investing in Dominican Republic
What makes someone a good real estate investor?
In daily practice, I meet all kinds of real estate investors in the Dominican Republic, which is a very nice aspect of my profession. Traditional investors, people with clearly ‘new money’, starting investors, but also people who have become ‘out of necessity’ investors through inheritance. Everyone has their own vision, style, approach and wishes. I regularly ask myself the question: “What makes someone a good real estate investor in the Dominican Republic?” Personally, this is what I think:
A good real estate investor is skeptical and curious at the same time. Is usually someone with good communication skills and someone who is a people person. On the other hand, that person must also be administratively strong. Above all, it is someone who has a decent dose of affinity with real estate and is willing to take a small amount of (calculated) risk.
My experience is that successful real estate investors in the Dominican Republic like to overview and analyze all the information and reports that they receive but like to create their vision after they have done their own research. The story of a project developer with glossy brochures and projected high returns is not just taken for granted. If a banker says that house prices are going to rise, a good investor wonders if that’s really the case and wonders whether the banker might be saying that with the aim of selling more mortgages or vice versa, if a fund manager says that house prices are going to fall, is this manager’s goal to share important information or is he busy recruiting ‘investors’ to mainly invest in his fund? A good real estate investor is skeptical and critical when it comes to information from commercial parties. We all know the stories of people who have invested in (often yet to be built) projects that in the end were not nearly as profitable as they had been led to believe if these projects were profitable at all
My experience is that you can be quite successful as a small investor in Dominican real estate, if you are willing to (continue to) do your homework in crucial areas. Ask the right parties for advice, such as a knowledgeable rental agent, but always make your own calculations. It helps if you can deal with people well. It is important to be able to have good long-term relationships with tenants, your broker, property manager, maintenance people, but also, for example, the neighbors of your property(s). Housing is ‘people’s business’. Potential tenants must be able to know exactly what to expect from the property they are going to rent and must also understand who has which responsibilities regarding renting or letting. They must have a good understanding of the lease and any additional terms and conditions before making a commitment to you. That can save a lot of hassle later. When you outsource the management of your real estate in Dominican Republic, it is crucial that you and your manager are on the same page. Your manager must also be aware of the latest developments in the field of tenancy law, local rules, and laws. In addition, a good relationship with your technical people is of great importance. It is also crucial that you are well organized and keep track of exactly how much money is coming in, how much is going out and what repairs have taken place. Repairs for which you as an investor are responsible must be resolved quickly and reports from tenants require a swift response and possible follow-up. You do not have to manage or implement everything yourself, selecting a good real estate manager with a proven good reputation is indispensable for long-term success.
In summary, the following recommendations may help you:
Try to buy real estate in locations where one can reasonably expect to have a positive stretch in local economic activity and in any case no contraction.
Think of sufficient employment opportunities or a new (international) school in the neighborhood. The intention is that house prices and rents will eventually go up and not down.
Aim for minimum vacancy when moving from an old to a new tenant. One month of vacancy costs you 8.3% of your rental income on an annual basis. A good and committed manager will do everything he can to prevent vacancy by taking timely action.
Tenants must be treated in a respectful and correct way. Fulfill expectations. This prevents problems during the rental period. Choose a property manager who also has such an approach, is experienced in this, and even excels in it.
Repairs must be smooth and cost efficient
Are you interested in investing in the Dominican Republic feel free to contact me for more information.
Adriaan Smit Real Estate & Financial Advisor
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