You want to buy a vacation home abroad. You have a big decision ahead of you. Most people who go out and do this face several basic problems. The first one is the actual buying process. How do you get a loan, and fill out paperwork when you don’t live in the country where you want to buy?
When you live in a different country, it can be hard unless you visit there regularly. Even then, it can be a gamble. The second problem is finding a real estate professional you can trust. You don’t want to pick up any old real estate agent. And, most of the time, real estate agents are people who get recommended to you through friends or acquaintances.
The third problem is paying for the home and regulatory issues. Every country is different. And, you must know what laws apply in which situations. And, if you don’t speak the language, be prepared to hire a lawyer and a translator.
Once you’ve ironed it all out, there’s one final problem: where in the world should you buy your vacation home?
This is many people’s favorite destination. Medellin is a top choice right now for the lifestyle component and also the fact that investment properties are cheap. You can buy an apartment in Medellin’s El Poblado neighborhood for much less than in many other countries. And, if you renovate, and resell, make bank.
It’s got a Euro-chic feel to it. And, some people spend holiday seasons here.
If you’re about to retire, you couldn’t ask for a more fully appointed place to call home. An investor could ask for better upside potential, either. Right now, thanks to the strength of the dollar, it buys more Colombian pesos today than ever before. Everything in the country is discounted for the buyer with U.S. dollars in his wallet. You can live large while living cheaply.
Portugal’s sunny coastal area of Algarve is charming, historic, and very beautiful. There are a lot of English speakers here. And, it’s safe. It’s also a global bargain right now. There’s a depressed property market, which hasn’t recovered from the 2008 crash. This is the top pick for retirees who want an old world continental lifestyle. It’s a great place for golfers too (there are 40 courses). Also, boaters will love it.
Anywhere in Argentina is cool. You should keep an eye out post-Cristina. When recently elected pragmatist Mauricio Macri takes office, things might change for the better (if only slightly), so you will be able to buy real estate on the rebound. Start looking, but don’t buy just yet. This country offers one of the world’s premier brand-name cities in Buenos Aires.
Ambergris Caye, Belize?
This is a top choice if you want to live in the Caribbean. Ambergris Caye is fringed with picturesque white sand — the kind you see in magazines. And, it’s comfortable but not so developed that it looks fake. It’s also English-speaking which means you shouldn’t have any problems getting around and understanding the language or people. The expat community is growing, too. There’s a barrier reef offshore, and the second largest in the world.
Panama is one that many people overlook, but it’s something you should consider. Some retirees go here and never come back. And, it’s not because of the crooked politics, either. While it’s not the absolute greatest place in the world, it deserves a look. Property here is fine, and they never collapsed like they did in the rest of the world. And unlike other markets, Panama’s property markets aren’t at the mercy of what happens in North America. The country attracts investors from the U.S., Canada, and also all across Central and South America, from China, Europe, and pretty much every corner of the globe.
Panama also has its own cash machine — the Panama Canal. This is a country of only 3.5 million people, making it “cozy.” Not that you’ll ever really know everyone, but it’s small enough to feel like a big city, except that it’s an entire country. The Canal returns more than $500 million to the national treasury every year. That’s a lot considering the size of the country, meaning the government, and people, are fairly well off.
One of the major advantages to living here is the diversity. From cosmopolitan Panama City to a Pacific coast, a Caribbean coast, many offshore islands, mountain towns, and rural escapes, Panama has something for everyone.
About the Author: Rosie Hart works as a personal finance consultant, a job she has been in for close to 10 years. She enjoys meeting new people and seeing old faces return to her office, helping them get their finances in order for the next adventure in life whether that’s buying a house, getting married or planning retirement.