Buying a Property in The Dominican Republic
There are many reasons why people decide to buy a property in the Dominican Republic. Usually, it begins with coming on holiday and falling in love with the country and its people.
Return visits strengthen the initial impressions until the desire to spend more time opens the door to acquiring a property here. It may be for the purposes of having a permanent base for future visits, the opportunity to invest and earn rental income, or as a retirement home. Whatever the reason the Dominican Republic has properties to suit all different options and lifestyles.
Deciding where to live is possibly one of the most difficult decisions to make. If you have spent a lot of time in the country you may have got to know a town or city as well as some locals and ex-pats. That may be enough to allow you to decide that is where you want to be. However, if your experience has been limited to “All-Inclusive” resorts or your visits limited you may be uncertain of exactly where best to purchase to enjoy the lifestyle you are looking for.
There is no better way to find out about the individual characteristics of an area than speaking to others who already live there. A good way to do this is by joining the Expats living in The Dominican Republic Facebook Group. The group has over 11.5K members and many have considerable experience of living or owning property in the country and are very open to answering questions from new members looking for advice.
Local Facebook Groups also exist in many towns and cities and you can easily find these by searching on Facebook for the Town name or Everything “Town Name” which is a common group title.
Another consideration will be the type of property to purchase. Again, this decision may well depend on your reason for buying and your lifestyle. If retiring or intending to live permanently in the Dominican Republic you may prefer a villa that affords some independence rather than a condo with other residents in close proximity. Security can be a concern but you will find villas that are within secure communities as well as those that are not. Villas inside communities offer the benefit of controlled standards of maintenance of the area, roads, grounds, and even private gardens but this does come at the additional cost of the community fees, which need to be factored into the general cost of living.
If you are purchasing a holiday home, with or without the intention to rent out when you are not there, a community setting is probably the advisable option. Condos will always be located in communities but you will also find villas in community settings. If it is your intention to rent when you are not using the property yourself it is well worth finding out what rules may apply and whether there is a form of rental system in operation. There are a variety of community schemes in existence so make sure you find out if one exists and if it does that it is acceptable to your situation.
Some examples are:
- Free options to rent however you wish. You might be offered the opportunity to work with an on-site agent or to manage your own rental.
- Restricted to renting through an appointed rental agency that manages all rentals within the community.
- CO-OP. With this system, you are obliged to rent via the community rental team. You are required to guarantee a minimum number of weeks your property is available to be rented out, particularly during the peak seasons. The net rental income from all the properties is pooled and shared between the owners on an annual basis. You may be given the option to opt-out of this but that can be disadvantageous. This is really only advisable if you are looking for a fully managed investment opportunity.
The main advantage of a community-based property is that all the necessary security, upkeep, and management is done for you. Although this applies only to the community areas it is not unusual for there to be arrangements in place for a regular inspection of the interior of your property to ensure no damage or faults arise during the time you are not there. Again, all the community charges and any additional inspections you require need to be taken into account when considering the costs of ownership.
All these factors can be discussed directly with the owner who will be able to answer your questions and any others you may have.