Want to buy your first house on Curacao, Aruba, SXM or BES? Follow the 10 steps!

Find your Dreamhouse on Curacao, Aruba, St Maarten or Bonaire.

Buying a home is a complex and lengthy process - at Connect The Market we try to cut through the complexity providing an online marketplace whereby all costs that are accompanied buying your first home is broken down in pieces for you. You will less likely to be taken by surprise along the way and your home-buying experience will undoubtedly be faster, easier and more transparent. Connect The Market takes you briefly through each step you are likely to take during the home-buying process.

1. Save the amount required for own contribution

If you want to buy a house an own contribution is generally requested by the Curacao, St. Maarten, Aruba or Bonaire financial institutions. Usually a 10% of the property's price is requested by Curacao banks that you need to invest as own money. For example, if you wanted to buy a house of ANG 300.000 on Curacao, in general it is requested that you put down ANG 30.000 of your own money. Your financing need then remains at ANG 270.000. If you can save more and invest it as own contribution, the mortgage deals provided through Connect The Market are generally at lower interest rates.

2. Check how much you can afford to borrow

The second step is to obtain insights into how much borrowing capacity you have. Use the Connect The Market mortgage calculator and find out. You can see how much your monthly payments would be based on different interest rates, loan amounts and mortgage terms using the Connect The Market mortgage repayments calculator. The amount a financial institution will lend you will depend on various things, including the size of your own contribution, your current income (and debt payments) and value of the property. In addition, the financial situation of a dual applicant (if any) will be assessed: If you are buying a property with your partner, the financial institution will also take their finances into account.

3. Find properties listed online and view properties in person

It is important to do some research on the area you want to buy a house before signing the property purchase agreement. Once you have chosen the area (or areas) where you are interested in buying a home, register with local estate agents in that area. Registering is free and will not create any obligation on your part. Keeping in touch with local real estate agents such as Century21, REMAX and others could increase your chances of finding your ideal home, as agents sometimes contact registered buyers before listing a property online. You will inevitably spend plenty of time browsing realtors. But it is important to view properties in person as well. Viewing homes in real life will give you a deeper understanding of their potential (or lack of it) and you will be able to gauge whether they give you that indescribable ‘feeling’ that you cannot really get from a screen.

4. Make a preliminary offer on a house

A preliminary offer contains your conditions for buying the property, the most obvious being the price. It is quite common to offer less than the asking price. But if other people are interested in the property, you may need to offer the asking price or even more. Once you have decided how much to offer, you can tell the real estate agent over the phone or in person, but it is worth putting it in writing too. Mention in your offer that it comes with conditions such as arranging the financing requirement, a survey (to find any issues on the property: see next step) and the property being taken off the market. The seller may either reject your offer or make a new one (counter-offer).

5. Inspecting before buying

Once your offer has been accepted a property survey helps to assess the condition of the building and detect structural problems. Although a survey is optional, it is better to be aware of any issues before buying so you can make an informed decision. Having the property inspected allows the detection of defects that could affect its value. It may also allow you to negotiate a price reduction—for example, if the inspector’s report states that the roof has to be redone. Please do not confuse an appraisal report with a house survey - they are two different things and you should always have your own survey done independently.

6. Sign the property purchase agreement

A sale and purchase agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the seller. It sets out all the details, terms and conditions of the sale — this includes things such as the price, whether the buyer needs to sell another property first and the settlement date. Always check your sale and purchase agreement with a lawyer, contract expert or notary before signing. You should always get legal advice before you sign the agreement and throughout the buying process. You need to read and understand the agreement before you sign it. A sale and purchase agreement becomes unconditional when all the conditions are met.

The real estate agent helps you and the seller to include the conditions you both want. Even though the agent works for the seller, they also have to deal fairly and honestly with the buyer. They cannot withhold any information, and they must tell you about any known defects with the property. However, signing a promise to purchase does not mean that you are now the owner! The seller will generally require a deposit on the sale price. It will be paid to the notary, who will keep it in their trust account. If the sale does not go through, your deposit will be reimbursed to you or be used to compensate the seller.

7. Apply for a mortgage through Connect The Market

It is now time to secure the funding! TheConnect The Market marketplace provides you the best deal in the market: fast, easy and free of charge. Within 2 business days you get the best terms on your mortgage loan and know exactly the accompanied costs involving the purchase of your first house in a clear transparent overview. Costs such as notary expenses and transfer tax are regulated by Curacao law and could be capitalized on the mortgage loan.  The duration of the mortgage loan and the monthly annuity costs are summarized in a graph for you.

8. Get the required insurances in order through Connect The Market

As part of the mortgage application at Connect The Market, you can easily apply for the best deal for your life and property insurance. It is vital that you have a life insurance and property insurance in place on your new home from the day you exchange contracts - in fact, most mortgage providers will make this a condition of lending. This is because you are legally bound to buy the property from the moment contracts are exchanged, so if the house were to be flooded or burn down before the day of the notary transfers the property and you are not insured, you are not covered.

9. Sign the notary deed

To officially become the owner, you must sign the transfer deed and the mortgage deed. Signing takes place at the notary’s office.  It is only then that the transfer of property takes place. The notary will prepare the documents required to transfer ownership and will make sure that your title of ownership is clear. The notary will execute the transaction, enabling you to pay the seller, and apply to the Land Registry to transfer the deeds to your name. On this day, the money will be transferred to the seller and you can then collect the keys from the estate agent and move into your new home.

10. Congratulations! You bought your first house!

Next comes the much more enjoyable task of starting to furnish and decorate the property to your taste - and maybe even taking a moment to simply relax. You have earned it!

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