Expats' Corner January 9, 2024 | 6:47 pm

What to do with your home before moving to the Dominican Republic

Once you’ve decided to make the move to the Dominican Republic full-time or even part-time, you’ll have to consider what to do with your personal residence. This is important, and it needs to be thought out beforehand.

Here are some ideas expats or retirees should consider before embarking on their international adventure.

1. Renting Out Your Home Long-term:

Renting out your property can provide a steady stream of income, which can be particularly beneficial for retirees looking to supplement their pension. Set a competitive yet profitable rental price, and decide if you’ll manage the property yourself or hire a property management company. Consider the costs of maintenance, emergency repairs, and periods when the house may be vacant.

2. Renting Out Your Home Short-term (Airbnb):

Renting your home short-term is an attractive strategy, offering flexibility and a potential income stream without long-term tenant commitments. Like long-term rental, this option allows homeowners to maintain property ownership while benefiting from rental income, which can supplement retirement funds or cover overseas living expenses. Utilizing platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, homeowners can manage rental periods around their schedules or return visits. You’ll need to invest in a property manager.

Also, you must confirm whether short-term rental is legal or allowable under local laws and your HOA by-laws. Many major cities and municipalities like Miami, Dallas, and New York have passed laws and ordinances restricting short-term rental.

2. Selling Your Home:

Selling your home might be a wise decision, especially if you’re moving permanently and want to avoid the responsibility of managing a property from afar. The proceeds from the sale can significantly boost your retirement fund. Or be used to purchase your new home in the DR.

Before selling, consult with a real estate agent to understand market conditions and invest in any necessary repairs or upgrades to enhance the property’s value. Understand the tax implications and how the timing of the sale might affect your finances.

4. House Swapping:

House swapping with another person in your destination country can be an exciting and cost-effective option for those not looking for a permanent move. There are several reputable websites and agencies that facilitate such exchanges. Ensure you have a clear agreement on responsibilities and expectations.

5. Leave the House Vacant:

If you decide to leave the property vacant, it’s crucial to secure it properly. Consider hiring a property management service to check on and maintain the house regularly, invest in a good security system, and ensure your insurance covers long-term vacancies. Notify your neighbors of your plans so they’ll keep an eye out on your property.

Whether you decide to sell, rent, swap, or leave your home vacant, each option requires careful planning. By weighing your options and preparing, you can ensure that your transition to living abroad in the DR is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Maria Abreu is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Abreu & Associates, a law firm practicing exclusively in Dominican Republic Immigration and Nationality law. She is also the founder of Retire and Invest DR. This organization hosts conference events for foreigners interested in living, retiring, and investing in the DR. You can contact Maria at: mabreu@abreuimmigration.com.

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Paul Tierney
January 10, 2024 9:29 am

Setting a goal is critical. People who move from the US to the RD could set a time frame, let’s say of 2-5 years there. They could plan to rent their houses, other family members left behind or others would administer them. If they could not handle living in the RD they had the option of returning to the US to their own homes. If they wanted to stay in the RD they could then opt to sell their US houses.