Building a Home in the Dominican Republic

Building a Home in the Dominican Republic

Building a Home

IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

By Vicki Tetley

My name is Vicky Tetley, I am originally from Canada. My husband, Dave, and I are currently going through the process of becoming a DR homeowner.

We recently became DR property villa owners in Casa Linda, follow us through the creative process, construction site, and legal steps of our buyer’s journey. 

Picking Your Materials

Once you meet with the Architects and your lot reservation is signed, the next step is to choose your materials. We’ve selected the colors white and gray for a modern look, we’ve selected the tile that offsets that as well.

The selection process was very easy, we focused on a clean modern look for our villa. Janine and Indiana will make this easy for you they’ll send you a sheet of some of the selections before your visit, to the showroom. Many of these items can be picked in advance and that leaves a good time to look at the ones you want to see, touch, and feel in the showroom.

Meeting at Construction Site

If you have the opportunity to be here during your construction, you can arrange an appointment to come see your villa in person escorted by the construction team, so, don’t wear flip-flops, bring some running shoes, if you want to do this because it’s not safe to go on flip-flops on site.

At the moment I came to visit, they were just placing the plaster that covers all the blocks. Once the plaster is ready the next process is to paint the house, start cleaning all around and place the floors. So very soon the house would be ready. The construction manager and team are there to help you at any time to ensure you’re happy with your home.

Final Contact of Sale

This is the final document that will be registered ath the DR land titles office. SIgning the contract will be the detrimental step to close the process before your keys are handed.

Thank you for keeping up with our buyers’ journey I can’t wait for the villa turnover where we’re finally moving in. We look forward to you being there with us.

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! ? Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series on Youtube: “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”.

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Who Buys in the Dominican Republic?

Who Buys in the Dominican Republic?

Who is the Typical Buyer

in the dominican republic?

Colleen Valerio

Certainly, from the people that I’ve at least sold to, most of our buyers come from cold places, although we get a lot of buyers from Florida, which is always amazing to me, having said that, our buyers are mostly Americans and Canadians. There are tons of Europeans too.

Find out all traits that our owners have in common below:

TRAIT #1: Adventurous, Well-Traveled

I can usually tell fairly quickly if someone’s going to be a good fit here, and if you’re not, I’ll tell you because we want you to be happy. People tend to be from cold climates. They tend to be adventurous. They tend to be well-traveled. They are looking for something different.

TRAIT #2: Tired of cold

Generally, they just want to get out of winter and that is always a common denominator. Why do they come here? Full-time? Part-time? Most of our buyers don’t move here full-time. Most people buy pre-retirement so they can pay for it. Still there working with people. Many let their properties rent and we´ll caution you.

Rental is because you want to cover your costs, not because you think you’re going to get rich and I can tell you honestly, 10 years ago people made a lot of money on the rentals. Now, there’s a lot more competition Airbnb happened and that changed the scope and face of rental.

All of our owners are part of property management companies that are on Airbnb, Expedia, Trip Advisor, they’re doing marketing project levels. I always say, if you make a lot of gravy, that’s great, expect to cover your costs, these are vacation homes, not investment properties. You want to have an investment that’s a whole different realm of opportunity. You’re buying here because you want to. 

cabarete luxury villas

TRAIT #3: Pre-Retirement age

Our buyers are between 50 and 70 years old, usually, and looking towards retirement and what’s been really kind of a gift for us is this business has been engaged all around. We’ve made friends from all over, but what’s been cool is watching the progression from the time where they bought where they still worked, then seeing them come more often to where all of a sudden, this property becomes their primary residence.

The other thing that it’s important to know is as you’re getting older your body doesn’t work so well anymore. If you are 62, 14 years from now, the knees hurt, the hips aren’t so good, the heart condition is not at its best.

What’s important to know is that the medical care is here, and, they work with your doctor from the place you come and they find specialists to help you with whatever condition, so you can get old here. People think I got to go back forever, but you can have a full-time nurse here. Do you need home care? This is the place to do it; It’s better to be elderly in the Dominican Republic where climate is not as rough for the joints.

TRAIT #4: Sense of community

I once had a client who said something that I thought was so incredible I have never forgotten. It went “I want to choose who I grow old with”. I said: “what do you mean?” and she said to me: “I want to have my court group of friends to be together, for when I get old because your kids are always around you but they have their own lives”. Then I realized that I’ve been doing that for 14 years with all these buyers.

This is a great place to have friends to be with you as you get older, you’re stuck with us forever and that is something people don’t think about when they buy here, again, back to the community. 

So, we’ve seen this happen time and time again. However, I also see it as us. We used to spend as much as 11 months a year here. Now with grandchildren, we’re going home for 4 months a year during the summertime. So, what is cool I guess is that you have a massive amount of flexibility and you can do what you like. 

 

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! ? Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”. 

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.

Costs of Living in the Dominican Republic

Costs of Living in the Dominican Republic

Costs of Living

in the dominicanrepublic

By Colleen Valerio

So, what does it really cost to live in the Dominican Republic? What are the fixed costs? Whether you come for several months of the year or move here permanently, what are your static costs and variables?

This blog focuses on the bigger costs that owners and long-term renters face, like house or medical insurance, condo security and how often can you afford to eat out in the Dominican Republic! Find out more about those expenses below:

Security

Security is the biggest cost of any part of any subdivision / condo fee because it’s human cost, meaning their actual wages. In the case of a villa development, there’s a large periphery that you need to secure and this is a great thing. The reason why we have security is that many of us do not live here full-time. It’s having someone take care of your property when you’re not here. Projects like Casa Linda have a big administration component with a lock up and leave system so that when you lock that door and leave to the airport, someone’s taking care of your house during your absence.

Many securities are trained in CPR. They’re there for whatever problems you may have on-site. They’re going to notice if something’s wrong at least on the outside of your villa. We also have properties where they look after the inside of your house or your condo. This is a very safe country. We have a very low crime rate and a very high, happy active living rate here.

 

Utilities

For utilities, swimming pools need to be looked after. Your water bill, and often the cable, are possibly included in your monthly building fees; It depends on the building. But anywhere between two and five hundred dollars a month depending on the project.

There are some fixed costs which we told you about. But a lot of them like, utilities are based on your usage of there is no different than where we come from.

Insurances

There are several kinds of insurance and they’re up to you whether you want them or not. One is medical which is very inexpensive. My husband and I pay less than $2,000US a year for full coverage. Unfortunately, he’s had to use the medical system here quite a bit, he has chronic kidney stones. He often spends time in the hospital, has had several surgeries and different procedures, and we’ve been presented with a bill for less than $10. When we leave after a four or five-day Hospital stay, we find the medical coverage here excellent, very inexpensive. It does cover some dental as well, and some prescriptions, too.

Another insurance would be house insurance. That this is the one I find a bit higher than what I’m used to. I pay about $1,600 a year to ensure my 3-bedroom house and all of its contents. It is insured for everything including earthquakes, hurricanes, which we don’t get here, but because it’s countrywide coverage, we are insured for pretty much anything you can imagine. Some people here, choose not to have house insurance because most houses are made out of solid concrete, so what’s the worst that’s going to happen? So, it’s really your choice!

The other insurance would be auto insurance. If you buy a vehicle, we pay everything that’s under $2,000 a year. Here, auto insurance is different: it follows the car, not the driver. In some places, it depends on the age of your vehicle and the replacement value. We have paid as much $2,000 as year. We’re down to about 1,200 because our vehicle is getting a little older. Every year, when we go back to Canada, we cancel the insurance and reinstated and that’s for full coverage.We’ve had a few incidences here where someone ran into us, and we had to get some bodywork. They’ve given us a rental car, while they fix the vehicle. 

So, the insurance here I think it’s better than what I’m used to. We get all the same services and coverage.

Overall, I do find the cost of living less in the DR, particularly, it’s a much more social lifestyle here. We do a lot more, we have more friends, and we have more time for friends; people make time for each other here. So, if I go to a restaurant like “El Bergantin” in Canada, you better give to a $200US bill minimum; here I’ll spend $50US.

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! ? Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”. 

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.

Cons of Living in the DR

Cons of Living in the DR

Cons of Living in the DR

as an expat

By Colleen Valerio

Are you interested in moving to the Dominican Republic or buying a property, but every source online seems to be only about beaches or sunsets? What elements are challenging when it comes to adapting to a new culture? We want to talk about those not so enjoyable elements about Dominican Society.

The DR is a developing country; it’s not a third-world country anymore, not by a long shot. But there is no perfect place, and we do encounter some challenges, one of them is driving. In Italy, driving is crazy too. Coming from such a North American environment, where everybody follows the rules and lights matter and you turn your signal light on.

It’s been 14 years and I’m still driving along with my husband going seriously, like what did you just do?! That would be for me, the biggest one. People don’t follow the rules. There are too many motorcycles, a lot of traffic. There are options if you don’t drive like the public transportation system. There’s a bunch of different ways of getting around here and inexpensively. Some owners that don’t drive have their cab driver on speed dial, who picks them up right at their house door. I just wish they would just follow the rule and, oh… the horn is your friend!

There’s something called “guagua”. We stand out on the road and a little, twelve or twenty-four-seater van drives up, and you just hop on, and takes you however far you want to go. Also, “carritos” are a dollar to drive from Sosua to Puerto Plata; these are actual cars that everybody kind of piles in; I wouldn’t recommend that.

For Casa Linda owners, we’re really lucky because we have a shuttle bus. The shuttle is on a schedule, it drives between Sosua and Cabarete all day every day. It goes to the grocery store, goes to the beach. There are lots of ways of getting around if you don’t want to drive.

This is such a tourist-based country, obviously tourists like clean streets, and whenever there is still a component here where they’ll be on the back of their motorcycle eating out of their Styrofoam container and huck it off the side, and just drives me crazy. On the bright side, I find that it’s getting better and there’s all this, governmental awareness.

If you’re out for dinner in the evening, you will notice at the end of one street called Pedro Clisante… There is prostitution. You will see the ladies of the evening, wandering around, not in your face and never to bother, but you will notice it. It’s a bit of a surprise to those of us that come from countries, where it’s certainly not legal. It isn’t something that is part of our life here, it’s just something you’ll notice in one part of one area of town.

So, it’s not a downside or negative, but one of the things I will caution people about is, this is different. This isn’t your home country as much as we always say. It’s like home only warmer because it really is. There are still cultural differences. It’s Spanish, you know, the waiters speak perfect English, almost everywhere we go. You don’t need to learn Spanish, which is too bad for me because, after all these years, I still speak terrible Spanish.

This is a different country; you have to be patient and realize that it’s not going to be exactly the same. If it was the same and you wanted that you’d stay. Here it’s warm and it’s lovely but it’s a slower pace. It’s the mañana mañana! The guys are going to show up to paint your pool: he says he’s coming at 1 pm, he might show up at 4:00. A whole different way, and it’s made me slow down.

At first, I had to be on it but I’ve changed especially when they love you and your family. One time our housekeeper which is like family brought this big root that even had the dirt off the end and she’s like put this in a pot and boil this for my husband’s kidney stones, and I said, wait a minute, what is this? She was no, trust me, and turned all purple, he drank it and felt better.

That’s a different way of life and you get flexible and easy going and you don’t stress about too much down here. We’re supposed to be talking about the negatives, but somehow, we’re talking about what we think is positive. I remember years and years ago, we decided to go for a drive or so we thought, we’ll meet up somewhere on this road. It was an hour and a half later on this dirt road, and we’re lost like crazy.

Then, this guy was standing on the side of the road and my husband’s Italian. So he gets up and he tries to talk Italian to the guy and like finally says, in English, are you lost? He was like the only English teacher within a 500-mile radius. He got in the car (which you would never do in Canada) and drove us back. He said, “Thanks a lot; I was kind of going to come down here anyway, so see you later”. I was like that was weird. But you know what? Those are real stories. And everybody that lives here has a story like that.

 

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! ? Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”. 

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colleen valerio

Colleen Valerio, Marketing Director

Originally from western Canada, Colleen came to the DR over 15-years ago. She has been helping buyers find their tropical dream homes ever since.

The Buying Process in the Dominican Republic

The Buying Process in the Dominican Republic

The Buying Process

in the Dominican Republic

Most buyers find the systems for purchasing real estate in Dominican Republic to be very similar to that of North America, so the process won’t seem foreign or strange.

Although the official language is Spanish, your property lawyer will speak English and explain all documents and processes thoroughly. Become an expert below, where we list each step on the Dominican’s buyer’s process.

The Dominican system is very similar to that of North America, all purchases are viewed equally under the law, so this means you have the same right as a Dominican as it pertains to real estate. Therefore, all parts to make a villa your own are divided in 8 main steps:

1. Choose a property

The first thing is to choose a property whether it is a new condo, resale, or new villa; whether you want to build or buy something already existing.

2. Offer of purchase

After you determine that, the first thing you need to make is an offer of purchase. This is considered a detailed offer that you prepare with your real estate agent and then presented to the vendor or developer.

3. Accepted offer
During the conditions of a sale, you might go back and forth a few times but eventually, the third step is an accepted offer. 

In the accepted offer the vendor agrees and signs off on the purchase price and conditions as set out in the offer of purchase. Then, you would need to go meet with the property lawyer to get in-depth instructions and information on how it all works from a legal perspective.

4. Due diligence

The fourth step is the deposit and the due diligence. As a buyer, now is the time to either completely pay for the property, send a deposit, or set up a staged payment, this is wired to your lawyer’s trust or escrow account. The money is held pending the next contract and completion of the lawyer’s due diligence on the property, which includes: clean title, condo fees, etc.

5. Contract of sale

The next step is a contract of sale, this document is similar to the offer of purchase but is prepared by the property lawyer in Spanish. It outlines the conditions of the sale. You are provided an English version of the document to sign off on.

 6. Balance of funds

The sixth thing is the balance of funds: you as the buyer send the balance of the monies owing unless it’s on a progress draw construction payments. Then the money is sent at scheduled intervals during construction.

7. Deed of sale

The seventh element is the deed of sale or “compra de venta”, this is the final contract that is used to convey the property from the seller to the buyer. In the case of a resale or quick sale, the law firm will go directly to this contract and skip the preliminary step of the promise of sale.

8. It’s all YOURS!
Lastly, the eighth step is Welcome Home! You as the buyer receive ownership of the property and the title is registered to your name. In the case of a company then a new company name is established with the buyers owning the shares of the company and that’s really it.

If you are planning for retirement or seek a home base with a lower cost of living, it’s time to check out the Dominican Republic! ? Learn more about Dominican features and amenities through our video series “Buying Real Estate in the Dominican Republic”. 

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