Below we will provide a selection of some of the most commonly asked questions for those who are curious as to what there is to do on the island of St. Maarten/ St. Martin, those who have questions on buying a property (whether it be villa, apartment, land, condo, or commercial space), and finally those who are selling can also find some answers in the following FAQ.
Q. CAN ANYONE OWN REAL ESTATE IN ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN?
A. Residential and commercial properties are available to foreigners on both French and Dutch sides of the island and you do not have to be residents to purchase. Investors may also take the option to purchase land for future development. Buyers are protected under French law and Dutch law in St. Martin St. Maarten. Buying properties on our island is the same as buying in Europe, we have civil notaries that protect both parties buyers and sellers.
Q. CAN I GET FINANCING IN ST. MARTIN / ST MAARTEN?
A. Financing is available provided you qualify under local bank requirements. Most of buyers however take home equity line in their own country and pay cash. This is more advantageous and faster. Buyer can write off the interest back home and the process is faster, let's not forget that interest rates might be even better. In St. Maarten St. Martin we have well known banks like, RBC Royal Bank Canadian Bank, Scotia Bank Canadian Bank, Windward Island Bank, Orco Bank, Banco de Caribe Credit Mutuel, BECM Bank, all above banks offer financing French and Dutch side of the island. Interest rates are at the moment between 4 and 6%.
Q. WHAT KIND OF DEED DOES ONE GET IN ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN?
A. There are three types of deed transfers on the Dutch side: fee simple, government long lease ( this is the closest translation from the Dutch however this is a right of 60 years renewable) and private long lease each of which is transferable without capital gain tax on the Dutch Side, provided the property is title to an individual. French side there is only fee simple and there is capital gain tax, 33% when reselling, of course only on your gain. The french side also has Real Estate tax however it is very minimal, for example a villa in Lowlands / Terres Basses with a plots of 2,5 acres and a villa of 5000 sq ft will pay about $ 5000 USD approximately per year.
Q. WHAT ABOUT TITLE SEARCHES ETC?
A. All title searches, contract work, and closing procedures associated with a property purchase are carried out by a European Civil Notary, who will guarantee your title and will not transfer unless free and clear. They will also be responsible for registering mortgages and Deeds with the land registry also known as kadaster. There is no title insurance and you do not need a lawyer unless of course you choose to hire one. The notary in the European system is a lawyer before he becomes a notary and has to protect all parties involved.
Q. ARE THERE REAL ESTATE TAXES ON ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN?
A. Closing costs will include transfer taxes - approximately 5 to 6% on the Dutch Side and 10.5 % on the French side. French side St. Martin is subject to mainland French taxation, but on Dutch side St. Maarten, there are no annual real estate taxes. You will have to pay Gov Long Lease fee if your property is deed it this way, Rental properties will incur income taxes turn over tax though most of these are deductible such as maintenance costs.
Q. WHAT IF I DO NOT PLAN TO LIVE IN MY PROPERTY YEAR ROUND?
A. If you are planning to use your property only during certain periods of the year, you have the option of renting it out as a vacation rental to obtain added income. In these cases, your estate agent will act as property manager in your absence overseeing all aspects of your property maintenance, protection and payment of bills etc.
Q. WHAT ABOUT DECOR / FURNISHING MY PROPERTY?
A. The least of your worries! St Martin/St Maarten boasts some highly talented international interior designers and has some wonderful home decor stores with furniture imported from around the world.
Q: WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE THERE ON THE DUTCH AND FRENCH SIDE OF OUR SUNNY ST MAARTEN ST MARTIN ?
A: From Casinos to restaurants, the nightlife on the Dutch side and French side of St. Maarten St. Martin are limitless. Maho is the main strip of shops, clubs, casinos, and restaurants. A huge tourist attraction is watching the planes land and takes off right nearby! Simpson Bay also generates a lot of night activities with a plethora of restaurants and family friendly activities. Water sports and boat trips are located in this area as well. Orient Beach is another great place to go to, you can have lunch on the beach or parasail, jet sky, hobby cat, water sky and much more. Pinel island is another fantastic place to go to, get on the boat and in 2 minutes you are on the little island full of palm trees and surrounded by beaches and blue water. The French side of St. Martin is more serene and has the most exquisite beaches on the entire island. In the private gated community of Terres Basses, there are stunning beaches such as Baie Longue, Baie aux Prune, and Baie Rouge. Besides beautiful beaches, French Saint Martin has the only 5 star hotel, La Samanna from Belmonde group, and other outdoor activities such as the Eco lodge, Loterie Farm. Lounging by the pool or zip lining is always an option for friends and family. The French cuisine is also undeniably the best cuisine on the island. Grand Case, the culinary capital of the island. Marigot with all the fashion stores and restaurants by the water in the marina.