Living on OPM is a craft and a skill, did it years back when I was younger and worked in the budding 'travel industry' in Central America, which is now beginning to blossom, which means, except for a few budget hostals and b and b 's everything is getting more expensive day by day, as well prices of gasoline and diesel are rising daily and working people are suffering, prices are rising on everything, the DR may be exempt from this, I don't know, just one bit of advice to single or divorced men everywhere residing or traveling in Latin America and Caribbean, do not get into the habit of bringing boom boom chicas home with you, they all usually have a boyfriend or pimp, often they are single mothers, and will steal if given the chance, wherever there is poverty and disparity of income in the world, there will be crime, also never make promises to these women you can't keep, the less a boom boom girl (prostitute) knows about you the better off you are, apunto.. to the poster ahead of me Wally, in North Carolina, get on a plane, come to DR and ask around yourself, 5 years ago I found the perfect apartment for me in San Salvador in one day the rent then was $60 a month including utilities, the rent was raised a year ago to $65 a month, this month I am getting my teeth fixed, crowns and all, the Dentist is the Nephew of my original Dentist in El Salvador, now visiting from New York, where he raised his family, where the children got a good education.
Avoid Real Estate and Travel Websites, they are all middlemen, the price on the land and condo you are buying is at least 30 or more commission and fees added on, several years ago I was in Nicaragua on business, I needed a very cheap but comfortable hotel to stay in for a month so I bought the Managua (covers all nicaragua) daily newspaper and there was the hotel I wanted with the price and services, including kitchen with frig, I wanted, when I got there also found out I had cable TV in the room as well, a bonus, the hotel was not in 'Lonely Planet' which I do not utilize, nor did I hear about it in a 'gringo watering hole', those places bore me after a day or two, anyway there was no 'gringo watering hole' then in Masaya, Nicaragua, we used to drive 15 km. over to Granda where they were and stirred up the crap with the tourists. I used an application locals used, the classifed section of the daily newspaper, when I was in Costa Rica some years ago 'taught' some friends who could at least read Spanish how to utilize the 'clasificados' in 'La Nacion' and the other Spanish speaking dailies in CR, also an invaluable tool are the Yellow Pages, in print and also on line, in the local language, if you rely on someone else to find lodgings or other services for you, online or on land, then generally you will wind up paying more, I would not run around for days looking for apartment for you, without expecting to make a nice commision. Human nature.
A few days ago someone starting a restaraunt in my country, required a used espresso machine, I found one online in one hour, even though the ad was posted several months ago, the machine was still available.
If you do plan to stay in one place awhile and rent or buy, you DO need to learn to speak, read, write and understand the local lingo at least basically so you are able to bargain, communicate, read contracts and understand what your neighbors, the people are saying to you, they stay, ex pats come and go, do not become exo dependent on English speakers, you will wind up paying through the nose for everything, people are far more more important than destinations, you nwill find out, you shall also find out the meaning of 'good bad and ugly', saludos There are apartments from $150 up all over Latin America and the Caribbean, you just need to come down and look, of course do some on line reasearch first..another tip when you travel back to the States or Canada or wherever, just do it and bring back what you need for yourself, or you will wind up being a courier, if you wish to bring back a gift for a local, fine, do it discreetly, avoid envida.....
In the first world or tourist ghettos in the 3rd, some travelers have learned how to just arrive, and play-it -by-ear. They find caretaker situations. They find lonely expats wanting to open their homes to visitors from their home country or places they're interested in. There are "golddiggers," both male/female willing to share temporary (or forever) romantic relationships with their hosts. I don't want call anyone a pro or a gigolo because I'd argue lots of husbands and wives seem to be in it for the money-- but a kept-woman or man routine happens frequently amongst travelers from my observations and often the local person is single. While youth might have the advantage in all but the first situation. I've seen many older travelers care-taking in Europe, Asia-Pacific, N. Africa, and Carib,/Cen. Am where mature, neat, and responsible types are wanted.