Your Own Home Overseas - International Real Estate
Looking for help finding international real estate?
You've done the dreaming… We've done the research. And Your Own Home Overseas is a completely free e-letter where you’ll find everything we know about making your overseas dream home a reality.
We know a good location and, more importantly, good value, when we see it. And with decades of on-the-ground experience, we know our way around the best spots under the sun for buying your dream home right now.
Whether you’re interested in investment real estate, a second home in the sun, or your dream property for a full-time life overseas, Your Own Home Overseas is where you’ll find the inside track.
You’ll hear regularly from real estate guru Ronan McMahon (from Pathfinder International, International Living’s preferred real estate advertiser), who travels the world in search of the best off-market deals. You’ll also hear from a panel of International Living’s in-country editors and correspondents dishing out everything they know, revealing the latest great-value properties they have found as they scout the globe.
In your mind’s eye picture brilliant white-sand beaches on your doorstep, just a few hours flight-time from the U.S., where you’ll find property at a fraction of the cost back home…how about a great deal on a sun-drenched, white-washed house with a shady courtyard in the Mediterranean…or a luxurious retreat nestled in the lush valleys of Central America…
We’re constantly uncovering the most desirable and affordable real estate on earth…that’s why we publish Your Own Home Overseas—to share these opportunities with you.
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This special report covers the 10 things you must know before buying property overseas as well as pointing you to some of the best places in the world to buy real estate…and it’s yours free when you sign up for Your Own Home Overseas e-letter below.
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Where do you envision yourself when you think of retirement? If you’re like most folks, at some point you’ve probably daydreamed of spending your post-work years in a city full of culture, art, and history. A place where you could spend the morning strolling through carefully restored centuries-old buildings while gazing at their beauty. Every so often you’d stop to admire a grand cathedral or a stone-block church built in the Gothic style of architecture.
In January, I stepped out from the front doors of my colonial hotel into the already bright morning sunshine. Past perfectly preserved colonial buildings, I walked past a wide central park, lined with vendors selling cool drinks and snacks, and horse-drawn carriages offering rides to waiting tourists. It was just a few more steps—past a colorful Spanish colonial cathedral—to get a fresh-brewed coffee or a gelado. You can buy fresh-baked pastries or gourmet jellies or sauces in little street-side cafes.
With a general subtropical climate, Nicaragua is pretty hot everywhere and has a specific six-month dry season (December to May) and six-month wet season (June to November). However, Matagalpa is different. Here you wake up to sunshine most days with rain throughout the year.
The proverbial retirement…life in a beach home overlooking the ocean. Most of us experience this fleeting thought, but realize it’s never going to happen, so we settle on a more affordable, comfortable plan. And then a financial crisis hits, and it looks like we’ll just stay where we are and never move to that quaint town in the mountains that we had been dreaming about for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, retirement dreams just don’t look the same anymore.
I’ve traveled widely throughout the Iberian Peninsula and stood watching the wild Atlantic crash on the shores of Portugal and the Mediterranean Sea lapping long beaches to the south of Spain. From a traveler’s point of view, this whole Peninsula—with its Moorish and Basque influences—is charming and intriguing. This is where you’ll find some of Europe’s best weather…as well as good food, good wine, and dramatic landscapes.
Long walks along the gently curving beach. Beers beneath brilliant sunsets, as music radiates from energetic beach bars. It’s easy to see the appeal of Tamarindo, on Costa Rica’s Gold Coast. I mean, that’s why I chose it as my home. And this vibrant beach town continues to attract growing number of expats and tourists in search of great waves and a laidback beach lifestyle.
In real estate, you make your money buying. By buying well and being smart, you lock in gains from the get-go. But buying at the right price is not the only thing you need to get right. You also need a strong and clear exit strategy. That means knowing how you’re going to exit the investment…understanding who your eventual buyer or renter will be…and if they can pay the price you need to get a good return. Your personal, financial, and investment circumstances will shape your exit strategy. You and I could make exactly the same investments, yet our exit strategies might be completely different.
Owning an investment property overseas can be a smart—and lucrative—way to truly diversify your portfolio. In the right markets, overseas real estate can generate excellent rental returns and increase handsomely in value over time, giving you a generous profit when you choose to sell. But you often need cash on hand to make this kind of purchase. And for many folks, that can prove a hurdle.
Peace of mind. Less hassle. That’s what it’s all about. A lock-and-leave condo is perfect if you want to leave behind harsh North American winters and escape to a snowbird getaway. Or perhaps you’ve found your dream spot and got a great deal on a property, but you’ll be renting it out until you can move down in a few years. No matter what your situation, the lock-and-leave condo is ideal.
Sometime in the next two months, a small group will gather to celebrate the retail launch of a new building in Cabo, Mexico. They’ll launch floors three and four of that building to the local and expat market. Pricing will be in the $220,000 range. But in the coming days, members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group will have the opportunity to snap up an ocean-view condo on the first or second floor of that same building…for only $149,000.
Way before I ever make a recommendation for a foreign real estate buy, I know exactly what the market is doing—and how certain real estate trends are likely to play out. Identifying and understanding market trends is key to smart real estate investment overseas. It’s the difference between buying a nice and low-priced property that will stay at the same price point for years to come…and buying a property that’s set to rise quickly in value over the coming years.
Year after year Costa Rica, the land of Pura Vida (pure life), still proves to be an attractive destination where expats typically are able to find a high quality of living for less than they would in Canada or the U.S., for example. Costa Rica has been a popular destination for North American expats for decades.
Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and prime territory for expats as well. It has some of the most frequented resort towns.
Sitting in a valley at an elevation of about 2,000 feet in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, San Isidro de El General enjoys consistent temperature lows of 65 F and highs of 85 F year round. It’s not just the weather that fulfills the vision of a perfect town, the beaches are close by as well. And with real estate options from as low as $114,000, it’s hard not to like this location.
Using your self-directed IRA to buy real estate is a hot topic in the tax world. But there are misconceptions surrounding it. Misconceptions that, if implemented, might cost you thousands in taxes.
One of the big benefits of buying real estate with your IRA is tax deferral. But in order to benefit, it’s important to have all the facts. It can be easy to make a tax or legal mistake…so here are some dos and don’ts for owning real estate in self-directed IRAs.
Last night I found myself in a quaint little restaurant surrounded by low wooden ceilings, heavy timber doors, hand-painted alcoves, and Beethoven’s 9th playing softly in the background. The wait staff was perfectly attentive and my pizza perfectly topped with just the right amount of cheese and sauce.
It’s hard to beat waking to the sweet trill of birdsong accompanied by a glorious view of the sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. Open windows allow the balmy sea breeze to cool the house, all year round.
In this seaside city, you can stroll the beach in short sleeves as early as March and as late as October. In winter you need only a jacket. And the sun shines most days. Just steps from its long, urban sandy beach is a historic center of flag-stoned pedestrian streets and cream-colored buildings housing cafes, restaurants, and small hotels.
Wealth creation…asset protection…and income for your retirement: These are all things that foreign real estate ownership can do for you.
Mist-shrouded castles clinging to dramatic cliffs… Opulent noble palaces with elegant gardens full of exotic plants… Snow-capped mountains towering over picture-perfect medieval towns… Verdant pastures and neat vineyards stretching into the horizon. No, this is not a scene straight out of a fantasy book. This is Piedmont, in northwest Italy.
Medellín, Colombia, is like no ordinary worldclass city. It sits in a valley 5,000 feet above sea level, with perfect, year-round, spring-like weather. You can stroll down leafy streets to lush parks, sip a coffee in eclectic cafés and bars, and shop in high-class boutiques. Young “digital nomads” huddle in trendy watering holes plotting the next Facebook. These are folks who can live and work from wherever they choose. They choose Medellín.
There’s something special about wine country. All around you, rows of vines stretch off to the horizon. A short stroll to your local café is all you need to enjoy the regional vintage, with each wine variety tempered by the terroir of the region: the combination of factors (including weather, soil, and even bedrock) that feed into a wine’s flavor.
The town itself is very small, with a population of about 3,200 and a town center dominated by the Catholic church on the main road. There’s a soccer pitch on one side of the church and a park with shaded benches on the other. Across the street the children have a playground and the local hero has a statue.
As the bus winds its way up into the mountains of Chiriquí province, you feel the heat of the lower elevations easing off. A cool breeze seeps through an open window, tempting you to close your eyes and envision the kind of laidback life that awaits you. But in Boquete, it can be quite hard to keep your eyes closed.
Mexico’s Caribbean coast ticks all the boxes when it comes to real estate opportunity. It’s on an upward trajectory. Prices have risen strongly in recent years. But for now, there’s still opportunity to buy well and watch the value of your real estate rise.
Reading guide books and looking at photos don’t do the beauty of Puerto Morelos justice. This is a charming, friendly, and beautifully scenic beach town lying midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.
Imagine living within a stone’s throw of a range of beaches, all with warm waters and in pristine settings. Both white and dark-sand beaches, and the water ranges from the clear blue of the sky above to a deep cobalt blue. You can go sport fishing, paddleboarding, surfing, snorkeling, or just splash around and enjoy.
Imagine living on a bay where you can feel sea breezes blowing in from the Caribbean year-round. Every day, you enjoy fishing and sailing on a sparkling, emerald green seascape, within a short distance of your home. You’re living the laidback retirement you always dreamed about. And your comfortable, Caribbean getaway cost you less than $220,000.
A salty sea breeze…tropical birds calling in the treetops…sunlight reflecting brilliantly off the white sand… Another relaxing day in paradise. And this particular paradise offers apartment rentals to suit any budget. On the island of Roatán—in the Caribbean about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras—you can rent from $400 to $2,000 a month. But how do you find the perfect one?
France is a land that seduces quietly. One minute you’re a tourist, gazing up at the craggy peaks of the Alps, or wandering through a picture-perfect medieval village, or biting into a warm, flaky pain au chocolat in a Parisian café. And the next moment, you realize that you’re in love. And you never want to leave. It’s no surprise that France inspires such love. With its stirring architecture and landscapes, diverse climates, incomparable foods and wines, and mellow lifestyle, the country offers a personal gift to everyone.
Picture a jumble of honey-colored stone houses with russet lichen-covered roofs nestled together in a valley, thick with lush green trees. Rising above the village, a medieval château of pale stone stands protectively, its slate-grey turrets piercing the sky. At the foot of the village, a river slides by with deceptive slowness. This is the kind of sublime scene you’ll find in the Dordogne, again and again.
The Costa del Sol, a stretch of coast that runs along Spain’s southern coast, has struggled with a mixed reputation over the years. It was long known as a place where visitors from northern Europe came for cheap beer and sunshine. And the city of Málaga, east of the better-known Marbella, had an even worse reputation. It was the place even those “cheap-beer-and-sunshine” visitors wanted to avoid—a dirty, grimy, and crime-ridden port city. Millions of passengers landed each year in Málaga airport, to head west along the coast to the beaches, golf courses, and English pubs. They didn’t even think about visiting Málaga. It seemed as though this ancient city had been lost: 2,800 years of human settlement decaying.
Ireland…the home of Celtic lore…storm-swept coastlines and rolling green hills…Nobel prize-winning writers, historic castles, and Neolithic stone structures of mysterious origin. It’s a country that captures the imagination. And many people in North America feel a close affinity to it, thanks to their Irish heritage; more than 30 million U.S. citizens claim Irish ancestry.
Something really unusual happened in our beach community of Salinas, Ecuador last week. People were posting pictures on Facebook, and it was the topic of conversation in all of the restaurants and bars. What was this noteworthy event? It rained! It actually clouded up and rained—well, a hard drizzle anyway—long enough to make some puddles and wet the streets.
“Pereira is a small city with just about everything you could want from a large city—an airport, theaters, more shopping than you could ever need,” says Mollee Thermos. “But it’s still not as developed as Colombia’s bigger and more well-known cities of Medellin or Bogota and I like it because of that.”
Sitting on my balcony just off the living room, I’m completely surrounded by 100-foot-tall, 200-year-old trees. Sipping my coffee early in the morning, there is one tree that always holds my attention as it’s surrounded by fireflies. I’d never seen them before moving here and they’re quite magical.
I’m looking out over the deep blue Pacific. Fisherman with nets wade out into the shallows, flinging them periodically to catch bait fish. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and the water, with the high midday sun, glitters with light.
Colombia’s movers and shakers—politicians, business executives, and celebrities—have long used land ownership and country homes as a way to show their money and influence. The more beautiful the setting of their residences, the more bragging rights they have.
When it comes to city living, most people have a few priorities in mind: Easy access to all parts of the city through roads, public transportation, or even walking trails is usually high on the list, plenty of activities and entertainment, and a feeling of safety along with aesthetic beauty tends to complete the package.
For Lisa Anselmo, 50, keeping one foot in two very different worlds is one thing that makes her feel complete. Lisa has been splitting her time between Paris and New York City ever since she impulsively bought a small apartment in Paris three years ago following the death of her beloved mother.