The No. 1 Reason to Own Property Overseas

The No. 1 Reason to Own Property Overseas
With today’s tech, you can invest in real estate close to home… or as far as Chiang Mai, Thailand.|©WICHIANDUANGSRI/iSTOCK

For over two decades, I’ve been traveling light and fast. I’m an international real estate investor. I put my boots on the ground all over the world… or toes in the sand, depending on where I am. Go forth. Find opportunity. That’s my mission, and that of my team of scouts.


Because I believe buying quality real estate in fast-growing locations, for less than what others pay, is the best way to make money.

I’ve found many good reasons to invest in real estate internationally. For one thing, real estate is the most effective inflation hedge there is.

It’s ideal for diversifying too.

Diversifying, protecting your wealth, owning incredible properties in beautiful places… these are great reasons to consider property overseas.

Moments of big transformation are taking places overseas… and this is where fortunes, large and small, are made.

I’m talking about exceptional changes that happen so infrequently in your backyard you might never even see one. Once in a lifetime events, seismic social shifts…

Let me give you some examples of what I mean that you might recognize from America’s past…

The Florida real estate boom of the roaring 1920s was brought about largely because of a relatively new invention—the automobile—which brought a surge of vacationers on new roads. Wise investors cleaned up by getting in early… ahead of the tourist crowds.

This was mirrored across the U.S. as suburbs grew thanks to Henry Ford’s affordable cars and Americans’ increasing wealth.

The GI Bill in the 1940s put money in the pockets of millions of Americans to buy homes… and that money was transferred to the savvy investors who put investments into huge new suburbs.

The interstate highway system beginning in the 1950s was the largest public works in history and turned thousands of acres of cheap agricultural land into valuable commercial and residential land.

Without a time machine, we can’t hope to profit from the booms of the past. But we can learn from them… and then go and find today’s big transformations, wherever they may be.

When you take a global view, you see these sorts of major "once in a generation" transformations regularly.

If we look only to our own hometowns, or our own countries, then we may never have the chance to invest ahead of a big trend or development set to drive spectacular profits.

I’m not saying you need to be a total pioneer, learn a foreign language, or do wild land deals in some jungle. There are winners and losers from such major transformations.

It’s critical to buy at the right time. To lock down the right kind of real estate… at the right price.

I like to wait until the momentum is clearly there, until the road is built, the airport is getting flights.

I want to see the demand for myself… to identify big transformations across the world. Billion-dollar investments in airports, highways, and other infrastructure. Burgeoning middle classes.

The bigger the transformation, the bigger the opportunities for investors.

This is about billions of dollars poured into opening up new areas of virgin land—turning fishing villages into beachfront cities in a matter of a few decades.

Or millions of people becoming work-from-anywhere professionals, taking their jobs with them to the world’s most desirable destinations and driving demand up just as supply gets thoroughly squeezed.

Whether hacking through jungle or arriving exhausted on a deserted beach after an arduous dirt-road adventure, I’ve made it my business to be in the right places at the right time. I’ve pounded pavements from Chiang Mai to Cancun, Cabo to the Costa del Sol…

Location, location, location—you need to drill down and find real estate that will be in biggest demand and is protected from oversupply competition.

And, finally, to lock in the most spectacular gains, you then need to buy at a low, low price.

That’s the key benefit of being a member of Real Estate Trend Alert. Members of my Real Estate Trend Alert and I have made spectacular gains by doing this. It’s at the core of what we do.

As a boy, I was bored in school but for two subjects: geography and economics. I was fascinated by travel and foreign places, and always sat up to hear news of world events.

I’m grateful and glad, for this interest in the world meant that even early in my investing career I was comfortable looking beyond my borders for opportunity.

Just a few years before the 2008 crisis, I sold some of my property in Ireland.

Values had risen to a level that made no sense to me. In just one decade, between 1997 and 2007, prices for new houses increased by more than 200%.

(No, that’s not a misplaced zero—that 200% figure is correct.)

Already-built homes sold for even more.

The increase was a whopping 280%.

I made a killing and invested the profits in Panama, where there was a major transformation underway. And, as I’ve said before, my friends and family thought I was crazy investing overseas.

But by doing so, not only did I protect my gains… I increased them. I made a profit of over $72,000 on a property in Panama City.

Today, and for a long time now, it’s been difficult to see much sustainable upside in most real estate markets in North America.

Most U.S. and Canadian markets are highly leveraged and expensive relative to incomes, very susceptible to interest rates rising… or employment falling.

I’ve watched over the last few years as "little guy" property investment and speculation has come back in vogue. News articles and hundreds of blogs cover investing in Atlanta or Austin. Television shows feature baristas or graphic designers turned house flippers.

I see real estate investors struggling to make the numbers work in America. Increasingly, folks are looking outside of their home states.

That’s smart, and also a lot easier than it would have been a decade ago.

Today, with the internet and other technological advances, investing long-distance from the comfort of home is easier than ever. The internet is itself a massive transformational event.

And it means you can buy, manage, and market a property in another state or country in a way that was inconceivable before.

Whether you live in Ohio or California, you can invest in Florida or Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

It’s as easy if not easier to get to the Riviera Maya—a highly internationalized place with hundreds of direct flights from U.S. and Canadian cities… and millions of potential renters pouring in through Cancun airport to spend time on the 80-mile stretch of Caribbean coast.

Sure, it’s in a different country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t safely buy a property there and make a lot of money.

Plus, it means you own and can enjoy a luxury property in the Caribbean.

And here’s a key thing to understand about internationalized destinations like the Riviera Maya. You’re now essentially renting or selling to the same market you would be in the U.S.

Remote work now means millions of people are free to relocate to desirable international destinations and they are doing so in droves.

These are people who will want your real estate and who are willing to pay a lot more for it than you did… assuming you get it at the right price. It’s likely your guests will be from Ohio or California…

The railroads made successes of towns along their tracks. The interstate highway system turned backwaters into boomtowns. The car made the growth of suburbia possible.

When technology changes where we can live or do business, it changes the rules of the property market.

I’m not a speculative guy. I’m more often accused of being too risk-averse and conservative in my investments. I only like deals that—even if things don’t work out how I think they will—will still allow me to do OK.

And the best way I know how to find those deals?

Ahead of big transformations.

Get the right real estate deal positioned ahead of growing demand. Because if you add supply constraints on top of that… it’s a formula for values to soar.

Ronan McMahon is IL’s international real estate expert. If you’ve been thinking of buying a rental property overseas, but could use help with your search, consider joining Ronan’s Real Estate Trend Alert. Thanks to group buying power, members get access to best-in-class pre-construction properties in the right locations—at below-market pricing.

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