So you’ve found that perfect home, just right for you, where you’ll see your children grow-up, where you and your spouse will spend your golden years together. And you had a great real estate agent to help you. What’s next?

You make an offer. If you are working with a real estate agent, typically you will sign a so called offer to purchase or “bod-brief” usually put together by your real estate agent, which stipulates the amount of your offer plus any conditions that may arise, such as an additional technical inspection or approval from your mortgage provider.

If you are obtaining your financing through a (local) bank, in almost all cases the bank will require an appraisal report. This appraisal report is also needed for insurance purposes. Most banks have mandatory fire insurance.

If the seller agrees and all conditions are met, you will proceed with the signing of the purchase agreement “koopovereenkomst”. In this agreement you’ll typically find the selling price, personal details of both parties, a short description of the property, important information of the notary who will handle the closing and the date on which the property will change hands, plus a provision in case of.

“You hold the key to your dream home in your hands”

It’s common here in Aruba to put a down payment of 10% at a notary that the buyer traditionally selects. Please note that this amount is non-refundable. Normally there is a two week window in which you can deposit this amount at the notary. Secondly, you need to hand-in all relevant information at the notary, such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport, proof of address etc.

The notary’s office then request a title research of the property at registry-office in Aruba (Kadaster) to see if the home and land are free of any claims so the title can be transferred to the new owner free of any liens. The notary also obtains at the Tax office (SIAD) the tax value of the property. There is a transfer tax that has to be paid when buying a property

Currently it’s 3% for properties up to Afl. 250.000 and 6% for properties with a value of Afl. 250.001 and up.

On Aruba there are generally two types of land; long lease land and property land. In reality there is not much difference. On property land you yearly pay land tax to the tax office and for long lease land (usually the lease runs for 60-80 years) a yearly lease amount is paid. This sum is also calculated by the notary’s office and incorporated in the invoice.

Traditionally the seller will pay the broker’s commission and the buyer the notary costs, but in some cases the buyer can have agreed an agent’s fee with their real estate agent. As a rule of thumb the complete notary costs are generally between 8-10% of the buying price.

On average it takes around twelve weeks to prepare the ownership transfer, and at certain times, like around the holidays or Carnival it’s wise to allow for some more time. It all depends on how fast the information is compiled and if both party supply correctly and on time with their documents and money at the notary.

Then the big day of signing has arrived. It is customary for the real estate agent to take the buyer on the day itself for a last one time inspection of the house. Then it’s off to the notary’s office. The deeds are signed and the notary can proceed to register the property at the Kadaster with the new title owner. And you finally have the keys to your home. Congratulations!

But that’s not all. All the utilities need to be transferred into your name. The easiest way is to go with the former owner to W.E.B (water) and ELMAR (electricity), the details of their respective meters and open a new account in your name. Both require a proof of ownership which is either an extract of the Registry Office (Censo) or a letter of the notary confirming the sale.

The same goes for Arugas ( gas) and Serlimar ( trash collection) ; you can transfer the ownership of the cylinders or free trash bin at their office. If the house is empty or recently been evacuated, you can go before you sign with a letter from the notary’s office to the utilities for registration . Be sure to also allow some time for the technicians of each service to come and install a new connection or reconnect the service, to avoid disappointments.

You’re almost there. You are the owner, have the keys, you internet is working and you can cook. If you are moving from an apartment, be sure to give your landlord adequate notice, to avoid losing your deposit. Are you moving everything yourself, do you need a professional to do the work for you, do you want to make alterations to the house before you move in? Consider all this beforehand and your moving into your new dream home will literally be a breeze.

Source: Aruba Hearth and garden 2013

Posted on May 07, 2018