There are no restrictions for foreigners to purchase and/or own real estate in the Dominican Republic. Full ownership 100% on your name or whatever other legal entity/company.
Legal & Tax questions in the Dominican Republic
Basic procedure to buy a house in the Dominican Republic:
- A “Contract of Sale” or “Purchase Agreement” is made and signed by the parties of interest and the required deposit, usually 10% is placed in the Escrow account. This will reserve the property for you and, in essence, take it off the market.
- Most properties are held in Dominican Corporate names, which give you two major advantages. One is, not having to pay any transfer taxes. You simply transfer the Corporation which contains the only asset, the property you are buying. The second is the avoidance of any inheritance issues.
- If a property is not held in a Dominican corporation, then you will need to pay a transfer tax. Currently, the tax approximately is 3% of the appraised value. This value is a government calculation and does not necessarily reflect the true value of your purchase (usually far less that the actual cost). At this point, it is highly recommended that you have your Attorney form a Corporation for you to avoid this tax in the future if you decide to sell and to provide you with the inheritance benefit. The costs today to form a Dominican corporation are approximate $1,200.00.
- Closings are normally within 30-60 days depending on the agreement of buyer and seller. All buyers’ funds should be in the Escrow account 3 days prior to closing. On the closing date, both buyer and seller will sign the appropriate documents, or someone you appoint can act on your “Power of Attorney” to handle the closing for you.
- Your Attorney will record the sale with the Registrar of Titles, and typically it will be in the new owner’s names within 30-45 days. Legal fees are 1% of the actual sales price.
Further information about taxation, permanent legal residency, inheritance taxes, incorporation of a Dominican company and other legal matter you find at Guzman Ariza, Attorneys.
In general around 1% of the actual sale price + 18% vat-tax over that amount. This includes all necessary contracts for closure, due diligence from the property and the steps to transfer the Certificate of Title in the name from the new owner. The buyer pays for legal fees. The seller pays the real estate commission.
Example on a property from 300,000 usd: 1% = 3,000 usd. 18% over that amount is 540 usd so total legal fees 3,540 usd.
The tax on property transfer, which is 3,1% of the registered value from the property at the DGII (DR tax-office).
If the property is owned/registered on a company, this company pays an annual 1% tax on company assets. However, the amount of tax on assets paid by a company can be applied as a credit toward its income tax obligations.
Property(s) owned by an individual and assessed by the DGII (DR tax-office) below DOP 7,019,383 (around 150,000 usd) will be exempt of yearly property taxes and any excess will pay 1% per year over that difference. All properties owned by a company will pay 1% per year of the assessed value with no exemptions. The following properties are exempt from paying real estate tax: farm/rural properties, homes whose owner is 65 years old or older (and has no other property in his or her name) and properties owned by companies, which pay a separate tax on their company assets.
Choose a lawyer which at least speaks your language. From a reputable lawyer office. One of the lawyers is Cesar Calderon from Guzman Ariza. Also notary.
According the DR's Property Registry Law a property purchase cannot be recorded at the Property Registry without a clear Certificate of Title (with deslinde).
Prior to this law, transfers ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer did not necessarily guarantee the buyer the seller owned the property free and clear. Therefore, previous to this amendment, properties could be bought and sold, but the responsibility of obtaining a Clear Title Certificate was left to the buyer after the purchase. With the new law, a property must have a clear Certificate of Title prior to its sale, just as it is done in the United States, Canada or Europe.
A "deslinde" refers to a clear title which has been issued after the property has received the final judge's approval certifying it has been properly surveyed and that its property lines and boundaries have been clearly defined and established from the original title dating prior to the new registry law or a new title altogether. No purchase should be carried out without a clear Certificate of Title.
There are no restrictions on foreigners inheriting title to real property in the Dominican Republic. Inheritance taxes is 3% of the appraised value of the DGII. If the beneficiary resides outside the Dominican Republic, inheritance taxes are subject to a 4.5% of the appraised value of the estate.
The average construction prices are starting around 600 usd per m2 (60 usd per sf2). This is a basic construction with concrete polished floor, wooden or concrete thatched roof for example, pine tree wood or oak.
Pool prices do around 500 usd per m2 (50 usd per sf2). Marmoline inside, with poolpump and filter.
In Las Terrenas we have several good architects.
Las Terrenas and its surroundings has building zones. Every zone has its specific requirements and limits. Most important is the building density, which is counted in bedrooms per hectare / ha / 10,000 m2.
Example on a 2,000 m2 lot in Playa Coson:
the building density is there 30 bedrooms per ha. 2,000 m2 is 1/5 from a ha. So the density number is 30/5=6. That means you can make a total from 6 bedrooms. In whatever configuration.
You can make 3 villas with each 2 bedrooms or 6 villas with each 1 bedroom or apartment building or hotel with a max. from 6 bedrooms. Permit is not talking about salons or kitchens.
Creative architects can assist you in converting your idea's in what you want.
Here under 3 links to maps from the new zone law. This is part from the building permit. The area you can view is from El Catey to Playa el Valle. The maps are from the Ministry of Turism Dominican Republic, april 26, 2012.
- map 1: zone from El Catey to Playa el Valle
- map 2: zone from Coson to El Portillo
- map 3: zone from Playa Las Ballenas to el Portillo
The LEGENDA is on map 1.
Medical care Dominican Republic
Hospitals and doctors:
- International hospital: 809-240-6701, Calle Fabio Abreu, Las Terrenas
- Doctor Polanco: 809-240-6028, Main Street 12, Las Terrenas
- Dental clinic Don Cesar: 809-240-9447
- 24 hrs open and in every shopping mall or corner
National health care in the Dominican Republic is socialized and government hospitals are free or almost free. Most expats who live in the country in general take private health insurance and so they can use private hospitals and/or clinics. There are several insurance companies in Las Terrenas.
Local health insurance is available and comes in various types. Some plans reimburse for expenses, including certain medications, after-the-fact and require that services be paid in cash at the time they are provided. Others are a co-payment style system where patients pay a certain amount out-of-pocket and the physician or clinic will bill insurance for the remainder. Many of the policies available through employers are available on an individual basis at virtually the same cost, but the premium is usually paid a year in advance instead of monthly.
Foreign insurance carriers (mainly U.S.) are also available to residents of the Dominican Republic.
Insurance companies Las Terrenas:
- AS Asesores: tel. 809-240-6445
- Monumental, Plaza Rosada local 19
Daily life in DR
Difficult question and perhaps nobody can give you the answer on that. In general Las Terrenas is a safe area. But let me ask you some questions: is it safe in Belgium Brussel airport? Is it safe in Paris? Is it safe in a school in USA?
Safety is always a complicated issue. A person can travel around the world safe if he or she uses common sense. So also in or around Las Terrenas.
And yes, there are horror stories in the internet and in the hotels. Like everywhere. And yes, when leaving the resorts at the gate they warn you that you will get robbed, that you will get shot and that you will get murdered outside from their hotel.... I can't change that they will tell you that. Just experience the feel of freedom there is in and around Las Terrenas town. You will be surprised.
Couple of weeks ago somebody from USA said to me "Tony, DR is unsafe. Just 2 people got shot inside a school!" The true: since 2012 there where more then 620 shoot outs in schools in the USA !!!
There are many churches more and of course in varias religions.
Las has Terrenas has a variety of schools to offer. Local and international schools.
- The international Las Terrenas School: from 3-8 years old. Divided over several groups. Bilingual english and spanish.
- Ecole Francais: this larger school uses the French education system.
There are several good insurance companies and offices located in Las Terrenas. One can insure here whatever you are used to in your own country: car, motor, scooter, home, health, liability.
Homes can be insured without any problem for flooding, hurricanes and other disasters.
You will find several banks and atm machines in Las Terrenas. Atm's give funds in pesos in general with a max. from 10,000 pesos per day. In general open at 9am and close at 4pm. Saturdays 12pm.
Here a link from Google Maps with several bank and atm locations .
If you want to open a bank account here, in general banks are asking for id, letter of recommendation from your own bank. Sometimes more. You can have accounts in pesos, dollars and euro's. All banks offer online services, credit and debit cards.
Always difficult to explain... crime. Yes there is crime. Like everywhere in the world. Feeling safe is something else. I feel safe. Safer then in my original country. Is there discrimination or any tension between Dominican and foreigners: NO. They are warm and helpful people. They respect us as residents and tourists.
Always use common sense: do not leave valuable things alone or out of sight on the beach or in whatever other place.
The Police force: we have tourist police, national police and traffic police in Las Terrenas. All with different tasks and uniforms. The police station is in center town and has english speaking assistance.
Las Terrenas has a wide variety of restaurants, local and international. In all price ranges. The fun starts at around 100 pesos, which is a bit more then 2 us dollars. A decent 3 course meal in a nice beachfront restaurant would do around 50 usd for 2 persons.
There is no specific dress code in Las Terrenas. Its a beachfront village with lots of sand.. Do what you like and wear what you like! Of course also here common sense...
Employees are compared to the USA or Europe extremely cheap here. Below a small overview.
- gardener who in general can do your garden, pool cleaning and some small things around the house 8000-9000 pesos per month. Around 170-190 usd per month. Full time is 6 days a week from monday till saturday 8-5 with 1,5 hr lunch time.
- a cleaning lady has the same. They often do cooking as well and watch over children. If you use them only half days or 1 day per week then it would be around 800 pesos per day, around 17 usd.
- Evening watchman are a bit more expensive. Think around 230-240 usd per month, 7 nights a week.
The Dominican Republic has labor law. At the end of the year the 13th month and when one stops you need to pay a so called "liquidacion". Las Terrenas has a labor office.
Here the prices from gasoil in the Dominican Republic.
There are 2 companies managing electricity in and around Las Terrenas: Luz y Fuerza and Progreso de Limon. Both have same prices per kw, around 15 pesos / 0,32 usd per kwh.
Few blackouts and good quality compared to the rest from the country. To give you an indication: a 3 bedroom home with a pool does around 6000 pesos / 130 usd and a 2 bedroom apartment for around 2000 pesos / 45 usd per month.
Water in Samana and Las Terrenas: still not potable. Safe to use for shower, teeth and cook. For drinking only use the 5 gallon bottles at 1 usd each. There is a city water system but not everybody is connected. Sometimes owners are connected to the project water or have a private well.
Forget about the national post service. Does not work! There are several services in Las Terrenas which handle packages. You can order in fact everything you want for example per ebay and ship it to Las Terrenas. CPS Las Terrenas is one from these offices. Mailbox in the Plaza rosada is another and similar office.
Going through town Las Terrenas you will notice that there are many places where they rent scooters, atv's (quads), buggies and cars. Even since a short while mountainbikes (at Luis in de Calle Carmen). When you rent something, whatever, good advice is take pictures how it looks when you start. So you never have any discussion.
Rental prices for a car around 50-60 usd per day, atv's and buggies bit the same. Scooters around 25 usd per day.
Of course ask about the insurance!
Buying or importing a car: cars older then 5 years is not allowed to import. Also, importing a car can give headaches if you do not know how to handle this. There are many very good car dealers in the DR. Take a look at the largest car and motor website in the DR at SuperCarros. Remember, everything is negotiable.
Internet services: now, 2017, on a very good level. Several wireless providers like Silkglobal and HotSpot. If a property has access to a fixed telephone line you can also do Claro tv and internet. works perfect.
There are also the small internet boxes from Claro and Orange. Not perfect...
TV-services: depends where you are you could hook up to local cable at 11 usd per month. If not SKY TV satellite system starts at 25 usd per month. Or just take a fast internet connection with Netflix.
Mobile phone service: Claro and Orange are the largest ones in the country. Both also have now 4g speed data packages.
There are 2 large supermarkets in Las Terrenas: the brand new (which is part from the largest supermarket chain in the Dominican Republic, “La Sirena” and Supermercado Lindo, a very nice and good French supermarket. Besides that of course many smaller local “colmados” and fruit shops.s flight.
Both supermarkets are also open on sundays. Both have home delivery.
Not yet... or its mini golf...
Las Terrenas and/or Samana still does not have a golf course. Close to center town is a large 10 ha property designated to an 18 holes golf course. Work started with the greens and some buildings but then stopped.
The get to Samana and or Las Terrenas by international flights there are several options:
- international airport El Catey (AZS) at around 20 minutes drive from Las Terrenas.
- international airport Las Americas (SDQ) at Santo Domingo is at 1,5 hr drive over a new highway. With toll Total around 1000 pesos).
- Punta Cana airport (PUJ) is at around 4 hrs drive from Las Terrenas. In general to far for driving.
- Puerto Plata airport (POP) is also a long drive, at 3 hrs.
The famous motoconchos: cheapest way to go around in Las Terrenas are these guys on there motors. They bring you from one part to another part in town on a low budget. 25 - 50 pesos. They do also shopping, delivery, etc. The moto easy fits 2 persons.
Bus transport: on a daily basis busses go up and down from Las Terrenas to Santo Domingo. Around 10 usd. These are comfortable larger busses.
Then the guaguas: these can be open pickup cars or small mini busses. They often go from one village to another village. Cheap and easy. When you see one, just raise your hand and they stop.