Dominican Republic Real Estate

So you just returned from your first visit to the Dominican Republic and absolutely fell in love with the people, atmosphere, and island life... You love your experience so much you decide it is a perfect place to buy an investment property. Great! I know exactly what it is like to be smitten by this beautiful island.  During my first visit to the island I visited the Bavaro/Punta Cana area and absolutely loved it! At the time I had no idea I would end up living here..

Now that you have decided to take on the role of international real estate investor I suggest you do a little homework. Here are my suggestions:

Get a good Realtor, who has no personal interest in the properties you see (it is not uncommon for Realtors to work both sides here because there is no such a thing as a conflict of interest)

2) Hire a good law firm (Dominican lawyers do not have the same confidentiality and conflict rules as in the US). When possible hire a law firm with United States ties, so you are able to rely on US confidentiality and conflict rules.

I am happy to make recommendations to those interested enough to ask, just send me an email. For now, I will simply tell you the rule of "Caveat Emptor" or "Buyer Beware" really does apply in the Dominican Republic. Many foreigners are swindled each year because they approach real estate transactions in the Dominican Republic just like they would a transaction in their home country.

With regard to translations for real estate transactions, I suggest having your law firm handle any translations you need.  Real Estate in the Dominican Republic is quite different from what I have experienced in the United States.  During my search for a house I had the opportunity to learn first hand many differences.  I had a guy try to sell me a property he did not have the title to.  At first, I thought it was a great deal and understanding how the chain of title works in the US I was under the misconception I was going to make a killing.  The reality was the guy was selling property he might eventually get clear title to after a long court battle.  If I had bought the property I would have simply inherited his potential court battle.  As far as I know he has since decided to rent the property and never could get a buyer. 

I also know of many Foreign investors who have been taken on "incredible real estate development deals."  I wont go into too much detail but one particular project I am aware of swindled several hundred Americans out of a lot of money.  The sad part about the project was it was being developed by American developers who seemed to know enough about the problems with the Dominican Republic's real estate laws they were able to get away with everything (at least so far...).  The people I know who got taken are not rookies either. 

None of this is intended to try to talk you out of purchasing property here.  I believe real estate investment in the Dominican Republic is still a great idea even with the current world economic down turn.  I would simply suggest you make sure to dot the I's and cross all the T's with any transaction you do here.  The DR is not a country you want to get into a legal battle in because things take too long and cost too much. 

I hope this helps...

Best Wishes,
Ross Weber - Dominican Republic