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Thread: Building a house in Aruba

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Sep 2020
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    Building a house in Aruba

    Folks, looking for some input.

    I am a builder in Toronto with years of experience and we have made a decision to build our vacation property here in Aruba. We have been here a number of times and we are here now for 2 months going through property lots and trying to make as many connections as possible. We want to build in Noord area and we have 3 locations to choose from. We do not like the idea of purchasing an existing home as there is nothing suitable on the market. We have built a house in Europe so I know very well what I am getting myself into.

    I will be managing most of the build
    We have the designs completed in CAD that can be trimmed to different lot sizes.
    We may be importing some of the materials either from Canada/USA or Europe depending on prices or logistics.

    I am looking for some insight regarding average building costs per m2. I am meeting with a "builder" next week to go over the process but I would like to gather as much info as possible before that. I've met with two renovation general contractors and have gotten some idea regarding finishing work. Also, what level of corruption may I be facing when it comes to construction in Aruba?

    We already have a number of potential property management and maintenance personnel so post building stage is pretty much covered.

    Any input will be appreciated!
    Last edited by andre.berto; 01-16-2021 at 09:48 PM.
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  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
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    hi andre...welcome to the community forum.

    I moved your posting to the property owners category.

    I expect you will get numerous replies.

    good luck
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind? sidtm
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  3. #3
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    Sep 2016
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    Price per m2 is anywhere between 1800 to 2400. The lower you go, the more likely the contractor is using undocumented migrants, thus not paying the lawful taxes. Some of those migrants also don't get paid their fair share, but this is really on a per company basis because many also pay them fairly for the job done. 1800 is already really low and 2400 is really high. Not saying it can't ever end up under or over, but there must be an acceptable reason like for example usage of very expensive vs very cheap materials vs alternative/sustainable materials, a sudden increase in import taxes or like I said above, usage of illegal migrants. Some companies run small operations to keep overhead low and some have larger operations with a lot of overhead requiring them to be more expensive. But, in both the price ranges there is quality to be found.

    As for corruption, the best way I can describe it is that its in between Latin America and Western Europe. Many, if not most companies run clean ships, but there are some that are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. You should know though that the government came down hard on the sector over the last few years. In the beginning of corona here in March they also got the roughest end of the stick needing to provide documentation of their employees, re-apply for permits for all their currently running projects etc. In other words, there is a lot of attention/eyes on the construction sector making corruption more rare. The ones who try still are mad. Or they still have a few fines to go before they get really screwed so they take their chances.

    Edit: Oh, forgot to add that the price per m2 is in Florin. Exchange rate is pegged 1,80 AFL = 1 USD. Definitely do a tour of the previous projects like annf says, no matter which company you choose. Do not rely on word of mouth.
    Last edited by Arawak; 01-17-2021 at 11:32 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2010
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    You may have already thought of this .... I may be confirming your thoughts.

    1. I would look for an established builder....not someone who is just starting.

    2. I would want recommendations from clients. Calls are 'ok' but I would like to meet in person and also see the project even if it is a reno and not new build.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
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    They are great opportunities now in Aruba, if you manage the building proces yourself, shop for materials yourself, get discount cards etc, you can save there and lower your price per M2. I did this 5 years ago and it saved a lot!
    Last edited by Stanley; 04-11-2021 at 07:44 AM.
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