Sec­ond home in par­adise? It’s not a dream

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Jane Mar­shall

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Re­pub­lic — The Lonely Planet guide sums it up nicely when it in­forms read­ers about Dominican Re­pub­lic’s cli­mate. Ex­cept in the cen­tral moun­tains, tem­per­a­tures don’t vary much in Dominican Re­pub­lic, av­er­ag­ing a sum­mery 28 C to 31 C in most places for much of the year.

And this, of course, is what draws cold Cana­di­ans to vacation there — and to pur­chase sec­ond homes.

Add to that sand that’s as fine as ic­ing sugar, quiv­er­ing palm fronds and translu­cent blue wa­ters and it would seem a no-brainer to es­cape our win­ter cold for this milder, more in­spir­ing set­ting.

But just what is in­volved in the up­keep of a sec­ond home? How quickly does the hon­ey­moon end and the re­al­ity of house­work and re­spon­si­bil­ity set in?

For Perry and Ch­eryl Me­riot, it hasn’t yet.

They pur­chased their con­do­minium in De­cem­ber 2008 and have no re­grets. In fact, they’re about to make their sec­ond trip there this year. (They av­er­age about four an­nu­ally.)

Their 1,100-square-foot, one-bed­room suite is at the Palm Suites, a gated com­mu­nity in Punta Cana — the tourist hot spot of the Dominican.

One of the cou­ple’s con­cerns when pur­chas­ing their condo — to which they ul­ti­mately hope to re­tire — was how to take care of it in their ab­sence. Luck­ily, they found Re­li­able Re­al­ity.

“(They) have a cleaner who comes in, runs the taps, checks the air con­di­tion­ing and hu­mid­ity; she makes sure ev­ery­thing is in good work­ing or­der,” Ch­eryl says. “Be­cause of the trop­i­cal cli­mate, the hu­mid­ity alone can re­ally do dam­age.”

This com­forts the Me­ri­ots. When they get off the seven-hour flight from Canada, they know there will be no un­wel­come sur­prises.

These are im­por­tant con­cerns. Cana­di­ans some­times don’t re­al­ize the chal­lenges of a trop­i­cal cli­mate — mould, mildew, bugs — and so it’s crit­i­cal to ei­ther be­come in­formed or take les- sons or help from peo­ple in the know. The cou­ple jok­ingly calls Punta Cana Punta Canada, be­cause of the num­ber of Cana­di­ans.

Ch­eryl and Perry had trav­elled many times to Dominican Re­pub­lic be­fore con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing.

Perry went on­line and did some re­search and he found Sabine Gruss of Trust Realty. “She was in­valu­able — she speaks Span­ish and English. She helped us set up and pur­chase our power me­ter and even helped us with fur­ni­ture-buy­ing.”

The condo is 500 me­tres from the ocean, and the Me­ri­ots en­joy spend­ing the day at the Pulpo Cojo beach club.

“There is a res­tau­rant, ac­cess to the beach — it opens at 8:30 a.m. and we are usu­ally there by 8:34 a.m. or so,” she jokes.

“There is so much veg­e­ta­tion and it is very green. Truly trop­i­cal. The sand is bright white and like ic­ing sugar. Be­cause it’s on the At­lantic side, there aren’t a lot of shells or co­ral washed up on the beach. And the wa­ter is turquoise.”

Ch­eryl notes that pur­chas­ing in a for­eign coun­try was re­ally quite easy, though dif­fer­ent than in Canada. It’s im­por­tant to have a li­censed re­al­tor who knows what your needs are.

Re­li­able Realty has many prop­er­ties for sale, as well as rentals, and the best part is they can man­age the prop­er­ties they sell.

“We are told con­stantly by our vacation rental clients that their trip to Punta Cana was the best trip they’ve ever had,” says Maria Wil­liams.

“A few rental clients have ac­tu­ally cried and hugged us when we dropped them off at the air­port. They are now re­peat vacation clients. ... More re­cently, a cou­ple of them have ac­tu­ally pur­chased their own con­dos. This is the ul­ti­mate com­pli­ment and we are thrilled to have more new friends and neigh­bours here.”

“It’s just such a dif­fer­ent way of life there,” says Ch­eryl. “Perry and I are more re­laxed and there isn’t the same hus­tle and bus­tle.”

And when they ar­rive at their sec­ond home, they won’t be broad­sided by any­thing un­ex­pected. Per­haps this is the com­plete pic­ture of sec­ond-home par­adise.

— Postmedia News

POSTMEDIA NEWS

The Me­ri­ots en­joy spend­ing their time at the Pulpo Cojo beach club near their condo

minium at the Palm Suites.

POSTMEDIA NEWS

Perry and Ch­eryl Me­riot en­joy this view when they travel to their con­do­minium.

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