News on Dominican Republic Life, Tourism and Real Estate

a blog on Dominican Republic news, attractions, villa rentals and real estate in the North coast towns of Sosua, Cabarete and Puerto Plata

The Dominican Republic Blog

The first 100 blog posts were published between June and August 2011 but due to a technical issue we had to republish them with a new url - links in external sites had to be replaced.

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    A Cabarete Classic Villa Opens to investors and renters alike

    Cabarete is known for its wide selection of towering apartment buildings bordering its windy bay, where most of its travelers find lodging or retirement living. Private villas are scarce near the bay, and while there`s a few clusters of small villas in the kite beach area ( Bahia de Arena, Nanny`s Beach Houses, Olas De Oro ) those are mostly small scale units and almost always booked up because demand is higher than supply.

    Almost all of the large scale, high end luxury rentals of Cabarete are found in gated communities, like Perla Marina, Sea Horse Ranch, Hideaway Beach, Playa Laguna and Lomas Mironas ( in reality, the best ones are in the second and third option ). It`s rare to find a large, luxury rental villa close to the bay and the night life, because most of the prime land is reserved for buildings.  In late December 2012, a classic beach front house was introduced to the rental and real estate market, opening a new door to those seeking to rent or buy a villa close to the heart of Cabarete:

    http://www.goldenkeymanagement.com/spc1048.htm   as a rental

    http://www.goldenkeymanagement.com/spc1049.htm   for sale

    Once just a family beach house rarely used by its owners, it has now been opened to bidders who can afford its daily rental rate of US$550/night, providing 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms ( the 5th is closed ) and promising great family vacations, wedding venue celebrations by the beach and even corporate retreat and meetings. The sale price is a generous US$1.3 million, low by any standards for a property of more than 600 square meters of construction (over 6,480 sq ft ).

    The house is built on three floors, offering 2 bedrooms in the first level, 2 on the second and a large master suite with a long balcony in the upper level. A set of panoramic windows grace the living room with fine vistas of the ocean, and a modern European kitchen sets the tone to entertain guests and family. The outdoor gazebo attached to the exterior pool side towers on top of the pool terrace and includes a brick BBQ grill and patio furniture. This property has many fine features, and the beach front swimming pool almost next to the golden sand beach is just one of the best.

    The villa was "rediscovered" by Golden Treasures Luxury Rentals, and restored to bring back its grandeur and make it available for its customers. Contact us for more information on booking and visiting this fantastic beach villa in Cabarete.

     

     

    Useful resources on travel to the North Coast:

    Puerto Plata Travel Guide

    Dominican Republic Travel Guide

    Sosua Villa Rentals

    Cabarete Villa Rentals

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    Royal Caribbean Cruises Promoting New Port in Samana, Meets President Medina

    President Danilo Medina met yesterday with executives from the Royal Caribbean cruise line, aboard the "Explorer of the Seas" ship docked in Samana, where the head of state traveled by helicopter and whose visit had access only for the official press . In the interest of promoting and boost cruise tourism, the Dominican president accepted the invitation of Royal Caribbean, whose vice president, Michael Ronan, presented the deployment strategy that will continue in the coming years and provides for the possibility of increasing cruise ship arrivals to that area.

    In his presentation, Michael Ronan expressed the readiness of Royal Caribbean to work with the Dominican authorities in the necessary transformation of Samaná, so that it is able to receive arriving cruise passengers by providing better transport services, information, infrastructure, road safety and organization, among others, especially individual tourists, who do not buy excursions.

    "I want to work so they can bring more tourists and more people to benefit from tourism," said President Medina, saying that the Dominican government will do whatever is necessary to support cruise tourism turn the Dominican Republic into a main Caribbean cruise terminal. At the meeting, Federico Schad, from Bahia Cruise Services, offered details of a project to build a new dock in an area of 50,000 square meters next to the existing pier, which would provide more infrastructure facilities, better services and better views to cruise passengers visiting Samana and would be operational for the 2013-2014 season.

    Schad said that it could take advantage of the cruise market that operates year-round, especially from the U.S. East Coast, allowing Samaná compete with other ports in the Caribbean, receiving between 800,000 and one million cruise passengers to year.

    Initiatives
    In another effort to make tourism the engine of national development, President Medina reaffirmed the government's support and detailed project plans, and requested a full presentation of all these initiatives, to be channeled through the corresponding authorities.


    At the meeting, President Medina also heard Samana`s mayor Miguel Bezi, and Rafael Blanco, president of the Tourism Cluster of the area, who spoke about the shortcomings of the province and its possible solutions. White spoke of the need to work for a comprehensive tourism system that takes into account the community, to guarantee the sustainability of the investments made in the sector.

    After the meeting, Michael Ronen gave out information materials and a souvenir to President Medina, who was subsequently shown the cockpit, where he was received by the captain of the ship. Later they had lunch with Royal Caribbean executives, administration officials and provincial and municipal authorities. President Medina was accompanied by the presidency ministers, José Ramón Peralta, from Tourism, Francisco Javier Garcia, and Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo. Also, the provincial governor, Lalane Enriquillo and the Dominican Port Authority director, Ramon Rivas.

    Author`s note: Last year, Ex president Leonel Fernandez announced plans for a new cruise ship dock to be built in Luperon Bay, Puerto Plata by Carnival Cruise Lines, a competitor of Royal Caribbean. If both ports are built, the Northern coastal areas of Cabarete, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cofresi, Costambar, Cabrera and Samana will see close to 2 million tourists and a booming economy with subsequent higher sales and rentals of real estate properties and new hotels. The area is a prime location offering luxury villas and condos to retirees and investors from all over the world.

    Press release in Spanish from the presidency of the Dominican Republic

     

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    4 Recommended Books for Real Estate Agents

    Selling is an art, specially when it involves people from all walks of life, as in real estate. Even though the markets are not as active as a few years ago before the housing crisis exploded, there`s still a lot of competition that will win away many clients from realtors that don`t adapt to these changing times. Learning from the lessons of successful people will always be the best way to achieve our own success at a faster pace, so here we list some of the best books written by succesful business people in the field.

    The Dominican Republic`s real estate market is very competitive,and specially in the tourist destinations ( Punta Cana, Sosua, Cabarete, Puerto Plata ) there`s a large segment of realtors that come from other countries. This creates a more interesting atmosphere in the industry, and sometimes a more fierce competition.

    1. The first book we recommend is How To Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, by Darryl Davis. In just twelve months you can double your income and make your career in real estate more productive, more satisfying and more rewarding in every way. With the lessons you learn in How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate you will increase your listings, watch your sales figures soar, and double your income--and you won't be working harder, just smarter.

    Packed with powerful sales techniques and administrative tips that will help you become a top producer, How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate gives you both the business and personal skills you need to double your income in one short year. In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn how to list and sell more houses by helping buyers and sellers to achieve their goals. You'll find scores of battle-tested, agent-proven secrets

    that will send your commissions soaring, including:

        16 powerful ways to find prospects
        4 key reasons why listings are so important
        22 winning dialogues for handling objections
        10 effective ways to work with buyers
        8 essential concepts of self-promotion
        18 servicing tips and techniques for your referral base
        And much more.

     

     

    2. Our second option is Real Estate Prospecting, by Loren K. Keim. As a Realtor needing listings and sales, you can Hope for Them, Wait for Them, or Go Get Them. This innovative book lays out a game plan to identify people who want or need to move, to find a way to meet with them, and then to consistently follow up. As the author states, "Prospecting is a process, not an event". Filled with scripts, dialogues, sample letters, sample postcards and complete prospecting attack plans, this book is certain to help any real estate career blossom.


    3. Mastering the Art of Real Estate, by Tom Hopkins.

    Thirteen years ago, Tom Hopkins, the top real estate sales trainer in the country, published How to Master the Art of Listing and Selling Real Estate—the industry’s bible—which has consistently sold well despite information that has become somewhat outdated. But now Hopkins gives a cutting-edge revamp to his still- popular classic. Along with its new title, readers can expect a complete elimination of dated material and inclusion of the most current information on the role of the Internet and computer software needed by every real estate professional.

    Full of anecdotes, sales scripts, and proven tactics, Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate will show readers how to:

    • Find the best listing prospects
    • Win over "For Sale by Owner" sellers
    • Earn the seller’s trust
    • Work an unrealistic price down to market
    • Arrange the final agreement

    4. Our 4th choice is The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, by Gary Keller.This national bestseller begs the most important question anyone in real estate sales could ever ask: "How do I take my sales income to the highest level possible?" Believe it or not, it is a simple question with a simple answer. MREA lays the “how-to” groundwork for you to think like a Millionaire Real Estate Agent. The book will show you, step-by-step, how to earn and net a million in annual incomes—active and passive.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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    The market for houses in Puerto Plata

    The last 4 years have seen opposing trends in Puerto Plata, regarding the housing market. On the one hand, many new homes were built, some with newer and better standards than what we`ve seen before in the Atlantic town, and on the other hand, sales declined and created a monstruous competition among the older properties and the newer, fresher ones. This led to many advantages in the negotiating table for buyers, who now have a large inventory to choose from, and in some cases, some subvalued homes readily available as turn key purchases.

    One of the biggest issues with present purchases is the 2009 law on land survey, that requires a full GPS-backed survey locally called Deslinde, that comes with a more modern title system that uses holographic images. Most of the land in the Dominican Republic is not deslinde ready yet, which is why lawyers are still drafting contracts with prerequisites, that normally keep a portion of the total payment to be payable when the final title with deslinde is issued. One of the most prestigious law firms in the area ( Guzman Ariza ) provides a complete insight into the matter.

    The real estate jurisdiction of the Dominican Republic has a very useful website: http://ji.gov.do  with an online consultation system to verify pending cases and get data on proceedings.

    Several of the best rated gated communities in the North Coast are growing fast, and thus it is impossible to provide deslinde ready land to buyers at such a pace. Trust is a big factor in real estate, whatever the paper process is. One of the lawyers that has been the most successful at earning the trust of the region is Lic. Guido Perdomo, who has worked with virtually everyone involved in the trade and is on top of the list. A lot of other lawyers are also very trusted in the North coast, such as Yanilda de la Cruz and Jeanette Garcia ( the list is longer ).

    As in many areas, there`s a white and black list of business people and locations not recommended because of their bad record. We ran across a case where a white list community was given a doubt vote and we felt the need to stand up for them. if over 100 happy homeowners are not enough proof of a person or project`s integrity, something`s wrong with the evaluation. If today sales were all based on the deslinde, more than half of the real estate market would go to a halt inmediately.

    Due to the new competition, some owners are more willing to offer financing at angel rates, normally for up to three years. Local banks charge from 7-13%, which most clients from Europe and the States find too high. When financing in US Dollars, the rate is the lowest one, and local RD pesos charge a higher yearly rate. An interesting aspect is the fact that some homes are being offered at a certain price, but will actually be sold much lower if the buyer asks before making any offers.

    One of the houses that will be sold below its listed price of $360k is this one ( click the picture to view it ):

    This is happening all across the North in the island, and in most cases owners want to keep the listed value but will inevitably go down if a potential buyer comes along. There`s a house listed below $500k that would sell for $325k if a good buyer comes across, contact the agent about that unique offer. One of the advantages of buying with Golden Treasures Real Estate is that its agents will work it as best as possible to make it a good deal both for the seller and the buyer. Many a time has a sale gone deadlocked due to a small difference in the amount, and the agents just move on and lose the client instead of adjusting their own percentages and closing the sale.

    An affordable new house in Puerto Plata that can also be purchased with discount is this one:

    According to the Global Property Guide " While it felt the effects of the global economic crisis, the Dominican Republic is coming back with a growing GDP and a recovering property market. It continues to be the Caribbean region’s largest economy and biggest tourist destination."


    The Dominican Republic has over 9 million people spread over a mountainous 48,072 sq km, with an average GDP per capita of US$5,464. A stable economy, currency and government together with a quiet and relaxed lifestyle makes the island quite attractive to many investors and foreigners.

    Anyone can buy property in the DR, regardless of being a resident or not. Buying property is fairly easy because the lawyer does all the work of verfying papers and drafting purchase agreements. The buyer pays the transfer tax (3%), property registry tax (2%), document stamp tax (1.3%) and legal fees (1%). Normally, the seller pays a commission to the agent.

    A relatively low cost of living also is another factor that positively affects real estate in the island, specially in the North towns of Puerto Plata, Sosua and Cabarete ( the East coast is very expensive, specially Punta Cana and Casa De Campo ).

    This chart shows a distribution of cost of living expenses in Dominican Republic:

    A full list of living costs and prices of expenses in the DR is found at Numbeo.

          809-377-2038 / 829-477-2038

     

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    Some Lessons in Architecture - Ocean View House in Cabarete

    Cabarete, a beach town that enjoys constant good weather all year long in the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is facing constant growth in the real estate market, and with it a new wave of architectural styles and designs never seen before in the island. Affecting design these days is the concern of buyers towards the investment security.

    Recently, because of the last episodes of Tsunamis hitting Asia and Japan, several people have contacted us about buying  houses  with  ocean   view  but set in cliffs or high land, some suggesting that they`re a bit afraid of a possible Tsunami striking the coast. In a country like the Dominican Republic this would be a very rare event, which we hope never happens.


    A very particular listing for sale  in   Cabarete , Dominican Republic is the featured home Ref SPC0825, which is an excellent example of the types of homes concerned buyers would love, to save on extra expenses and the high budgets of buying an oceanfront home. We won`t mention Tsunamis because in its long history, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed peace of mind in regards to those natural events. This 313 m2  ocean   view  home was built on a 400 square meter lot, and has 2 levels plus a lower basement level built conveniently with the sloping land.The builder and designer of the villa has built some of the best projects in the North coast, and this home shows its quality and resistance when seen up close on location.

    This new ocean view villa in  Cabarete  is for sale by Golden Treasures Real Estate, with a price tag of US$395,000.00, click here for the listing.

    This  house  has a contemporary design with sleek lines and lots of glass windows and doors to allow the panoramic  views  of the  ocean , about 180 degrees, and the cool Caribbean breeze of the North Dominican Republic ( the Atlantic  Ocean  ). The main floor is the street level one, which has three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and the stairway to the second floor where a large living room has an elegant wall of fine wood collage that accents the polished cement flooring that goes throughout the  house . A floor to ceiling wall of glass doors access the swimming pool area where an elevated pool offers striking  views  of the nearby beach, mostly awe inspiring  views  of the surrounding  ocean . The  house  has a total of 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms all of which have prime design closets.

    A small bathroom next to the pool area shows stylish finish materials, and a winding stair leads up to the roof terrace that holds a wooden pergola and transparent glass fencing around the roof for protection. This roof terrace or solarium is a perfect place to party, have family and friends for BBQ time or just sit and relax watching sunrises and sundowns. The bathrooms are very classy, built with fine wood and imported stone, a symphony of black white with gray rock finish. This property sits just 15 minutes from the international POP airport in Puerto Plata, and under a 10 minute drive to Sosua and its magnificent beaches.

    The villa in  Cabarete  is pretty close to some of the best beaches, within walking distance as an added convenience.

    This villa is a classic example that when building a  house , it is best to spend some extra to make sure the soil is evaluated and the elevation analyzed , specially when you build next to an empty lot that`s lower than the land you`re building on. This because we`ve seen some homes for sale in Puerto Plata and other areas where the neighbor digs a foundation too close to the perimeter wall base of the next door ( back ) home, and then the neighbor`s home starts to crack due to the effect of a weakened ground base. This would never happen if the base is solid rock, but most of the homes nearer to mountains such as the Isabel de Torres must be monitored for second row constructions if you buy over an empty lot, to make sure you keep an eye on how close they dig their foundation in relation to your perimeter.

    The land on this  house  was worked on at a good distance from the neighbor`s boundaries and the extra strenght columns supporting the  house  and swimming pool are visibly built with high construction standards. A dramatic scenery is the every day treat for the future owners of the villa, because it offers almost 300 degree  views  at the top terrace in the roof, accessed through the winding stairs. This is the first of four  ocean   view  homes to be built on a piece of land that`s to become a small private community close to the beach and just 5 minutes away from  Cabarete `s main town center.

    180-Degree ocean views from the elevated ground of the house


    The  ocean   views  of the  house  are impressive, and the road that leads to the beach which is just a few minutes away on foot.

    For visits on this villa for sale in Cabarete  contact Edward Rivas at 809-377-2038 / 829-477-2038 or send an email by visiting the contact page for Golden Treasures Real Estate:

    http://www.goldenkeymanagement.com/contact.htm

    ARCHITECTURAL RENDERINGS OF THE HOUSE:

    ©MMXI all rights reserved Edward Rivas for Golden Treasures Real Estate.

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