Guide to Doing Business
in St. Maarten

Acquisition of real estate

The sale and purchase of real estate property (in case of a private property ownership or a long-term land lease) requires a purchase contract and a notarial transfer deed. A title investigation should also be conducted before the civil law notary. The purpose of such search is to verify in whose name the real estate is registered, who is empowered to dispose of it and to verify whether the real estate is encumbered with a mortgage or attachments. To complete the actual transfer, the transfer needs to be registered in the public register for real estate property.

The acquisition of real estate property has to be concluded in writing. As long as such condition has not been satisfied and the deed of transfer has not been executed before a civil law notary, the agreement will be subject to nullification in the interest of both parties. If the buyer is a natural person who, when entering into the agreement, does not act in the course of his professional practice or business, the written agreement, drawn up for this purpose between the parties, or a copy of it must be handed over to the buyer against issuance, if the seller desires so, of a dated receipt. During three days after the deed or its copy has been handed over to the buyer, the buyer has the right to rescind the sale agreement (‘reflection period’), unless the transfer has already taken place. If within six months after the buyer has used this right, the same parties again enter into a new sale agreement related to the same real estate property or a component thereof,  this right of rescission does not arise again.