The Adventuresome World of Overseas Real Estate

For 17 years I’ve been traveling the world, driving down bumpy, potholed roads in far flung destinations…all because some of the best opportunities I’ve ever found were at the end of dirt roads.

I generally spend six months or so of each year traveling. My scouting has taken to me to strange places and put me in the company of some interesting people. I remember all my adventures fondly. The good, bad, and scary, they have all led me to where I am today.

I divide my time between a number of bases around the world. I spend my winters by the Ocean in Cabo San Lucas.

For nearly two decades I’ve cultivated this lifestyle of fun and adventure that’s just as valuable to me as the incredible real estate deals I find along the way.

Even as a young man I never wanted to follow the beaten path…

As a graduate, with a degree in finance, my resumé boasted entrepreneurial roles in successful tech start-ups. The traditional path was all laid out for me. I could have followed friends on various routes to high-flying corporate careers in London, New York, and elsewhere.

But I didn’t want to.

I wanted to create my own journey…

I was already investing in real estate and I had the travel bug bad. From a very young age the only subjects in school that fascinated me were economics and geography. I remember flicking through the pages of an atlas, landing on strange and fascinating countries, Chile…Nepal…New Zealand…and wondering what it was like living there.

Then, as fate would have it, in 2003 I saw an ad for an international real estate scout.

I was intrigued by the idea of international travel, and even back then I knew that when you look everywhere, there would always be opportunity somewhere.

So, I jumped at it…

And just a few days later I was on a plane to Nicaragua, ready to put boots on the ground in search of promising real estate opportunities.

I’ve had every adventure since then and found some unbelievable real estate deals in the process…

When scouting overseas, I sometimes have to use whatever mode of transport is available.

After almost two decades investigating international real estate markets I have a black book of contacts (which is thicker than that of anyone I know) containing the names of and direct lines to the highest-level decision makers, developers, and builders in the world.

One day, I’m driving through sand dunes in a dune buggy in Northeast Brazil…the next I’m flying down the Pacific Coast of Panama in a helicopter, with the country’s most preeminent developer.

Scouting Panama from the air: In a helicopter with my senior researcher Margaret Summerfield and one of Panama’s most preeminent developers, Alfredo Aleman.

In different destinations and with different opportunities there are different strategies to employ…

For instance, in Italy’s blue-chip cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice I’ve developed strategies to profit from the millions of tourists who crowd to these historic centers each year.

These cities have relatively expensive and glamorous real estate right on the main square and boulevards. But know where to look and you’ll find overlooked real estate you can own for a bargain…and that millions and millions of tourists will want to rent…because you are literally steps from those main boulevards and attractions.

In two weeks, one of my team is flying to the Italian capital, Rome, to find bargain properties with huge profit potential. From there he’ll head to Venice, driving through some of the hottest bargain home territory in the country.

While scouting Venice and Florence, I’ve found small, overlooked buildings close to the historic centers where you could buy two-bedroom apartments for as little as €175,000 ($207,902), and create income of $37,500 or a yield of over 20%.

In some destinations, the strategy is to get there ahead of tourism growth and buy up real estate from a best-in-class developer before prices rise.

For instance, Costa Rica’s Southern Zone has everything that the millions of vacationers who come to Costa Rica seek. It’s among the most beautiful places on earth. But there’s still an opportunity to get in here and own something truly special before demand booms.

My contact in the Southern Zone has been established there for decades and is today one of the largest developers in Costa Rica and the biggest builder of custom homes. She bought land at agricultural prices, before the new roads and highways opened the area up. And her long track record in the Southern Zone is a moat that keeps her competitors at bay.

The opportunity here is to buy the best available real estate ahead of tourism growth, locking in strong appreciation, with powerful rental income.

I’ve come a long way in the last 20 years…

My team and I now spend millions of dollars each year on travel and research. We do the leg work…meet sellers, brokers, buyers and work with a massive network of real estate insiders…we dig deep on real estate markets in every corner of the world…and kick the tires on all sorts of potential real estate opportunities…

As I mentioned yesterday, this week I’m back in Portugal at the beginning of a mammoth scouting trip. And my team members are putting last minute touches to their trip plans…this month is going to be a busy one.

If you want to follow our journeys as they happen, see photos and videos of places we are scouting in real time, as well as lots of other fun stuff, join us on our Overseas Dream Home Instagram or Facebook pages.

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