Retirement property in St. Martin

Old Jan 5th, 2017, 04:59 AM
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Retirement property in St. Martin

We are thinking of buying a retirement property in St. Martin, specifically at the Grand Case Beach Club. I would like to speak with current or former owners in GCBC, or St. Martin, generally, for tips and advice on buying a property.

Thanks in advance.

jduffy1956 is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2017, 07:17 AM
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Do you need to rent it out before retiring (to cover costs)?

Have you stayed a considerable time on island, not just vacation? I suggest you live there for at lest a month, fix broken things yourself, see how people truly live, before deciding

It's so different from vacationing!
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Old Jan 5th, 2017, 09:33 AM
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I can tell you from experience (I've had a home in the Caribbean for almost 15 years) as blamona says, living in the Caribbean is far different than visiting there on vacation.

First, you must do extensive "first hand" research and quite honestly asking people on a travel forum for tips and advice will only scratch the surface. Before buying property on any Caribbean island you should send a substantial amount of time making what we call a Pre-Move Visit (aka PMV). the longer your PMV the better - make it at least several months. Common advice, DO NOT buy anything until you've spent at least a year on the island of your choice.

When you make you PMV - Don't stay at a resort and don't do tourist things. Instead stay in a rental house or rental condo. Do everyday chores like shopping, laundry, housework, yard maintenance, paying utility bills, fixing things (EVERYTHING breaks down in the Caribbean and getting things repaired can be a challenge) - after all those are the activities that you'll be spending most of your time doing when you move there full-time.

Make sure you have a good handle on what your living expenses might be. Suffice to say, cost of living is high in the Caribbean - on average anywhere from 25% to 35% higher than in most US mainland locations. The bigger your nest egg, the easier your transition will be.

Make sure both you and your partner are 100% on board with living on a small island in the Caribbean. I can't tell you how many couple I know who have relocated only to find out that one of the enjoys island life and the other can't stand it. What will you do if that happens to you?

Will you be purchasing your property for "all cash"? If you need a mortgage you may find local banks require large downpayment and charge high interest. DO NOT plan on using rental income to offset your carrying costs, especially if you plan on using the unit yourself during the peak rental periods (the weeks between Christmas and Easter). Regardless of what a Real Estate Agent or Property Manger might tell you off-season rentals are few and far between.

BEFORE doing anything purchase and read "The Settler's Handbook" (available on Amazon) and also read EVERYTHING at the - both are geared toward living in the USVI's but much of what you will read there is applicable to any island in the Caribbean. there is so much info on that website it will take a month to read. You'll also find a very active forum there with 10,000's of threads covering every topic imaginable as well as answers to all your questions and 100's more you haven't even thought of yet.

Good luck following your dream - with the proper research you can avoid it turning into a nightmare.
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