Thirteen St. Maarten realtors endorse Van der Waarden’s concept

POSTED: 07/11/11 12:22 PM

Jagtiani: “We still have a long way to go”

St. Maarten – Nearly a dozen real estate agency owners on the Dutch side have agreed on the framework to form a real estate association that will represent their common interests. The decision to do so was taken at a meeting at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort on Friday after the draft organizational structure was presented by Francois van der Waarden – an intern commissioned by Island Real Estate Team to research creating the association.

Friday’s discussion focused on the structure of the board, sub-committees, voting rights, creating bylaws and long term goals like establishing a Multiple Listing Service and an agent testing system. The meeting, which was focused on creating buy in, did not go as far as coming up with a name for the association, but parties plan to work this out later. The committed agencies are Boreal Realty, Caribbean Escapes NV, Caribbean Grove Real Estate, Century 21 Island Realty, Coldwell Banker, Comm Systems Ltd, Different Real Estate NV, Heritage Realty, Hermes Realty, Island Real Estate Team, Platinum Vacation Properties, Remax Island Properties, and Simpson Bay Real Estate. Barclays Real Estate, though represented, has not signed on yet as the owner could not attend and the staffer who represented him was only empowered to collect information that will lead to a decision.

“We still have a long way to go before we can say we are a genuine and solid association. This project is bigger than any one person or company. To be successful, it needs to take on a life of its own, to make sure it can continue to serve the industry and community long after all of our careers is done,” Island Real Estate Team’s owner Arun Jagtiani said.

“Historically I think it’s special for our industry. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time that over a dozen owners of real estate agencies on St. Maarten had a meeting and agreed on almost everything they spoke about. The first step was to agree to forget about all past disputes and move forward so we can work together on ways to improve our industry and ultimately our country,” Jagtiani added.

The association comes after 20 years of significant growth in the real estate market. What began as several agencies is a now sector with between 30 to 50 active real estate agents. Jagtiani believes the fact that an exact figure can’t be named is a clear indication of why uniting the industry is necessary.

“A few things that we can quickly accomplish by coming together include gathering key statistics of what is happening in the market, hold everyone to certain guidelines and principals, help to resolve disputes, and basically help to maintain the overall integrity of the industry, but the most relevant thing that we  can do, at least in my opinion, is have a body of professionals that can offer assistance and advice to government when it comes to any future laws or policies which may have an impact on the real estate market,” Jagtiani said.

He added, “We are not merging companies or anything of that nature, this is a competitive industry and it will remain that way, this being said we all have several common interest and it makes sense to come together and protect them.”

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