- Everybody can buy real estate in the Dominican Republic – no residence or local partners are required!
- Be careful with all estate agents and realtors in the Dominican Republic as they do not need a license to operate, and they have no malpractice insurance. Your deposits are not covered by any laws or organizations.
- Before signing any contracts, or paying any money, you must use a trusted lawyer to perform a “deep” local title search. It’s not enough to check if the title is “Clean,” the ownership history must also be investigated as there has been, and still is, a lot of fraud with titles in the Dominican Republic.
- If you are buying land you must use an independent surveyor to re-measure the land and confirm the position (the lawyers know which one to use in the area). Do NOT buy any land with squatters on it, and make sure that no squatters are moving into your land, as it’s impossible to remove them later.
- Be extremely careful with fancy pre-construction projects in the Dominican Republic. Many promoters and projects are running out of cash, which are delaying, or even stopping the projects. There are no laws protecting you, and no guarantee that the project will ever finish – many buyers has been left stranded in the Dominican Republic.
- NEVER pay any cash or make any transfer directly to Dominican estate agents, promoters or sellers. Always use escrow accounts together with a trusted lawyer or a title guarantee company.
- If you are buying a property for renovation, or land for building a new home, you are beginning one of the most difficult projects in your life. In the Dominican Republic most construction workers are from Haiti, and they are all painters, plumbers and electricians – except the fact that none of them have had any real education in their field of work!
- The cheapest way to build is to find a good local builder with a lot of references (you must see his work and talk to the owners!). You must check the work daily and pay him every Saturday. You should buy all the building materials yourself from HACHE and OCHOA – don’t use small local hardware stores. It’s worthwhile to shop around and get discounts – you will save a lot of money! The main problem with small builders is that they can promise you a lot, but in reality they will not be able to offer any warranty on their work, and you will never get anything out of suing him. That’s why you must check everything yourself!
- NEVER EVER pay any money in advance to builders, or for building materials. There are thousands of examples of cheap builders on the island who ask 10% in advance, or just USD 500, and you will never see them again!
- A best practice is to use a trusted lawyer to prepare the contract, and to go with a wellknown and trusted building company. That contract will stipulate payments and penalties, plus keep an amount of 5% in escrow, to fix problems that might happen during the 2 year warranty period that Dominican Watchdog recommends.
If you follow these simple rules, then property investments in the Dominican Republic is still cheap compared to other Caribbean locations. Just stay away from real estate projects that are under development, and areas with bad infrastructure, as blackouts are one of the biggest problems for home owners in the Dominican Republic.
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