Ten Top Property
Buying Tips

Here are our 'top 10' property buying tips for when you are seeking that perfect Caribbean villa, or buying property abroad anywhere else!

Property Buying Tips 1. If you have a budget for your property, be certain that you know what, if any additional costs are likely to be incurred in the process of purchasing – for example: fees charged by lawyer /solicitor/ abogado, local property taxes, any other local /national government charges, property insurance. Do not assume practices are the same as 'at home', these add-ons can increase an apparent price by 10% or more...so that $150,000 dream home is suddenly $165,000!

Property Buying Tips 2. Open a local bank account. This is useful for arranging any regular payments to cover local expenses – taxes, rates for the property, recurring costs for utilities (gas, electricity, water). A good real estate agent, or your appointed abogado (solicitor/lawyer) should be able to advise you over these issues. This can be especially important if you are away for long periods (for instance, using the property only for vacations) as in some countries failure to pay local charges can lead to additional court costs, or even having property seized!

Property Buying Tips 3. If you need to arrange funding it is usually best to do this in the same currency in which you earnings are received. This is mainly so that any changes in cost of living affect your outgoings equally as much as your income. Sometimes this can be a problem if a mortgage is in a currency that performs poorly for a prolonged period against your own currency, as your investment will be costing you considerably more than you might expect, in relative terms. A possible exception to this 'rule of thumb' is in circumstances where you expect to receive rental income in local currency, in which case a loan in the same currency may be serviced more simply via this route.

Property Buying Tips 4. Keep your cool! When you see a property under the influence of sun, sand and a 'dulce sueños' (sweet dreams) it can all seem so perfect, and no doubt the property sales agent will be encouraging a need for 'swift action' so as 'not to miss the deal'. Always allow yourself a 'cooling off' period. If the deal still looks so perfect after sleeping-on-it, then consider the next step...

Property Buying Tips 5. Signing a contract...Always ensure that you can read it first! Insist that a copy of any contract you are expected to sign is available in your own language. This maybe sounds so obvious, but there have been many who, when faced with a 'foreign language' contract and the chance of 'losing the dream villa' have signed their name, and made huge financial commitment without really knowing what they were signing...A very dangerous precedent!

Property Buying Tips 6. In the first instance any contract to purchase that you sign will more than likely involve paying a 'deposit'. This may be non-refundable, but look into this. If you still have to arrange a mortgage try to get a clause implemented that agrees to return of deposit if funding cannot be arranged/falls through… But If this is not possible, then...

Property Buying Tips 7. ...Try to obtain a mortgage offer, at least in principle, BEFORE you sign any contract or accept any legal obligation to purchase or forfeit a deposit. An hour or two doing your homework before you embark on an 'inspection visit' can save a lot of heart-ache and the building of false expectations. It is also a more powerful negotiating position to be able to guarantee the funds are available, if you hope to do a little haggling.

Property Buying Tips 8. Do your homework/fieldwork. Try to ensure that you have seen enough different properties before you commit to one, so that you have a clear idea of what a fair local price is. In some countries there are no limits on the percentage a property or real estate agent can charges for their services. Sometimes the same property might be lodged with several agents and the price can vary substantially from one to another.

Property Buying Tips 9. Be sure you know about any peculiar local conditions relating to property ownership, and inherited debt! Ensure that the 'bargain' property you are 'bagging' doesn't carry with it unpaid debt that is passed on with ownership. Also ensure that local property law do not make any stipulations about property being offered to neighbours/relatives on a first-refusal basis...which means it is always advisable to seek to...

Property Buying Tips 10. ...Employ the services of a reliable real estate agent, and local independent lawyer/ solicitor/ abogado should be employed to ensure you are informed of any 'local property law' issues. It is surprising how often people will be 'pound foolish' when it comes to buying property in a market with which they are unfamiliar – and not prepared to invest a relatively small sum in local 'expertise' to ensure a safe and successful purchase of their 'place in the sun'.


...AND a final TIP!!
Be sure to check out our other Dominican Real Estate pages, for some ideas of where to buy that 'tropical retreat':

  • Find out where to look in the Dominican Republic for your best Caribbean investment property opportunities.

    best property auctions resource

  • OR jump straight to a page of Dominican real estate deals our favorite Dominican Republic Real Estate agent is offering RIGHT NOW!

  • Consider a Luxury Caribbean resort in a beautiful part of the Dominican Republic - for an asset that you are sure to appreciate.

    If our Caribbean investment property, and Dominican real estate pages still do not answer the questions you have - send us your query - we may be able to help! Or we may at least 'know a man (or a woman) who can assist you with fulfilling your real estate dreams.

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