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FAQ’s About Living In The Dominican

O ver the years we have found that buyers from all over the world have questions concerning the purchase of real estate and living in the Dominican Republic.  Many general answers can be found under the “Buyer Info” section of this website.   We hope that you will find many of your questions answered here.  We want you to feel comfortable and be aware of the way real estate purchases are handled in this country.

Following are the Most Frequently Asked Questions.  If you do not see an answer to a question you may have, please feel free to email us or call 809 552 0177.

With which currency will I make my purchase?
The purchase of property is made in U.S. dollars.

Are there any restrictions for foreigners?
No Restrictions on foreigners owning property

When I purchase, what documentation is required in addition to the Contract For Sale-Purchase of Real Property?
The Original of the Owner’s Duplicate of Title Deed
Notarized Signatures of Buyer and Seller on the Sale-Purchase Agreement
For non-Dominicans, a copy of the buyer’s passport
Certificate proving payment of the Transfer Tax

How much is property transfer tax?
3% of the property contract price*

What are annual property taxes?
Exempt for the first RD$6,500,000 (+/- US$160,000).*
One percent (1%) rate applies to the value which exceeds the RD$6,500,000.00 (+/- US$160,000).*

Does a local law firm handle the registration of the property transfer and obtain the new deed in my name? How much does this service cost?
Yes, we have reputable firms that will handle this service.
The charge is 1% of the transaction paid in U.S. dollars.  The 1% does not include other expenses and/or applicable taxes which will be billed separately.  Please note that all payments and disbursements to the firm are subject to a 18% government value added tax.*

Can I get a loan/mortgage for a home, condo or home site in the Dominican Republic?
Yes.  The terms, duration of loans and interest rates in the Dominican Republic are similar to the loan products available in the US and Canada.

If I purchase an apartment or home, is there a rental program for my property?
Most residential developments have on-site rental management companies that cater to absentee owners. If you buy a property that does not provide this service, then there are several reputable property and rental management companies in the area. We will be happy to share this information with you and put you in contact with them, as well as provide information about how their programs work.

Are there medical facilities nearby?
Yes. The Hospiten Bavaro is located less than five minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport and offers 24 hour service every day of the year.  In addition, there are many more excellent health facilities all over the island. Santa Domingo is considered one of the premiere places in the world for medical treatment. Many from all over the world travel to the DR to avoid wait lists and extreme health costs in their home country.  First rate equipment, technology, and excellent physicians are available to treat the most minor or the most serious health concerns.

Where is the best place in the DR to purchase real estate?
The most popular area for investment right now is the East Coast (Punta Cana/Bavaro/Macao/Uvero Alto).  Punta Cana tends to be more expensive and caters to a wealthier clientele.  This area has the busiest airport on the island with over 55% of all incoming passengers.  Punta Cana has approximately 40 all inclusive hotels with 35,000-40,000 rooms which provide employment to approximately 100,000 in the area.  In addition, many large master planned communities, corporations and individuals are investing heavily in the area.  Cap Cana, Vista Cana, Roco Ki, Westin, Ritz Carlton, Altabella Hotels, Donald Trump, Jack Nicklaus, Troon Golf, Stewart Title, and Hard Rock Café are just a few of the many multi million dollars investments that are taking place in the Punta Cana area. That translates to very high potential for rental income.
The North Coast (Puerto Plata/Sosua/Cabarete/Samana) is a second area with investment opportunites.  It offers great value for dollar, excellent infrastructure in terms of shopping and services, and high rental rates.
Both coasts offer exceptional beaches, scenery, and good rental potential for property.  For many people, it comes down to personal choice, budget, and lifestyle.

Will my investment appreciate, and if so, how much?
Property prices in the DR have jumped dramatically over the past 10 years; however, prices still remain within reach when compared to other Caribbean islands.  The Dominican Republic is better known for being the hidden gem of the Caribbean.  Foreign investment, retirees, and holiday seekers have realized what excellent value for their real estate dollar can be had on the island. Most real estate experts expect an increase of about 10% to 20% per year; however, this number depends on many factors, including location, the condition of the property.  Now that it is becoming so hot and well known with investors, higher appreciation rates can be expected.

Is it safe to live or visit the DR?
This is the 64 million dollar question! For many, living or visiting a Caribbean island with different culture and customs is a big question mark.  The DR is a safe place to live and to visit.  We have over 4 million visitors per year.  In addition, we have been the #1 Caribbean destination for families in 2006 and 2007.  The greatest asset that the Dominican Republic has is the people.  They are humble, happy and will always greet you with a smile and will invite you over for a cup of coffee; however, we always remember that this is a third world developing country. There are those here, (as in any country), that given the opportunity, will take what is not theirs.  Compared to many parts of the US and Canada, the DR is much safer.  Violent crimes are out of the norm.  On occassions, we have only experienced random property theft of small items.  We suggest buying property in gated communities or residential developments that provide 24-hour security.  This will give you peace of mind that someone is looking out for your personal safety as well as safety of your property and your investment.

Is the Government secure?
The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy, similar to that of the US and Canada, with national powers divided among independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The President of the Dominican Republic appoints the Cabinet, executes laws passed by the Congress, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for 4–year terms. Legislative power is exercised by a bicameral Congress composed of the Senate (with 32 members) and the Chamber of Deputies (with 178 members).
Since the election of Leonel Fernandez in May 2004 (re-elected in May 2008), the Dominican Republic’s economic situation has improved considerably and investor confidence is returning. Fernandez soundly used the three month period before taking up office in August 2004 to travel abroad with a view to re-establishing international investor confidence in a market whose international credit rating had declined during the Mejía government. In his acceptance speech, Fernandez sent a strong message to the international community that he intended to tackle the country’s debt problems and fight against corruption in the Dominican public and private sectors. Since the Fernandez administration took control, the peso has strengthened considerably. The U.S. has a strong interest in a democratic, stable, and economically healthy Dominican Republic and relations between the countries are excellent. The country’s standing as the largest Caribbean economy, second-largest country in terms of population and land mass, large bilateral trade with the United States and its proximity to the United States and other smaller Caribbean nations make the Dominican Republic an important partner in hemispheric affairs.

Can I buy the same food as in my home country?
Yes. Most major brands are available at local “colmados” or supermarkets. There is a variety of options from Mom and Pop type grocery stores to huge “Costco” type stores.  Jumbo and La Sirena, are Dominican versions of Wal-Mart.  Jumbo and La Sirena have locations in the nearby towns of Higuey & La Romana.  We have also heard rumors that Wal-Mart is negotiating with a large grocery chain on the island to buy all their stores throughout the island and switch them over to Wal-Mart.

What about electricity and power outages?
The Punta Cana-Macao Energy Consortium (CEPM) and Bayahibe Electric Company (CEB) are off-grid, energy companies that generate, transmit and distribute electricity to the Punta Cana Macao – Bavaro and Bayahibe tourist resort areas using state of the art technology that assures constant and reliable power.  CEPM and CEB are major contributors to the dramatic growth of tourism in the Dominican Republic.  However, in order to meet accelerated growth in peak demand, the companies plan to interconnect to the power plant of their sister company, EGE Haina, to benefit from its more cost-competitive electricity.  EGE Haina is the largest generator in the country, which is majority owned and controlled by the sponsors of CEPM.  A corporate loan of $20 million to CEPM and CEB, will finance part of the construction of a 129 km transmission line with 100mw capacity, including three sub-stations.  The construction period is expected to be 18 months.  CEPM has secured approvals for the project from CDEEE, the state owned electricity utility.

Can I drink tap water?
No.Tap water is not considered potable. It is just fine to brush your teeth, wash clothes, cooking, and bathing, but should not be used for drinking. Everyone uses bottled water which costs about $2 for a 5-gallon jug.