The Dominican Republic has been called the best kept real estate and investment secret in the entire Caribbean for American Tourists.  The fact of the matter is, Amercians make up less than 15% of tourism statistics, but European travelers have already known for many years what a great travel and real estate bargain the Dominican Republic offers. The recent July 1999 Center of Stragic and International Studies report says that the Dominican Republic is now one of the fastest growing economies in the Western Hemisphere.  Any one contemplating relocation to the Caribbean, retirement or vacation property, general real estate investments or tax free banking opportunities - needs to place the Dominican Republic at the top of the list.
Dominican Republic Real Estate
Property and Home Bargains
Information About Title Transfer & Property Taxes
Articles about Living in the Dominican Republic
Finding Apartment or Property Bargains    ~    The Best Neighborhoods to Look
Questions and Answers About:  Title Insurance, Title Transfer, Annual Property Taxes
Living in The Dominican Republic:  What is it Really Like?
Moving or Retiring to the Dominican Republic:  Why this is your # 1 Choice !
Dominican Republic Real Estate: 
Apartments & Condominiums    ~  Homes and Land    ~    Beach Front Communities
Living in The Dominican Republic
With less than 16% of the tourist population coming from the US, The Dominican Republic remains an undiscovered paradise.  If you ask most Americans about the Dominican Republic, many cannot locate it on the map.  For those that have discovered it while on vacation, many have decided to call it home. Well, there’s nothing wrong with falling in love.  This is especially true when one has a love of crystal clear water, sugary white sand beaches, and the beautiful mountain scenery unique to the Dominican Republic.  In addition, when adding the costs of property to our discussion, the Dominican Republic is still one of the best real estate bargains left in the Caribbean – if you know where to look.   

Not only is the Dominican Republic situated on the largest island in the Caribbean, it is also offers some of the most diverse topography.  From the snow capped mountain region in Constanza to the sun drenched beaches of Samana or Barahona, the Dominican Republic offers something for everyone.  Whether you want the beach lifestyle or the cosmopolitan feel of historical Santo Domingo, you truly can have the best of everything. But before you put your lovely three-bedroom colonial in New England on the market, let’s talk about some realities and expectations.  

The Fact and The Fiction

One problem we all have is that we are human.  That is to say, we sometimes think with our hearts and not our head.  A little of that is good now and then, but not when it comes to real estate.  There are wonderful experiences to be found when one lives in a place like the Dominican Republic, but there are some drawbacks as well.  In addition, anytime we move to a place where the culture and the language is different, we need to learn the ropes and understand that living in a Spanish speaking island nation is not the same as living in Topeka, Kansas.  According to The Dominican Republic Report, this country does offer one of the best places in the entire Caribbean to live, work, retire, or invest.  It has one of the strongest economies among all other Latin American countries.  However, it is different.  That difference is what makes it wonderful and provides for the incredible investment opportunities, but also offers some the need for understanding if you are not accustomed to another culture. 

Let there be Light

There is an electricity problem in the Dominican Republic.  That is to say that there is electricity, just not enough of it. All your appliances from the US that run on 110 or 220 will work fine.  In some places, however, the power can go out every day for up 7 hours a day.  Not always enjoyable when you are in the middle of Monday night football (yes there is CNN, HBO, CINEMAX, and a whole slew of other programming in English). In addition, since many water systems rely on electricity to pump water into the house from the main water system, you may find yourself unable to shower at 6:00 AM in the morning.  

Before you take this as a negative, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The fact is that the government has been actively working on upgrading the generation systems and has recently purchased additional power systems for the country.  In addition, privatization of the electric company should speed things up (The government owned electric company has already been transferred to private ownership). But it is something you want to be aware of when looking at apartments or other real estate. A booming business in the last few years has been the sale of battery inversion and household generator systems. Chances are that you will want to have reliable electrical service on demand.  This being the case, you must factor in the cost of a battery inverter, which is an automatic backup system that kicks in once a power loss is detected, or a gasoline powered generator when looking at either the rental or purchase of a home.  These systems generally cost in the area of $ 2,000 or less, but are an additional expense to be calculated.  If you are looking for apartment rentals, keep a lookout for a building that has a “planta full”.  This means that the building has an independent system for the entire building.  Believe me, if the advertisement does not say it, do not bother asking about it.  The good news is, that while this is a problem at the moment, it will not be five years from now.  Do not be afraid to purchase a property whereby you currently need a power backup source.  Luxury apartments that have a “planta full” carry a premium with respect to rental costs, but that will change as the power needs improve going forward.  Also, as the electricity situation gets better, so called non-luxury properties or homes in secondary middle class neighborhoods will increase in value because there will be a level playing field will respect to amenities.  There are some beautiful apartments and homes that simply sell for a deep discount because of the location (and therefore lack of attention by the electric company).  Keep in mind that a US $2,000 expence for a power backup system is in reality a small price to pay when you are saving $ 50,000 or more on the purchase price of a home (when compared to home prices in other parts of the Caribbean). 

It Costs More in English

If you have any high school Spanish skills rumbling around the back of your brain, now is the time to use it.  The fact of the matter is, you will not find many people in the Dominican Republic that speak fluent English.  I do not care what your travel agent told you. Yes, of course the desk clerks at some larger hotels speak English. But do not expect to have any in depth and profound conversations in your native tongue.  The fact of the matter is, you will have a hard time at the airport, with taxi drivers, with the corner “Colmado” or convenience store and with the general population at large.  This also includes many well-educated professionals such as bankers, lawyers, the folks at the Telephone Company, etc, etc.   With the majority of tourists currently coming from Europe,  there is a greater possibility of finding someone that speaks Italian, French or German as a second language.  It is not that Dominicans do not wish to speak ot learn English, quite the contrary is true.  It is simply the case that the majority of foreigners visiting the country are not English speaking.   

Now, with that said, just be aware that you will pay more when you encounter someone in business that is catering to the US tourist. This is especially true with real estate people.  Anyone marketing property in English knows that most Americans do not know the local market and really have no easy way of finding out. The rental costs of apartments and real estate will, in some cases, be quoted in double to what a Dominican would pay for the same thing.  Just keep this tidbit of information in the back of your mind.  Some Dominicans think Americans are “loaded” and have no problem paying higher prices than the locals.  Remember – do your homework and brush up on your Spanish. It will cost you, if you don’t.  

Home Sweet Home

So you have decided you like the Dominican Republic and want to get settled in.  Where do you look?  Good question…….here’s the answer.  That depends.  It depends on if you want to live near the beach or directly inside the city. It also depends if you like music or not.  What I mean by that is, Dominicans are very fun loving people.  They like their music.  I like their music. But not every-night and not until 4:00AM in the morning.  You will find a very cozy 3-bedroom house for rent in some working class or middle class neighborhoods that rent for $ 185 per month at current exchange rates.  No, that is not a typo, I did say $ 185 per month.  Very clean, very nice, with a front porch.  The catch is, your chances are pretty good that your neighbor is aspiring to become a Disc-Jockey and would like the whole surrounding area to be aware of his music selection skills.  In all honesty, you could get that in any middle class neighborhood in the US.  The difference is, in the US, the other neighbors will probably also complain about the noise and the police will come to address the problem.  Late Friday-Night block parties are the norm is some districts. If you like that, then you already have your real estate focus narrowed down.  If you want conservative neighbors and a quiet atmosphere, then that will leave you with another set of places to focus your search.  

There really is a big spread in prices for both rentals and real estate sales.  Like real estate everywhere, it is a function of location and amenities. There are decent places to live for $ 300 per month with regards to rental rates.  There are very nice homes (new construction) for sale in quiet residential neighborhoods for less than $ 70,000.  It really all depends on what you want and what you are comfortable with.  Like everywhere else, bargain hard and pay cash if you can.  Non residents often find it difficult to obtain local bank financing.  

For Additional Information Regarding Real Estate, Investments,
Banking and Residency Matters, Please Contact:
Ascot Advisory Services
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Telephone 809-334-5387