House Hunters International and Cabarete Real Estate

Many of you have seen the House Hunter’s International episode Sally and I filmed a year or so ago featuring beachfront condos in the Cabarete and Sosua real estate market; it really was great fun.  The experience taught us a great deal about how these shows are put together and the amount of work it takes to put on a mere half hour program, so I thought I’d share some of that experience.

After being approached by HHI, the whole process began with our proposing several sales to see which profile might work best for the producers of the show.  Once one of those sales was selected, then Sally and I as well as our Canadian client couple made short videos of a simulated sales situation which we submitted to House Hunters International.  They wanted to determine our level of appropriateness for filming; fortunately the client video and ours were accepted.  I’ve always contended that divine providence must have accompanied our submitted video as I certainly don’t remind many people of Brad Pitt, but for sure Sally carried the day for us with her wit and charm.

Anyway, once all arrangements were made, a film crew came to the Dominican Republic and we visited three properties, shot footage of shopping in town, and filmed local landmarks.  It was amazing to see the level of detail required.  Footage had to be at the right light level, sound quality had to be tested before and after each shot to ensure proper modulation in case that scene made it to final production.  The House Hunters International crew was simply amazing as their experienced professionalism knew exactly how to handle each situation (including having me change shirts a dozen times to make sure I had one that would look right on camera).  They knew how to catch the light, the best angle to view each showing, when to touch things like natural stone counters or coral stone wall accents.  Their knowledge helped bypass potential situations a novice would never imagine to be problematic.

By the way, everyone asks if we only showed three properties to the buyers, and the answer is of course no.  We looked at quite a few in the original sale situation, but for the purposes of the show we selected three that we had visited that were equivalent in cost and appeal, and that the owners would agree to have on film (some owners declined).  Don’t forget the show is filming a re-creation of a sale rather than the original sales process which would be impossible to predict. 

Okay, so after three days of condos viewing, driving all over Cabarete and Sosua, simulated contract signings, office visits and a blizzard of other activities led us to the last shot and we wrapped up our portion of the filming.  Our clients, however, (good sports that they were) still had to return to Canada with the film crew and do two more days of filming at their home outside Toronto. They did a fantastic job working with the film crew.  After everything completed, we all had a new sense of appreciation for how exhaustive and professional the HHI process proved to be.  HHI makes the shows look so seamless and simple, but believe me there is a lot of work done behind the scenes.

After final airing of the show, Sally and I were astonished at how much footage did not make the cut (all the great scenes of me looking handsome somehow didn’t survive).  Anyway, the editing team did an outstanding job of linking together a blizzard of different scenes and dialogue into a smooth story line.  What felt so fragmented to us while filming became orderly and informative in final production, further evidence of the high quality professionalism of the HHI staff from beginning to end.

I hope you enjoy our little episode and get to see more episodes as well because the series illuminates many parts of the world most of us rarely have a chance to investigate.  If you get to see our fifteen minutes of “fame”, maybe one day you can have a good laugh with Sal and me while we’re showing you what we think are still the best real estate values in the Caribbean, and the rare opportunity to be early in discovering something that will only get bigger and better over time.   Here are the links in case you care to watch the show, and let me say as well THANKS to all of you who have contacted us since the show first aired.  And yes, we still have our “day jobs”!

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGGdZLyncA8  part 1

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeCCZi-BbuA  part 2

Now just let me encourage you to fly into Puerto Plata yourself and check out the amazing real estate values people are finding  for retirement and vacation properties here on the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  There is a lot to see  and Sally and I will be happy to share the knowledge we’re gather over the past 10 years and to help you find your own little slice of paradise while it is still affordable. 

Build Your Own Villa in the Dominican Republic: Lots of Options

One of the most frequent questions we get is, “Can I build a house in the DR?” Absolutely! Here in Cabarete/Sosua, you have excellent options that range from multiple designs within a fully gated community, to custom construction on your own plot of land. This suite of choices covers many price ranges and can be situated beachside or up in the hills with panoramic views.

Today I will discuss four different approaches and give you an idea of the different styles and locations you can choose. Obviously this is meant to be an introduction only and a trip here to meet with Sally and me as well as with different developers is a crucial step, so let’s get started.

Option One:  Beachside Villa.  This dream is one many of us share but it requires a little insight. This north coast real estate area is a “part time residency” location as well as tourist destination for wind and water sports, so both beachfront condos and beachside villas have become mainstream option for people looking to get out of the North American and European winters.

Located on 30 acres on the ocean and with direct access to the best surfing spots on the island, one developer has cracked the code for the ultimate in tropical living. Gorgeous custom homes on spacious, affordable lots create the allure, but the quality of construction takes this opportunity to a whole new stratosphere of value. Lots begin at $85 a square meter and you can build now or wait until the kids are out of college while feeling comfortable that your hand picked lot will be waiting for you. One condo/apartment building also exists beachfront where you can stay and monitor your home’s progress. Here is a representative house; price depends on lot and size of structure of course:

Option Two:   A lovely home in the hills five minutes from beaches and town: In this north coast residency area there are two outstanding European developers offering very different choices. One is modern, sleek design with lots of glass and stone and an elegant look that makes you want to call Architectural Digest to come down and take pictures. The other is more traditional villa design but also with that modern European flair and lifestyle oriented floor plans as well as progressive energy-saving technologies.

Modern Utopia – Five different models ranging from 165K (plus lot) to 375K (plus lot); here is just one option:

This is a smaller development of only 19 building sites where prices range from $46 m2 to $70 m2 currently, so it has that intimate feel. Contact Arthur for a “Catalog of Homes.”

Tropical Utopia -   The second option in the hills is even closer to town and is now opening a gorgeous new phase of lots. This developer also offers a “Fly and Buy” program for serious buyers. Homes here range from 212K up (includes lot, house, pool, landscaping) with the average home price (which includes lot, house, pool and landscaping by the way) being around 300K. A very attractive rental guarantee option also exists for the first two years. Again, ask for a  “Catalog of Homes” and you’ll see the amazing value.

Option Three:  Build your Own Villa on your own lot.   Some people just want a little more space and also want the autonomy they find in securing their own property and building their dream villa on it. There are some great building lots around, many in gated communities that don’t have a mandated builder restriction. Take a look at this building lot, a full acre, gorgeous ocean view, five minutes from several public beaches, and half way between Cabarete and Sosua, the perfect spot to live so you have easy 5 minute access to either town’s restaurants, beaches, and services:

Here’s another acre sized lot that is beachfront:

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1931 listing BL6024AB

Planning a Visit:   So, as you plan your retirement or firm up those dreams for a Caribbean villa of your own, remember, you’ve got excellent choices we are here to help. Come visit and let’s take a look. Your tropical dream villa is closer at hand than you might have realized!

We look forward to seeing you soon, and please feel free to contact Sally or me anytime on Remax Dominican Republic real estate.

Special Promotion on New Gated Community Villas – Your Own 2Bd/2.5Ba Villa, Pool, Landscaping Only $159,000!

The real estate market on the north coast of The Dominican Republic remains strong making the following opportunity all the more compelling. The most successful developer in the area has just announced a special, limited availability opportunity to clients looking for an exceptional deal. In a section of homes already completed, he has traded a larger tract of “green acres” property to the government for a chance to build only 10 houses. Each villa includes a private pool of your design and full tropical landscaping, with three designs to choose from, both 2 and 3 bedroom models being available. To keep prices even lower these homes will be built on slightly smaller lots in a gorgeous naturalized area—what a great retirement opportunity.

These brand new villas will sit on lots ranging from 600 to 800 square meters with prices from $159,000 – $225,000. Now that’s impressive anytime, but for this kind of quality in one of the most secure communities on the north coast, this window of opportunity will not last. There will only be ten homes and several have already been reserved. Each of these lots is a good choice as the developer plans a gorgeous waterfall and nature trail to take advantage of the adjacent natural rock grotto. He also intends to build a restaurant nearby to further enhance the many conveniences already available, such as free shuttles to Cabarete and Sosua as well as the local beaches.

In addition to the three designs that will be available, other designs, both custom and developer offered are available in the new Phase VII area soon to begin construction, but for the very best pricing and the opportunity to build immediately, this offering cannot be beat.

If you’d like a “Catalogue of Homes” which shows many of the most popular designs offered, simply email Sally or Arthur at coralbayrealestate.com We can also send more information on the development and “Fly and Buy” program as well as make an appointment to show you this exceptional retirement or 2nd home property value.

Your private tropical paradise just became affordable, but you better hurry as they are selling fast – so contact Sally and Arthur today! Here is the listing for the Special Pricing Promotion ID# HG6086AB: http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=2218

Carnival Cruise Lines Announces Construction of Two Cruise Ship Docks just Outside Puerto Plata

Tourism and the Condo/Villa Residency Market on the North Coast Just Got a Huge Boost:

Talk about big news for Cabarete, Sosua, and Puerto Plata, Carnival Cruise Lines in mid-August inked a deal that will significantly enhance the visibility of the “Part Time Residency” tsunami that in recent years has attracted such an interesting mix of expats from Canada, The United States, and Europe. Long known as a favorite destination to enjoy the year round wind sports such as kite boarding and wind surfing, the north coast (Cabarete and Sosua) has for years steadily identified itself as a premier real estate value for retirees and vacation home buyers who want to spend a few months in the tropics out of the cold weather in their home countries.

Tourism minister Francisco Javier Garcia announced that the new cruise ship port would be open before the end of 2014, less than a three year window. Carnival Cruise lines plans a $65 million dollar (US) two-berth port facility in the Bay of Maimon just minutes west of Puerto Plata and only five minutes from the Ocean World tourist attraction that has become one of the best Dolphinarium facilities in the world. This area also has a modern boat marina as well as Las Vegas style hotel/show/restaurant.

Gloria Israel, Carnival’s VP of Port Development said Dufry (duty free shops) would be a joint developer partner. Though financed entirely by the Carnival/Dufry group, port executives anticipate non-Carnival controlled ships utilizing the facility as well further increasing familiarity with this important Dominican residency/tourism market increasingly being sought out my North Americans looking to escape the grind.

Dredging of a cruise ship channel into the bay will precede construction and land purchases have recently been completed for the deal to proceed as planned.

Carnival Cruise Line is the world’s largest cruise ship operator with ten cruise lines that own over 100 ships that visit over 169 ports world wide, an ever expanding universe of connections. The lines include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn. Carnival and sister ship line Costa each dock at the La Romana port. Construction begins in 2012 and the first cruise ship arrival is scheduled for summer 2014.

Carnival will build and operate the cruise terminal and is expected to have complete control over the ship scheduling, passengers and arrival area. Parking and facilities for the taxis and tour buses will be provided under the terms and procedures set forth by Carnival to maintain an efficient cruise ship port operation. This development is expected to be a significant financial boost for the Puerto Plata region with the construction itself generating numerous jobs that later will be supplanted by new jobs generated to service the ships and visiting passengers.

The port will be prepared to receive two ships with around 2,000 passengers and 500 crew members each at the same time.
Re/Max Coral Bay currently sees a window of opportunity for securing high value low cost properties before natural market forces drive prices higher. Now is the time to look at properties to suit a variety of retirement, second home, and rental investment need and this opportune timing is made even more appealing by the recent expansion of the best gated new villa complex on the north coast, only 15 minutes east of the Puerto Plata airport and located between the two charming towns of Cabarete and Sosua.

For a “Catalogue of Homes” or a copy of “The DR Welcome Guide” contact Arthur or Sally. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you to find your piece of paradise while it is still so amazingly affordable. Contact us today.

Just Announced: Opening of Phase VII, Gated Community of Private Villas in Cabarete, Beautiful Ocean & Mountain Views

Secure Gated Villa Community Announces North Coast Cabarete, DR Expansion

Sometimes in life you just happen to be in the right place at the opportune moment, and if you are looking for perfect timing on an elegant tropical villa, this is it. As a retirement or second home, the window of opportunity has just opened for great new mountain and ocean view lots, and a special pricing promotion on the long awaited Casa Linda Phase VII opening.

One of the most progressive, high quality gated developments in this area is now offering for sale lots on a new 75 acre tract between Cabarete and Sosua. It is convenient to everything including local beaches, the new medical facility and grocery store just a minute away, and of course Puerto Plata International (POP) airport is only ten minutes away. What vision this new offering demonstrates, and a great plan to match.

With 14 years of proven success and 140 completed villas, this secure community offers the full range of villa design, construction, management, and rental with years of continuous credibility. This new section will also be more family friendly and offer a variety of eating, shopping, and recreational amenities.

So what will this Phase VII offer?

• A special pricing promotion on “Ultima Ridge.” The Ultima is a wildly popular 4 or 6 bedroom villa constructed around the “Privacy Concept” where all living spaces open to the pool and outside terrace areas (you know, where we live down here). The developer is offering a special buying incentive on the first 5 premium Ultima lots situated on a scenic ridge that catches the comfortable ocean breezes floating up the hillside. (Ask Arthur and Sally for details)

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1757 HG6041AB

• Townhouses – 2 blocks of 16 two and three bedroom for a total of 32. What a great new idea for this area, spacious, high quality building materials, beautiful:

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=2058 AP6130AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=2059 AP6131AB

• “Tranquila” design houses, also modeled on the “Privacy Concept” like the Ultima but at a more affordable price point—3 br versions with private pool for 227K and 245K. These will be larger than the Phase VI configuration seen in the listing below:

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1971 HG6067AB

• New commercial area with a French restaurant, mini-golf, convenience market, tennis courts, etc. This will be a family oriented sector with walking paths and a variety of new services and amenities to be added over time.

• Shuttles to Sosua and Cabarete as well as local beaches. Though transportation is readily available everywhere here, free Casa Linda shuttles run to make your trips to town and beaches more convenient.

• Package Pricing – each villa price includes the lot, house, pool, and landscaping—-a great package.

• “Fly and Buy” program so you can visit the area and experience tropical lifestyle living for yourself.

• Various rental guarantee opportunities for individuals who want to build now and earn rental income for up to two years before moving into their villa themselves—are you retiring in a couple of years? Perfect!

• Stay Rent Free while your villa is being built. Just pay the community fees and house expenses and you have no rental cost.

Sally and I have several documents you can request from us directly, so let us know if we can help:

• “DR Welcome Guide”

• “Pets in the DR”

• “Punta Cana vs. North Coast Ownership”

• “Casa Linda Information Package”

Contact Arthur and Sally today.

“Privacy Concept” Villa a Big Success in the Dominican Republic

The north coast of the Dominican Republic (the “DR”) is of course a strong residency market for expatriates, a place to spend several weeks or months a year out of the cold.  As such many buyer lean towards a villa purchase rather than condo as they prefer the individual residency model they are so familiar with in North America or Europe.In the Cabarete/Sosua real estate market, we are seeing this trend accelerate around “Privacy Concept” villas.

Many buyers find that building a villa in a non-gated community doesn’t suit their need to lock the door and return to their home country for a few months after winter is over, so they tend towards high quality, gated villa developments that offer the full range of villa management and rental services. That practical phenomenon now has an added dimension of privacy that is receiving great attention and proving to be one of the most successful new approaches in this area.

Take for example this extremely well managed development between Cabarete and Sosua. European ownership and project management, high quality building materials including energy saving designs, complete package purchase with lot, villa, pool and landscaping all included and yet with a strong eye to individual home owner privacy.

This respect for the home owner sanctuary comes in two versions, both affordable and appealing on many levels. The “Ultima” is the top of the line 4 or 6 bedroom villa for less than 400K incorporating living areas both outdoor and indoor merged into one open life style design ideal for entertaining or for just living the tropical second home experience you’ve dreamed of owning:

www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1757 HG6041AB

Now, here is the same idea played out on a smaller, more affordable scale, the “Tranquila” or as I call it, “Son of Ultima.” Same concept of bedrooms and living areas surrounding the pool with landscaping filling in the open end of the U-shaped open-ended courtyard. Same high grade building materials and project oversight.

www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1971 HG6067AB

The aim of creating an enclosed, personal experience for homeowners and yet situating that within a gated community with all the appropriate services represents the best of both worlds and is a winning combination. Add to that the developer’s rental guarantee for two years, rent free villa usage while your home is being built, and free shuttle service to town and beaches a half mile away then you have an amazing package that simply can’t be beat.

Contact Arthur and Sally for both the “DR Welcome Guide” and the “Info Package” for this outstanding north coast project now in its 14th year of success. There are also many other villa designs and the developer has an in-house architect so modifications to your exact needs are easily managed. This is the complete package; come and see!  Also, ask us about the developer’s “Try it, Buy it, Free Airfare” super discounted rental packages.

Why Sosua/Cabarete in the Dominican Republic vs. Punta Cana?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is why would someone buy property in the Cabarete/Sosua area instead of on the other side of the island, the place most North Americans know as the “All-Inclusive Capital of the DR,” Punta Cana (PC).  The question itself reflects the marketing bias that has always presented the eastern end of the island as a fabulous beach and golf destination, but recently positive attention is being diverted to The Dominican Republic’s (DR) north coast as more and more Baby Boomers and vacation property buyers search for the very best beachfront bargains.

The real difference in considering the area east of Puerto Plata vs. Punta Cana real estate comes down to what kind of experience a person wants.  Punta Cana is on the Caribbean, tranquil waters with sandy beach dominated by large All-Inclusive hotels.  For a few days of sun and golf it is a fabulous destination, but for escape from winter cold and for more long term residency offerings, the Atlantic facing north coast is a far better choice.  Below are just a few reasons the two areas might as well be on different islands they are so different:

  • The Atlantic brings year round wind off the ocean producing world class wind sport opportunities such as kite boarding and wind surfing.  The wind also keeps the climate cooler and more bug free thus creating pleasant living conditions for the growing expatriate population roughly divided into third proportions among Canadian, American and European citizens.  Punta Cana on the other hand is calm and sunny with less vegetation and without the exotic mountain vistas where the mountains ripple down to the sea on the north coast.
  • A more interesting climate and scenery on the north coast also combines with more cultural experience as there are real towns here to enjoy.  Cabarete is largely a tourist town having grown up by the incredible growth of Kite Boarding in the area whereas Sosua is both a working Dominican town and a tourist destination.  Residents and tourists freely move about on bus and taxi systems or rented cars and find countless restraunts, beaches, shops and tours whereas in PC the hotel experience governs most contact with the island and its residents; in fact, there really isn’t even much of a town of PC but rather a region populated with hotels.
  • Another important difference is hurricane vulnerability and again the two areas differ greatly.  Most storms hitting the DR come up from the south or east making the southern and eastern ends of the island such as PC more vulnerable to the more destructive storm surge.  The north coast has three things in its favor regarding hurricanes:  1) three mountain ranges in the center of the island (the highest peak being 10,400 feet from sea level) tend to disrupt storms passing over the island leaving heavy rain to the north coast but not storm surge, 2) Puerto Rico to the east and Jamaica as well as Haiti to the west work in conjunction with the mountain ranges to break apart storms that might pass over the north coast, and 3) deep ocean water to the north of the DR do not favor the development or sustenance of hurricanes and serve as an additional assets in our protection.  You can see old growth palm trees all up and down the north coast illustrating natural factors very much working to our protection here.
  • Many other reasons abound ranging from heavy governmental investment in North Coast infrastructure (roads, sewage treatment, beaches, full time electrical grid, expanded International Airport in Puerto Plata with many direct flights to the US, Canada and Europe, security, etc.) but perhaps the most compelling reason to consider the north coast for second home or retirement property is value—prices and selection on the north coast simply cannot be beat and offer the most affordable beachfront and ocean facing mountain properties in the Caribbean.  Take a look below as just a few choices:

BL6020AB - Great buy on a Cabarete beachfront lot with miles of sand to walk:

AP6126AB - Brand new Cabarete apartment listing and a great price on quality; natural stones, wood, and really cool design—first one of this model closest to the beach:

AP6094AB - Stunning Cabarete beach front penthouse finished with marble, granite, mahogany one bedroom condo:

AP6098AB - Lovely 2 bedroom fully outfitted Sosua condo in 185 acre complex with full service gym, restaurant, water park for the kids, and gorgeous ocean vistas.

AP6026AB - Terrific 3 bedroom beachfront Cabarete condo for less than $US300,000

HG6063AB - Absolutely immaculate Cabarete house with pool and it comes with a Nissan Murano that only has 45 thousand miles and is pristine:

HG6041AB - Incredible tropical Cabarete villa for rental return or luxury living at a great price:

There are great bargains available right now in Dominican real estate in both Cabarete and Sosua; Sally and I can help you find your own little slice of paradise, it’s more affordable than you think.

Contact Arthur and Sally Byrd.

The Americans are coming to the Dominican Republic

Beginning in 2010 and now extending vigorously into 2011 we are seeing a sudden resurgence in property buying interest from American buyers.  For a couple of years the American television media had many people convinced the sky was falling and economic health would take a generation to return, but as usual predictions of American economic failure have proven dramatically overstated.

In the past few months Canadians and European buyers have continued their steady, reasonable assessment of the north coast and contracts to purchase nearly tripled this past year over last.  Now, joining this enlightened wave of value conscious shoppers we suddenly see American interest showing enthusiastic revival, especially since for years most Americans rarely looked past Punta Cana when considering Dominican destinations—the north coast has now been re-discovered.

The reason for this shift is two-fold:  1) buyers from The United States now feel more confident today than in the past couple of negatively hyped years; and 2) the message has finally reached mainstream US interest that the DR north coast (Cabarete and Sosua) is the best place to acquire part time tropical residency properties.

2011 will show shrinking inventories due to conservative building over the past two years, but prices at this current moment still offer a genuine value buying window of opportunity.  Smart people looking to diversify assets out of mere paper holdings are staking a claim to the Baby Boomer influence now enriching Caribbean real estate markets. The attractive pricing, accessible international airport of Puerto Plata, and continued infrastructure investment here by the Dominican government are validating the wisdom of that strategic investment vision as interest surges.

To those of you making the trip to the sunshine this winter to find your tropical paradise, congratulations; to those of you still deciding, it’s time To Do Something Soon.

Here are some ideas that are getting lots of interest right now:

Dominican Republic Condos:

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1958 AP6121AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1756 AP6094AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1793 listing id AP6097AB

NOTE:  Here are the three complexes featured in our recent House Hunters International Dominican Republic episode

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1804 AP6099AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1539 – AP6059AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1345 – Listing id AP6052AB

Dominican Republic Villas:

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1971 HG6067AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1873 HG6055AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1757 HG6041AB

http://www.coralbayrealestate.com/search/show.php?id=1817 listing id HG6046AB

Hope to see you soon in our little corner of paradise. Feel free to contact me for more real estate options in the area.

Arthur Byrd