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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Tips for Moving Abroad: Preparing For Expatriate Life

Tips for Moving Abroad: Preparing For Expatriate Life

Tips For Moving Abroad:

preparing for expatriate life

Have you decided to embrace the adventure of moving abroad for good? Relocating to a tropical paradise is an incredible way to shake up your normal and make your dream of slow days with plenty of sun a reality. At Casa Linda, we know just how exciting, as well as how overwhelming it can be to prepare for life in another country. For nearly 30 years, we’ve welcomed people to our beautiful corner of the Dominican Republic and helped them find their dream home in the Caribbean. If you’ve been getting ready to make the leap to expatriate living, but aren’t sure what all you need to cover before leaving your home country behind, below are a few tips to help you get ready to transition. Read on to learn more!

Check Your Passport

It may sound silly or overly simplistic, but you might be surprised to learn how often people forget to check the expiry date on their passport before leaving home. You’ll want to ensure you have at least 6 months remaining on your passport, and we recommend you consider renewing your passport ASAP if it is set for expiry within the next year.

Get Your Long Term Visa

Most countries, including the Dominican Republic, will have strict rules as to how long visitors and non-residents can stay per visit. In the DR, you are limited to a maximum of 3 months. In order to stay longer, you’ll need to prepare to apply for a temporary resident permit, which is valid for up to 1 year and can be renewed for a total of 4, at which point you can apply for permanent residency.

dominican republic expat life

Begin Your Transition Early

There’s no shortage of details to handle when moving abroad, and the sooner you begin preparing the easier it will be to make the leap to your new life. Cancel any relevant memberships, set up mail forwarding and alert all necessary parties that you will be relocating to minimize disruptions.

Sort Through Your Belongings

If you plan on relocating permanently, you’ll want to lighten the load of what you need to bring abroad. Pair down your belongings to the essentials to reduce moving costs. You’ll also want to take this opportunity to make copies of important documents like your birth certificate, passport, etc.

Plan Around Pets

Bringing Fido with you? Ensure you have all of the necessary documentation before you go abroad to avoid complications and to keep everyone safe while travelling.

Know Your Timeline for Housing

If you’re building a new home on the island, you’ll want to have a set plan for when your new villa will be ready. At Casa Linda, we understand just how important it is to know when you’ll be able to settle in, and we work closely with our homeowners to design a construction plan that’s best suited to their vision, as well as your ideal timeline.

Ready to Move to the Island?

If you’re ready to stop dreaming about life in paradise and start living it, Casa Linda is here to help. Contact our team today to learn more!

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What Can I Expect When Living in the Dominican Republic?

What Can I Expect When Living in the Dominican Republic?

What Can I Expect

when living in the dr?

Are you contemplating answering the call of the island and moving abroad? Expatriate life is an exciting adventure that allows you to experience things like never before and write a new chapter full of rest, relaxation, and (of course!) plenty of exploration. Whether you’re planning for retirement or hoping to relocate to a country that allows for lower operating costs as an entrepreneur, the Dominican Republic is an incredible place to settle down and start your new adventure.

For over 20 years, Casa Linda has welcomed expatriates from all over the world to our beautiful Caribbean paradise and helped them find the perfect villa to call home. We understand that relocating abroad can often feel a tad overwhelming. If you’re looking for information about what to expect when moving to the Dominican Republic, read on to learn more!

Welcome to Paradise!

With mile after mile of pristine beaches, crystal blue waters, and lush tropical greenery everywhere, it’s no surprise that the Dominican Republic is a popular destination for those looking to settle down in beachside paradise. Add in soaring daily temperatures that average 85°F and a vibrant community that’s ready to welcome you, and you’ll quickly see why the DR is well-loved around the world. Benefits of living in the Dominican Republic include:

Low Cost of Living

One of the biggest benefits of living in the Dominican Republic is a lower cost of living. Many find that they are able to easily maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to, if not upgrade, thanks to the low cost of housing, food, and basic amenities. This is extremely beneficial for retirees as well as anyone looking to relocate on a stricter budget or even to simply stretch their dollar further. At Casa Linda, we’re pleased to offer high-class living in custom villas for as low as $185,000 USD. With 10-floor plans to choose from and endless ways to customize, affordable luxury living is far more attainable than you think!

dominican republic living

Quality of Life

When moving abroad, one of the biggest concerns, understandably, is relocating to a place that allows you to feel safe, happy, and fulfilled. In addition to affordable living, the Dominican also offers you a stable economy and government, a world-class healthcare system, high-quality infrastructure, and access to the modern amenities you’re already accustomed to. In fact, many new island residents are pleasantly surprised to find that life in the DR is just like home…only warmer!

Culture and Community

Another major aspect that helps you feel more at home in your new location is the local culture and community. The DR is full of friendly faces, including an ever-growing community of fellow expatriates from all backgrounds and walks of life. Casa Linda Quality Communities is happy to welcome everyone to our development, and is here to help you feel right at home from day one!

Ready to Learn More?

Stop dreaming about living in an island paradise and start living it! Learn more about relocating to the Dominican Republic with Casa Linda by contacting us today!

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Things to Consider When Buying Foreign Property in The DR

Things to Consider When Buying Foreign Property in The DR

Things to Consider

when buying foreign property

By Colleen Valerio

As an ex-pat, I saw the Dominican Republic as the best balance in the title system and security of investment, which were key elements for me. Fortunately, this country offered that and much more. I am very comfortable and happy with the security of the government and how it’s invested in trade agreements with North America.

But, is that it? Many things need to be taken into account when buying foreign property. Therefore, we prepared a shortlist of what we’ve determined to be the most important:

Government

The first and foremost thing that I think is important is you need to check out the government. What is the government? Is that a stable government? When was the last time it had a coup? What’s its stance on drug lords? What’s its stance on crime? What are the crime stats? What are they doing about it? Are they investing in their people? Are they foreign investor-friendly? Do they want you to come to someplace? Say they do but they make it tough on you when you get there. Also, check what the government’s infrastructure is like as it pertains to you as a foreigner and the second one if you’re buying property, what is the title system?

In many countries you don’t own it, you have a life lease or a bank trust. I know that that’s okay for some people. I want to own it. Here, in the Dominican Republic, they’ve based the title system, very much on the Canadian title system. They redid it a few years ago and went back and resurveyed the entire country to make sure that they had done it properly. These were really big signs to me that they were looking for foreign investment here and they were willing to do it.

None of us want to pay tax. We all want to pay as little as possible and keep that money in our pocket. This country makes it easy and simple. In addition, when you own real estate you have the same legal rights as a Dominican citizen when you buy. If we end up in a dispute say in court or something you have the same legal rights as a citizen here, which is another one. Residency is another large thing to consider. If you’re going to spend several months in any country, most countries expect you to have a residency status of some sort. Dominican residency it’s a simple process, they’re looking to see that you can support yourself. When you live in the country they want to make sure you don’t have a criminal record, that you don’t have AIDS or hepatitis C.

Ownership Status

The DR makes it very simple and accessible to get a proper residency status to be able to live here full-time. This does not affect your citizenship in any country that you come from. It just means you’re allowed to live here. If you choose to become a permanent resident after, you can go on and become a citizen of this country, which brings me to the other thing that I think people need to consider particularly in third world countries is security.

Check out our video on all things to consider when buying foreign property:

Security & Crime Rate

We recommend being in a gated community for several reasons. One is most of the people that buy here don’t end up living here full-time, not away, or maybe even ever. So, you know, when I have a property in Canada, someone checks on my property, when I’m not there, it’s advisable to leave any property sitting on looked at for months on end because even if it’s not break-ins, that’s going to be when your toilet backs up when something goes wrong, you know, and your insurance is null and void. So we always recommend being in a gated community, somebody’s watching your property here too.

This is a very safe country. Crime is another key thing to consider. What is the crime rate? Is it safe to walk down the street in the middle of the day or the middle of the night? Anything here is petty crime. Every country has some crime but here, it’s going to be you come home and your laptop’s gone, but the truth is this is what a gated subdivision does to protect you from those things as well. But the safety factor here is, it’s very safe. I’ve been here for 14 years and have never had a problem, my grandson lives here. It’s a very safe country, but we still recommend that you are in a gated community. 

Also, the guards where we live they’re trained in CPR. They are trained for when renters are renting there, should we have domestic disputes. There are all sorts of things that can happen when you have 300 houses all put together.

Resale Rate

The other thing about investment is, look at resale. How long does it take to sell? If you buy it, it’s great, but if it takes five years to sell your house or your condo moving forward. That’s a problem. Check out what resales are doing. Check out the economy, check investment coming into the area. You want to be in a place where other money is coming into the area that you’re in. What’s nice here is it’s been just a nice steady incline since I came 14 years ago, which is great.

dominican republic custom villas

Medical

What I think is important, is medical: We’re not getting younger! Having very good medical services, being able to get your prescriptions, you want to be able to find a doctor that can communicate with you and speak English and have the proper field, access to tests, and that you can communicate back to your country’s doctor. Should you go home for the summer? These are all really important things that people don’t think about because they’ve fallen in love with the beauty of the place, but I always have to stop and turn them around and say, yeah, but you got to think about this.

Community

I always hear about people, we bought this little house and this little town and wherever and I’m like, what are you gonna do? You know, what do you do? I like my quiet, but I also like having friends. Where we live at Casa Linda, the doors are open come on in.  If it’s closed, leave us alone. So it’s a very active, very welcoming community full of people who have a diverse group of interests. So whatever you’re into, you’ll have someone that’s doing it too. But that’s the nice part about being here is, it’s such a diverse amount of real estate condos over there. You want to be on the water. You can always sell your place and buy-in another place. You have a lot of diversity here, and that’s the beauty of the North Coast. 

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.