Q: Can a foreigner own property in Saba?
A: Yes. Anyone can own property on either side of the island. Buyers are protected by both French and Dutch Law.
Q: What about title search, closings, etc.?
A: All European Notaries are of legal background. They must first be lawyers. They are representing federal laws when they transfer properties from seller to buyer. The buyer is made aware of the type of deed. The Notary also ensures free and clear title. If a mortgage is involved the Notary will register mortgage as well as the deed with Kadaster (Land Registry office). Closing costs on the Dutch side are around 5.2%. On the French side they vary from 9 to 11 %. On the Dutch side there is a one-time payment covering the government taxes and notary fees.
Q: What type of deed does the buyer receive?
A: There are three types of deeds
a) fee simple: land is owned by the seller. A notarial deed only is passed.
b) government long lease: normally 50 years
c) private lease: can also be 50 years
For leased land the buyer is protected if the lease is terminated. Then the person holding the lease has to give the buyer the full market value of the improvements to the property.
Q: What kind of tax would I pay as a property owner?
A: Transfer tax is included in the closing costs. On Dutch Saba there are no annual property taxes. On French St Martin there are assessed annual taxes. If you own a property that you use as short term rental property you are responsible for income and profit tax. You can deduct a lot of expenses such as maintenance, insurance, improvements, etc. There are no capital gain taxes in Sint Maarten.
Q: What about ownership in another name?
A: If there is a question from the IRS or another country's tax system, on the Dutch side there is a non-disclosure law.
It is more complicated on the French side. It is part of the European Community so those rules and regulations apply. This includes annual living taxes and real estate taxes. We recommend that foreign investors do so through a private real estate holding company, Societe Civile Immobiliere. This will make the estate secure.
Q: We would like to use the property part time or longer after retirement.
You can have added income as a holiday rental. High season rentals run from $1,500 to $25,000 a week, depending on the property. Low season rates are 30% lower.
Q: What about utilities, repairs, furnishings or remodeling?
A: We at CENTURY 21 Island Realty are always here to assist, whether buying, selling or managing your property.
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