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Expat Exchange - Buying a Home in Dominica
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Scotts Head, Dominica


Buying a Home in Dominica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Seasoned expatriates recommend a cautious approach to newcomers eager to settle down—avoid the rush to purchase property upon arrival. Instead, consider the benefits of renting in Dominica during your initial months. This strategy allows you the flexibility to explore various neighborhoods and truly decide if the local lifestyle aligns with your long-term expectations. Once you've acclimated and are certain that Dominica is your future home, here are tips on how to buy a home in Dominica.

Buying a home in Dominica can be an exciting prospect for expats, offering a chance to own a piece of paradise in the Caribbean. However, the process can be complex and requires careful navigation. This guide aims to provide essential information on how to find houses for sale, understand the restrictions on foreign ownership, navigate the local real estate system, and avoid common pitfalls.

How do I find houses for sale in Dominica?

There are several ways to find houses for sale in Dominica. Online property portals and real estate agencies are the most common sources. Local newspapers and word-of-mouth referrals can also be useful. It's advisable to engage a reputable real estate agent who understands the local market and can guide you through the process.

Are there restrictions on foreigners owning property in Dominica?

Yes, foreigners are allowed to own property in Dominica, but they must obtain an Alien Landholding License. This involves paying a fee and providing various documents, including a police report from your home country. However, if you become a citizen through Dominica's Citizenship by Investment program, you are exempt from needing this license.

Does Dominica have an MLS type system?

Dominica does not have a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) like in the U.S. Instead, properties are listed through individual real estate agencies or private sellers. Therefore, it's important to work with a trusted real estate agent who has access to a wide range of properties.

Do brokers have licenses and how do I know if they are licensed?

Real estate brokers in Dominica are required to be licensed. You can verify a broker's license by checking with the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC). It's crucial to work with a licensed broker to ensure a smooth and legal transaction.

What documents are required when buying a home?

When buying a home in Dominica, you'll need to provide several documents. These include a valid passport, proof of address, a bank reference letter, a personal reference letter, and a police report from your home country. If you're applying for an Alien Landholding License, you'll also need to provide a detailed application and pay the associated fees.

Do I need a lawyer when buying a home in Dominica?

Yes, it's highly recommended to hire a lawyer when buying property in Dominica. A lawyer will conduct a title search, prepare the sales agreement, apply for the Alien Landholding License if necessary, and ensure all legal requirements are met. Legal fees typically range from 2.5% to 3% of the property's purchase price.

Do people typically buy a property with all cash or take out a mortgage?

Both options are common in Dominica. Some buyers choose to pay in cash, while others take out a mortgage with a local bank. If you choose to get a mortgage, keep in mind that you'll need to provide proof of income and meet the bank's lending criteria.

Are there inspections that take place, and if so what is that process like?

Yes, property inspections are a standard part of the home buying process in Dominica. A professional inspector will assess the property's condition and provide a report. This can help you negotiate the price and avoid costly repairs in the future.

What are some of the pitfalls to avoid when buying property in Dominica?

One common pitfall is not thoroughly researching the property and the area. Make sure you understand the local market, the property's value, and any potential issues with the property. Also, ensure you have a reputable lawyer and real estate agent to guide you through the process. Lastly, be aware of the costs associated with buying property, such as the Alien Landholding License, legal fees, and stamp duty.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Scotts Head, Dominica

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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