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NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS #254662
05/02/2021 01:51 PM
05/02/2021 01:51 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 72
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Nowhatched Offline OP
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Nowhatched  Offline OP
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Cape Cod, Massachusetts
I am in the process of buying a condo in Simpson Bay! Yeah! Lucky me. I have a few questions.
I want to have a friend/ electrician come down with me and upgrade the electrical box and all the plugs and light switches. Do I need to get a permit for that?
If I hire someone on the island, how do I pay them ? Can they take a check from the US?
Do I need to set up a bank account and if I do, do I have to get a local checking account?
I live in New England and I want to send a car and a bunch of boxes, probable 20 or so.
Should I get a company from here and have them send it all the way through or am I better off getting a US company to get it to Miami. Then using another company to get it to St. Maarten.
I would love to hear about experiences others have had. Good and bad.

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Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254665
05/02/2021 03:03 PM
05/02/2021 03:03 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Congrats on your major achievment on the Island.
My opinon is that you have to open a local checking account to make payments because US cheques would take too long to clear . Their lots of local Companies that you can find to do all your work on the Condo hence if you need help you can pm me. We bought our first home since 1989 sold it in 2006 and built our current six bedroom home in Beacon Hill.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254666
05/02/2021 03:20 PM
05/02/2021 03:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 743
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phillygirl7 Offline
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Is one bank as good as another there?

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: phillygirl7] #254669
05/02/2021 04:06 PM
05/02/2021 04:06 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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St Maarten
No, they're all the same. Mediocre at best customer service. Personally, I would bring the friend.


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: BillandElaine] #254672
05/02/2021 05:03 PM
05/02/2021 05:03 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Elaine what you are talking about mediocre service of all Companies on the Island ? You got to be joking .

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254676
05/02/2021 05:37 PM
05/02/2021 05:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 743
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phillygirl7 Offline
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I think she was referring to banks -- all being mediocre.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254679
05/02/2021 05:53 PM
05/02/2021 05:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,539
MIA
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irina Offline
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Ok Nowhatched.
We opened account at ScotiaBank. We needed a local to vouch for us.
And several letters of recommendations.
We moved our stuff from US to SXM with Tropical Shipping.
Electricians are everywhere and know where the bodies are buried.
We used to own at SBYC many years ago so this is old info.
You can bring your guy but I would liaise with local electrician.
Good luck and cheers
irina

Last edited by irina; 05/02/2021 05:54 PM. Reason: added sentence
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Kennys] #254684
05/02/2021 06:24 PM
05/02/2021 06:24 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 14,759
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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Originally Posted by Kennys
Elaine what you are talking about mediocre service of all Companies on the Island ? You got to be joking .

She was referring to the Banks.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254685
05/02/2021 07:00 PM
05/02/2021 07:00 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 72
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Nowhatched Offline OP
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Nowhatched  Offline OP
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Cape Cod, Massachusetts
All good info. Thanks for your help!

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254695
05/02/2021 09:40 PM
05/02/2021 09:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 137
DougK37614 Offline
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We have owned on the island for 11 years. It will take you a while to open a bank account and transfer funds. Think months, not weeks.

Service from all banks seems to be slow. They may not respond for days or longer. They do not return calls. Once you have an account you can use their app or online banking.

You could also use a US credit card to pay but normally will pay a fee up to 5% to use it. You will want a local bank account in the long run.

Ship to Miami and use a freight forwarder. Tropical Shipping has a good reputation and I have used them for what seem to be reasonable fees.

Last edited by DougK37614; 05/02/2021 09:42 PM.
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254708
05/03/2021 08:11 AM
05/03/2021 08:11 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,000
falmouth,MA
wendyk Offline
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wendyk  Offline
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falmouth,MA
Good luck opening a bank account on the island. You may have difficulty without having residency, but in any event you will be jumping through many hoops and needing lots of documents. I bank with RBC and we opened our account when they used to have 6 branches on the island: one of them within 2 miles of our condo. Now there is just one main branch in Phillipsburg, and going to the bank for a simple deposit or withdrawal can take half the day sometimes. Just take a deep breath and remember you are in Paradise! My advice is to look for a bank that's convenient to where you live.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254728
05/03/2021 10:37 AM
05/03/2021 10:37 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 809
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Southshore Offline
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Regarding the bank situation... my husband and I had a bank account on the island at one time, when we were considering buying. We dealt with First Caribbean, formerly Barclays Bank. It is now run buy CIBC, a Canadian bank. We did not have a local address but opened a post office box at The Mailbox and used this for a local address. Even though we never did purchase on the island, we kept the account for a while, had ATM access, etc. We found the staff at the branch, in Cole Bay, I recall, to be very helpful.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254761
05/03/2021 03:58 PM
05/03/2021 03:58 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,463
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Massachusetts
Just curious....why would someone NEED a bank account with a bank on SXM....Why not just use an internet bank (like Schwab) and do online banking. Obviously wouldn't work for a loan/mortgage but if you need residency to get an account then that is a mute point

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254762
05/03/2021 04:55 PM
05/03/2021 04:55 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 208
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MrWhiskerssammy Offline
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We bought our condo here about 15 years ago. We did open a bank account (checking) and to the best of my knowledge, only needed a letter from our bank in the U.S. saying that we, in essence, were members in good standing. Our account is with WIB and wasn't too much of a hassle to get. It's that when someone just of the boat--so to speak--tries to open one, they need to know about the letter from a bank in the U.S. ahead of time. Most don't, so it holds up the process a little. That may have changed since then. I stand behind Elaine in saying that the customer service is just ok but not what I would call great. We set up our account primarily for having our GEBE bills (Gas and Electric) taken out automatically each month. It saves worry about not getting them paid on time. Each time we are here, we deposit enough money to take care of the bills until the next time we will be here. Luckily we had enough to keep us ok during the last year when we couldn't be here.

Depending on what you are buying, bringing your own guy from the States might be a good idea. It depends on who designed/built your condo units and how well it was done. The condo complex we bought at has had a few issues with electricity, and that is why I would say if you can afford to bring someone--I would.

A fair amount of people who bought in our complex did bring a lot of things in--including furniture-- that they had shipped from wherever, to the port of Miami and sent it here through a few different shipping companies. We happen to use Caribe Trans and have never had a problem. But having said that we didn't send any furniture. We ship from Amazon to Miami now and then, because sometimes the cost of the product and shipping charges are less than what it costs to buy it here.

On the whole, we have had a good experience. We met people who are now very good friends. We do not regret our decision to buy and are still happily enjoying the times we spend on the island.

Hope this helps.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254771
05/03/2021 05:49 PM
05/03/2021 05:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
Totally agree MrWhiskers! We opened our account as a requirement for residency at that time probably 14 years ago. Also expecting to have auto bill pay, however it never worked and they were constantly turning off our utilities. We are here full time, so we just go pay the bill in person. I think after the lockdowns, I may try to figure out their online stuff.

Yes to the who built it. Our problem is water. And everyone's problem is getting people to actually show up. When you find one they are like gold!!! Ask your neighbors for guidance.

We also ship things here ordered online from the states using Safe Cargo.

Good luck!


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: BillandElaine] #254776
05/03/2021 06:22 PM
05/03/2021 06:22 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Well Elaine , we have been dealing with the Cozzolino for over thirty years and they had no problem . We took care of all of their bills. The Late Mr. Salvatore Cozzolino use to bring his whole family , grand kids plus on a big Bus to stay at Mullet Bay Resort and then after he bought the big home in Cote de Zur. They had their own account with RBC and we open one for them at WIB to this day. Go figure.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Kennys] #254778
05/03/2021 07:08 PM
05/03/2021 07:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
Sorry Lesley - What? Who?


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254781
05/03/2021 08:03 PM
05/03/2021 08:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 130
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chazo Offline
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Having a friend help you swap out a few outlets is probably not an issue, but if you are thinking of anything more complex, like adding circuits or upgrading the electrical panel, hire a competent local electrician. Even if your friend is a licensed electrician, is he familiar with European electrical codes and any local special requirements? Does he know when RCDs and GFCIs are required? St. Maarten must have a very specialized building code given that's it seems to be a weird hybrid of European and US standards. Don't they use DIN panels? Will he be able to pull a permit? Get the work inspected? I'm sure your condo neighbors will not be happy to have any significant electrical work going on by someone not intimately familiar with local regulations.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: BillandElaine] #254782
05/03/2021 08:55 PM
05/03/2021 08:55 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Kennys  Online Content
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The Cozzolino Italian Family you might not know them because they were coming here for over thirty years. Both him and his Wife passed away but the Eldest Daughter is running the property right now . They also had a private Boat Dock looking out to Nettle Bai . Very good people to us .

Last edited by Kennys; 05/03/2021 09:31 PM.
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254784
05/03/2021 10:05 PM
05/03/2021 10:05 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,316
Newtown, CT
kim Offline
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We bought our condo on the Dutch side and have a mortgage with RBC. We also have a bank account with them. Really wasn’t a big deal, just very time consuming. I receive my GEBE and TELEM bills via email and I pay them direct through my RBC account from an app on my phone. When it gets low I wire money to it from the US - wiring does cost. But I have never been back to the bank in 4 years and never have had to go to either utility company to pay bills.. The condo property pays the electric and then bills us - so that isn’t an issue. We just rent cars when we are on island, don’t want the hassle of having a car and worrying about plates etc.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: kim] #254786
05/03/2021 10:51 PM
05/03/2021 10:51 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 4,486
Kennys Online content
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Kennys  Online Content
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Well said thanks.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: chazo] #254788
05/04/2021 06:33 AM
05/04/2021 06:33 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,091
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
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BillandElaine  Offline
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St Maarten
Building codes? Permits? rofl


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: BillandElaine] #254804
05/04/2021 09:24 AM
05/04/2021 09:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 208
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MrWhiskerssammy Offline
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Well I guess we know all about those!!! Can't stop laughing.

Last edited by MrWhiskerssammy; 05/04/2021 09:25 AM.
Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254807
05/04/2021 09:59 AM
05/04/2021 09:59 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 421
South Carolina
Riverfrontbrewer Offline
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Posts: 421
South Carolina
This is just friendly (not professional) advice, but let your CPA/tax preparer know about those foreign assets for US tax reporting requirements.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Nowhatched] #254948
05/06/2021 08:48 AM
05/06/2021 08:48 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 137
DougK37614 Offline
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DougK37614  Offline
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The reason to have an account as opposed to pay electronically with an off island bank account is many of the services only accept cash or a local check. They are not set up to take electronic payment. That is improving over time but still some are not capable. Check with your vendor how they will accept payment.

Re: NEW CONDO OWNER QUESTIONS [Re: Riverfrontbrewer] #254966
05/06/2021 11:17 AM
05/06/2021 11:17 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 809
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Southshore Offline
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Good advice. The same applies to Canadians. There is a very clear question on the annual federal tax return, asking if you own foreign property. Currently the amount questioned is $100,000.00 or above.


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