YOUR COMMENTS ON VILLAS IN CASA LINDA REAL ESTATE PROJECT IN SOSUA

Hello,

I am a Quebecer speaking French and English, living in the city of Terrebonne in the suburbs of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I am 58 years old and my wife is 56 years old and we have been married for almost 32 years. I work as an Actuary in Montreal and I plan to retire at 64 in October 2024. We will also have to optimize our savings for retirement over the next 5 years to enjoy a pleasant retirement.

My wife and I have a very nice project at retirement to live in the Dominican Republic for 12 months a year.

We took a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Cayo Coco in Cuba last January and when we came back in the extreme cold (-25 to -30 degrees Celsius), followed by episodes of ice and slush (wet snow), I thought that I really did not like the 6 months of winter that often start in November and go on very often until mid April, which is the case this year. Moreover, the winter of 2018-2019 that we have just passed was particularly rigorous with abundant snowfall in the province Quebec !!

I told myself that it would be really great to be able to enjoy 12 months a year of a very pleasant and sunny climate far from the cold of Quebec.

I am well informed and the area of Sosua in Puerto Plata seems to know a significant economic expansion in the development of construction project (villas) in gated communities. As such, there is a growing increase in the number of expats in this region and still increasing each year.

I watched several projects and the most interesting one seems to be CASA LINDA in terms of quality and price: Several models of VILLAS fully equipped with quality materials (granite countertop in the kitchen and bathroom, mahogany doors, floor porcelain ceramic, etc.) similar to what we can meet in Quebec, air conditioners in each room, private bathroom for each room with glass shower, fully landscaped lot with inground pool. All this for a very reasonable price between $ 190,000 and $ 230,000 US ! The model of VILLA we are looking for is the SUNSEEKER at a price of 192 200 US$.

Is anybody living in CASA LINDA can tell me more about this project : the quality of lifestyle, the quality of construction, the environment, the access to facilities (Supermarket, stores, etc.), the quality of services, the shuttle bus 8 times a day. I believe also it is easy to meet many people in our community and make some friends ... I have seen on YOUTUBE a video regarding the construction of a site in the CASA LINDA project with amenities such as a gym, tennis courts, pool etc. Is it finished and can you tell me more about it ?

I kinow that in the SOSUA OCEAN VILLAGE at 9 minutes by car (according to GOOGLE MAP) from CASA LINDA (PHASE 7 and 8), we can enjoy unique sports and entertainment amenities for both adults and children, such as 3 restaurants, waterpark, pools, gym, tennis courts, volleyball and basketball court, spa, fishing lagoon, brewery and a huge kids' entertainment center Laguna SOV. I believe that even we are not located in SOSUA OCEAN VILLAGE we can have access to these amenities by paying a monthly fees. For instance the annual fees for the GYM is 22 500 RD$ (about 600 $ CAN$) for those aged 60 and over

Thanks in advance for your comments !

That's a lot of info to digest, but welcome, fellow Canadian!  We are currently living in Casa Linda, Phase 8, ourselves.  The water park is under construction, as it has been for a while.  The deadline of next month (after a deadline of last summer, after a deadline of last winter, you get the point...) appears to be wrong again. There is a tennis court, and a mini golf area, but no gym yet.  I hope that comes into existence soon as well.  The community here is solid, extremely tight-knit,  and very friendly.  I have socialized SOOO much more since moving here.  The price-for-value is quite good, and we make use of the shuttle bus regularly. It is not just renters that use it, but many owners too.  We go to the beaches, restaurants, and occasionally groceries on the shuttle, but our bicycles are our main mode of transit.
The complex is a bit of a distance from amenities, but most ExPats seem to have cars. As for Sosua Ocean Village, it is much more upscale, but you are right, you can use all the amenities for a price, and many people do.

That being said, we have just hired a new COO, and much hope is placed on this gentleman's shoulders.  We think he will be able to finally pull this vision together, and make it a family-oriented, smooth-running operation it is destined to be.  No regrets from us at all.

Thank you so much Uncle Buck for your comments. Much appreciated !!

From which province are you coming from ? Do you know if some French Quebecers are living in the project ? Are you living full time in DR ?

I have seen today on YOU TUBE many videos from Canadians who bought a villa in Casa Linda and their comments were quite excellent. This reaffirms my belief that it is truly a wonderful project ! Some of them mentioned that they did their due diligence and evaluated in which country they should choose for their retirement. Obviously they decided to choose DR and particularly in the region of SOSUA, CABARETE and PUERTO PLATA.

I have read somewhere that the project reached PHASE 10 now. Right ? Do you think that in 4 or 5 years from now, at the time we should take our retirement, there will be additional phases to be developed since there will be lots to be developed. If not we will have to buy a villa already built ...

We are supposed to take our vacation this summer in SOSUA and we will rent for a few weeks one of the villas available in CASA LINDA, hopefully the SUNSEEKER model that we like a lot.

If so I will try to meet you to discuss about your experience in this project.

Can you tell me if the villa you bought was a new construction and if so can you let me know how it goes and if you were satisfied with the quality of work ? Which model of villa do you bought ? Finally how many months were required to finalize the construction and everything including the landscaping.

We expect to sell our house in Montreal in order to buy a new villa in DR. I have another question for you. I have asked ALLIED VAN LINES to get a quotation to move by boat in a container of 40 feet long, our furniture, all our appliances, clothing and different articles plus our car and the total cost was 18 200 CAN $ plus taxes, so about 21 K $.

I did some research on the web to see of much it would cost should we decide to leave all our things in Quebec (and make a few bucks by placing our stuff on KIJIJI) and buy everything we need in DR. I have found CORRIPIO that seems to a store with good reputation and on their site I can choose all the appliances (including 3 HD TV) we need. The total price was 11 300 CAN $ by converting RD$ in CAN $ and the furnitures have not been included in this price.

So my estimate to buy everything in DR would cost a lot more that 21 K $ (the cost of moving with ALLIED VAN LINES). I don't know how much would it cost for taxes and custom fees once the boat will dock in the DR port. Do you have any idea of what could be the cost of these taxes and custom fees ? Can you tell me which option you choose or maybe you did not sell your house in Canada so you have to buy everything in DR...

Thanks in advance !

Yves

This has been covered extensively on this forum, but I'll do my best to answer all your questions.

We come from Northern Ontario, and live here full-time now.  I don't know specifically if anybody from Quebec lives here, but I do hear French spoken often, and many vacationers are from Quebec.  The phase currently ends at 9, but there are talks of expanding, aside from their condos going in at Encuentro Beach. We bought a new construction Capri model, and it took about 5 months to complete the build, including the landscaping and we are very happy with our home.  As for shipping your stuff, forget it.  Sell it all and buy everything here.  Most people will tell you the same.  We bought our appliances at Corripio and furniture at Hidelisa, beds and chairs custom made locally, and other necessities at the local Home Stores and Hardware Stores. Get a mailbox with CPS/EPS/Encargo Paq or whoever, and purchase the rest from Amazon or Walmart.  The only way to import your container is with Residencia, otherwise you pay 30% duties and taxes, I believe.  It makes it very expensive for "stuff".  Sell it all, and buy what you need here.  You'll find you can do without a lot of things from your Canadian Life.  Life here can, and should be, simpler and easier, and without all that snow, outside life is awesome!

Thanks a lot Uncle Buck !! I agree with you we will sell everything in Quebec.

One last question for you.

Of course we will have to move all the clothings and other articles from Canada in DR. We will need to get many boxes to put in it everything we need. Is it possible to move all these boxes by airplane ? What did you do ?

Thanks in advance !

Yves

Think carefully about what you are bringing with you!  Almost everything you need is available here.  It costs real money to ship your things here.  Boxes by plane are very very expensive.

You wont want or need everything you think you should bring. That is a guarantee!

When you apply for residencia and are approved you then have the right to one container of personal goods.  That can  include just about everything including a vehicle. There are a ton of rules attached to this and it is NOT free but reduced cost in terms of tax and duty. Research this carefully.

Thanks a lot PLANNER for your advices ! Much appreciated !!!   :)

Planner...are there places to get a good comfortable mattress?  I really have to have something I like...I have a hard enough time falling asleep.

Yes we have  all the major brands

Kat...if you buy in Sosua/Cabarete, there is a man who makes mattresses.  Way cheaper than the stores, and 10x more comfortable.  He supplies all the resorts and hotels, and is highly recommended. Plus, my wife says he is "gorgeous"!

Thunderbird...we brought all our stuff in 6 suitcases.  2 hockey bags, and 4 hard sides.  But that included some tools and light fixtures we knew we would need for our villa.  As Planner says, bring less, as you will absolutely not wear everything that you bring.  If it's not cotton, forget it.  If it doesn't breathe or stretch, forget it.  If it has sleeves, forget it.  If they're pants, forget it.  If they're shorts, but go to just above your knee, forget it.  Your wardrobe will change as you acclimate, but I don't believe those people that say "winters are cold here, I don't swim in the winter because it's too cold, or do you have a sweater I can borrow?".  I think they all are crazy! 😁
I have lost a bunch of weight since arriving 6 months ago, that most of my things don't fit anymore.  I'm still too big for Dominican clothes, so Amazon is my go-to.  That is the whole reason we moved here, and it's working so far. Love this island!

Uncle Buck,
Good to know about guy that makes the mattresses!  I'll check that out.  You described me when you said..." I don't swim in the winter, I'm usually always in a long sleeve shirt and winters get cold here" I live in SW FLORIDA and people up North think I'm nuts....but they keep my office and most restaurants freezing! And I only use my pool in July-Sept during real hot months...but I love looking at it...puts me in a good mood!

DR is about the same temp most of the year with FL but we def get colder winters (50's -60's). I like it hot! I'm miserable when I'm cold LOL!

UB.. There is a great thrift store in Sosua. La Pulga. It is on the road Maggie's office is on. Robert and I lost weight last trip and our clothes didn't fit either. $20 and 45 minutes later, we were stylin'. 😊

I will check that out, thanks Christie.

Hi Thunderbird, We also looked at Casa Linda (and other communities) and while it was a very hard choice with one particular house in Casa Linda, we chose Sosua Ocean Village and bought a lot. For us, it was just about the feel and style of SOV and to have all those amenities that we could walk to, plus the chance to build a custom villa exactly the way we wanted it, and get an ocean view. I wish you luck. I will be 60 later this year and like you, I hope to retire in 2024 or 25, although we plan to live there for only 6 months at a time, Jan-June. Once completed, we will rent our home out as much as we can until we retire, maybe only spending a week or two per year until then. We may also want to rent it out when we are not using it after we move down there somewhat more permanently.

Hello Expatlife4us !!

Thanks a lot for your positive comments.

You know what, since I put my posts on EXPAT.COM in the last 2 weeks, I have received negative comments from many FRENCH people (not QUEBECERS but those coming from FRANCE and BELGIUM) who try to discourage me to buy a villa. They all recommend to rent a villa instead. On the other hand all comments coming from my fellow ENGLISH CANADIANS are all very positive !! Can you understand this trend ? The reason why I would like to live on a full time basis in DR is because there is a fiscal agreement between DR and Canada where the income tax to be paid in DR can not go over 18% versus the 40 % i would pay if I live in Canada. Moreover we don't have the income to keep our house in Quebec and at the same time buy a villa in DR. We have to sell our house in Quebec in order to buy a villa in DR.

Here is the model we are looking for in the CASA LINDA Project. It is the SUNSEEKER at 230 000 USD $ (3 bedrooms and 1556 ft2)

Here is a video coming from YOU TUBE :  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ … casa+linda

Tell me how you find it.

I understand that you hesitate between CASA LINDA and SOSUA OCEAN VILLAGE. I saw a few villas already build for sale in SOV and it seems very interesting since you are located not too far from the ocean. But the price is a bit higner than for CASA LINDA. A Villa with 3 bedrooms in CASA LINDA is about 230 000 USD $ for 1556 square feet while the villa in SOV with the same superficy is about 260 000 $.

In SOV I think you have to buy the lot separately than the villa and in total it is more expensive. But I agree you the proximity with the OCEAN is a big BONUS !!

Thanks !

Yves

Hi again,

In my preceding message, the link was wrong for the SUNSEEKER villa.

Here is the good link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n56VI6NMsqA

Thanks !

Yves

Hi Thunderbird14, I think the Sunseeker model is very nice, as well as the Villa Turquesa, or Tranquila model. We were looking at a Villa Ultima with a partial ocean view as the alternative that almost got us to buy in Casa Linda. I think CL has a more well established Expat community, and from what I know will be a community of just villas, whereas SOV will have condos and villas. SOV started part of its development as luxury ocean rentals, but is now selling those (SOV Deluxe area, first two ocean front rows, but too expensive for us) and developing their expat population quickly. In SOV you can buy already built villas or condos, buy a lot with 10 years financing at 5%, then have SOV build your home, or buy a lot from SOV and have someone else build on your lot. SOV has restrictions in some areas about the type of architecture you can build on certain lots, modern where we are building and Spanish/Mediterranean style for the row behind us as an example. SOV has so many amenities already built that you can just walk to and that makes using those very convenient. However,  the beaches you can walk to are not as nice as the Cabarete and Sosua beaches. SOV does plan on building an artificial reef/breakwater to create a larger, protected, calmer water beach. They do not have an onsite store, but are discussing it, and for now, they do not have a shuttle like CL that will take you to Playero, or the beaches of Sosua and Cabarete.
Both communities have a mix of full time residents, snowbirds who live part of the year, and those whose villas are used extensively for short term rentals. Both communities have rules, and from what I understand have gotten better about enforcing those rules, for not having loud parties and curfew times for when the music must be shut off.
Before you decide to buy in one place vs. another, you may want to rent for a few weeks in each place to get a feel for it, many would advise even longer if you can afford to do so. This will also help you decide if you even think the Sosua/Cabarete area is the right area for you. It is good advice since living in the DR has many challenges with things that you may take for granted now in Quebec. We did not heed that ourselves however, since we have already spent some time in the Punta Cana area and have some idea of what those DR type frustrations are having lived through some already.

As for buying vs. renting to live in the DR, if you plan to live full time in the DR and will not be spending a lot of time back in Quebec, or at least half the year and can afford another property (downsizing like we are) to live in back in Quebec, then buying probably makes more sense. You will have to think about family ties and how much being away from them will impact you. You will have to weigh how much you might miss being away from family and friends for significant events in their lives, how often and at what cost to get back and if you need a place to stay when back in Quebec. If you think you may not want to miss too many important life events, or Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving family times, or if you find you might miss the nice summers of Quebec so that you only really want to be in the DR Jan-April, then maybe renting makes sense.
I am a year or two older than you are but will need a little longer to afford to retire. Once we retire in 2025 or so, we plan to live in the DR Jan-June and would still want to rent our place out while we are not there as a way to help offset some of the cost of owning. We hope to complete construction of our villa (interviewing architects and design ideas now) in 8 months or so and we found a rental property manager who is building his house almost next door to us that we will probably use to oversee the construction process for us, and he will be our rental property manager to rent our place out as often as we can until we retire. That rental income for a few years before retiring can help offset the costs of building quite a bit.
If you don't have the money to buy a villa in the DR until you sell your house in Quebec, there may be another option. We are in the same position. You can get a home equity loan or line of credit based on the equity in your home at pretty low rates right now. Then you can use the property as a rental until you retire to get back some of your money for the next 5 years, even using some of the rental income to pay back the loan so that when you sell your house, you will actually still be able to pull some equity out of that to use for retirement savings/income.

Thanks for your extensive comments ! Much appreciated.

FYI our parents died a few years ago and we don't have any sister and brother in Quebec. We have only 2 very good friends that will be invited to come in DR to pass a few weeks in our new villa and we will go a few weeks in Quebec during summer to visit them.

If you buy a lot in SOV and then you build a new villa, is the price  for a similar villa with about the same square feet in SOV will be higher than for Casa Linda where the lot and the villa are included in the whole price ?

FYI some amenities have beeh built in CL but it is not the same than for SOV. But somewhone in CL told me that these amenities are not finished yet and an aquapark with a lazy river is under construction and should be finalized for next summer.

But the GYM in SOV is quite impressive on 2 levels and I can pay for it for an annual fee of about 600 USD $ (including the pool) even if I am not living in SOV. As per GOOGLE MAPS it is about 9 minutes from Phase 9 of CL.

Regards

Yves

Hi Yves, Your total cost depends on what lot you buy. Building with nice finishes like granite counter tops in bathrooms and kitchens, nice tile floors, with a pool will cost you between $800-$1000 per square meter, or $74 to $92 per square foot, and if you want to feel safer about the process, having an attorney to oversee the process with an escrow account to manage the money needed for the construction will cost you another $3-5,000 US. Depending on how you feel about who you choose for construction will determine if you think you need this extra expense since you may not be down there to oversee it yourself.  In SOV, after you buy the lot you have to start construction in 6 months and complete construction in 2 years. Before you start construction, you will have to pay $5,000 for utility hook ups.
You may feel more comfortable with the CL builders building your home since they should be on site most of the time. Or, you buy a villa that is currently for sale and we saw some nice properties in CL for sale.
And, if you have a car, then getting to the gym at SOV may not be that big a deal, but if you do not have one, then it could be a hassle and costs could add up to take a taxi every time you want to use the gym at SOV.

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