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Ten Tips for Canadian Mortgage Brokers Working Remotely in the Caribbean

Updated: Feb 18

My journeys to the Dominican Republic began in 2020. An initial 7 day stay on a resort resulted in a return trip for six weeks in an apartment in Puerto Plata. Covid had other plans and my time was cut short as the world began shutting down. My hopes of skipping winter and experiencing a longer term stay came to fruition in November of 2021. I spend six months in the little beach town of Las Terrenas. The experience touched every one of my senses and left me in awe of the people and place. I have returned several times, bringing friends, family and even eloping to my love in April 2023, spending sometimes just a couple of weeks and most recently several months. If you can.... just GO. Bring an open heart and wallet :)

1. Understand Time Zones: Keep in mind the time difference between the Caribbean and Canada, especially if dealing with clients across multiple Canadian provinces. Schedule meetings and calls at convenient times for all parties involved. In the Dominican the time zone is the same as EST from March to November and AST from November to March. I use Calendly linked to my Outlook calendar which keeps track of the time difference.

2. Secure Your Internet Connection: The Caribbean may have variable internet reliability. Invest in a good VPN, and consider a backup internet source to ensure uninterrupted work and secure client data. Surfshark has been my go to VPN. The two major internet providers in the Dominican are Altice and Claro. If the internet provider in your accommodations is Altice consider investing in a hotspot with a data package for Claro or visa versa as rarely are both providers down a the same time.

3. Stay Updated on Canadian Market Trends: Being physically away from Canada doesn't mean being out of touch. Subscribe to Canadian real estate and mortgage news to stay informed. I use google key words to receive emails on topics relevant to the mortgage and real estate industry.

4. Use Cloud-Based Tools: Utilize cloud-based CRM and data storage solutions to access client information and essential documents from anywhere. As an independent mortgage broker I have opted to use Scarlett Mortgage Platform, Blue Mortgage CRM and Dropbox to operate my business from anywhere.

5. Establish a Routine: Create a daily work routine to maintain professionalism and ensure you remain accessible to Canadian clients during their working hours. I enjoy easing into my day with morning affirmations, reading personal or professional development books. I enjoy a swim, yoga or pilates and then work straight through for 5-6 hours. Find a routine that works for you and create a process around it.

6. Local Regulations: Be aware of any local laws or regulations related to working remotely or conducting foreign business from the Caribbean. The Dominican has opened it's arms to tourists, investors, expats etc. I have indicated on the entry visa that I am visiting friends or on vacation. Even tough I am working Monday to Friday my work is not directly related to the Dominican so essentially I am on a working vacation.

7. Medical Insurance: Check with your health insurance provider BEFORE you travel to confirm you have travel insurance. Educate yourself on what your credit card emergency health insurance covers. I opted for nomad travel insurance for the first six month stay. For this stay I am covered under my husbands health care plan. Health care in the Dominican is of high quality. Many people travel here for various procedures. To pay for an ultrasound out of pocket is approximately $20.00 CDN. A visit to a general practitioner can be covered by your extended health care coverage. I paid $75.00 CDN for my most recent visit.

8. Maintain Canadian Connections: Regularly network with Canadian colleagues and industry partners to stay in the loop and maintain crucial business relationships.

9. Adopt Flexible Work Hours: As your environment changes, flexibility becomes crucial. Be prepared to adjust your working hours to accommodate client needs. As the tine fall back or springs ahead you may need to adjust your work schedule. My clients are in Newfoundland so I didn't find the need to adjust my work hours.

10.Bring What You Need: Protect your devices with a surge protector. Many medications are available over the counter here but ensure you bring enough to last your stay. Major grocery stores have most everything you could want. But if you prefer a certain lotion, shampoo or makeup you may want to pack it in your checked bags. It is possible to get Amazon delivered via various shipping companies. I set up an account with a Florida transport company that flies several times a week from Miami to the DR.

Working from the Caribbean can be a dream, but maintaining efficiency and connection to the Canadian market is essential for success. With the right preparations, you can merge the best of both worlds. I have no regrets!

Tonia Mercer | The Mortgage Missus Inc.

About the author,

Tonia Mercer is an independent mortgage broker. She has been in the industry for 15 years and in 2021 she launched her own brokerage The Mortgage Missus Inc.

Tonia is passionate about financial education and believes that working with independent experts is the best way to get unbiased, professional advice. She has joined forces with local independent home and auto, financial advisor, legal, appraiser and real estate service providers.Effectively creating a concierge service for all things financial and real estate.

Tonia donates a portion of all mortgage revenue to Mercer's Mission, a street dog and cat feeding mission in the Dominican Republic.

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