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Thread: Renting a house in Santo Domingo...bizzare & frustrating..

  1. #1
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    Default Renting a house in Santo Domingo...bizzare & frustrating..

    So, my wife and I moved here from another Latin American country and need to rent a house in Santo Domingo.

    To say the experience was less than pleasurable would be an understatement and we're fluent in the language, culture and Real Estate. I can only imagine what this process must be like for novices.

    These 'agents'.....

    1) Are masters of the "Bait 'n' Switch". We looked online, found some places that looked promising and made some calls. The first three houses in a row were 'bait 'n' switches'. For anyone who doesn't know what that means it's where we saw one house at one price online but then we were taken to a different house (i.e. crappier) at a different price (i.e. higher).
    2) Would ask us what area we wanted to live in. Once we told them they would then "Get back to us shortly" as they scrambled out into that neighborhood calling any for rent sign they could find. So, essentially none had inventory, they'd just show us houses we'd already seen at jacked up prices, adjusted for their hard earned commissions.
    3) Invariable would ask our maximum price. Once we'd tell them what it was, guess what? We never saw a house again for less than that price. In fact we looked at a couple houses and then had other agents show us those same houses later and wouldn't you know it, the prices had gone up to our maximum price overnight!

    Then we found a house that has good bones, good location, good price but it needs some work. We were sent to speak to a 'Realtor' who treated us like criminals. First the "Realtor' wanted the obligatory 3 months (Which is a scam and needs to be fixed, btw) payment/deposit. I asked them for a receipt in their company's S.A. as with that perhaps we have SOME recourse when they screw us out of the deposit. We also agreed to do a photo inventory of the house with them keeping one set and us keeping one set in case anyone's memory became faded a couple years down the line. Then, using that deposit money of course they'll make the repairs we requested. My hands are tied here, so after putting together the document detailing every repair we want done we'll have them sign it and hope they do.

    I noted how busy and important they seemed and offered to supervise the repairs personally so as to cut their work load which they happily accepted. Fact is, you can't let someone who doesn't know what 'nice' is supervise because their idea of 'nice' and mine are likely far different.

    Then we hit a wall. They wanted a 'Garante' (Sp?), which is in fact a co-signer and must be from Santo Domingo. At that point I asked them why they needed a co-signer if they already have two months deposit and I'd paid their runner for them? Of course there is no reason, it's just the master/slave relationship they're accustomed to and they're going to milk the 'master' role as much/long as possible.

    I explained to them that we'd been here 10 days. I asked how exactly foreigners were to be expected to have a co-signer? They could not answer. They told me foreigners are "High risk" and not thought of highly here. I opened a copy of "Hoy" that was sitting on a table in the office and showed them a bunch of rental ads that read "Apartment for FOREIGNERS", "House to rent, FOREIGNERS ONLY", etc. etc. etc. I explained that foreigners generally pay their bills and are in fact highly sought after as renters according to everyone else.

    I offered a copy of my passport, my residency in another country, letters of recommendation from impressive people inthe country we're moving from, a copy of my bank account in that country proving I'm solid and said if those things did not work I MIGHT be able to get a 'Garante' from another part of the country, just not from Santo Domingo.

    They didn't care and weren't budging. I finally said "Look, you're a Real Estate agent and you stand to gain a commission, I have money in my pocket and your client has had their house sit vacant for 7 months, let's quit screwing around and do business.". Nope, no deal.

    Then I suggested I speak directly to the owner. They gave me the phone number and I thought to myself "This is just an example of what happens when middlemen get involved and muck up a deal. Let me speak to the owner and she'll understand. Nope.

    The owner in the USA said he'd had a bad experience with the last renter and he was a Dominican Politician (Well of course, duh!!! You don't rent to a politician, a judge, a lawyer or a General for that matter.), an ESTEEMED politician no less, lol. He then proceeded to tell me foreigners were high risk a well. I finally wondered "If he doesn't want another Dominican and he doesn't want a foreigner just who exactly DOES he want?"

    I wanted to tell these low-lives off so badly after being insulted by them but the fact of the matter is the house is a very good deal and I'm sick of looking/screwing around.

    Thank you all for letting me vent.

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    i agree 100%. I have been here 6 months and now probabaly forced to find my 3rd apartment due to being screwed by dishonest owner/landlords. They want it all here and reciprocate nada. I am amazed at the business practises of so called real estate investor/owners here that seem to have no problem holding out for unrealistic prices and terms all the while their investment has been unoccupied and therefore a liability as opposed to an investment. And of course this is all happening during a worldwide real estate crisis where the properties are not appreciating...Do they teach this style of business in university here?Now i understand why school is free here.Prices are determined by supply and demand in the real world but not here.Its no wonder that the poverty level is so high with these practises, you have to want to make money to be in business.

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    I asked a developer friend of mine at one of the beaches here what he was doing to combat poor sales? His answer was to jack up the prices. He said "Look if I'm not selling any units I have to really cash in when I do sell one, so I raised the price from $250k to $325k".

    Shrewd!!!

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    We have a lot of experience in rentals in Santo Domingo please contact: Boyter Island Properties - Real Estate in the Dominican Republic cel. 809 729 9010 office 809 533 9443.

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    Default Rental in Bella Vista

    Last edited by Robert; 02-16-2009 at 01:11 AM.

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    Default just to add a bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat13 View Post
    i agree 100%. I have been here 6 months and now probabaly forced to find my 3rd apartment due to being screwed by dishonest owner/landlords. They want it all here and reciprocate nada. I am amazed at the business practises of so called real estate investor/owners here that seem to have no problem holding out for unrealistic prices and terms all the while their investment has been unoccupied and therefore a liability as opposed to an investment. And of course this is all happening during a worldwide real estate crisis where the properties are not appreciating...Do they teach this style of business in university here?Now i understand why school is free here.Prices are determined by supply and demand in the real world but not here.Its no wonder that the poverty level is so high with these practises, you have to want to make money to be in business.
    Yes... it is really hard to understand the mindset. I am now looking for an unfurnished apartment in Gazcue. Since I cannot get the landlady to replace or remove any of her old, broken furniture. She treats me as if I were her employee, hired to look after her furniture. She would not replace the fridge, even after it was giving off electric shocks. She would not fix the plumbing leak from the upstairs bathroom, letting me stay with dirty water dripping down on me.

    As soon as she saw that I had bought a new fridge and stove, she came over and told the maid that she wanted me to move and that the new fridge and stove were hers since I had thrown away her old one. I have photos of the old ones, had every intention of buying comparable new ones when I left. Now, I will just buy her used ones.

    When the rent check was three days late, however, she came over to the apartment at 8 am on a Sunday and started screaming and pounding on my door. OK clearly a nut job. Now I have a restraining order against her and will give the check to my lawyer where the landlady will have to pick it up.

    So now I start searching for an apartment. NONE of the realtors have actually SEEN the apartments that they want to be paid a month's rent for renting. When I ask them for the address so that I can just go by the building NOT ONE of 8 realtors has been able to tell me that right off the bat.

    This is SO different from the States. Completely different. Here the tenants are looked at as some sort of "mark".

    In Gazcue now most of the rentals are "furnished" which usually means either that Uncle Louis died and we don"t want to bother to clean out the apartment so you can live with his old stuff, or we have gone to La Sirena and bought the top of the line beach furniture for you, and have a fridge and stove there from the mid 90's.

    The prices are fixed by some completely unknowable standard which seems to have little to do with either location, size of apartment or condition. Two apartments of the same size in the same building can be offered for prices varying by $300 a month.

    And BEWARE when you go to sign the lease. The first one that this landlady tried to get me to sign had me responsible for ALL repairs and ALL the taxes! Now I was really quite desperate when I took it since the last apartment I had, from which the landlord stole stuff when I was gone,,,, was then infested with rats from the catering business downstairs. So I did say that I would not be responsible for the taxes,,, but I did sign for the repairs... and that means that even if the plumbing from the upstairs apartment is dripping sewage onto your head... well

    too bad for you.

    I was in this business for years in the States and it is really a hard adjustment to adapt to the jungle that is the DR realty market.

    Anyway, my attorney says that I am not responsible for the furniture since that was actually not included in the contract. So I could, in fact, put it all in the street... which is where half of it belongs.. Of course I am not going to do that since ..... I just could not.

    I am really kicking myself because I paid this $)"(%/#? regularly for over 30 months, and even added the cab fare and the cost of converting the dollars into pesos... WHAT A FOOL I WAS!! That only made her think that I was really stupid.

    But I am going to just stay here til I find a good place with a decent landlord.... if such a thing is possible? IS IT?

    WOW ... this really does leave a sour taste in my mouth..

    just when I was really beginning to like it here.

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    Be forewarned, any service found through the internet will be much more expensive than if done "on the ground". Think about the demographics of the internet users and you will understand why. Those who have internet are considered "rich" and therefore will be expected to pay inflated prices w/o complaint.

    As with most things in the DR, you need to find services and whatnot through personal references so you won't be taken.

    If you still are in the need of an apartment let me knowe, as I have a good friend who will treat you well and if he can't help you he will send you to someone who can and they wil treat you like a local, ie a cheap price.

    Also, the point that foreigners make bad client is a load of horse dung, in fact they are the preferred clients and extra concessions are available to them.

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    Default venting

    excuse me for the rant but I simply do not have a therapist here...

    I just finished looking at another apartment.. OK so they show it before they even move out, ok,,, I can understand that. I asked to see it.

    But if you are asking $800 a month, US, which is real money, honest it is, then you really need to wait to list the place until you have painted it entirely. In white. Which you can do for under $200.

    And then if you take out the One AC , the split that was in the main room because, well, you are going to NEED it in your new place.. Then I know immediately that you are NOT in this to see to MY comfort but to yours.

    So I am not going to rent your place from you, even if the rent dropped to $600 which is more like what it is worth.....

    I have a feeling that this search is going to be another exercise in learning the Science of Peace... paciencia.....

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  13. #10
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    Default Ahhhhh Thanks CHIP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Be forewarned, any service found through the internet will be much more expensive than if done "on the ground". Think about the demographics of the internet users and you will understand why. Those who have internet are considered "rich" and therefore will be expected to pay inflated prices w/o complaint.

    As with most things in the DR, you need to find services and whatnot through personal references so you won't be taken.

    If you still are in the need of an apartment let me knowe, as I have a good friend who will treat you well and if he can't help you he will send you to someone who can and they wil treat you like a local, ie a cheap price.

    Also, the point that foreigners make bad client is a load of horse dung, in fact they are the preferred clients and extra concessions are available to them.

    THANKS so much CHIP!

    Well it is true, I do use the internet... to check in Listin and supercasas... and mundo annuncio.....and diario libre etc.

    And I have agreed to go about with one realtor... who was at least courteous and listened to me.

    But my difficulty is that I really want to stay in the neighborhood. And the realtors here do not specialize in any locality.. they just seem to have listings all over the place, from this person, from that person, from one cousin or another.

    So I think that the best thing for me to do is just keep walking the dog every morning and handing out my card to the janitors of the buildings that I like.

    This reminds me of trying to find an apartment in NYC when the vacancy rate was zero. We would buy the Sunday paper at midnight on Saturday and bribe janitors and doormen.----

    There are lots of new little condos being built and the units are sold before completion. Now I know that most Dominicans who are buying here are NOT going to live here in Gazcue, because they want to live in Naco or Piantini or Arroyo Hondo. They are buying to rent them out. So sooner or later I am going to find someone who will actually want a reliable and honest tenant-

    I will PM you with my phone number so that your contact can
    contact me...

    thanks.

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