Maintenance at my first condo.
In the summer of 2010 I took my first trip to Sosua to look for a retirement home. I visited enough Caribbean Islands to realize that the Dominican Republic would be a good fit for me. I settled on a one bedroom one and a half bath third floor condo in a condo complex called the Garden Condos. (Here is a link to the webpage www.thegardencondos.com ) The complex is located downtown where all the bars, clubs, casinos, beaches, super markets, bank, and everything else I needed. The surprising thing is this complex is quiet because its located in the middle of a block. The grounds are large and lush and The Garden condos has one of the largest pools around!!
I purchased this unit in September of 2010 and by December of that year I had my first renter. From that point on I decided that I would have that best possible unit I could offer to guests. The first improvement I did was to add, and mount a large flat screen tv in the living room and mount the tv in the bedroom as well. I personally like to relax at night and watch a ball game. I also have a wider than normal sofa that pulls out into a full size bed. I use as an extra this if I had friends staying with me at the time. The next large improvement was the second air conditioning unit in the living room. Now the whole complex was cool! I believe that the American market looks for the same features the have at home in a vacation condo. That is the whole purpose of renting a condo verses a hotel room.
I have to say, the upgrades really allowed me to attract a steady client base that returned every year. After a couples of years of renting I realized renting condos for vacations was my opportunity to move to the Caribbean much earlier. Thats when the hunt for a larger property started, and 5 years later Casa De Compai became a reality!
The arrow points to my unit number 24
The thing that I believe is the most overlooked by owners, especially the owners who don’t live in the country is maintenance. The sun and salt air alone will destroy your property. If you don’t have someone opening windows the humidity will rust your stainless steel appliances, make all your fabrics smell moldy and you will have you paint peal off the walls. Thats just the elements , now lets add the normal wear and tear a rental inflicts. Things break, keys get lost, people enjoy themselves and have friends over add the wear . All of this adds up very fast. I honestly believe that some of the major brand names that don’t pass quality control test for the North American market are sendt to under developed parts of the world. I am basing this on my person experience with washing machines, dryers, and other large ticket item. Plus the elements are very hard on these products. The other reason maintenance is hard here is finding local contractors who actually show up, have the correct tools, know how to do the job, then preform the job correctly the first time. So who wants to be a landlord now!?!? haha
Since I purchased Casa De Compai I haven’t stayed in the Garden Condos in almost three years. Durning this time period when I was in town I was fortunate to have tents. The downside to this was I wasn’t able to do the small repairs I would normally preform. Those small repairs can build up very quickly. I was able to enter this unit May 21, 2017 and in almost three years these are a list of repairs I did in four days.
- fixed 3 sink leaks.
- replaced one hot water heater.
- replaced towel rack in the bathroom.
- replaced two faucets.
- polished the granite.
- washed all curtains and pillows and bedding.
- fixed closet door.
- had the rocking chairs ready to be refinished.
- I had all kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors re-stained.
- new drying rack for the balcony.
- A very intense cleaning.
This is how fast maintenance can pile up in the Caribbean. Imagine how much work needs to be done if the owner isn’t as concerned as I am. Even with these items my last guest wanted to book for the winter months unfortunately for him those months are already booked. I have seen many very attractive properties look worn down over a short period of time because of lack of care. With upkeep and lack of constant inspections you can lose the value in your property down here quickly, and if your a landlord, your client base even quicker. Fortunately for me I enjoy working on my properties, if keeps me grounded, and I need to have a purpose to get up in the morning for. I like to get some work done, then hit the beach and visit my friends who own some beach bars. A quick shout out to Fast Freddies and Frank at the Caribean Oso Polar #106. ( German for Caribbean iceberg ). These are great guys who take care of their guests and are great hosts. I eat all the time at Fast Freddies, the best on the beach. Cheers mates.