Finally! Mortgages For Foreigners Buying Vacation Homes in the Dominican Republic

Technically mortgages have been available to foreigners buying property in the Dominican Republic since 2005. However, despite numerous attempts at obtaining mortgages for very qualified buyers, until this year I did not have one client who was granted a mortgage.

In 2005 many real estate brokers in the DR were approached by a mortgage broker, based in Florida but with a representative living in Santo Domingo, who claimed that they were able to provide mortgages to foreigners on Dominican Republic real estate. I worked with these brokers for three very qualified buyers two from Canada and one from the US. Two of these clients were declined, for no obvious reason that we could determine. With the third client, a very qualified Canadian business man, after months of completing realms of paperwork and providing an unbelievable amount of backup documentation, we finally had an approval! The day of closing the mortgage broker informed us that all of the mortgage documents had been forwarded to the lawyer and were waiting for signature. When we arrived at the lawyers there had been no documents delivered. The lawyer immediately contacted a VP at the (local) bank, who the mortgage broker had identified as the bank providing the mortgage, only to discover that the application had never been approved. Needless to say, we did not ever work with that broker again, although I did come across some information on them online recently and I believe they are still promoting themselves as mortgage brokers.

In 2007 a new mortgage broker set up a business locally. I met with them and they had definitely completed all of their due diligence before establishing their business. They were going to work with both international banks and local banks to provide applicants with several options of mortgages. They tried for a full year with many highly qualified clients and were not successful in obtaining mortgages for any of them, with the exception of one where they were able to negotiate a mortgage directly from the developer. It seemed that, although several banks were promoting mortgages for foreigners, none of them were actually approving applicants and providing mortgages.

In December of 2008, I was contacted by a developer who had worked with an international bank (international, but with many local branches throughout the Dominican Republic) to have his Cabarete, beachfront condominium development approved for mortgages. The individual buyers would still have to go through the regular application and approval process but the condominiums were appraised by the bank and the property was approved, which would make the process much quicker. I am very pleased to say that in early January one of our clients, a couple from Colorado, received a mortgage for their condominium through this bank!

The mortgage program is offered to residents of Canada, the US or the UK who are buying a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. The documentation requested is similar to that required from any mortgage provider and the process, once all paperwork is received by the bank, takes about a month. The mortgage is only on the property being purchased in the Dominican Republic and the buyer does not have to put up assets in their home country as collateral. The term is up to 25 years and the interest rate is 8%, which is higher than most foreigners are paying at home but substantially lower than the 16% plus being offered by local banks on peso mortgages. Also, we are dealing directly with the bank so there are no mortgage broker fees to worry about; these fees were running at the 3.5% range.

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