Real estate purchases in the Dominican Republic do not usually follow the North American pattern of a written offer tendered by the buyer to the seller, followed by the seller’s written acceptance. Instead, after a verbal agreement is reached by the buyer and seller on the price, a binding Promise of Sale is prepared by an attorney or notary public which is signed by both parties.
Despite current practices, as a real estate agency, we recommend to our clients to send a written offer via email to the seller. This more formal offer contains the conditions under which you, the buyer, propose to purchase the property including details like, occupation, furniture, payment terms, etc. The more transparent and clear the transaction is at the start, the smoother the buying process will be.
In case you are buying a property to be built, the builder will usually require you to sign a provisional contract and pay a downpayment to reserve your unit.
Notaries in the Dominican Republic are required to have a law degree. But because of certain peculiarities of Dominican Real Estate Law, it is recommended that the prospective buyer retain an attorney specializing in real estate transactions before signing any documents or making a deposit. A notary can also be a real estate attorney.
Depending on the wishes of the parties, the attorney may proceed with the due diligence first, before preparing the Promise of Sale, or alternatively, prepare the Promise of Sale first, conditioning the purchase to the results of the due diligence to be done in a specified term.
A quick note about the due diligence:
The attorney will require all of the documents from the seller, including a copy of the seller’s identification card or a copy of his/her passport, a copy of the Certificate of Title, copy of the tax payment receipts which are issued by the Internal Revenue Office, and a copy of the original survey or plot plan from the property. In case the seller originally bought the property as part of a condominium or the seller is a corporation, additional documents will be requested.