Rights to Your Saba Land – Albert & Michael – Saba Island Properties
In the past eight years, we have learned a lot working as real estate brokers on the Caribbean island of Saba.
We understand and follow the real estate laws as practiced in the BES islands – Bonaire, Statia, and Saba – which are not always the same as The Netherlands, even though Saba is a special municipality of The Netherlands.
We are required to work with the public notaries in St. Maarten for the closings of properties, people appointed by the King of the Netherlands, who are real estate lawyers in their own right.
All paperwork for the sale of land and homes must be accurate and registered with the Kadaster which means securing legal deeds of ownership.
It is always moving to see handwritten documents dating far back in time saying a piece of land was sold for a certain amount of Dutch Guilders, including the number of goats on the land and some names of family heirs. What culture and meaning to the history of Saban land and people’s lives.
At the same time, it is deeply concerning, even heartbreaking, to see people holding documents that are not legally recognized in today’s world, when the possible owner believes they are.
In the past
It was customary for people to occupy land and sell properties to each other in a casual way that worked. People would pass away and their heirs would occupy the property without following any official procedures.
In more recent times, as heirs began to sell, mortgage or lease properties, they soon learned that their ancestors did not follow the proper legal steps prescribed by The Civil Code which has been around for more than a century.
The Civil Code is helpful because it honors this impasse with prescriptive rights.
It can be a lengthy and expensive process to go to court, with an attorney-at-law, to prove ownership by prescriptive rights and it is achievable.
We have always liked to help people…
– Teaching them about the various laws and the legal processes for registered and unregistered land.
– Answering questions about owners who have passed away and their estate has been left undivided and the possibility that it belongs to several other people with equal rights on the property.
– Also proof of people using the land for long periods of time.
Yes! People have a right to their family lands and heritage. It’s precious. Legacy matters. We want people to know the truth and take responsibility for rightful ownership.
What does prescriptive rights mean in real estate?
A prescriptive easement allows someone the right to use and even claim ownership to a property. Prescriptive rights ownership can be claimed when a person has use of the land for a period of years.
Once prescriptive rights are approved by the courts and registered with the government, sometimes taxes will need to be paid.
When we list a property For Sale, we do all of this research to have the documents ready for a trouble free closing. The last thing a buyer wants is to learn that all heirs are not on board to sell, and there are questions about the true ownership and boundaries.
Next we visit and assess the land or home, take photos, write up an original listing describing the property, and then market it to people worldwide.
Naturally, there is a broker’s contractual fee for the work involved when the property is sold.
Some people take advantage and use our service to promote their properties and then bypass us and sell to someone who has approached them directly, which can cut us out of a fee and payment for our hard work.
People with integrity choose to pay us a fee because they respect our work and name in the industry, but others do nothing, sometimes not even saying thank you. It’s a choice of character and honor which often is superseded by personal greed and selfishness.
There’s a difference between being generous and giving things away free.
Paying some deserved fee builds trust, loyalty, and respect, especially in a small community. Otherwise, you soon learn that you need better clients, and it’s time to discard a few and to let them understand what it’s like to get all the paperwork together and to work with the legal process of a notary and the courts.
A sale can be lost without a knowledgeable and a trustworthy real estate broker.
♦ ♦ ♦
Albert & Michael – Saba Island Properties
Expats with Experience You Can Trust
Saba (+599) 416 . 2777
Emails: Albert@sabaislandproperties.com or Michael@sabaislandproperties.com
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Michael’s writing is published at Arianna Huffington’s – Thrive Global, The Huffington Post,
Medium, Maria Shriver’s Website, LinkedIn, Michael Port, The Fordyce Letter, Mélange Magazine and others.
Along with this international monthly Blog Michael publishes daily on his coaching website – Commit2Change.