That is a direct quote, from one of my friends, an Aruban living in the USA, and visiting her home-island.
Apparently, she is in real estate there, and learning a lot, content to contribute to her family’s well-being.
The previously main bread- winner, her husband, an oil man, was laid off during one of the refinery’s closings. Now the main bread-winning job is hers.
And she likes it.
There is promise in real-estate, she says.
Why? I asked.
If you are a certified agent in good standing, she explained, you may run your real estate business on your phone, with the help of 4 applications, one containing all listings and detailed information — realtor.com, a closed network for members of the National Association of Realtors, or zillow.com, an amazing data base — then you have another app that holds the keys to all properties, which any of the above agents can open with his smartphone, etc.
Every sale is data-driven, and transparent, and everyone may check exactly if the mortgage is paid, the tax settled, the building constructed according to code, flood history, storm damages, all record are fully transparent, including how much the house went for, plus all other homes in the neighborhood, so that pricing makes sense. It is relative to location, and other variables. It takes intelligent-guessing out.
And Aruba, I asked?
There is a lot for sale on the island. Perhaps as a result of divorce or speculation.
And pricing here, she said, is often intuitive, not completely data driven. Of course the well-established brokers know the market, but new agents could be lost because the information is simply not there.
If Aruba had an MLS, multiple listing service, it would be much easier to conduct business here.
So I called a local broker, to check.
Indeed, Aruba ALMOST has its own MLS, but the system is flawed because information is not forthcoming from cadaster. There is no real data to base pricing on, and thus sudden price reductions, and/ or unreasonably increases, are frequent.
And while I had the local agent on the phone I learned that Central Bank has become increasingly demanding, often overbearing, requiring the clearing of all buyers on international foreign investor lists and, exercising excessive compliance, making the process of buying a house in Aruba cumbersome and lengthy. Moreover, Central Bank has been imposing 6 figure fines, no warnings, and that the collection of those fines must have become a budget item, because they are unreasonable and frequent!
The agent said lawyers, realtors, accountants, notaries, feel under fire, for having to run all their foreign clients by financial sanction lists for all purchases over $300,000, so basically everyone.
GOA makes money on real estate deals. So the question is, should we be friendly toward real estate buyers? Or not.