Newsletter # 3 - Looking at International Real Estate
Searching the web for real estate is a great way to lose an afternoon. It is very interesting to peer inside homes in Cyprus or Greece, and see what buys where. Some web sites go into detail about moving to that country such as residency requirements, foreigners owning real estate, etc.
Starting at home, that is BC, try http://www.realtylink.org/ and go through the various communities in BC. It's a fun way to compare communities. As this is relatively close, it is not hard to plan weekends away to explore the various towns around the province.
Spain and France are perennially attractive. Spain has a large ex-pat community. Brits have been going there for over thirty years and apparently 1.2 millions UK citizens have moved to Spain and areas such as the Costa del Sol on the Mediterranean Sea. They have escaped the typically West Coast and British weather; that is rain, rain, rain.
http://www.interrealty.es/, for real estate on the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Costa de la Luz.
http://www.info-world.com/tourism.info/listings-span.php for listings all around Spain.
France is also very popular, and some of the small villages are surprisingly inexpensive. France is a very bureaucratic country, however. Be prepared to take some time to buy. The French Government also has a leaseback program, which is managed by the government. The purpose is to encourage foreign property purchase in France. The concept is that you own the property, live in it for the number of weeks per year that you want and rent it out for the balance of the year. This program has been in place for several years and is not a get-rich-quick scheme but a safe investment. Returns are in the 4% to 5% range. http://www.imoinvest.com/
Another French site is http://www.french-property.com/
Mexico is also extremely popular, especially with Americans and Canadians. If you want to winter down south, travel time to your destination is short, and living costs are somewhat cheaper. However if you go to the major tourist areas, restaurant prices are often in U.S. funds, and so reflect U.S. market prices. Bargains in food and accommodation are found in the smaller centres. Real estate prices in some very popular areas, such as San Miguel de Allende, are high. Many properties are $500,000 and up, not what many are looking for in a second home. They have a large ex-pat community of several thousand Canadians and Americans. This area was discovered quite some time ago. Timing is everything. But, as is normal, if you move to a smaller or less developed area, and you can speak Spanish, better deals can be had. In every case buy title insurance and use competent bi-lingual legal firms. Spend a few months renting in the area first, and be prepared for a few hurdles along the way.
Mahara Sinclaire, M.Ed.
Mahara Sinclaire, 2006-2010
Mahara Sinclaire, M. Ed. Is the author of The Laughing Boomer: Retire from Work – Gear Up for Living! available from www.laughingboomer.com. She was a college and university educator and has presented hundred of workshops on a variety of topics, including retirement planning workshops. But what people are most interested in is Mahara and her husband’s two year, forty-three country, round-the-world travel odyssey. Contact her at 604-210-2025, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.laughingboomer.com.