Buying property in Dominican Republic

Hi,

can a foreigner buy property in Dominican Republic ?

If so, is it complicated? What is the process of purchasing a property in Dominican Republic ?

Any tips for buying property, such as a check-list of items to verify ?

Thanks in advance for participating!

Christine

It is easy for a foreigner to buy property here. All that is actually needed is a valid passport and $$.  You actually do own the proerty with title.
However it is most important to have a good lawyer involved as they act as will search the title to make sure it is a clear title with no incumberences. There are many cases where this is not done and the property that you buy may not be yours.
You should also use a reputable real estate agent as there are many less then honest ones about and again will leave you  with no real proeprty and lots of money lost.
Please feel free to ask specific questions. I have been working in the market here for 6 years.

Bob K

Hi Bob K!

Thanks for your contribution ;)

Armand

Hi, you have to ask the following items to verify:

- Cedula del vendedor (ID of the seller)
- RNC (tax code of the business)
- Registro mercantil de la empresa (Registry of Commerce)
- Historial tributario de la empresa IPI (tax record of the business)
- Acta de asamblea para vender propiedad (Assembly Act to sell)
- Gravamen (indicates the seller does not acquire a motgage with the property).

You don´t need a real estate agent if you know spanish, live here and have a lot of patience.

HT

Don't necessarily need a real estate agent (though I am one) but absolutly need a lawyer.

Bob K

We purchased property in the Dominican Republic.  Yes, it is a very simple process but BEWARE.

Stay away from new construction.
Developers will promise you paradise but when time comes to deliver, it's a different story.  Make sure you have everything written in your agreement. Negotiations take place first verbally and after you agree to the purchase price and inclusions, you go to the lawyer to have the deal put on paper. Dominicans do business very differently from North Americans and Europeans. They will not want to have the details in the agreement. DO NOT give a deposit that is not refundable. They will tell you that it is the only way you can secure the unit and there are other buyers in line but there is a good inventory available. 

Ask to see the condo rules, the operating budget.  If they cannot provide it, don't be fooled by the promises, walk away. 

Also, most condo developers refuse to pay condo fees after the project is turned over to owners when they have unsold units. This is why you are better off to purchase a unit in an already established development.

From experience, the best approach is not to purchase new construction. Buy something that has already been sold. At least, you know that it is well established, issues have already been dealt with and the project will probably be managed by owners.  You will have no surprises.

Ask to see the budget and operating costs of the development. This will provide you piece of mind.

Good luck

Purchasing property to is both easy and highly complicated!!!! IT IS BUYER BEWARE.

First if you are fairly new here, DON"T BUY,  rent for 6 to 12 months so you know a bit more about the culture the areas etc.  Once you buy here, it is a lot tougher to sell again!  Use your time here to understand the  process of purchasing and to get to know property values.

The process is a bit different if what you are purchasing is owned inside a corporation or simply by an individual(s).

Bob is sooooo correct.  You MUST have a good reputable lawyer. Do not accept just one referral, do your homework.

A realtor is a good idea when you get one who is honest and acting in your best interests!  Don't assume the realtor is only working for you.  It is completely legal to act for both parties.  In fact real estate at times is the wild wild west....... so find someone you can trust. I vote for Bob!!!!

You must double check every single thing that happens!   Land registry in this country is a bit of a mess (huge understatement) so make sure YOU understand every step and double check it. 

All this being said, with the right  amount of time, research and assistance you can find the right place for you!!! And at a good price.

*** note - I have nothing to do with buying or selling real estate or recommending any particular professional to help, so no kickbacks or commissions involved ***

Fully agree with Planner's comments.

Planner is correct.  Good lawyer, good  real agent, and if buying "construction" we only recommend developers who have a good track record of delivering.  So many lose so much on half completed projects that they have put lots of $$$ into.

Bob K

I bought a house after just two visits and short visits at that.

I did not live or rent there,and I found the whole process to be easy,fast and efficient.Easier than buying a house in Calgary.

I did internet research for about 8 months before I found what I wanted.

The advice from this site would scare me away for ever,sure glad I
I didn't come across Ex Pats while doing my research.

Where did you buy? Are you going to be living here full time?

I hope it all works out for you and it very well may.  We bought our property after being here for 48 hours.  So it can be done.

Bob K

welcome CalgaryFlame!  Your experience is unique to say the least.  I am glad things are working out for you so far!  Lets hope it stays that way. Please keep us posted.

Our advice to other expats is as much about the process and issues of buying real estate as it is about  people's expectations. Often those who want to live here don't have a lot of experience outside of the  all inclusive resorts.  Often an emotional decision is made and then people are stuck with a house or an investment that may not be what they really thought it was or what they wanted.

IF this is the case it can be very difficult to  undo - to sell the house / apt etc. 

We never ever mean to scare people, but to help make informed choices!

I bought in Residencial Casa Linda.

Its a gated community with security patrols every half hour.The monthly fees are considerably high.But its well worth it.

At this time I have no desire to move to the dr. fulltime.I like Calgary summers no humidity.Not sure if I can handle the heat full time.3 to 4 weeks is all I can take,and then I want to get out.

My job in Calgary pays well and I still enjoy going to work everyday.I'm a long way off from retirement.

So the place I have in Casa Linda needs some serious renovations,total gut.It will cost over the course of two years about 30 to 40 thou to get it the way I am comfortable with.For me right now its unlivable,hope to be able to come down in Dec.but I won't unless some basic standards are met.

Right now the villa is more of a vacation home /investment.I'm always on the look out for more property to buy.
Anyways hope this helps adious best regards Calgary Flame

Have you contacted Eric (developer) about help/advice on renos?

BobK

No I never met eric when I was there,I'm not going to use anyone affiliated with RCL.But I am using a contractor that does lots of work in RCL.We met twice I gave them a budget,and there still working on it.Another week I will have something to work on.Will not proceed until I give them approval on drawings that have been submitted.

I know the quality of there work,as I went on a viewing of a property they were doing renos on.A-one topnotch to say the least.

They have a web site that I studied for a few hours,they were also highly recommended by various persons on other forums.

Best regards Calgary Flame

Can I ask who is the contractor you are using?

Bob K

Bob

I sent you pm.

Do they offer mortgages in D.R.?  We live in the U.S. and are not wealthy by any means but my husbands visa has expired and will likely be forced to move there.  Neither of us has been there (my husband left as a baby in 1978) so any help would be appreciated.  We are considering Sosua/Cabarete for the International school since our daughter is 5 yrs old and I also do not speak spanish.  We hear that is a nice expat community.  Can anyone offer insight into mortgages?  We also want to bring our 2 sbub nosed dogs with us (Boxers) so any tips there would be helpful as well.

Lisa first welcome to the forum.

As to living here do no that mortgages are very hard to get here, especially as a "gringo" with no local investments or a bit a cash back home.  Also the rates are in the 8-10% if you can get one.  We had a very well to do client get one last year and it took over 6 months to get it done and at 8%

The international school is very good here but $$$ so you might want to check that out further. There are  also other private schools like New Garden Kids in the Sosua/Cabarete area/

The Sosua/Cabarete area has a very large, diversified and active expat community and lots of living options, but they can get expensive though if you look around you can find good some pretty good deals.

As to short nosed dogs we have seen afew about with seemingly no problems, but I will leave that info up to others.  We did bring our small dog with us and have since added a large Rottie to the mix.

My wife and I moved here on a full time basis over 7 years ago and have not looked back for a second. If you have any questions about living in this area please do not hesitate to ask either here or with a PM.

Bob K

Welcome Lisa, as your husband is a Dominican he may have access to mortgages that us expats are not.  The central bank now offers mortgage rates that are much more attractive.  Of course you will need to get here and get settled first as he is unlikely to get a mortgage without having some form of track record here.

Good luck

With her husband not having been here for over 30 years he may face the same problem as the "gringos" do.

Not saying it can't be done but may be difficult

Does he still have his Dominican Passport and identity card (cedula)?

Bob K

With her husband not having been here for over 30 years he may have the same problem as the "gringos".

It is worth checking out but still hard to do.

Bob K

Sorry about the double post. This jet lag is catching up to me

Bob K

Bob K :

With her husband not having been here for over 30 years he may face the same problem as the "gringos" do.

Not saying it can't be done but may be difficult

Does he still have his Dominican Passport and identity card (cedula)?

Bob K

The Dominican Consulate just issued new documents to him.  Not sure about the cedula since I have not yet seen them.

Bob K :

Lisa first welcome to the forum.

As to living here do no that mortgages are very hard to get here, especially as a "gringo" with no local investments or a bit a cash back home.  Also the rates are in the 8-10% if you can get one.  We had a very well to do client get one last year and it took over 6 months to get it done and at 8%

The international school is very good here but $$$ so you might want to check that out further. There are  also other private schools like New Garden Kids in the Sosua/Cabarete area/

The Sosua/Cabarete area has a very large, diversified and active expat community and lots of living options, but they can get expensive though if you look around you can find good some pretty good deals.

As to short nosed dogs we have seen afew about with seemingly no problems, but I will leave that info up to others.  We did bring our small dog with us and have since added a large Rottie to the mix.

My wife and I moved here on a full time basis over 7 years ago and have not looked back for a second. If you have any questions about living in this area please do not hesitate to ask either here or with a PM.

Bob K

Thank you so much for the info.  My husband is actually Dominican whereas they can clearly tell I am not, lol!  I am researching our options for now.  I know it is my intent to rent for a while to see what things are like but my main concern is our 5yr old and making sure she gets a good education and something she can transfer back to the States should she decide to go to college.

I have been following your posts and also those of Planner and you both seemed to have helped so many.  This whole process terrifies me to be honest but circumstances beyond or control are making this move happen.

In regards to my dogs, I could not bear the thought to leave them behind.  My worry is how would I get them there.  I do dog rescue back here in the U.S. and refuse to make my dogs homeless.  I have checked into several airlines but it seems many will not fly dogs period let alone snub nosed ones.  I was hoping someone would have done this & could tell me how they got them from the States to D.R.

Like I said we fly ours all the time with no problem. We have used AA and Delta

Bob K

I can't really help with this as I've never done it. BUT I have a rescue dog......  We have many good animal rescue groups here who do what they can against an ever growing problem....

When is the "move" day?

Bob k

Bob K :

When is the "move" day?

Bob k

Not exactly sure as of yet.  My best guess is late this year.  We are still waiting for a few pieces to fall into place.

If late in the year you should be good to move the dogs.

Let me know if any other questions on the move or the north coast

Bob K

Bob K :

If late in the year you should be good to move the dogs.

Let me know if any other questions on the move or the north coast

Bob K

I definitely will, THANK YOU!!!! :):)

You are welcome and good luck

Bob K

HI
I am new to the blog. We have been 'shopping' for a vacation home (condo) by researching the internet and visiting potential locations for the last couple of years and my self and my daughter are coming to Punta Cana next week to see if we find what we are looking for, for our family of 5. This blog is great and I have been reading a lot of it (just found the blog or would have got on sooner to ask my questions!). We are familiar with unscrupulous real estate agents with our experience in working with a Mexican agent last summer (we didn't get screwed because we had done our due diligence and knew this person was not to be trusted once we heard what she had to say and what she was telling us/advising us was baloney even though she was recommended to us by an American with vacation property there ( our offer fell through which was fine with us in the end)). Anywho, Bob, since I understand that you are a real estate agent, I was wondering if there are any real estate agencies you would recommend staying away from in Punta Cana? (can I ask that!?). We did arrange to meet with one next week. The other question is, is it common for many vacation properties to not have titles in the PUnta Cana area? I saw many condos worth considering on the internet but the agent that I am communicating with, reports that many of them don't have titles? She also wasn't clear with me about how properties are priced (I realize it is hard to communicate by email with someone who you haven't met yet so maybe these questions can be answered next week but I am wondering if I should have red flags or not about this person?). For example: she discounted several properties also because she said they were not 'under market value". I said "wouldnt' we expect them to be at market value not under?" Her response was "Keep in mind that there is no MLS in Dominican Republic, so how can you establish what is market value."  I find that a weird answer- do you?
Thanks for any guidance
Kate In Canada

Kate
We retired from the Real Estate game two years ago and you are correct many if not most agents have hidden agendas or are down right shady.

True there is no MLS system here so most properties are listed by most agencies which just confused the buyer as they will see what seems like (and actually is) the same property on multiple sites and sometimes at different prices or descriptions.  If you purchase a property using your agent and the property is not listed by "his" agency then he will get a much smaller commission so he will lead you away from those properties and try to show you only ones on "his" site.
Also within an agency if that particular agent is not the listing agent for that specific property he will get a smaller commission so he will try to show you those properties that HE has listed in his agency.  It is a totally screwed up system.

NEVER, NEVER and I will repeat myself NEVER by a completed property (fully built) with out a title.  It is a new complex under construction then titles will not be issued will the project is finished or if being built in phases till that phase is completed. However the project should have title for the entire project. It they don't or the title is pending...RUN!

Hope this helps

Bob K

Great response Bob!   Kate he gave you the way things are here.  In addition, there is no law, association or control of realtors. So its is buyer beware! 

If we are going to talk specific realtors or specific companies -  it is best done in private not publicly.

Thanks very much Bob and 'planner'.   And how I wrote that email may have suggested otherwise but we would never buy a property without a title so now worries there .
How do I contact you privately Planner ?
Thanks
Kate

I will send you a PM, private message.

Hello Bob K.

I keep enjoying reading the blog and taking notes in my notebook. One question..  in which region do you think the real estate market is the cheapest?
thanks !

Just a side note; the new regulation for land titles requires that there be a deslinde title. That just means that now, on your actual title, you have a GPS survey. I bought my farm back in 2001 and I have the old version title which doesn't have a GPS survey on it. For me to sell my farm I'd have to get and pay for a deslinde title. Me being the owner, I'm responsible for  buying this new type of title. So, as Bob told you, do not even consider a piece of property that doesn't have a deslinde title.
I hope this helps!

Another good piece of information to put in my notebook !
Thanks !

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