Purchasing property in the Dominican Republic is a relatively easy process. There are no particular prohibitions that block or otherwise prevent a foreign national from purchasing real estate in the Dominican Republic. Indeed, many foreign nationals invest in and own real estate in the Dominican Republic and have done so for many years.
The buying and selling of real estate in the Dominican Republic is subject to the Land Registry Law of the Dominican Republic. Pursuant to the law of the Dominican Republic, the first step in purchasing real estate in the Dominican Republic is the execution of a contract for sale between the buyer and seller.
In the Dominican Republic, it is a must that the contract for sale be signed in front of a notary public. In the Dominican Republic a notary public must have a law degree. The contract for sale sets forth the general terms and conditions of the sale — a description of the real estate being sold, the agreed upon sales price and other matters relating to the transaction. The buyer normally posts a deposit for the property that can be upwards to 10% of the total purchase price of the real estate in question.
Once the contract for sale is signed and notarized, the document is then taken to the Internal Revenue Office. At this juncture, a determination is made as to what taxes will be due and owing because of the sale. The appropriate taxes need to be paid in advance of the final conveyance of the property from the seller to the buyer.
After the financing completely is arranged and all of the conditions set forth in the contract for sale have been realized, the contract for sale and a certificate of title (designating the buyer as the owner of the real estate) is then filed with the Title Registrar’s Office.
In some locations in the Dominican Republic there can be a delay of upwards to a month before the Title Registrar’s Office is able to issue a new title to the real estate. In other areas in the country, the office can issue the title as quickly as one day. In the Dominican Republic the buyer bears a fairly heavy due diligence burden when it comes to the purchase of real estate.
In other words, if the buyer does not undertake a course of due diligence to make certain that there are no encumbrances on the real estate, the buyer very well may be stuck with a lost deposit and being unable to take full title to the real estate in question.