There’s an acronym in real estate investment circles. OPM. Other People’s Money. It’s truly an amazing concept to have other people give you money for temporary use of property that you own. Most people start investing with long-term rentals. That’s how I started. In the last 15 years, I’ve accumulated a portfolio of 16 properties. All forms of real estate can be profitable.
In 1999, I travelled to Fiji. I know that it might not be very far or particularly exotic for you, but for me, living in the mountains of North Carolina, it was not only a 20-hour journey but some of my friends thought I was heading to Mt. Fuji, Japan. We’re more familiar with Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean on this side of the globe. After getting there, honestly, I was a bit disillusioned. We stayed at some of the nicest resorts I’ve been anywhere in the world, but the postcard picture I had in my head of what the South Pacific looked like wasn’t matching up with what I was seeing—brown water, brown sand. I was a bit disappointed.
When I wake up in my vacation rental home in Fiji, and pull back the curtains to see blue waters…picturesque islands…my private pool…the hanging bed…I know I made a great decision buying this place. I get to spend two weeks a year chilling out here…snorkelling every day, just a short walk down my private stairs. It's like swimming in an aquarium. The coral is so pristine and healthy. Days are lazy…this is Fiji, after all, and I often switch between poolside sunbathing and resting in the shade of the hanging bed.
With holiday rentals, location is everything. Except for the little luxuries, like upgraded kitchens, a water feature (or three) or a luxurious master suite. Positioned right on the water, on a reef, with a private pool with a view, I wasn’t sure there was anything that could be done to improve the front yard of my property, which ran directly into the clear waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
When I fell in love with the Pacific island of Fiji in 1999, my mom, who’s a steady, smart person, implored me to reconsider building a holiday rental in such a distant locale. Mom’s a rational thinker, who loves the comfort of a solid job and retirement. I like to create my own destiny.
Mornings are lazy in Fiji. The slim thread of light in between the insulated curtains finally wakes me, just in time for breakfast at about 10 a.m. I slip into a bathing suit, tie a sarong on, and I’m ready for the day. The smiling maids, Rozy and Reshmi, greet me as I come down from the master suite—dubbed “the penthouse” by past guests. Before me is a feast. Omelettes, fresh fruit, an Indian delicacy or two and a pile of toast, served up with coffee and fresh juice. Quite different from my mornings back home.
My friends were in awe when I decided to do this crazy thing in 2001. I went by myself to Fiji and picked out a lot. My home overseas.
If you rent your second home part of the year, it can pay for itself. In fact, it may even make you a healthy profit.
How can I afford a luxurious home on a tropical island without a millionaire’s bank account? Easy. Other people pay me for the privilege of renting it for a week or two.
I have a home in Fiji…that pays for itself. You can insert any international locale here—Thailand, Dominican Republic, Spain—and it will have the same effect among your friends. That is, instant celebrity status…and the same potential to make you money.