Frequently Asked Questions about the Dominican Republic


Frequently Asked Questions about the  Dominican Republic

Requirements for Buying Real Estate?

There are four simple steps to homeownership in the Dominican Republic.

  1. The buyer and seller sign a “Contract of Sale” in the presence of a notary who then authenticates this contract. The contract contains the legal description of the property, the price, and conditions of sale.
  1. The contract is then sent to the nearest Internal Revenue Office for payment of the appropriate taxes.
  1. This contract and the “Certificate of Title” of the seller are then deposited at the Title Registry Office in the jurisdiction in which the property is located thereby recording the sale.
  1. The Title Registry Office will then issue a new Certificate of Title in the purchaser’s name and cancel the old Certificate of Title previously issued to the seller. The entire process from the Contract of Sale to the issuance of the new Certificate of Title will vary from a few days up to a few months depending on the office at which the sale is recorded.

Rights and obligations of the sellers.

The general obligations of Seller upon the closing of a real estate transaction include delivery of the real estate property itself and delivery of the original certificate of title of the purchased property, including cancellations of any liens and encumbrances or other guarantees, which may have been recorded on the property.

Purchasers obligations.

The only vital obligation Dominican Law places on purchasers of property is that the purchaser pays the seller the purchase price of the acquired real estate property and complies with any other requirements, terms or conditions for payment existing in the purchase sale agreement.

Brokers obligations

The potential buyers or sellers should retain a qualified real estate attorney and/or legal counsel, as brokers interests or capacities simply focus on sales, not on handling the legal aspects of a real estate transaction and averting possible complexities.

What is the Dominican government’s attitude toward foreign investment?

The Dominican government officially welcomes international investors. A foreign investment law enacted in December 1995 allows unlimited foreign investment in nearly all sectors of the economy. In 1997 the government established the Office for Investment Promotion (OPI), which is proving to be an important contact for potential investors.

Are there any restrictions against foreigners owning real estate in the Dominican Republic? 

There are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing real property in the Dominican Republic. In early 1998, laws were established stating that the only requirement for ownership is that the Title Registry Offices keep a record, for statistical purposes, of all purchases made by foreigners. Foreigners are allowed to purchase property in the Dominican Republic with the same rights and obligations as a Dominican citizen.

Is it relatively simple to acquire property in the Dominican Republic?

Acquiring property here in the Dominican Republic is a straightforward transaction. The realtor and notary working with you throughout the process should be able to assist you. Hiring your own attorney is something you may wish to consider. It is common for realtors to recommend attorneys whom they know and trust.

You are ultimately responsible for due diligence with your attorney to ensure that all documentation ranging from title searches to surveys to furniture inventories (if applicable) has been properly verified and processed. 

Should I have the property surveyed? 

Verification that the property being sold is the same as the one shown on the survey provided by the seller should be assessed by an independent surveyor. Even when the seller provides a government-approved plat, the survey should be checked for compliance. Exceptions are made if the property in question is located in a previously inspected subdivision.

What documents do I need to bring or apply for? 

Two of the following pieces of identification

A Passport, A Drivers License (and or) A Birth Certificate.

When do I receive the title to the Property I Purchase? 

On the day of the promise of delivery of the new Certificate of Title before the Title Registrar Office and provided there are no delays and complications in the process, the new owner presents its official identification document and if done through a representative, the latter shall present an executed and legalized original of the Power of Attorney granted by the new owner in order to be able to receive the new original Certificate of Title from the Title Registrar.

After delivery of the new property title, real estate property owner should stay informed of applicable property laws and regulations and legal alternatives, allowing for its full use, enjoyment and possible disposition of its Dominican real estate property moving forward.

At this time a 3% tax is paid on the appraisal issued by the Internal Revenue, plus the amount for miscellaneous expenses, which includes among other things, application and issuance of certificates, registration of the data of the buyer and the real estate.

How much are Property Taxes:

Those properties with a value greater than RD $ 5,000,000 pesos, except lots without buildings or farms outside city limits and properties whose owner is 65 or older and who has registered his name for over 15 years and has no other property, are subject to an annual tax on real estate (“IPI”) of 1% of the value appraised by the tax administration.

Is Financing Available?

For qualified clients we can find financing from a number of sources. These include the following:

– Local banks

– Finance from Overseas institutions

– Owner financing (where the owner / developer finances your purchase)

General Terms & Conditions for overseas financing

  • Loan amounts: $150,000 to $2,500,000 USD
  • 20 to 30 year amortization
  • Interest rates vary; please verify rates at the time of investing.
  • 70% Loan to value
  • Full-document loans; stated loans possible; loans are in U.S. dollars
  • Construction to permanent financing and undeveloped land financing available

Required Documentation

  • Authorization to check credit
  • Completed and signed service agreement and disclosures
  • Proof of income – such as rental income or fixed income: Rental agreements or tax returns to support other income
  • Most recent monthly account statement from each mortgage account or asset account
  • Purchase Agreement

What is the economy like in the Dominican Republic? 

The economy has had steady growth since the 1990s. The recovery has been led by policy measures implemented by the government and the Dominican Central Bank. These include an economic modernization program, stricter fiscal discipline and aggressive efforts to attract foreign investment.

During the late 1990s, the principal growth sectors of the economy were communications, construction, hotels, electricity and water, agriculture and cattle and commerce.

Today, the Dominican Republic is in a growth cycle accompanied by relatively low rates of inflation.

The Dominican Republic imports goods from all over the world, but approximately 43% of the country’s imports come from the United States.

What about Safety?

As in any country, whether it is your own or a foreign country, most people are advised to take precautionary measures to insure their personal property, their homes and themselves as you would anywhere else in the world.

What services do HABI offer after sale?

After sale thrue the service company Caribbean Team Management was created to provide constant attention to the optimal state of your investment property. Working with this in mind Caribbean Team Management provide constant care and attention to the optimal state of your investment property. focuse on maintaining a system of care and individualized attention. Our history of providing administrative support to properties with personalized assistance has been our distinction in the market place. Focus on the supervision of each of our staff members ensuring that they fully comply with their duties of cleaning, maintenance, and other important things.

The philosophy goes beyond merely complying with the basic services. We strive to meet any challenge within our power to create peace and harmony for our clients and their guests. Many owners do not live in the Dominican Republic full time. Others don’t want to handle the maintenance of their properties. With this in mind Caribbean Team management has created our onsite management program offering to take care of the following:

1- Maintenance service: With our administration package your property will be inspected by one of our maintenance experts

who will take care of all minor repairs.

2- Housekeeping: As managers of your property we will be responsible for keeping your property clean and in good condition.

3- Garden/pool service: Caribbean team has a qualified staff that will ensure the proper care of your garden and pool.

4- Monthly bill payments: Relax when you leave your property in our hands. With our administration package all bills related to your property will be paid on your behalf.

5- Monitoring & crisis management: During times of crisis our team ensures good care of your property and the proper monitoring of the situation.

6- accounting service and reporting: All actions taken on your property will be reflected in our monthly reports to owners.

What is the average cost of electricity?

On average it could be from $30.00 to $50.00USD a month depending the air conditioning and daily usage.

What are the options for shipping home furniture?

Law 168 of 1967 authorizes new legal residents and Dominicans who have lived abroad for at least two years to bring in their household goods tax-free. You will pay hardly any taxes on household goods and personal effects if you go through the process of getting your residency prior to arriving in country. Note that not all items are exempt and some items will be taxed if they are in excess of what the bureau considers normal for a household.

The law specifically establishes duty free treatment for personal effects and household goods. Equipment used for work purposes, such as dental, medical equipment and computers are also exempt.

Foreigners need to declare that they will be living permanently in the country. The tax exemption also applies to Dominicans who have lived abroad for at least two consecutive years and return to establish their permanent residence in the country. Note that this privilege is only granted once in a lifetime.

Some shipments may require special permits and documentation. For example, to import cosmetics, medicine and food you will need permits from the Health Department (Secretaría de Salud Pública); this means that there is an additional procedure outside the Customs clearance that has to be followed PRIOR to the arrival of the shipment.

Consult a customs broker if you are not sure about the goods you are importing prior to the actual shipment taking place.

What’s available for Internet and Cable?

Telecommunications in the Dominican Republic are excellent and include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones and the Internet.

The Instituto Dominicano De Telecomunicaciones (INDOTEL) regulates and supervises the development of the country’s telecommunications market.

What do I need to open a bank account?

It is very straightforward to open an account, with several Banks available and many services offered, provide your passport, any information from your home country bank that you may wish to transfer monies to your new account with or simply deposit your funds to your new Dominican bank account. It is not necessary to be a resident.

Accounts are available in pesos and dollars. Credit cards, Mortgages and loans are also available.   Certificates of Deposit are available at the Central Bank, for different time periods and with interest paid monthly into the retail bank account.

There are ATMs all over the country, inside and outside the banks, in supermarkets and shopping malls and petrol stations. They all have limits per transaction, usually the maximum is 10,000 pesos which is around 250 US$.  ATMs will accept cards from different banks, not only in the DR but also overseas cards, however there may be additional charges for this process. Credit cards are reasonably widely accepted, especially Master Card and Visa, although not American Express which is only accepted in certain major outlets.

Where is the Dominican Republic?

Located between Cuba and Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola bordering Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. To the north lies the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south rests the Caribbean Sea.

With premier ownership opportunities at exceptionally affordable prices now available in the Caribbean, prospective home buyers will find the Dominican Republic to be distinctively charming while offering all the modern conveniences one would want in a vacation home.

What is there to do in the Dominican Republic?

Famous for its white sand beaches, soothing and healing sunshine and humidity, the North Coast area of the Dominican Republic is one of the best places in the world for windsurfing and kite-boarding. Sosúa and Cabarete are the most desirable vacation spots for snorkeling and swimming, with an exciting nightlife and activities every day of the week for all ages.

With breathtaking views of the landscape, the Dominican Republic is a dynamic place with its high mountains, fertile valleys and diverse ecosystems. The Dominican Republic is home to some of the largest and most beautiful parks in all the Caribbean. Over 10% of the country has been set aside for national parks and scientific reserves.

Outdoor activities are abundantly available in this nation offering golfing, hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, surfing, whale watching off the coast of the Peninsula de Samana, wind sports, diving and snorkeling, caving, and biking tours are likewise available through the mountains and countryside of the Dominican Republic. There are free-port zones for shopping at Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport and at Puerto Plata International Airport.

What are some major points of interest in the Dominican Republic? 

  • Cabarete: Located on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, this area has near ideal conditions for windsurfing and kite boarding and is an internationally renowned destination for the enthusiasts of these sports.
  • La Romana: This is the third-largest city in the Dominican Republic and it is situated on the southeast coast. The nearby 7,000-acre resort of Casa de Campo offers recreational activities such as tennis, polo, horseback riding, and golf.
  • Puerto Plata: Nicknamed the “Amber Coast” for its rich deposits of clear amber, this is the largest city on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. This beautiful coast boasts many pristine beaches known by the names of Sosúa, Grande, Dorada and Cofresi beaches.
  • Santiago: The second largest city in the Dominican Republic and its industrial center, Santiago is the home of world-famous meringue music, robust Dominican coffee, fine cigars, Bermudez rum, and exemplary dining.
  • Santa Domingo: As the capital of the Dominican Republic, major universities, sports stadiums, and extensive development efforts throughout the western section of the city are ongoing.

What is the population of the Dominican Republic?

There are nearly 10-million people living in the Dominican Republic.

Beyond the nation’s capital, Santo Domingo, much of the Dominican Republic is distinctly rural and a large percentage of Dominicans subsist on agriculture (or by fishing along the coast).

How big is the Dominican Republic?

As the second largest country (after Cuba) in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has about 1,000 miles of shoreline, four mountain ranges and numerous lush valleys. In total, the country is roughly 18,712 square miles, making it just more than twice the size of New Hampshire.

What is the climate like?

The country has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 77 degrees.

What language is spoken in Dominican Republic? 

Spanish is predominantly spoken. The Dominican Republic is a Hispanic country, therefore, its culture and people is derived mainly from Spain (language and religion), though blended with African traditions (musical expressions and the carnival vibe of life).

What is the favorite “national pastime?”

Baseball.

What is the current state of government in the Dominican Republic?

For the past 30 years, the country has been a stable democracy with universal suffrage, separation of powers and a constitution that bears a remarkable resemblance to the constitution of the United States. The power of the government is divided among three independent branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial.

What is the currency in the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Peso (RD$) is the national currency of the country although the U.S. dollar is accepted in many places, especially tourist-oriented shops and hotels. The exchange rate between the two currencies fluctuates on a daily basis.

What is required of foreigners to enter into the Dominican Republic?

All foreign visitors must have a valid passport.

What is the tourism situation in the Dominican Republic?

The Dominican Republic is now the major tourist island in the Caribbean. It attracts about 13% of the region’s tourist flow. Tourism has become one of the most important aspects of the Dominican economy. Tourism has been given a tremendous boost by the fact that the Dominican Republic has the largest tourist accommodation capacity in the Caribbean.

With the lowest registered rate of tourist expenditure per day in the region, the Dominican Republic is one of the most affordable places for all-inclusive vacationing for visitors. However, agriculture is still the backbone of the economy. Traditional exports – sugar, cocoa, coffee, bananas and tobacco – flourish in this land of fertile valleys and foliage-clad mountains.