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View Full Version : The Positives about "home ownership on Aruba"



Andrea J.
03-27-2015, 07:32 PM
We have read some negatives about homeownership in Aruba.

What are the benefits that you as an owner have experienced?

WaltVB
03-28-2015, 08:53 AM
Sorry for the "off-topic" answer, but after reading a few horror stories of peoples ownership experiences, I'm not too surprised there are no responses yet. At first we thought what a great place to retire, but now it's a "nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" thing (but we'd like to visit often or for a really long time). Kind of sad, we really love Aruba, but other peoples troubles have made us reconsider.:(

Andrea J.
03-28-2015, 04:48 PM
i hear you!
i was hoping that some that have had no or minor issues would reply with something positive.
forum members sugar, billstellar, retagger, aquaman, are just a handful of members that are owners and seem to have posted no issues.

i cannot imagine that the negative outweighs the positive.
Sorry for the "off-topic" answer, but after reading a few horror stories of peoples ownership experiences, I'm not too surprised there are no responses yet. At first we thought what a great place to retire, but now it's a "nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" thing (but we'd like to visit often or for a really long time). Kind of sad, we really love Aruba, but other peoples troubles have made us reconsider.:(

Retagger
03-28-2015, 05:40 PM
Ok. I will start. My wife and I bought land in 2008 and hired a contractor to build our home. Our home was completed in 2009. We were burglarized once in 2009 when we first moved in. (You can read more about that incident in my previous posts in 2009). Since that incident, we have only had positive experiences.

The positives for owning a home in Aruba for me are

It is your home...
Can go visit anytime you want. No reservations required. (Unless you rent your home like we do).
You can bring family and friends with you at no additional lodging charges. (Everyone wants to be your friend when you own a home in Aruba).
We now travel with only carry on luggage since all we need is already at our home.
You can decorate anyway that you want because it is your home.
Extremely low property taxes. Our taxes are around $500.00 for the entire year.
Garbage pickup is included in the taxes.
I have very friendly neighbors that I communicate with on a regular basis.
I have many police officer friends on the Aruba police force and have some of them over when I am on the island. This helps when I am not on the island as they do patrol my area more often. (I can see them on my cameras when they pass my home).
I can watch my house and neighborhood via my security cameras anytime I wish. I can also view the sunset everyday via my phone or pc.


I am sure there are many more positive points to report but this is a start. I will add more later...

Regards,

Andrea J.
03-28-2015, 05:47 PM
thanks david!!

act1966
03-28-2015, 05:48 PM
We're in the process of closing.

To be honest, the stories we've read here haven't turned us off: having lived in numerous parts of the world, I can assure everyone that these stories aren't unique to Aruba and, if you go looking for those stories, you'll find them everywhere... including North America. Try Google'ing "San Francisco squatters" (or any city for that matter) - it's all over the place.

And landlord-tenant disputes are even more ubiquitous.

If anything, those kinds of stories have tipped our decision as to whether we'll rent or not. We won't.

Jacki
03-28-2015, 07:56 PM
Great list of positives David!! Can we be friends ;)

Act1966 I hope that you will report back on your experiences with closing and making friends with neighbors, etc. I'd love to hear more about the journey :)

schexc
03-28-2015, 11:39 PM
I can not speak for ourselves, as we do not own property on the island. What I can say is that we have met five owners from the states in the development that we rent in and they all say the same thing. They all have no regrets, would do it again and enjoy the island immensely.

I totally agree with act1966. If we look in our backyard it can certainly be much worse and nothing is perfect. Hopefully someday we'll be added to the list of happy owners in Aruba!

cindyo
03-29-2015, 08:37 AM
Many people have asked why we don't buy on the island...
I like reading all the positives here
we have to many world travels to do now before settling some place warm.

hineskl
03-29-2015, 12:10 PM
We purchased our townhouse in 2012 and closed when construction was done in 2013. Purchasing in a development with not being on the island to manage the construction was an issue. We ended up hiring a representative to handle all of the issues on island and to deal with construction short cuts. We ended up with a great home and we don't have the issues that some of our neighbors have with plumbing, electrical and such.

Positive is that we now have realized our dream of owning in the islands. We had tried 10 years prior and had the deal fall apart after 2 years and lots of fees. Very negative experience. We looked hard for someplace that we felt the issues that we had in the BVI would not happen again. We choose Aruba.

From our experience everything leading up to the closing will make you question why you decided to purchase. The system with buying in Aruba is front end loaded with fees and taxes. Great once you buy, but no fun on the front end. They use a notary system that charges a significant percentage of the purchase on the front end. So closing costs are significant. We are partners in a small business in the US, so going to the island to do closing paperwork at the end of the year was not going to work for us. We did a power of attorney to our representative to deal with that and signed all the paperwork via fed-ex.

We purchased in a gated community, so there are issues with management vs. owners. We are all outsiders, so we have no real pull legally. We love our townhouse, we love the community and the people we have met there so far. We already have loyal friends who rent large chunks of time every year from us. So those are friendships that we would have never had without the home.

The long term goal would be to work a month and take a month off in Aruba. We could never make that work without owning. As our children and grand children grow and spend time with us at our home we are creating memories that are awesome.

As with anything, there is some negatives, but the positives far outweigh the negative. We very carefully choose who manages our property and feel that our manager has our back in the process.

Kevin

SkiChris
04-12-2015, 10:16 PM
We first started with a Marriott timeshare (which we LOVE) but we found visiting the island only once a year was not enough so then we explored buying 1-2 more weeks of timeshare and compared that to the cost of home ownership. For us, home ownership made more sense and we purchased our home in Aruba in 2012. It has been an absolutely wonderful experience to find and purchase a home in Aruba and we now feel like Aruba is "our home" too. We have learned so much in our first few years of home ownership, we love Aruba even more, and we would absolutely 100% do this all over again if we had the option to go back in time. Owning a house in Aruba is like realizing a dream. But in order to have a successful dream, you need to prepare, budget, and surround yourself with the right people to guide you through the process. Andrea connected us with a wonderful couple who acted as our mentors and the advice was invaluable. I am happy to see Andrea created this special area on the Forum because it will be a great place for others who are beginning the journey to connect with those of us who are already living the dream.

Andrea J.
04-12-2015, 10:22 PM
very cool skichris!!

from everything that i have read and heard, it is all about doing the homework and having the right people to guide you.

:)

schexc
04-13-2015, 08:20 AM
very cool skichris!!

from everything that i have read and heard, it is all about doing the homework and having the right people to guide you.

:)

That would be a great thread!

lizzardo
05-05-2015, 03:41 PM
The one thing about ownership - is you can stay 6 month w/o being a resident and paying income tax. After that time you have to file to be a resident and have to pay income tax and AZV tax. So many many people only stay 6 months. It is hard to manage your house from afar and to get a good property manager to check your house. I know some people on this board who had their houses empty and had their airconditioning units stolen and there are breakins. If you have a break in the only way you can 'catch' the person is if you have a camera security system and have them filmed stealing your stuff. Other wise you are out of luck. Plus I know someone who had a nice neighbor. They called the police when they were going when they saw 2 guys taking a sofa out of their house - that was around 11am - the police showed up at 4pm. Not to say this as a negative because those 6 months are wonderful!

volcano
12-20-2015, 01:12 PM
If anyone has any advise out there for my wife and I please send me a message - volcanodavid@roadrunner.com I am going to the island to close in January. Although we are very excited because eventually we do plan on moving to Aruba, the process has been more than chaotic and slow. Seems like many don't want to business as it should be done (I know, it's the island life). Still, it's a major purchase being done through major players. I just got the bill for the notary and I am confused about this moveable item tax. Any input will be greatly appreciated and accepted.

act1966
12-21-2015, 08:55 AM
I just got the bill for the notary and I am confused about this moveable item tax. Any input will be greatly appreciated and accepted.

Did you buy the house turnkey (i.e. furnished, all existing furniture, light fixtures, appliances etc.) as part of the sale? I looked at our old notary invoice and believe the contents are broken out as the "movable" line item - you essentially have an estimate value on the contents being sold with the house.

So, if you bought the house for $200,000 and the contents included in that sale price are $15,000, the notary would price for the physical building "the immovable" line item would be $185,000 and the contents/"movable" item would be $15,000.

SkiChris
12-21-2015, 11:44 AM
I agree - "moveable items" are a great thing. This is essentially a value for items included in the sale price of your home which could be physically removed from the property (not a permanent part of the structure). Since they are moveable, you do not need to pay transfer tax on that value. The Transfer tax is a big expense...so every little bit helps. I will send you a PM with my contact information. You are welcome to send me questions on any part of the home ownership process. My husband and I just celebrated the 3yr anniversary of our closing date in Aruba so I still remember all the steps involved in getting started but also have some experience and best practices I can share also. I am happy to assist as my husband and I had a wonderful couple mentor us who we met through the forum (and they are now wonderful friends).

aquaman
12-21-2015, 12:31 PM
If anyone has any advise out there for my wife and I please send me a message - volcanodavid@roadrunner.com I am going to the island to close in January. Although we are very excited because eventually we do plan on moving to Aruba, the process has been more than chaotic and slow. Seems like many don't want to business as it should be done (I know, it's the island life). Still, it's a major purchase being done through major players. I just got the bill for the notary and I am confused about this moveable item tax. Any input will be greatly appreciated and accepted.

the purchase process in Aruba is slow. Generally it is a 2-3 month timeframe from acceptance of the offer by the seller. The real estate agent will then provide paperwork to the Notary. The Notary then submits docs to the tax department to ensure all outstanding taxes are paid. In addition the deal is then reviewed to determine if the selling price is fair. ( There were issues some years back with sale values being declared at a lower value to reduce the transfer tax and the buyer doing a side deal to make up the difference ). When all this is done the Notary will advise the real estate agents and a closing will be scheduled.

Yes it it is different to North America. Be careful with the initial deposit We had a situation arise and had the deal not closed we would have needed to go to court to get it back. They estimated up to 3 years to get the funds back.

Island time I me coupled with incompetence


A

arubasurfclubcanada
03-15-2016, 12:03 PM
I am a Marriott Aruba surf club timeshare owner (3 weeks). I am also looking to purchase in Aruba either a condo or a home. I was looking at the following, Azure, Gold Coast and the option of buying a lot in an upscale neighbourhood and building a home within 2 years.

Azure will be very nice when the first building is up in 2 years, the views will be incredible but a 2 bedroom is only 1020 sqft. Gold Coast is nice but you have about $500/monthly in HOA fees and the 2nd year who knows?

Building a home in Rooi Santo area will have slight view of the ocean and could build the house the way I like and with a pool.
Please give me some feedback

SkiChris
03-16-2016, 07:14 AM
Hello Surf Club Owner,
We own 2 timeshare weeks and while we love them (and still have them), one of our goals in buying a house in Aruba was to get away from the annual maintenance fees which are increasing each year. So that is a key thing to keep in mind as you look at buying a house vs a condo. My recommendation will be to buy a house. You mentioned interest in building a home. We thought about this also, however, it is a challenge to have a home built in another country when you have very little access to monitor the progress. When we evaluated the pro/cons, we found it more advantageous to purchase a new home that was already constructed. There are several options for this in Aruba and any realtor can provide assistance. Feel free to send me a PM if you'd like more information.

EdandLiz
03-17-2016, 09:15 AM
I am a Marriott Aruba surf club timeshare owner (3 weeks). I am also looking to purchase in Aruba either a condo or a home. I was looking at the following, Azure, Gold Coast and the option of buying a lot in an upscale neighbourhood and building a home within 2 years.

Azure will be very nice when the first building is up in 2 years, the views will be incredible but a 2 bedroom is only 1020 sqft. Gold Coast is nice but you have about $500/monthly in HOA fees and the 2nd year who knows?


Building a home in Rooi Santo area will have slight view of the ocean and could build the house the way I like and with a pool.
Please give me some feedback

Hubby and I started looking inland a bit and toward the Northeast coast and were VERY PLEASANTLY surprised! If you are considering moving here, I would suggest the areas of Alto Vista, down south to the area of Siribana (Alto Vista is the area where the chapel is and just north of Siribana are the Casabiri Rock Formations, Natural Bridge and west is the Park). The views are SPECTACULAR... It is a bit of a mountainous area but the views are spectacular, it is A LOT quieter, prices are VERY AFFORDABLE and we are only 10-15 minutes from the beach.... best of both worlds....

If you want to stay in the "tourist area" (especially for investment purposes) I agree with SkiChris... purchasing or building a home is highly recommended. I will state my business on the island is rental and selling real estate to the North American market, and that hopefully I can provide you with good advice.

A few things:

1. Some comments on purchasing a condo/townhouse or in a community where an HOA is required. The biggest advantage is "peace of mind". You are in a community that "feels safe" and everything is "handled", but you have to remember, this is not North America. "Things" are not handled as you would expect at home. It is truly a personal decision.

2. If you plan to purchase for personal use and rent out... fees for renting out can be very high... most condo's have associations that hire local companies who will remain on site (or off site) and rent your property (most properties are put into a "pool"). The rental fee, is above and beyond what you pay for maintenance fees, etc. The normal charge is a commission of 25% of the rental. This price normally covers, admin fees, cleaning and the use of property ammenities for your guests (beach chairs, beach towels, maid service, etc). If you don't use the "rental pool" your guest will not be entitled to most of the ammenities (you will have to provide your own housekeeper, beach towels, chairs, etc). If there are problems for your guests, the onsite mgmt will not help, but tell them to call the "rental agent" whom they rented from. The only say you have in when and if your unit is rented is the dates you block off for yourselves. Otherwise, it is what it is, and there is no guarantee or promise of rental percentages.

3. The HUGE trend on Aruba, and all the talk lately, is the fact that a large majority of return visitors, and yes even a lot of 1st time visitors are choosing to rent single family homes vs going the "resort/all inclusive" way. Granted there are a lot of people who adore the resort experience... but home rentals are exploding... if you want to go the route of investing in a personal home/rental. There are huge advantages. You can determine who you rent to. You build a "rapport" with your renters, and can increase your guest return rate. Costs are generally much lower, there are NO HOA fees. You still have to hire someone to rent and manage your home.. and the the majority of companies do charge the 25% (though some charge less) fee, but you get to determine your rental potential.

SkiChris is correct, unless you hire someone to "keep an eye" on the contractor, it is really important that you are here on a monthly basis to keep en eye yourself, regarding builds. Buying an already constructed home is probably your best bet.

We have 2 rental homes we rent to tourists and our average occupancy rate for 1st quarter 2016 was 74%.. which is huge. We have bookings in both homes for the next 8 months (shockingly we are totally booked for July 2016) and already are more than 50% booked for 1st quarter 2017!

It really all comes down to a personal decision. Purchase a beach front condo or home, because you think it is going attract more tourists may or may not work. It all depends on the rental company and how rentals are determined (how often will your unit be rented, pricing, costs, HOA fees, etc)

From what I have been seeing is that people who want to live on Aruba full time are looking more inland because the pricing is better and they can be to a beach from anywhere in about 15-20 minutes.

When it comes to purchasing a home for personal use and rental/investment, your best bet would be to look at a currently constructed home, with the Noord/Bubali/Malmok, East of Route 2. You just need to find the right rental management company that works for you, and there are many to choose from on the island....

Hope this helps!

Jacki
03-17-2016, 09:27 AM
Great information Liz. Thanks!

act1966
03-17-2016, 10:12 AM
Just throwing in a counter view here around building a home: we looked at dozens of homes in Noord in our search but there was always something "not right" and we went toward building a home because there were things we wanted that we couldn't find in the marketplace. Just something to noodle on.

EdandLiz
03-17-2016, 12:08 PM
Acct1966, I'm so glad it worked for you! We actually bought 2 houses that need LOTS of work, and we had a great contractor as well, but still when we had to return to the States for a month... we had to really stay on top from the States.. almost like another part time job! Everything turned out AMAZING..

So basically I agree that for some, though very few, building is the right way to go.. but for most.. from what I see here in the market, buying a current home, and/or renovating it is a great way to go as well.....

hineskl
03-19-2016, 04:02 PM
I agree with most of the comments offered by Ed and Liz, but would offer a couple of varied opinions.

1) Condo/villa gated community. These do provide the sense of security you and your guest want. Gold Coast has installed a camera system that very much reduced any issues with theft. The HOA fees vary depending on what you own. Gold Coasts fees include the pool maintenance for all 3 pools, garbage pick up, gardeners for the grounds and property maintenance. Definitely not perfect as this is still controlled by the developers, but will improve significantly when the owners are able to take over the HOA management.

2) Our commission that we pay for rental is significantly less then the number quoted and our management is available for any issues guests have. Not using on-site management was a decision that we made prior to purchasing and our home does not sit in a pool. Our management plus we list the property on VRBO for rental. Our property is set up to provide all of the needed items for going to the beach and guests have access to all of the properties amenities.

3) I don't know what the trends are, but can document that what we get reported to us by VRBO would indicate that a lot of people are looking at villas, condo's or town homes for renting.

We would consider building on Aruba, but I will state that I would pay a general contractor to oversee the entire process.

As far as rental goes, we don't set our rental towards short term rentals. We find that longer term renters are much easier on the property and don't abuse the property, electric use and water use. We are much more inclined to offer discounts for 9 or 10 day stays and beyond for this reason. We don't discount week stays as we tend to see much higher electric and water usage and frankly these stays are much harder on the property.

Just my 2 cents.

glynis
04-29-2016, 07:11 PM
No cons for us ...all pros well that's so far, we purchased our house nearly 3 years ago,We had a lot to do,as we could not afford a spanking , new villa , plus the area we wanted was eagle beach San Miguel.in fact it was a house I had fallen in love with 5 years ago .but at the time it was for sale ,we did not have the money ,Anyway it was rented for a while instead , But low and behold it came back on the market . The purchase was easy , Good notary with power of attorney to sign on completion .it happened Christmas Eve.
its taken time for us to renovate ,plus porch pool and garden but was worth it ,We had good people working on it , so we could leave them to it most of the time ,plus we have amazing property management company .who see to everything , Once you understand Aruba is no rush and laid back things are fine.Dont exspect things done now.
We hope to move to Aruba in the next 5 years to retire ,and holiday in the UK to see friends and family well that's the plan ,
However Plans do come un stuck , for everyone ,But I would not change a thing .

JohnMtl
09-07-2017, 02:28 PM
We have read some negatives about homeownership in Aruba.

What are the benefits that you as an owner have experienced?



Hi! This is a great thread that you started.
Just to help balance things out, could you share some of the negatives that you've read about?

Thanks!

SueChen
02-10-2018, 11:37 AM
Hello everyone,

My husband and I visited the Island for the first time around NYE. As many others, we fell in love with the island. Since then, we have been reading a lot about what it would be like to live there on a full time basis. This blog has been very helpful!!! Don't worry, we are only in the initial phase of our research and understand we should visit a few more times prior to committing ourselves!!! :)

There is one thing that we haven't been able to find though...what is the average annual increase in real estate???

Since buying a house is a serious investment, we would like to know if it is a sound financial investment.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Sue and Rob

Andrea J.
02-10-2018, 11:49 AM
welcome to the aruba.com community forum!

by increase, do you mean property values? or property taxes?


Hello everyone,

My husband and I visited the Island for the first time around NYE. As many others, we fell in love with the island. Since then, we have been reading a lot about what it would be like to live there on a full time basis. This blog has been very helpful!!! Don't worry, we are only in the initial phase of our research and understand we should visit a few more times prior to committing ourselves!!! :)

There is one thing that we haven't been able to find though...what is the average annual increase in real estate???

Since buying a house is a serious investment, we would like to know if it is a sound financial investment.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Sue and Rob

act1966
02-10-2018, 02:56 PM
Hello everyone,

My husband and I visited the Island for the first time around NYE. As many others, we fell in love with the island. Since then, we have been reading a lot about what it would be like to live there on a full time basis. This blog has been very helpful!!! Don't worry, we are only in the initial phase of our research and understand we should visit a few more times prior to committing ourselves!!! :)

There is one thing that we haven't been able to find though...what is the average annual increase in real estate???

Since buying a house is a serious investment, we would like to know if it is a sound financial investment.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Sue and Rob

Anecdotally and in our experience, the market moves very slowly in Aruba. Houses can sometimes sit on the market for extended periods of time (months/years). It's definitely not a "flipping" environment. If anything, I would advise viewing real estate in Aruba as a long hold asset.

schexc
02-10-2018, 05:05 PM
We starting looking at real estate on the island in 2011, which was still in the recessionary period, when the housing market was still down. Like act1966 stated, we saw a number of properties that we were interested in, mainly condos, sit idle, at before recession pricing. When sellers grasped what was going on the prices fell and sales picked up. That was around the end of 2015 to early 2016. We finally pulled the trigger at the end of 2016 and purchased at the tail end of pre-construction. Since then the asking price for the same unit has risen 10%. I was just looking at new condo pricing the other day and it appears that the asking price for a number of the properties has risen in the last year and a half, as the housing market has recovered. We made our purchase, as act1966 also stated, for the long haul, which is great advise. Another observation, related to the appreciation of property on the island, and that is supply and demand. We’ll have to see if the demand out paces the continued build up of supply...IMO.

act1966
02-10-2018, 08:49 PM
Agree with schexc... And the velocity of house versus condo sales is quite different as well.

robin
02-11-2018, 12:57 PM
We decided several years ago that we wanted to spend the winters here once I retired from teaching as my husband can work from anywhere. We spent sometime around 2013/2014 driving around the island, but in December of 2015 we narrowed down our search by really driving the neighborhoods and knew we wanted to be north of the airport, but did not know if we wanted inland, near the water, great beach, great views, house, condo, save money, spend more-we just weren't sure. In the fall of 2016, we searched the various realtor websites and came up with about 40 properties-condos, homes, near beach, inland-a real wide selection. We came down for 15 days in December of 2016. We had appointments with different realtors. But a funny thing happened. We met a couple the first night a dinner, who were thinking of selling their condo. We said we'd take a look but first had the second realtor take us to two units in this complex so we had something to compare. The prices were well above the top of the budget so we did not have any of them listed on our long list(by this time we had ruled out houses and only wanted to look at condos). We also quickly learned that due to the economy in Venezuela, many Venezuelan owners were very eager to sell compared to properties owned by Americans, Canadians, and Dutch. Both units that the realtor showed us here were Venezuelan owned. We really like the second one even though it was way over our budget. We did see the unit of the people we met, but they weren't eager to sell and we did visit about 12-15 totally properties, before putting in a very low offer(which was at the very top our budget) on the condo we liked. To our shock they accepted with the condition that they get to use it for 2 weeks a year for four years. We signed the contracts on our anniversary the day before we left and came back at the end of March for settlement. We are now here for three months and I still sit here and are amazed that we own on this wonderful island and have an amazing view.