Advice on buying a property in Aruba

Sometimes it is assumed that special permission is required for non-residents to purchase property in Aruba, but this is not the case. The process for a non-resident purchasing property in Aruba is the same as for a resident.

Types of land upon which houses are built in Aruba.

There are two main types of land upon which most homes in Aruba are built. The first type is freehold property land. This is land owned outright by the owner of the deed.

The second type is leased land. Leased land belongs to the government who assigns a long term lease (60 years) to the title holder. The leased land title holder has the right to act as a full owner and may sell, mortgage or negotiate the rights to the land similar to any other property ownership.

The title holder pays a yearly fee for the lease rights. After each sixty year period, the lease period will automatically be extended for another sixty years, possibly accompanied by an increase in the yearly fee.

Many of the houses in Aruba situated in the popular areas including Malmok, Arashi, Safir, Topaz, Esmeralda, Ruby, Opal, Salinja Serca, Palm Beach and also Tierra del Sol are constructed on leased land.

Taxes

Land taxes in Aruba are relatively low, and are usually based on the selling price of the property. The first US$34,000 is tax free, and after that the tax is 0.4% or $4 per $1000 of value.

Costs due at closing

In addition to the selling price, there are costs due at time of closing of the property sale/purchase agreement. These costs are comprised of the transfer tax and notary fees. If a property is valued at under Awg. 250,000 (~US$140500), then the transfer tax is 3% of the value, and 6% if the value is higher. The notary fees are normally 2% of the selling price 1% each for the transfer deed and mortgage deed. By law a notary must be engaged to draw up the property transfer deed. Notaries are appointed by the Dutch Monarchy and approved by the Aruban government. The notary also performs any necessary due diligence to ensure that the property is indeed owned by the seller (checking the Land Registry and Public Registers) and is free from embargoes etc. Depending on the complexity of the transaction, the notary closing normally takes two to three months.

Mortgages

Local banks offer mortgages to residents and non-residents. Each bank has their own specific requirements for mortgage loans, including valid identification, references from other banks, employment reference letter, proof of income etc. Banks will also ask for copies of any sale agreements, appraisal reports, etc. to determine their exposure. Normally the banks charge a closing fee of 1% of the loan amount, with a certain minimum. This is aside form any notary fees related to the mortgage deed.

Visitors and Residence

As a visitor with a tourist visa, you are allowed to stay on the island for 180 days per year. However should you wish to stay longer, you will need assistance of the Department of Immigration (DIMAS). Persons who are not born in Aruba, but want to work and live in Aruba temporarily or indefinitely need approval of Dimas. For more information see www.dimasaruba.com.

See Aruba Real Estate property listings now available in the Visit Aruba app for iOS and Android.

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