tulum mexico beach

We Wish We’d Moved Sooner: Real Expats Share Their Stories

An Expat’s Biggest Regret (And How To Avoid It)

In my 23 years of living overseas, I’ve never met anybody who hated their new home so much that they packed up and went home.

What almost everybody has admitted to me, though, is that they wish they had done this sooner… that there are now precious years of their lives wasted that they won’t ever get back.

I hear this from readers, too. Often, it’s only when people fully understand what’s on the other side that they realize they could have done it all a lot sooner…Continue reading

panama city skyline

Why Overseas Real Estate Is Such A Good Investment In 2020

No More Sleepless Nights

Of all the investment options out there, why put your money into real estate?

And, more to the point, why foreign real estate?

My husband Lief Simon—who continues to grow his international real estate portfolio every year—says that diversifying into markets outside the United States helps him sleep better at night.

You can have better nights, too—even as the owner of a single foreign property…

As Lief reminds our audience every year at his Global Property Summit, there’s a certain comfort that comes with owning a hard asset like real estate. Stocks go up and down every day. They go in cycles. You have to keep watching them (or pay somebody to watch them for you)…

Real estate, on the other hand, doesn’t have this erratic nature. In most cases, your property is sitting there, holding its value, and often appreciating. It can boost your cash flow by bringing in regular rental income. When not rented out, you can use it as a vacation escape.

Best of all, once you go about it the right way, you don’t have to worry about it day to day. A property manager can take care of everything from checking guests in to paying your utility bills and seeing to any repairs.

Now, when you could easily invest in property in a familiar market in the United States, why bother investing overseas?

Protect Yourself Through Diversification

The logical reason to invest overseas is for diversification outside the United States—and, importantly, outside the U.S. dollar. No matter what any seasoned U.S. investor may tell you, if all your investments and assets are in U.S. dollars, you’re not truly diversified. You have no safety net when things go sour.

You could say things are sour the world over right now. But talks of “global recession” can be misleading.

From three decades of watching the world’s markets… and witnessing day-to-day life on the ground in my favorite places to spend time and do business… I can tell you that not every country will come out the other side of this current pandemic in the same way…

More importantly, Lief and I take a long-term view. The real estate markets we’re focused on—the ones we write to you about regularly—are markets we believe will continue to hold potential well into this decade…

Among these are places that present special opportunities for the investor in search of a yield (in the form of cash flow from rental income), thanks to expanding end-user markets—expanding local middle classes, for example, or growing numbers of international executives, foreign investors, global entrepreneurs, or expat retirees taking up residence.

Panama City and Medellín, Colombia are just two examples of markets where, today, you have the opportunity to tap into the growing middle class need for quality, affordable housing.

Diversification is the clinical way of looking at overseas investment. But there’s a huge personal element to buying foreign property, too… and one that shouldn’t be ignored…

First-Time Buyers Take Note…

Friend and Senior Overseas Property Correspondent Lee Harrison says he looks first for a place where he would enjoy spending time—then he researches the practicalities of investing in the local market. For a first-time investor, I’d say that’s the best model to follow. Approaching it this way, if the local market goes against you, you’re still invested in a place where you’re happy to spend time. You’re in it for the long term… and are willing to wait for things to climb back up.

Whichever angle you’re coming from—whether you want to secure a property for your own use… make an investment… or somewhere in between—we’ll help you figure it all out at this year’s Global Property Online Summit, May 12–15.

This virtual event is overseas real estate investment broken down in the most practical (and fun) way… and given from a number of sides. Because there are so many ways to build a global property portfolio, it’s important that we share different perspectives.

Lief and Lee will both be present for this online summit, of course… along with their wider team of international property experts… all to share their own views… and to tell you about the best current opportunities (for short-, medium-, and long-term investment) from their own regions.

What about the pitfalls? We’ll cover those, too. It’s not easy entering a foreign market. The purchase process (assuming an official one exists) works differently. Contracts are in a foreign language. Titles may be complicated. Often, prices are all over the place.

But once you’re aware of what you’re getting into, you seek the right help, and you have patience (a big part of living and investing in a foreign market), you can do this.

Our Global Property Online Summit will be an interactive event with plenty of time for you to ask your questions in real time… and catch up with our experts in a dedicated chat room, as well as in the virtual Exhibition Hall where you can follow up with them outside the presentations…

Kathleen Peddicord

medellin colombia is a green city

Our Virtual Conference: The Most Complete Guide To Medellín

11 Years Later, I’m No Longer The Crazy One…

The first place I ever recommended Americans think about retiring overseas was Costa Rica. That was 35 years ago. A few years later I organized and promoted the first conference of my career, in San José.

Thinking back, I have to give it to the 40-odd souls who joined me in Costa Rica that year. What interrogations they must have endured from their family and friends. I mean, who retired overseas 35 years ago?
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quiet beach in mexico

From Paris To Panama: Updates On The Situation Overseas

If You Could Be Anywhere In The World Right Now, Where Would That Be?

For the past week, Lief and I have been on lockdown with the rest of France.

The rules aren’t as strict as in Italy. From our apartment in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, we can go to the supermarket or pharmacy. And, it’s okay to go for a walk—as long as you go alone…

Every citizen who ventures out must complete an official form stating the reason for his mission. Break the rules and you could be hit with a 135-euro fine. Last Wednesday alone, the French police handed out 4,095 fines.Continue reading

couple watching virtual conference online

Watch Live Or Later: Launching Virtual Conferences In 2020

Urgent: We’re Keeping The Dream Alive In A Time Of Crisis

Last week, Lief and I traveled freely between Paris, France and Waterford, Ireland.

Despite the spread of the coronavirus in both countries, it was business as usual for most people. In Waterford, we met with our Irish-based staff in a local co-working office space… ate out for lunch and dinner in restaurants with full occupancy… and even squeezed in a couple of property viewings (an Irish country home is still part of our long-term retirement plan).
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black truffles on a board

Discover The Best Agriculture Investments To Diversify In 2020

Boost Your Retirement Income With The Easiest Property Investment You Can Make

Last week, as we opened up registration for our 2020 Global Property Summit, I talked about how to approach a property purchase overseas… and how the head and heart both come into play.

But there’s one area that breaks this rule… where you don’t need to give much thought to how you feel about the country or area you’re buying into… whether you can speak the local language… how close you are to shopping… or who your new neighbors might be…Continue reading

traditional style apartment buildings in Paris

Reasons Why Real Estate Overseas Is A Great Investment

The Property Battle—Old Country House Vs. Return On Investment

On the surface, buying an investment property overseas may seem like a straight-up business transaction. But things are rarely that clear-cut…

I’ve hosted conferences on living, retiring, and investing in real estate overseas for more than 30 years. And, in my welcome address on the opening day, I’ll usually ask the crowd a series of questions…

First: “How many of you are thinking about buying property overseas for investment? A few hands shoot up.

Then: “How many of you are considering purchasing a retirement residence in another country?” A flurry of hands in the air.

Finally: “How many of you would like what I’d term a ‘second home overseas,’ a place you intend to occupy, full- or part-time, in retirement or sooner, if possible, but that you hope could earn some income when you’re not using it yourself?” At the suggestion of this, practically every person in the room raises his hand.

These folks seem to understand something that it’s taken Lief and me more than three-dozen property purchases in 21 countries to figure out. Buying real estate overseas makes so much more sense when you do it as part of a bigger-picture plan.

How I Accidentally Became An Overseas Property Investor

I didn’t set out to become an overseas property investor. It happened by accident and organically. When my husband of but three months, my 8-year-old daughter, and I arrived in Waterford, Ireland, 23 years ago, we needed a place to live. I like old houses the way some women like new shoes and was drawn to the idea of owning an Irish Georgian-style house in the country—a place surrounded by rolling green fields dotted with roaming sheep and spotted cows and bordered by low stone walls and tidy hedgerows. My new husband didn’t object, and, after a search that extended nearly a year, we purchased Lahardan House, a 200-year-old stone house on 6 acres that became our first home as a new family.

Lahardan House was where my daughter Kaitlin, born and raised to this point in Baltimore, Maryland, struggled with the transition to our new life overseas and where we welcomed our son, Jackson, born in Waterford just two months after we’d moved in. It was where Kaitlin learned to ride a pony, in the front pasture, and where Jackson learned to walk, in the forever muddy back garden. Lahardan House was our first overseas renovation adventure. The old stone house was dripping with damp, its timbers riddled with rot, when we bought it. In time, we transformed it into a comfortable and cozy home kept warm and dry by the big Stanley stove in the kitchen.

Lahardan House was also our first overseas property success story… and, not just from a financial perspective. More important, our experience with Lahardan House taught us the fundamentals related to buying and selling real estate overseas that we’ve learned to respect most, key among which is this: The best purchases are made with your calculator, yes, but also with your heart.

Georgian Country Manor Vs. ROI

When Lief and I went looking for a house to buy in Ireland years ago, I was shopping for rolling green hills, centuries-old stone walls, tumble-down outbuildings, and classic Georgian symmetry. He was shopping for cost per square meter, rate of appreciation, and projected ROI. Today, dozens of often conflicted purchases later, we finally understand that the secret to success in buying and selling real estate overseas is recognizing that each of these seemingly competing perspectives is important and that each deserves equal weight in any buy decision.

After we sold Lahardan House, we took those proceeds, added about 20% to them, and reinvested in an apartment in Paris. For our money, we got less than one-quarter the space we’d enjoyed in Ireland. Not a sensible exchange of values, you might say, at least not if you’re evaluating the transaction using your calculator alone.

We were moving to Paris so that our daughter could attend her final three years of high school in France and so that our little family could, meantime, sample life in the City of Light, a dream of mine since I was a young girl. Certainly, under those circumstances, we could have rented a place to live. We didn’t need to buy an apartment for our time in Paris, and, as I said, on the face of it, going by the numbers alone, buying an apartment in Paris didn’t add up. Yet that’s what we did.

Now, in retrospect, I can say that the apartment we purchased in Paris’ 7th arrondissement has proven, like Lahardan House in Ireland, to be one of the most successful investment decisions of our careers, again, we understand now, because it wasn’t made for investment reasons alone.

The Cornerstone Of Our Retirement

When we made our third international move to Panama, we were able to rent out our Paris apartment—and return to use it ourselves whenever we roamed through Europe. It has evolved into one of our most valued assets, in part because it’s worth at least twice what we paid for it, but also, more important to us, because it has become the cornerstone of our retirement.

We didn’t purchase this apartment as an eventual retirement residence. However, the more time we spent living in Paris, the more we liked living in Paris. Finally, Lief and I agreed that we’d always like living in Paris, that this is a place we’ll always want a chance and an excuse to return to. The apartment we bought to live in while our daughter finished her high school education and that we’ve held on to for part-time living and cash flow from rental income ever since, thereby, was transformed, organically, into a piece of our long-term retirement plan.

My point is, in most cases, as you explore your real estate options overseas it’s impossible to separate your personal and your business agenda completely.

Nobody I know understands this better than Latin American Correspondent Lee Harrison. Lee—who’s been living and investing overseas for nearly two decades—looks first for a place where he would enjoy spending time… then he researches the practicalities of investing in the local market.

Certainly, for a first-time investor, Lee’s is a good model to follow. This way, if the local market goes against you, you’re still invested in a place where you’re happy to spend time. You’re in it for the long term… and are willing to wait for things to climb back up. You’ve minimized your risk.

Where Do You Start?

Of course, I’m just scratching the surface here. There is so much more you need to think about as you consider your options for buying property overseas… from where to find the best value (in a market that makes sense for you) to how to protect yourself from falling into the traps that have caught out many a foreign buyer (including Lief and me back in the early days).

This is why we host our Global Property Summit every year… not only to educate you on the best markets to consider in the world right now… but to help you understand everything you need to be aware of in each market for a safe, legal, and straightforward purchase.

Having the right help at hand is key to your success. And, over the three days of this year’s Global Property Summit, you’ll have a chance to network with trusted professionals who can provide you with all the local knowledge you need… and who can help guide you through your property purchase.

This year’s event takes place in Cancún, Mexico, May 13–15. And, as we open registration this week, we have a limited number of complimentary VIP packages… available only to the first 40 readers to register.

Kathleen Peddicord

 

cuenca ecuador view across the colonial buildings and city

The Expert Guide To Ecuador Direct To Your Living Room

How Ecuador Offers You A Serious Lifestyle Upgrade

Ecuador is the top place in the world right now to retire well on a very limited budget

Only a four-hour flight from the United States, a couple could live comfortably here for less than US$700 a month.

That figure may seem unbelievable. But, if you’re a North American, everything in Ecuador is affordable…
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view across medellin colombia

Expats Discuss Why They Moved To Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, Colombia—Much More Than Perfect Weather

“Let me know when you start showing mild climates near lakes and I’ll consider it!” a reader wrote in this week.

If you’ve read more than one of my dispatches, you know that I’m not here to present you with any one particular lifestyle. The year-round beach life of the stereotypical gringo is not for everyone.

Personally, I enjoy the experience of four seasons. But I know others who have lived through months of snow—year after year—who would do anything to avoid another winter… in any part of the world.
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