Friday, August 29, 2014

Don't Overlook a Home's Potential

Cosmetic issues are easy to remedy

Home shopping for first-time homebuyers it's an exciting, but sometimes nerve-wracking experience. If you're like others in the market for their first home, you probably have in mind exactly how your soon-to-be home will look.

But it's important not to fall into the bad decorating, clutter, and dirt-bare back yard equals bad-home trap. If you don't see past the hideous wallpaper, funky light fixtures and avocado green carpeting, you may miss out on a home with great potential.

And if you're looking for a home in a seller's market where homes are being snatched up as soon as they go on the market, you'll come to realize you can't be choosy if you want to make a competitive offer.

One of the first things to do is to get pre-approved for a loan and determine the maximum you can afford to offer for a house. Don't look at homes that are asking for more than 10% above your maximum, otherwise you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you find the perfect—but outside your budget—home.

So what to do?

Most important is the area of the property. It is all about LOCATION.

Secondly; the floor plan of the home is extremely important. If a floor plan isn't quite to your liking, consider rearranging it or adding on. If you're looking at an existing home and will need to remodel or expand to suit your needs, the estimated cost of renovation needs to be considered when making an offer.

Also, consider the features of a home:

*Walls. While these are among the easiest to remedy, they also make a huge first impression. If the walls need to be painted, are covered in wallpaper or are painted a color you find distasteful, picture them crisp and clean in the color of your choice—that's how they could look after you paint them.

*View. Things like old, ugly—even dirty—windows and window treatments can make a view appear less desirable. Those things can be improved, so unless the only view you have is of your neighbor's garage on the side of the house, don't get hung up on what is surely a fixable view.

*Landscaping. Your best bet is a moderately landscaped yard because you can always improve landscaping without spending too much. Worst case, even if you're looking at dirt, landscaping is one of the easier projects to tackle. Plus you get to design it however you'd like if you're starting from scratch.

*Closets and garages. You can never have too much storage space, which is why so many newer homes have three-car garages. But if you encounter a converted garage that is now a bedroom or storage room, don't give up. Converted garages can almost always go back to their original purpose without much cost or labor.

*Kitchen. The most popular room in the house, many homeowners want their kitchen to be large and have modern appliances. Don't let outdated color schemes deter you because there's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make a kitchen your own. Plus, if you like the rest of the house enough to make an offer, you can give the kitchen a minor spruce-up with some new appliances or a major overhaul complete with new countertops, cabinets, and flooring.

*The exterior. If the home doesn't have good curb appeal, try to picture it with a fresh coat of paint and revitalized landscaping.

    *Pools. The cost of repairing a pool is less than putting one in, so if you're looking at a home with an old pool that looks like it's in bad shape, it's still a better bet than putting one in later.

When making an offer, consider what you can't live without, as well as your budget. Also, be sure you hire a professional home inspector to inspect the house. If the home's systems are in good working order and the house has everything you want except a minor item or two, make an offer accordingly.

Most importantly, keep in mind that unless you're building your dream home from scratch, you'll probably never find the perfect home. But seeing past a previous owner's bad decorating choices to the core of the home and its future potential will yield you the home you've always wanted.

For additional Real Estate information please contact Miriam Engeln, tel: (+297) 7331856.

Fly Fishing Aruba

Flats boat Fly fishing trip

I can pick you up from your hotel with my car or we can meet by the boat at the Renaissance Marina Down town at 6.15 am. We will be fishing for Bonefish and/or Tarpon depending on the tide, weather or your personal preference. (Permit can be found on occasion but are not very common) We will be fishing of the boat in the mangroves for Tarpon or wading on the flats for Bonefish. During this trip I will try to improve your skills if necessary and give you information on where to fish unguided on other days. You will be fishing till 11.00am and you will be back at your hotel at 12.00pm.
The Price per trip is $280 ( max 2 Angler’s).
All trips are private.
(Early booking recommended!)

Spin fishing trip by flats boat

I can pick you up from your hotel with my car or we can meet by the boat at the Renaissance Marina Down town at 6.15 am. We will be fishing inshore in the shallow waters and mangroves with light spinning gear and mostly top water lures for maximum action. You’ll most likely catch; Barracuda, Jacks, Snook, Snappers or sometimes Tarpon.
We will be fishing till 11.00am and you will be back at your hotel at 12.00pm
The Price per trip is $280 (max 2 Angler’s).
All trips are private.

What’s included

Trips include the use of tackle, softdrink, water and cookies. All fly fishing gear is the best from Sage, Orvis and Rio. For the spin fishing gear I have the best from G-Loomis Shimano. If you go on a fly fishing trip and you would like to have spin fishing gear on board as a back up, please let me know when you book the trip. If you would like to fish with your own gear – flies-lures, please bring your favorites!

Bookings via:

Monday, August 25, 2014

discount travel from Aruba

From Aruba to:
Georgetown*                             ✈ AWG 350
Paramaribo                                    ✈ AWG 350
Miami*                                ✈ AWG 430
Kingston                                   ✈ AWG 488
Sint Maarten                                    ✈ AWG 498
La Romana                                      ✈ AWG 498
Medellín                                     ✈ AWG 518
Barranquilla                                    ✈ AWG 518
Santo Domingo                                   ✈ AWG 528
Port au Prince                                    ✈ AWG 598
*Operated by InselAir Aruba

1 ANG of every ticket sold will be donated
to a good cause.
Booking period from August 25th until August 27th, 2014 ••• Travel period from September 1st until December 15th, 2014 ••• Fares are including government taxes and excluding airport departure tax for Curaçao ••• Fares are based on return flight ••• Fares are not available for group bookings ••• Seats are limited ••• Fares are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Copyright © 2014 InselAir, All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

relocation overseas to ARUBA

With the joy of the internet allowing us to explore the world from the comfort of our own home and dreaming about visiting far tropical sunny places; it seems that more and more of us are actually planning on moving abroad at least for a few years in a bid to broaden our horizons and experience different cultures and ways of life.

If you’re currently considering relocation overseas to for example ARUBA, and thinking about whether you could survive a move abroad and personally benefit from expatriation, then this 9 things article could help you get some planning in place to make your decision that much easier.

1) Location, Location, Location Where in the world would you most like to go? What is it about moving abroad that appeals to you? Where in the world are you allowed to live and work and which countries can fulfill the dreams and aspirations that you have for a new life abroad? By asking yourself questions such as these you can do your location research accordingly and ensure that wherever in the world you decide to move to you will get access to the facilities and amenities you want and live the kind of lifestyle that you’re dreaming of.
2) Learn the Language You will get far more out of stay overseas if you make the effort to speak the local lingo. Consider taking language lessons before you go and then continue your training among native speakers once you relocate. You’ll find it seriously rewarding and by having a second language under your belt, chances are even more countries will begin to appeal to you where you can go and live and practice your new foreign language skills.
3) Finding a Home Getting accommodation sorted out will be a priority when you move abroad. Even if you’re expatriating for good, consider renting real estate before committing to purchasing could be a wise idea. That being said; rental rates in Aruba are high and it is currently still a buyer’s market, so there are great deals to be found buying a property now. See for some great listings.
4) Keeping a Home If you already own real estate in your original home country what are your plans for it while you’re away? Will you leave it empty, rent it out or even sell it. Your decisions may depend on whether your plans for a move abroad are temporary or permanent of course – but remember real estate is usually a great asset to hold on to but that your decision relating to what to do with your home will have a certain taxation implication, from income tax due on rent earned to capital gains tax due on a house sold.
5) Jobs Abroad Are you planning on moving abroad to work – if so are you allowed to work in the country you’re planning to move to? Will you need permission to take employment, will your skills and experience be valued or even recognized abroad. How realistic is it that you will find a well paid job abroad? You have to look into the realities of all these questions and ensure that you can work abroad and afford to live the lifestyle you want to live. Before moving to Aruba you’ll contact Dimas for Residency and Work permit requests. Website:
6) Taxes All countries have different tax systems and some countries like America seem to own their citizens in taxation terms no matter where in the world they live. Check out what rates of tax you will be paying overseas, make sure you won’t have to pay tax back home as well and ensure you’re not about to move to a country where tax is even higher than you pay currently – because where would the fun be in that!
7) Visas and Permissions Will you require a visa to move to your chosen country before you even arrive or can you sort out residency and employment visas once on the ground? Ensure you know your legal obligations in terms of getting permission to enter and reside in a given country before you even set out, because if you fall foul of the rules and regulations you could be fined, imprisoned or sent back home.
8) Stay Healthy Getting healthcare treatment abroad isn’t always as easy as you might think. Some countries have a poorly funded healthcare system and other nations don’t even treat those without insurance in place. Consider having a good international health insurance policy in place to cover you in all eventualities and which will ensure you receive the best standard of care available. Don’t mess with your health.
9) Financial Planning And finally – before you even consider packing up and shipping out make sure you have some money behind you to tide you over once you arrive and also a financial lifeline in case you ever need to get back home in a hurry! Financial planning might be the most boring but most essential part of planning a move abroad. Get it right and you’ll have nothing to worry about and you can enjoy your new life – get it wrong and your new life abroad will be over before its begun as you’re forced to take a dead end job or even return back home and take up where you left off having left your dreams for a brand new life far behind you.
For real estate sales inquiries please contact me.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Buying a Condo, a great investment

It is about time home buyers and investors consider the added value of investing in a high-rise residential development.
By adopting international standards in virtually all new developments in ARUBA, we are not only providing clients the convenience of having all things they need within reach, we also afford them peace of mind knowing that their properties are safe from harm.

Here are 4 reasons why “condo living” is a rewarding investment.
1.Safety ensured. Condo living is usually more appealing to most people because of ease of maintenance as compared to a high-maintenance home. The units are also easier to protect when you leave since the unit’s safety is enhanced further with security measures that have high-tech features such as camera’s, fire protection, alarm system, and 24/7 security guards.
2.Higher appreciation. Investment in “green buildings” is recoverable not only through energy cost savings but also through higher rent and increased occupancy in the long-run. Larger units and more luxurious apartments are now being preferred by quality expatriate tenants. This market covers those who are willing to pay an average of $4,000 per month for a two to three bedroom luxury unit. 3.Lower total cost of ownership. One of the major reasons why owning a condo unit has been attracting a lot of buyers is that buying a unit does not entail individual land ownership. This way, you get to own a piece of property at a fairly good price since it basically gives full ownership of the unit without the sole responsibility of owning the land. What’s more, the combined ownership allows free use by residents of existing facilities and amenities of the condo. Some condo developments such as “”Divi, the Residences and “Blue” also include the provision of small business establishments such as a mini-grocery, tour desk, restaurant and car rental agency, so tenants no longer have to leave the building.
4.Proven track record. With a consistently growing number of high rise condos rising at Eagle and Palm Beach, finding one’s dream property may well seem to be just a matter of location. Top considerations such as accessibility and proximity to schools, hospital and similar conveniences are mixed with the enticement of living in developments replete with an array of exciting amenities such as clubhouses and 24/7 security, such as at Goldcoast, Divi and Tierra del Sol. But plunging headlong into such an important investment, however, should not only be dictated by these preferences. One must also consider the image and reputation of the property developer in deciding where to buy to ensure that one’s investment will provide great returns in the years to come.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

This week’s question and answer:

Angela Herder: How to invest for Cash Flow in Aruba?

Miriam Engeln Investing for Cash Flow;

There are a lot of reasons why one wants to increase his/ her cash flow, and most of it has to do with financial flexibility. The more cash you have coming in, the more options you have, in terms of lifestyle, in case of emergency, and to build up towards future investments and/or business opportunities.

Real estate investing is not risk free, but the current market offers many opportunities. Rental prices have gone up steadily in many locations, mainly because many people either can’t afford to buy a home, or can’t qualify for a mortgage.

If you wish to own an investment property; it takes work, but it can be a great way to build wealth. I know of many people owning rental properties to either partially or fully fund their retirement.

For the following example, I'll use a fourplex (a building that contains four separate apartments), with all four units being destined for full-time rental. This is a simple cash flow calculation to illustrate the potential of real estate as an investment. Critical to this, as with most investments, is an intelligent and well-researched purchase on the front end, and I will inform you about that concerning your investment in Aruba. Here are the purchase and rental particulars:

1. Purchase price of the fourplex is $325,000.
2. Buyer pays 20% down ($65,000), financing $260,000.
3. 30 year loan is at 6.5%, with Principle/Interest payment of $1643 per month.
4. Taxes and insurance at purchase are $3600/year, for total payment of $1943 per month.

The buyer did their research and sees a steady rental demand for these units, all of which stay occupied most of the time. However a 6% vacancy and non-payment risk will be calculated to anticipate real cash flow. The units are all identical and rent for $900 per month each. Let's see how the calculation breaks down:

1. Gross rental income is $900 X 4 X 12 months, or $43,200 per year.
2. Payments are $1943 X 12 = $23,316 per year.
3. Previous owner's repair expense has averaged $1700 per year.
4. Vacancy and credit loss is estimated at 6% of rents or $2592 per year.
5. Owner spends about $400 each year in miscellaneous and advertising costs, and manages the property on their own.

Those are the basic operational items that go into our cash flow calculation. Let's take our calculation to the profits:
Rent income - Vacancy Loss - Payments - Expenses = Cash Flow
$43,200 - $2592 - $23,316 - $2100 = $15,192 / 12 = $1266 per month in positive cash flow.

Please follow me on Social Media