St. Maarten Real estate brokers question changes to civil code

POSTED: 11/22/11 9:21 AM

St. Maarten – The Central committee of parliament met with two real estate associations yesterday morning to discuss changes to the civil code that affect, among others, procedures for selling property.
The St. Maarten Real Estate Association and the recently established Real Estate Association of St. Maarten both focused on two key issues: the limitation on down payments for projects under development to 10 percent and the 3-day cooling off period buyers get after signing a contract.
Both Mark van der Bilt of the Real Estate Association of St. Maarten and Walter Kassel of the second association pointed out that limiting the down payment to 10 percent will hamper real estate development.
Van der Bilt said that there is a better option. “Throughout history buyers have been obliged to make scheduled payments. That takes the burden off the banks. I am not sure this is in the best interest of the purchaser.”
DP-MP Leroy de Weever noted that, “Some developers are underfinanced. To complete their projects they have to go into their clients’ pockets. That is what we want to prevent. We are having a problem with the unfinished projects on the island.”
De Weever said that developers on the French side are not able to touch their clients’ money before they have completed their projects. “We have no restrictions on the Dutch side.”
De Weever wants the 3-day waiting period that is now in the draft law to be specified as 3 working days.
Van der Bilt remarked that the waiting period “is not going to make any difference.” He explained that his company’s (Indigo Bay) purchase agreements give clients a certain period to come up with the next payment. “If that does not happen we have the option to cancel the contract.”
Mijke Martina (St. Maarten Real Estate Association) said that “professional realtors don’t have a problem with the 3-day waiting period.” She called for a licensing system for real estate brokers.

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