In this 3rd episode, our client Michelle is sharing with you her experience during her buying journey to find the perfect Caribbean shelter in Las Terrenas. With her husband, she bought a 2BR beachfront condo right on Las Ballenas beach, they are now part of our community. Welcome from Atlantique Sud’s entire team!
In this episode we will discuss:
Why did they choose Las Terrenas?
What was important to them in their search for a beach home?
How was their real estate experience?
Video of the interview
AS Films: To educate buyers to make the best decision when purchasing real estate in Las Terrenas, the Atlantique Sud Production team is publishing a series of short videos about Las Terrenas describing its lifestyle and real estate market. We will explore together the different areas, interview our clients about their home-buying journey, and much more. You can watch the entire playlist on youtube.
Can you tell us about yourself?
Michelle: My name is Michelle, I was born and raised in Australia. I went to university for healthcare and landed in the US on a work visa back in the late 90s and met my now husband and um we've lived there for more than 20 years.
How did your Caribbean journey start?
Michelle: So living in Massachusetts it's cold and we started doing some traveling here in the Caribbean. Probably about 20 years ago I remember the first time my husband took me to Cape Cod in Massachusetts and I stuck my toe in the Atlantic Ocean and I said: "No leaping way!" leaping way and after that, I said that I need the beach and it has to be somewhere warmer, so we said: "Okay, let's go to the Caribbean so we started exploring the islands here. Throughout the Caribbean, I've been to multiple and they're all beautiful in their way, so that's sort of how I started wanting to be in the Caribbean.
How did you end up in Las Terrenas?
Michelle: So it's a funny story because I have a favorite tv show that I watch and I don't watch much tv but there's a show called "Caribbean Life" and I watch it religiously as soon as every episode comes out and I found this little town called Las Terrenas through Caribbean Life and I'm like: "wow what a great little town!". It seemed like it wasn't too large and busy, it seemed like it was a little bit more of a sleepy town, but had a lot of fun things to do and I'm like: "I have to go see Las Terrenas, I want to go visit that place", and that's sort of how I ended up in Las Terrenas.
What made you fall in love with this place?
Michelle: When you drive over the mountain into Las Terrenas and you see Coson Bay on the left from the mountains, and you see the topography of the mountains and the beaches and the palm trees... I just fell in love with the location. You saw the city of Las Terrenas it's up in the distance. They were the main two reasons that captured me initially about Las Terrenas and why this was going to be the right fit for us, so falling in love with a location helps when you're deciding where you want to be.
Can you share your experience touring homes?
Michelle: So as I was planning to come to Las Terrenas I needed to find a real estate agent and I did a little research and I found a real estate agent called Atlantique Sud, made some phone calls, and spoke to a wonderful woman by the name of Yennifer and she was just amazing I could tell just talking to her on the phone that she had this big smile on her face which she always has and she said: "come on down I'll look after you, we'll put you up in the hotel that we have and I'll show you all around".
And I arrived the first day I was only here for four nights and I was sort of in her pocket for four days and I didn't want to be intrusive, but every time we'd go looking at some places and then she'd say: "Michelle, we're going out tonight, would you like to join us?" and I'm like yes I'd love to and she introduced me to so many new people and it was just a wonderful time, so that was sort of part of falling in love with Las Terrenas and what Yennifer did was she showed me multiple locations, she listened to what I was interested in, she showed me some things that she knew I would love.
She showed me some things that I may not have thought about, but it was great to see some other locations and properties and we just kept looking until we found something that I fell in love with.
If like Michelle, you are looking to purchase in Las Terrenas, our experts can give you a call.
What were you looking for in your second home?
Michelle: So being in a Caribbean environment, what was so important to me is the beach I'm just in love with the beach, I've always loved the beach, whether it be, you know, the Caribbean or Australia, I'm just the beach person and so being on or close to the beach was really important. My husband loves views and so he would have loved to have been up in the mountains and Las Terrenas to see the views and I think I won him over because we've got a great location, right on the beach in Las Ballenas and we have some views of the ocean.
We're not on ground level so we have some views so my husband got some of the views that he was looking for, but it was really important to me that it had to be at least two bedrooms because I wanted family and friends to be able to come down, two bathrooms and they had to have a great outdoor living space, so whether that be a balcony or an upstairs terrace or just something that you could be outside and enjoying the outside living, and I think I got more than what I originally thought I could get and we're just so happy.
Are you happy with your choice?
Michelle: Yeah, I think you could tell I am really happy with the choice. We just love it here, it's probably more than we expected, and sometimes you
think only rich people can have properties like this, but that is so not true.
I think you have to plan and you have to organize and you have to figure out how to do it, but it can be done and I think that was part of the reason we picked the Dominican Republic and the Las Terrenas is because there are very expensive Caribbean countries across the Caribbean and not everyone can afford to be in those places and be on the beach and we were able to afford to do that here in the Dominican and in Las Ballenas.
What do you like about Las Ballenas?
Michelle: You know, when we were looking for beaches to be on, Las Ballenas was the one that I fell in love with and the reason that is is it sort of not right in the center of town but close enough that you could walk to and not so far away that you would need a car to get into town. We also wanted to rent our property so we were looking at an opportunity to have a location where people would want to rent this.
I think the other piece of it was it's not Coson Bay tends to be more for surfers, and if you're a surfer, then Coson Bay is for you. I was looking for something a little bit more laid-back and relaxed so the beaches and the ocean are a little bit calmer here and we just happen to pick a spot where the beach is beautiful, right right here.
How is it in the DR during the Coronavirus?
Michelle: I think they've done a pretty good job down here managing during covid. You know, you have to wear a mask everywhere you go. You don't need to wear it on the beach but wherever you go, stores and so forth check your temperature, every time you go into a grocery store they spray hand sanitizer on your hands.
They don't even do that in the states. I think they've done a pretty good job, I haven't heard from the people I know here that there have been perfect cases, although it's recorded that there are some but not nearly as many as have been recorded in other places so I think they're just trying to do the right thing - social distance as much as possible and do the right things in restaurants and hotels so that they're keeping the customers safe and their staff.
Airport transport has never been easier, frankly, because the airports are somewhat empty and middle seats have been open and the airports are clean and it's been a pretty easy process, given the circumstances of what's going on in the world.
What would you tell people who are thinking of buying in Las Terrenas?
Michelle: You need to come to visit obviously, and I probably don't recommend sight unseen for buying a condo that's just me being a little bit crazy but you know I think the scariest part of the whole process is you're transferring money, you have to get an attorney and that was a scary process because you're just never quite sure but if you do your research and you get a reputable attorney and a reputable company you'll be fine and it all worked and it all worked out as expected.
The people at Atlantique Sud were extremely helpful and, frankly, we have friends beyond the sale of the condo which was last January. We still hang out, we still eat and drink and enjoy each other's company and I think that's been the fun part of it not only have we enjoyed their company, but we're also being introduced to so many other ex-pats from all over the world that are living here in Las Terrenas.
You actually sit on the beach and someone hears you speak English and they come over and they say hello or I've done the same thing, so I think you just have to put yourself out there and enjoy yourself and don't be afraid of what you can have because look behind me - it is just absolutely stunning so um we're so glad we did it.
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