will increase. If, for any reason, the government will not extend the contract, they will have to compensate the owner at market value. You can have an appraisal made yourself to that effect. So you will never lose your investment or the increase in value. From more information contact DIP (dienst infrastructuur en planning) Tel: 297-5833000 or just ask us for more information.

Q: Should we set up a local bank account?

 A: It is not necessary to set up an Aruban bank account but it could be very helpful to make your local payments for utilities and maintenance.

For example to pay the monthly bills of electricity, water, cable TV etc. With online access and automatic payments your life will be much easier. To set up an account, contact Aruba Bank or RBC Bank, see info above. Mostly you only need 2 bank reference letters from your home country and a deposit of a few hundred Dollars.

 

Q: What to do with your new home, when you are not there?

 A:  If you bought your property for investment purposes you need to decide whether you will start renting out your house on a short- or long term basis.

There are several property management companies on Aruba who can help you out with managing the rental and maintenance. A property management company can also take care of your home and garden without renting it out.

Century 21 Real Estate only rents on a long term basis, which means a minimum rental period of 1 year. We can send you contract terms and costs on request.

  

Q: What type of sewage systems do we have in Aruba?

 A: The houses in Aruba all have septic tanks, because there is no sewage system on the island, except for a few downtown areas. You will need to empty the septic tank approx. 2 to 3 times a year. Aruba has a variety of companies who do that kind of work.

You could also consider a more sophisticated system, where you connect the sewage pump to the automatic drip-system and use the grey water for your plants.

 

Q: I have bought a beautiful house and now I need to furnish it. Where do I buy?

A: Furniture: Aruba has very nice furniture stores these days: Home and Nature, EQ3, Ford’s are the best for modern and /or tropical style furniture.

Appliances and air conditioners: AMC Unicon, Hagemeyer, EZeeBrothers (household items), Baba’s, Lucky Store and Price Smart.

Garden: Fantastic Garden, Flora and Cayena Gardens.

Lucky Store are more like department stores.

Household items and especially bed- and bath linen better to bring it from the US.

We can also connect you with interior decorators.

 

Q: What kind of medical system does Aruba offer?

 A: Aruba is well equipped to handle virtually every medical problem. In unique cases where the island’s own medical services do not cover the emergency, a patient can be quickly airlifted to nearby facilities (i.e. In Curacao).

Aruba boasts the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital, a medical facility equipped with reputable medical staff, 280 beds and modern equipment. The hospital, opened in 1976, is located in the Eagle Beach area, and is within walking distance of some of the hotels. It functions as a general hospital with established ties to the U.S., Colombian, Puerto Rican, and Dutch hospitals for specialized treatment and care.
In case of an emergency you can go to The Emergency Department, which has an attending physician on site 24 hours a day. The medical specialists are on call. The facility is wheelchair accessible. Services such as oxygen tanks and hemodialysis are available.

Contact information

Dr. Horacio E. Oduber Hospital Boulevard #1
Oranjestad Aruba.
 
Tel.: (+297) 527-4000

 

Banking

For banking questions and credit inquiries you can contact the following banks:
http://www.arubabank.com
http://www.cmbnv.com
http://www.bancodicaribe.com

http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/caribbean/ar

Notary

If you would like to contact a notary, please e-mail to the following:
Notary Tromp, Santa Cruz:
mjctromp@notaristromp.com This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Notary Rodriguez:
notarisrodriguez@setarnet.awThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it
Notary Yarzagaray
: info@notarisaruba.com

Notary Johnson: info@johnsonnotary.com

 

Notary Tromp, New Leaf: CTromp@newleafaruba.com

 

Notary Helmeyer: richard@notarishelmeyer.com

 

Please note: The following information is meant for non-residents, who are not familiar with Aruban laws, rules and costs. They do however apply in most parts also to residents (Aruban or otherwise).

All information in subject to change. We are is never responsible or liable for the information given about, by or through 3rd parties. Inform us immediately by e-mail if you see incorrect information.

 

Contact me for additional information, or when you have questions/ comments.

Email; miriam@c21aruba.com

 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Aruba welcomes you back. Aruba's borders are open for visitors.

Great news, Aruba airport is open for business;


June 15, 2020 – Bonaire & Curacao. July 1, 2020 - Canada. July 1, 2020 - Europe. July 1, 2020 - The Caribbean. (Excluding the Dominican Republic & Haiti) July 10, 2020 – The United States of America.

Official opening dates for other markets, including South America and Central America, have yet to be determined.

Please see this link for Health Requirements;

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

mijn blog verhaal staat op het blog van Gezondheids- & Ontwikkelings bureau Leiden

Message in Dutch today, Dutch publication of my personal live story, see link;

Mijn blog verhaal staat op het blog van Gezondheids- & Ontwikkelings bureau Leiden, zie link;

https://gobleiden.nl/blog-2/


😊

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wanna Live for Free?

Listen people, this is not for everybody, however I did it with a clear focus, living modest, and working extra shifts.
Some distractions along the way, because this is life, and it was a long term plan of mine, to live rent free, and in a couple of years, I will have achieved it. The year of my focus is the year 2022.

Living free, and pay no rent, that sounds so great, but it is not easy at all to achieve it. At this moment I still pay a little to live in a tiny house (32m2/ 300 sq.ft. apartment) however in some years that will be reduced to o.

How did I start and how can you create this life too?

I found myself a full-time job, on a location where I knew I could spend my weekends on the beach, and enjoy time outdoors every day of the year and spend tropical years on an island, without winter, snow, and cold weather, all the way South in the Caribbean. No desire to go on vacation since I had my ideal beach located within 10 minutes drive from my house (a rental).

I only knew 2 people in Aruba, and that was enough for me. I knew that during my days off, I wanted to enjoy, have fun, and work towards something for the future.

From my salary, which is not high at all in the Caribbean, I tried to safe some money each month, which was hard, and did not go as fast as I expected.
During that time I kept my costs low, no smoking, little alcohol every now and then, no Starbucks, no gym membership, no pedicure, no children and so on.

Once I saved enough after many years, to put a down payment to buy a small piece of land, I asked the bank for a loan, and showed them my pay slips, proof of savings, and a letter from my employer, and they approved.

I was over the moon happy. It is all about making choices in life, and this is what I choose to do for me.

fixxer upper in Aruba

For the next 4 to 5 years, after I sign the loan agreement, all money earned I lived from, plus put into paying off that bank loan for that plot of land, so each month I wired a little extra to the bank, to be done as soon as was possible in my situation. The bank allowed me pay of the loan sooner without extra penalties, so a great opportunity for me.

Once I paid of the loan for that parcel of property land, I spoke to a mortgage specialist, to request a mortgage in order to build a house on my land.

The deposit for that mortgage, was my land.

So no savings used, only during the first 4 to 5 years, paid of the land, used that land parcel to use as down payment for a mortgage to build a house.
It takes time, I know, but you do have the time. As long as you want this as bad as I wanted this, and have an income, you can do this too.

result of the house built on that parcel of land

Do you want to read to rest of the story and learn more? 

Please leave your email address in the link on the top of this blog, and I will send you the rest of the story.

I am here to assist you, no costs, free of charge.

Monday, April 20, 2020

travel stories in the time we cannot travel

When I am posting travel stories about the time I spend 4 months in Thailand, volunteering with Gibbon apes in Phuket, or about the time I was working on a cruise ship visiting the Eastern and Western islands in the Caribbean, or that time I went to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and met a Viking, and that time that I moved abroad to Spain, Belize and Aruba;
it is all because I want to keep the great memories alive.
By talking about our experiences, flipping through pictures, day dreaming about the good times we had and are still to come, that is all good. Sharing is caring.

Due to social distancing in real life, more than ever online expression is key.
Humans cannot spend too much time alone, we need interaction with others, not always with people; animals and pets will be great too.

see this link to see what isolation does to us and others;
https://youtu.be/LvS9OZzXH3A



Be safe, wash your hands, keep your distance, stay out of my aura.
 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

7 tips to help you to think more positive

Positive thinking; it is a lifestyle
Some people have the ability to make the best out of everything, while others have a hard time achieving that. When you think of something that makes you happy, your brain releases endorphins, which will give you a feeling of well-being, for free! It is however possible, if you have not been passed on the “positivity genes”, that you can train yourself to be (more) positive. Positive thinking is about creating the right mindset.

7 tips to help you to think more positive;
1.Smile; and you can feel better instantly. It really helps to smile, even though it is not a natural feeling or mood at that certain moment. Keep practicing, and smiling, keep happy thoughts and encourage yourself.
2.Surround yourself with positive thinkers, and you will see how that will effect you. When people come across a problem, they might get discouraged. When you practice positive thinking, you will look at a problem as an opportunity how to solve it. Reading positive quotes/ books will also help you to lighten up.
3.Don’t play the victim once something goes wrong. Knowing that positive thinking reduces stress and anxiety will make it much more interesting. Also the people around you can get infected by your smile; action= reaction.
4.Open up your mind to find new solutions. Practice yoga/ tai chi, meditate, and take a walk, to clear your mind.
5.Write down positive words, dreams, stories, anything to cheer you up. Avoid negative self-talk.
6.Look into the mirror and tell yourself (out loud); “I can do this”, “I am as good as anybody else”. Repeat this or any other positive words to yourself, several times a week, and you can expect improvement.
7.Train your brain to think uplifting solutions; your response will determine the outcome.