Any input greatly appreciated

Redscot

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Dec 10, 2004
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Greetings all,
Just discovered this forum and have found it to be wonderfully informative. Many of the answers I seek are partially answered throughout the different threads, but I am shooting for a more custom response if possible :).

I am American born of Scottish parent, and have lived my whole life in NYC. I am married with 3 boys , 14, 10, 4 and my wife hails from Cotui, D.R. We are very seriously considering relocateing at this stage in our lives for various reasons and are doing our homework as to the viability of living in the Sosua/Cabarete environs.

Our general plan involves buying a home and opening a small business. We have a "nest egg" from the sale of our home here in NYC. My wife worked in banking for 10 years before coming to the US and has many contacts in the Money exchange business, as of now this is the small business we are considering.

Overall I am trying to get a grip on just how much US $ it will take to be able to open a business and buy a home in the Sosua/Cabarete area.

Don't want to ramble on too long here, but I am also curious as to the general cost of living for a family of 5, 3 of which will need schooling. We do not plan on living like kings, but hope for a comfortable existence.

If anyone has any general numbers or thoughts on the above please let me know.

Many thanks
 

Redscot

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Dec 10, 2004
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Thanks Jimmy, would that be the Garden school by any chance?

Maybe I should cut to the chase here; we have connections in the central part of R.D., but not on the northern coast, so although I have amassed a good deal of info I wonder how relevant it would be to the Sosua/Cabarete area.

So, just to throw it out there and get opinions, do you think relocateing to Sosua/Cabarete area, seeking the lifestyle I mentioned above would be possible/comfortable to do starting with $300K US Dollars?

Or even, what would you do with that starting sum.

BTW, I read all the newbie posts, especially Timex's, great stuff!

Thank you for any thoughts/advice.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Please remember the best adage

Question: How do you live in the Dominican Republic with a small fortune?











Answer: Come here with a big one.!!






Now. Life on the North Coast is sort of like in Lala Land...It is not the "real" DR/. Your options for education are very limited as is the quality. Where do you want them to go to college, or do you even think of that? If you are looking to place your children in top notch colleges you had better think Santiago or Santo Domingo and think like maybe 1500 dollars every three or four months for schooling and at least a bi-lingual school, or at best a good English Language school. I am not 100% positive if that figure isn't a bit too low, either.

If you don't care where the kids go to college, you can educate them there in Sosua a Colegio /Cristobol Colon or any other place. They may or may not make it at the Dominican universities that will accept them...

Also think how what you want to do with your life. Be tied to a tiny office with two shotguns and a bag of money? Gee, what a wonderful life? And you aand the wife can rent movies every night? There is nothing to do on the North Shore for young, active adults-except the tourist stuff: bars, discos, party....There is no theater, movie houses, shopping centers, museums, cultural activities of any sort, so it is pretty much what a few ex-pats can make of it.

You would be much better off in Cotu?, closer to major population centers and with great transportation to most of them.

think a bit more on this. Lots of lives are in play, and those three need the best possible education to get ahead, here or there.


HB, Resident curmudgeon
 

Redscot

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Dec 10, 2004
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Excellent response! Thank you.

As for the education, it is essential to us. I would want to provide them a bilingual education and understand that is quite costly.

As for the business, I hear your points, however we live that sort of lifestyle here in the states. We are not looking at the move as necessarily "escapeing to paradise". We want a more laid back lifestyle, in a nicer climate. We are not big socialite's and take little vantage of much of the cultural offerings in NYC. What we do enjoy is family time together. We enjoy BBQing and an outdoor lifestlye, a little garden perhaps, and a feeling of community etc.

Your suggestion of Santiago may be a very good one in fact. I am not to familiar with the city, but envision us being more comfortable in a quiet area, perhaps a "suburb" of Santiago. Any suggestions....

Thanks again, your type of response is very helpfull.
 

Jimmydr

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Apr 17, 2003
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Redscot said:
So, just to throw it out there and get opinions, do you think relocateing to Sosua/Cabarete area, seeking the lifestyle I mentioned above would be possible/comfortable to do starting with $300K US Dollars?


Thank you for any thoughts/advice.

I myself am building a house with 2-3 rentals on the second floor for some extra income. 300K is no money really.
 

Redscot

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Dec 10, 2004
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Jimmydr said:
I myself am building a house with 2-3 rentals on the second floor for some extra income. 300K is no money really.


I hear ya Jimmy. So, I take it in your opinion 300k is not enough seed money to get reasonably situated and start a small business? What about closer to Santiago where the prices are more reasonable?

We are not desperate to move, but we have had our eye on a return to the Domincan Republic for years. As mentioned my wife knows the ins and outs of the country well and worked in a bank there 10 years. For a few reason, sthe opportunity has presented itself now, and we are trying to gather as many varied opinions as possible.

Thank you for your time.
 

Chris

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Oct 21, 2002
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Just a few comments - There are many many Casa de Cambio's in the Cabarete area. It seems as if there is another one every day. I believe it is not too expensive to start one legally and correctly (possibly around US$5,000 for legal and admin fees and I'm guessing...). I do think a clean, little bigger and little more up-market, nicely lighted and merchandised, Casa de Cambio might just work - a little different from the current 'holes-in-the-wall'). But you have to be on the main road and you will be taking business away from all the others - competition there is fierce. Cabarete is a good place for this as the locals have a 'unofficial and unbreakable' bond between them, and all of them pay 2 points less than anywhere else. This is a tightly knit monopoly that is operating there...

Housing is expensive on the North Coast. A comfortable 'biggish' 3 bedroom away from the beach is going to put you back around 150K (in Sosua) and then you have to start worrying about electricity, planta's, invertors and those things to make your life comfortable - and you have not bought a car yet.

Schooling is expensive on the North Coast. We're paying RD$4,500 for our 3 and a half year old granddaughter at Garden Kids... But this is a good pre- and primary school and we pay this gladly for good schooling. I do not know what we're going to do for high school for her. We're talking in the region of RD$8-10,000 (thank Heavens there is only one and this is a number of years in the future!)

Food and cost of living is generally more expensive on the North Coast. We get to a smaller city in the Cibao Valley on a very regular basis and find that the food prices are generally around 30% less than the prices at the Supermercado Playero and at Productos Sosua - even a bottle of wine is 30% less.

If this was my decision, I would further investigate the Casa de Cambio idea, but would possibly add some components. Possibly photocopying and laminating and some 'business services'. If you can price these right, you will get something out of it. There are lots and lots of small business needing menus, needing signage, needing flyers done and so on - and very few of them have basic desktop publishing ability or skill. Most business owners go to Puerto Plata for these things. I do believe that a signage and business services offering in Cabarete will work if you have a bit of a creative eye and can learn the software to do this with.

Commercial Rentals are high in Cabarete. We've just opened a new store there and I pay US$600 monthly rental for a small store. Electricity to run a computer, cash register and 3 lights comes to about RD$6,000 per month.

We will be opening a second store in Sosua in about 2 months and rentals are more reasonable. A bigger space will set us back US$400 per month.

Hope this helps. I'll be glad to discuss these ideas in a little more depth if you would want to.
 

Jimmydr

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Apr 17, 2003
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Redscot said:
We are not desperate to move, but we have had our eye on a return to the Domincan Republic for years. As mentioned my wife knows the ins and outs of the country well and worked in a bank there 10 years.

She will earn 7000 - 10000 pesos a month, nothing really.
 

Redscot

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Dec 10, 2004
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Jimmydr said:
She will earn 7000 - 10000 pesos a month, nothing really.

Do you mean working in a bank Jimmy? If so, that is not the intention. Only added her experience in relation to working a Casa de Cambio negocio, and her familiarity with the way thigs get done in the D.R.

Thanks though, i like your honesty :).
 

Redscot

Member
Dec 10, 2004
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Chris said:
Just a few comments - There are many many Casa de Cambio's in the Cabarete area. It seems as if there is another one every day. I believe it is not too expensive to start one legally and correctly (possibly around US$5,000 for legal and admin fees and I'm guessing...). I do think a clean, little bigger and little more up-market, nicely lighted and merchandised, Casa de Cambio might just work - a little different from the current 'holes-in-the-wall'). But you have to be on the main road and you will be taking business away from all the others - competition there is fierce. Cabarete is a good place for this as the locals have a 'unofficial and unbreakable' bond between them, and all of them pay 2 points less than anywhere else. This is a tightly knit monopoly that is operating there...

Housing is expensive on the North Coast. A comfortable 'biggish' 3 bedroom away from the beach is going to put you back around 150K (in Sosua) and then you have to start worrying about electricity, planta's, invertors and those things to make your life comfortable - and you have not bought a car yet.

Schooling is expensive on the North Coast. We're paying RD$4,500 for our 3 and a half year old granddaughter at Garden Kids... But this is a good pre- and primary school and we pay this gladly for good schooling. I do not know what we're going to do for high school for her. We're talking in the region of RD$8-10,000 (thank Heavens there is only one and this is a number of years in the future!)

Food and cost of living is generally more expensive on the North Coast. We get to a smaller city in the Cibao Valley on a very regular basis and find that the food prices are generally around 30% less than the prices at the Supermercado Playero and at Productos Sosua - even a bottle of wine is 30% less.

If this was my decision, I would further investigate the Casa de Cambio idea, but would possibly add some components. Possibly photocopying and laminating and some 'business services'. If you can price these right, you will get something out of it. There are lots and lots of small business needing menus, needing signage, needing flyers done and so on - and very few of them have basic desktop publishing ability or skill. Most business owners go to Puerto Plata for these things. I do believe that a signage and business services offering in Cabarete will work if you have a bit of a creative eye and can learn the software to do this with.

Commercial Rentals are high in Cabarete. We've just opened a new store there and I pay US$600 monthly rental for a small store. Electricity to run a computer, cash register and 3 lights comes to about RD$6,000 per month.

We will be opening a second store in Sosua in about 2 months and rentals are more reasonable. A bigger space will set us back US$400 per month.

Hope this helps. I'll be glad to discuss these ideas in a little more depth if you would want to.


Thank you Chris. This is extremely informative, much appreciated. I would definitely like to discuss these items further. Busy at the moment but will message you later.
 

Escott

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Jan 14, 2002
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Unlike Jimmy I think 300k is a decent amount of money to move here with. Unlike Hillbilly I think that the International School and Garden Kids School will prepare your children for college.

Also unlike Jimmy I enroled a little Dominican girl in the Garden School today and the monthly cost is only 2500 pesos. The girls is entering 1st grade.

My advice is to rent a home to begin with and enroll the children in school. Take a look around at the opportunities before you plant yourself here permanantly. Although you may be married to a Dominican woman if she was raised in the states you may be two fish out of water. You aint in Kansas anymore when you come to the DR Toto:) This place is very very different than any other place in the world I have been to.

I live in Sosua and would be glad to take you around and give you the quarter tour.

Good luck in whatever you do.

Scott
 

Redscot

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Thanks Escott! A quick point, my wife actually was born and raised in Cotui, where she worked in a bank for 10 years. She is educated and very polished, AND will be in the Sosua/Cabarete area the week after X-mas scouting. Your offer to show us/her around is a very kind one and one I very well may take you up on. On the way out of the door, but if it is ok will shoot you an email later with some other questions I have.

Many thanks! This board has already proven invaluable.
 

Robert

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Jan 2, 1999
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Escott said:
Unlike Hillbilly I think that the International School and Garden Kids School will prepare your children for college.

I agree with Hillbilly. The options in Santiago or Santo Domingo are far superior to what is available on the North Coast. This is the reason families that can afford to send their kids to school and university in Santiago or Santo Domingo, do.

I'm not saying kids will not get a good education in Sosua or schools in the surrounding areas, I'm sure they will do just fine. You cannot compare the private schools on the North Coast to some of the private ones in Santiago or Santo Domingo, it's apples and oranges.
 

Chris

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Oct 21, 2002
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Escott said:
Also unlike Jimmy I enroled a little Dominican girl in the Garden School today and the monthly cost is only 2500 pesos. The girls is entering 1st grade.
Scott

You're right, we pay more for a few hours of afterschool care - From 1 to 3 in the afternoon.

Just a final comment about schooling, the International School is a college prep school, and a good one too.