The procedure when purchasing a real estate property in the Dominican Republic is similar to Canada, Europe, and the United States. First of all, you need to find the right home for your budget and project. You can search homes for sale in Las Terrenas here, or request property research here.
1 - The Purchase Offer
Once you decide to make a move on a particular property, the first step is to send a formal written offer to the sellers containing the main conditions under which you propose to purchase the property. This document, usually sent via email, includes details such as the purchase price, the payment terms, and more aspects if necessary. It is best to be as clear and transparent as possible from the start.
When the sellers are presented with your offer, they will decide either, to accept that proposal, or send you a counteroffer with terms closer to their requirements.
This delicate process of negotiation is unique to each transaction, that is why we recommend you to discuss with your real estate agent to come up with the best possible offer. Negotiation is an art.
2 - The Promise of Sale
The next step is the drafting and signing of a "Promise of Sale" (aka "Promise of Purchase”). In the Dominican Republic, the POS is a legally binding document that needs to be signed in front of a notary public.
All the terms of the transaction are established in that document; it will include the full names of both parties, references establishing identities (such as valid passports, driver’s license), a clause in case of default from either party, a legal description of the property, the final purchase price, the payment terms, the date on which the property is delivered, the exact date of the closing, etc.
When signing the “Promise of Sale", the buyers will have to wire the first payment as agreed between the parties. This amount will usually vary from 10% to 50%. Depending on the type of transaction, this money is either placed in the escrow of the legal office you’ve chosen to represent you or sent directly to the seller's account.
It is also at that time that your legal representative will do the due diligence.
3 - The Deed of Sale
The last step to finalize your purchase is to sign the "Deed of Sale”. It is formal document binding on both parties and signed by them in the presence of a notary public.
As mentioned, the legal office needs to request and verify all the necessary documents to ensure a proper transfer of the property to you.
This process can take as little as a few days or considerably more. The required time will vary according to the availability of the documents, the people, and the complexity of the transaction. By experience, it usually takes around 2 to 4 weeks.
Both parties need to be physically present in front of the Public Notary, or their legal representatives (via Power of Attorney). It will be read and signed by both parties. You can ask your real estate agent to be there with you.
All funds (amount agreed between parties in the "Promise of Sale") need to be readily available for transfer at the time of closing. The buyers and the sellers will sign all the necessary documents, the sellers will attest reception of the funds and only then, the public notary will stamp the "Deed of Sale".
Now, the sale can be recorded with the office of the "Register of Titles" by your legal representative. In most cases, you can expect to have the property under your name (or your company's name) in around 1 to 2 months.