Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ Real Estate St Maarten St Martin Island SXM August 23rd 2018
Below we will provide a selection of some of the most commonly asked questions about real estate. For those who are curious as to what there is to do on the island of St. Maarten/ St. Martin. Questions about buying a property (whether a villa, apartment, land, condo, or commercial space), and finally. Those who are selling real estate can also find some answers in the following FAQ.
Q. CAN ANYONE OWN REAL ESTATE IN ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN? Do I have to be a resident to own real estate in St Maarten St Martin SXM?
A. Residential and commercial properties are available to foreigners on both French and Dutch sides of St Martin Island. You do not have to be residents to purchase and to own. 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 sunny island is the same as buying in Europe. We have civil notaries that protect both parties buyers and sellers. The notary you title insurance and you escrow agent.
Q. What is the difference between Real Estate on the French and Dutch side of Sint Maarten – St Martin SXM ?
A. First of all if you buy Real Estate on the French side all documents are in French. ( of course translation is available ). The notaries in most cases they speak both languages French and English. On the Dutch side of Sint Maarten all documents are in English even if we are on the Dutch side. The notaries speak both Dutch and English. On the French side of St Martin we only have one type of title, Fee simple. On the Dutch side of Sint Maarten there are 3 types of Ownership:
- Fee simple Deed
- Gov. Long Lease Deed
- Private Long lease deed.
A large part of Dutch St Maarten is Gov. Long Lease, this is a right given BY Dutch Gov to private individuals for a period of 60 years, a fee ( canon ) has to be paid per meter square per annum to the Dutch government of Sint Maarten. The word lease is the closest word to translate the Dutch word for this RIGHT, don’t let this translation scare you, this right is as strong as a fee simple deed.
Government will not take the property back unless you stop paying the canon. By law if the Gov. was in need of your property, they will have to pay you the market value. This has only happened in a few cases, like for example on the Airport road, due to the future projected expansion of Princes Juliana International Airport SXM. In this case the Gov. purchase back some properties and paid the owners of this Gov. Long Lease. This is also a revenue for our Gov. since we do not have real estate tax in Sint Maarten nor Capital gain Tax if the property is owned personally. Of course if the property is held in a corporation when you sell you are subject to profit tax ( 35% approx).
Q. WHAT KIND OF DEED DOES ONE GET IN ST MARTIN / ST MAARTEN?
A. There are three types of deed 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 issue by the Government) 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 and not a company. French St Martin there is only fee simple and there is capital gain tax, 35% when reselling, of course only on your gain, however this tax does not apply if the property is your primary residence. The french side also has Real Estate tax however it is very reasonable, 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 bank mortgages and your title 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, we do recommended in some cases. 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, Government Long Lease, 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 / FRIENDLY ST MAARTEN ST MARTIN ISLAND?
A: Casinos Bars restaurants, the nightlife on the Dutch side and French side of St. Maarten St. Martin are limitless. Maho is the main strip of shops,( now under renovation) clubs, casinos, and restaurants. Biggest tourist attraction is watching the planes land and takes off right nearby by Sunset beach Bar ! Simpson Bay also generates a lot of night activities with a variety 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, ( at the moment under construction since Hurricane Irma, 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.