Our experience in Buying Villa in Sosua

JanH

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Dec 26, 2002
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For all you out there fantasizing about buying a place in the DR, but were afraid the novelty of the island might become tedious, then listen to us. Our first time in the DR last year was at an all-inclusive 5-star resort on the southern end. We saw very little of the real living on the island. However, beginning last summer, we began searching out anything related to the island via web sites and buying books on the DR. We then began searching real estate web sites.

We went back Thanksgiving and again, stayed at the same ?protective? resort. But this time, we hired a Dominican driver to show us the countryside and educate us on Dominican life. Everyone thought we were crazy to decide to look for real estate based on 2 pampered weeks behind iron gates. Thanks to voraciously reading threads on DR1, and other message boards, we decided the northern coast was the place to look for a vacation house. Based on board discussions (positive and negative), we were also convinced we wanted a vacation home ? and not just rent every time we came down.

The realtors? web sites are good with plenty of pictures. We emailed several of them constantly for 2 months as we narrowed our house selection down to about 8. We also had several email discussions with attorneys and financial planners in Santo Domingo and Puerta Plata about the legal aspects of buying a home. We emailed Ken of this forum with many questions. Thanks to Ken, he put us in touch with Dean Brown of Century21 in Sosua. We then talked exclusively with Dean about the 8 houses we chose. (They don?t really have multiple listing there, but they share in showing the same houses most of the time.) We were on the phone with Dean many times during January. We did as much homework as we could before we left.

People thought we couldn?t possibly choose and buy a house in 2 weeks, but we did. Dean made arrangements for all 8 houses to be available to show in one day. We also talked with many people, referred by Ken and Dean, that knew of the gated community our favorite house was in. The project, Casa Linda, was exactly what we wanted.

What we thought was our favorite house before arriving, was truly the best one. Dean did his homework too and predicted correctly what areas we would and would not like. We made an offer on Wednesday. The owner was in Germany, but by Thursday night, he accepted our final offer. The attorney was Guido Perdomo and he quickly worked with the owner by faxing papers to sign. Money transfers went smoothly and by Monday, the title search was complete. We left Thursday with the title transfer left to be completed. That is because the German had to physically be there to sign the original papers.

From the day the owner accepted our offer until we left the next week, we arranged for all the furniture to be sold through Dean. On Saturday, we made a trip to Santiago to get custom furniture made. Dean graciously went with us on this trip, since we know little Spanish still, and he will be at our house in March to accept the new furniture for us.

After the title search was all in order on Monday, we obtained the keys to the house. We hired 2 maids to help clean the place. Dean arranged for his gardener to work on the outside.

We gave the project manager a list of things we wanted done (paint pool, cut tree branches, etc) and he immediately started the work while we were still there.

To us, Casa Linda is the perfect gated community. It is small, with only 30 houses in a tight circle. The yards are small but there is lush, mature vegetation that makes them totally private. Each house has its own pool and storage building. There is very visible security provided on a 24/7 basis. Most houses are under 100K USD and average 1400 sq ft.

Our home is 3 minutes from Sosua. It is extremely quiet and tranquil. (Because we like our vacations to be peaceful and stress free, we could not deal with the constant noise pollution by living near the highway or the city).

We?ll be back in May to pick out more furniture and do more cleaning on the house. Ken's wife will accompany us to a mattress retailer in Puerta Plata. We're buying linens, pillows, etc., in the states and placing them in those "space bags" that suck all the air out to where the pillows will be flat as a laptop.

As far as the investment, we didn?t really buy it for a rental income, but we are going to rent it to friends and acquaintances later this year to offset some of the monthly maintenance fees. We plan on coming down about 4 times a year; when we retire in 3 years at age 55, we?ll live here during the winters.

If some of you are still hesitant about taking the plunge to buy, I have to mention something about my husband and me. We live in a very upscale neighborhood adjacent to a very nice country club. Our social life IS the club. Our vacations have always been at exclusive resorts and we dine in only top-notch restaurants. With that said, why in God?s name would we be content in a 3rd world country with much financial poverty, noisy, smoking scooters, no air conditioning, impure water, foreign languages, limited services, cash only establishments, armed guards, peddlers, and no road rules???? BECAUSE the Dominican people are the classiest people we?ve ever been around. Money truly doesn?t buy class. These people are respectful of you and one another, they don?t show anger, they are polite, they are happy, and they are clean and very well dressed. I can?t say the same about the tourists we observed during our 2 weeks. What an embarrassment! The country is a paradise island with beautiful beaches, mountains, lush vegetation, perfect temperature, and the most valuable asset ? the Dominican people.

I will start another thread under ?Trip Reports? for our general experiences during our 2-week stay.

Doug&Jan

Here is a link to pictures of our house in Casa Linda: Just click on ?View Slideshow?
Our House
 
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TiberiusMineola

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Positive Experience! Heartening!

It's heart warming to hear this story. I don't think I've ever dealt with anybody in this country as well prepared as you were & are. There are 1,000s of stories of foreigners who were cheated & regretted ever making this move, i.e. buying a house. It's great to hear of the efforts of 1 family that proved so productive. Congratulations! If you're looking for part time work, you'd make wonderful R E brokers here, dealing with Americans & other foreigners. Again, my sincere congratulations.
 

Robert

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Jan 2, 1999
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That's wonderful!

Congratulations on your new house and new "other" home :)

3 cheers for Ken!
 

Ken

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Jan 1, 2002
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Jan and Doug will be great additions to the Sosua community.

They are good people for anyone thinking they might want to purchase property in the DR to know because everything, well nearly everything, seemed to go their way--not often the case in the DR. This was at least partly due to all the work they did prior to coming to house hunt. They are a good example to follow.
 

Ron 02

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Dec 4, 2002
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Enjoy your new home.

I have lived there, watch out for the Mozzies, as there are plenty of them there! Plenty.
 

RandyE

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Feb 4, 2002
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Good job. Please do the rest of us who are still thinking/looking a favor and keep posting on any new developments down the road, say a 6mo. or 1yr. review. Buena suarte!!
 

Ken

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Jan 1, 2002
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JanH said:
Ron02 - we aren't seasoned tourists! what's a mozzie?
It isn't a term I use either, Jan, but I think he is talking about mosquitos.
 

Timex

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May 9, 2002
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Doug&Jan

Congratulations on your new home!!!
It?s absolutely gorgeous.

And everybody can see what happens when you do your homework and are networking with the right people!

I agree with you, on the last paragraph. Dominican people, allot lot of people on the board make too much, of the few bad apples, which you will find in any culture, class, or location.

Welcome Home

Tim & Mercedes H.
 

JanH

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Dec 26, 2002
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Thanks, Timex. We aren't naive enough to think ALL dominicans having outstanding virtues. But in people-watching for 2 weeks while eating at roadside cafes, we watched dominicans interact with one another and with tourists, and from those observations did we come to the conclusion that they are such a cut above most of the rest of us. just read on DR1 that a policeman is killed every 6 days so I know there are some bad apples in the barrel!

Ken - glad you think mozzie means mosquito - we were afraid it meant some kind of bad person in Casa Linda!
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Since I have posted several times on furniture manufacturers in Santiago, I am interested in just where you went to get you stuff made.
As for Mattreses and Box Springs, there is a Serta place in Santiago that should be checked out before you do anything in POP...

Do you play golf? And finally, what part of the States are you from....

HB, curious today...
 

JanH

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Dec 26, 2002
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Hey, Hillbilly - I printed off alot of the furniture threads from you and others before coming down. We went to Santiago with our realtor, Dean Brown. We went to one that I think said "Noucel Internationalle" or something like that and it was shut down. We couldn't find the Artesian company. We went to several ready made stores in downtown area and I didn't like the furniture at all. We then stopped at a roadside furniture making place right before you get to Santiago. It was owned by a Tony Luna and the name of it began with a "C". Sorry, I don't have the receipt with me at work here. We paid half down; they've called once since then asking questions; hopefully, all will be well. However, I didn't order all furniture yet. They were told that if the furniture was satisfactory, then we would order a whole lot more. Figured that would get good quality.

Our project manager at Casa Linda suggested the mattress place in Puerta Plata, and I believe Ken's wife mentioned it to me too. They have next-day delivery. I could kick myself for not remembering to order mattresses when we were there. Now, when we come back in May, we won't have anywhere to sleep in our new home. I wish I could just order the mattresses to be delivered to the house. You think I could give the Santiago retailer the Serta Manuf #s and I could buy like that and have delivered before we get down?

We're from Kentucky. My husband is an Electrical Maintenance Manager and I'm a Systems Analyst.

Wish we could have met you and others on DR1 in February, but we didn't have alot of leisure time - more of a business trip. Hope so next time!
 

BushBaby

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Jan 1, 2002
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Well Done Doug & Jan - it really is heartwarming to hear of people making the (right) decision & then working so hard to MAKE it work!! I've been here 10 years & wouldn't go back to England for anything!!

As with others, I would advise against people coming down & expecting the same sort of success that you have had - normally aything that can go wrong normally does BUT .... planning & forethought keeps all these to a minimum!!

Give me a call when you come Puerto Plata way & we will meet for a couple of cold beers! PM me, e-mail or just pick up the 'phone. Johnny knows the number or you can find me in the local book!! - Grahame.
 

Golo100

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Jan 5, 2002
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JanH

This is a beautiful house and location. Congratulations. It just goes to show what many of us here at Dr1 preach, and that is, that good planning, obtaining the right information, using caution and hiring the right professionals to help you with a project of this kind will get you the right results.

Of course a positive attitude and the right expectations are also a must to succeed.

One of the things that people usually object to strong opinions about not relocating to DR is the financial part. Your success also has a lot to do with your strong financial position to do this. You just didn't come to DR with $30,000 dollars like some people propose to do.

Besides, the maintenance in a home like this is not just for everybody. This is a story for people with the right means and a solid financial background.

TW
 

JanH

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Dec 26, 2002
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Thanks to all who have commented on our home. And to those that lawded us on the pre-plannning.

We couldn't have been this prepared without the hundreds of posts on DR1 and other web sites.

Specifically, I started a 3-ring binder last summer, printing out all relevant information and then used indexes to separate by subject. So, when we went to Santiago for furniture, I took my binder, flipped to the "furniture" index, and went from there.

It only takes a few contacts (Dean and Ken) to begin networking with others to make the right decisions. Buying in a project is much easier than buying a house standing alone. The project managers also have got connections to get things done.

In fact, i got an email yesterday saying that our pool was finished. So, they drained it, cleaned it, 3 coats of paint, and filled it within 6 days.

Golo - Not all people, like you said, want to deal with maintenance of a house. We have contracted for daily pool and yard maintenance for $100 a month. No - we probably don't need daily - but we believe strongly in preventive care - which helps reduce failures and repairs.

Bushbaby - i'll take you up on those cold ones when we come back in May!
 

For2otious

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Feb 25, 2003
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Congratulations

FIRST,

I want to say Hi to everyone here at DR1. Your advice and observations are truly nuggets of wisdom, and I laude you for your efforts.

Second, Way to go JanH. I am VERY happy to hear that things can go so smoothly. Your home is beautiful and I hope that you keep posting about your experiences. I am sure they will be a good source of information for my wife and I in our "search for paradise"

Bruce

" There will be Peace when the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power"
 

JanH

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Dec 26, 2002
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For2: Thanks. Check out my new thread under Trip Reports for our experiences in Sosua/Cabarete in February.

Are you and your wife looking in the Caribbean for a vacation villa? or have you narrowed it down to the DR?
 

For2otious

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Feb 25, 2003
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Getting the Lay of the Land

JanH

My wife and I are looking at buying in the DR, but not for a while. We are collecting information and planning a 3-4 week vacation to the DR probably late next year. From what I have seen "Casa Linda" appears to be a very nice community. And, I am sure we will be stopping by to see it.

Though I am a rather seasoned Expat, have been outside the U.S. for 17 out of the last 20 years, I still get a little freaked out thinking about investing 200k+ USD in a non-European/North American economy. It's not that I am so risk averse, but factoring in the inherant corruption, potential for severe weather conditions and unscruplous real estate agents, it is enough to give any intelligent person a reason to pause. Consequently, we have looked more at "Communities" of which Casa is one. They provide a way to mitigate some of the "Risk".

Bruce