The Key To Buying Real Estate Overseas Is A Good Attorney

What We Global Property Buyers Can Learn From
Mr. Blandings

March 10, 2014, Panama City, Panama: The key to success buying real estate overseas is a good attorney and cool-headed due diligence.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Many people think buying property in another country is a risk-filled quagmire that is too complicated to overcome. Certainly buying property in a location you’re not familiar with requires due diligence and research, but that’s true whether you’re living in Chicago and want to buy a lake house in Wisconsin or living in Chicago and want to buy a beach house in Honduras. The same “foreign” effects can come into play.

A good example of all that can go wrong going wrong when buying real estate in a foreign place is the 1948 movie “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House,” which follows a New York City ad executive who’s fed up with apartment living and so searches for, buys, and then renovates a farmhouse in Connecticut.

One critical mistake Mr. Blandings makes early on is not consulting with his attorney, who also happens to be his best friend, regarding the purchase terms and contract. The price that Mr. Blandings agrees to pay for his land is multiples of even the “top-gouge price for city slickers,” as his attorney-friend explains to him too late.

In addition, Mr. Blandings’ attorney notices a note on the back of the title that explains that the amount of land indicated for sale may have been “optimistic”…and that the parcel likely will survey out to include 30% fewer acres than advertised, “more or less.”

The bulk of the movie follows the renovations to the house…well, the aborted renovations. Mr. Blandings and his wife quickly decide the old farmhouse has to be torn down and a new house built. The movie is a must-see for anyone thinking about renovating…the original “money pit” story.


First Time Property Purchase In Estepona, Spain

I Almost Told Him Not To Do It

March 9, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Investing in property overseas for the first time can be daunting.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The first real estate purchase Lief and I made outside the United States purely as an investment was 16 years ago in Spain.

We'd moved to Ireland the year before. We were renovating the house we'd bought in Waterford for our family to live in, running the business we'd relocated with us from the States, and I was pregnant. Lief was on the road two weeks out of four at least, scouting.

When he called one night from his hotel in Estepona, Spain, to tell me that he'd met that day with a developer with only a handful of units remaining in his pre-construction development on that coast, I was silent.

Was I ok with him returning to the developer's office the next day and signing a contract for one of those remaining units? He needed to move quickly, Lief told me, because the developer believed the project would sell out within a matter of another couple of days.

At this time, Lief and I had been married but a little over a year. Still, I knew my husband well enough to know he was nobody's fool. Lief isn't easily convinced of anything, especially when money is involved. If he believed the developer telling him that this pre-construction condo project on the coast of Estepona, Spain, was going to sell out within a matter of days...well, then, that was probably the case.

Furthermore, I knew that, while my husband had not bought property purely as an investment in any country other than the United States at this point, he had enough general real estate investing experience to be able to size up an opportunity.


French Leaseback Opportunity At Chateau Cazine...

Earn A Guaranteed 10% Per Year From Your Chateau In France--Here's How

March 7, 2014, Limousin, France: Chateau Cazine in Limousin, France, is an appealing French Leaseback opportunity, guaranteeing a return of 10% per year.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader, 

The French chateau resort development that I told you about in December got news last week that its restaurant has been awarded its first Michelin Star. That just 18 months after opening. That is no small feat and bodes well for investors in the project.

The property is Chateau de la Cazine in Limousin, France, a chateau on 90 hectares that has been purchased by a UK developer and is being transformed from a modest hotel with an excellent restaurant to a full-fledged destination resort with a spa, a golf course, and that same excellent, now Michelin Star restaurant.

The heart of the property is a petit chateau whose foundation dates back to the 12th century. This picture-postcard-perfect historic structure is being renovated into the new resort's luxury spa center and is expected to be an important draw.

However, the main event is the main chateau, imposing and grand, built in 1898 and every bit the picture of French chateau life. This building has been renovated already and is up and running as a boutique hotel with 18 deluxe rooms and the fine-dining restaurant.


Property Overseas Is An Investment For Profit And For Fun

12 Reasons To Buy Real Estate Overseas

March 6, 2014, Panama City, Panama: An investment in real estate overseas is the best investment you could make in today’s global market climate.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader, 

Buying a piece of property in another country is a good strategy for diversifying your investment portfolio, but it's much more than that, too.

This isn't like investing in a stock. You don't buy a beachfront lot or a rental condo overseas and then set it on a shelf, as it were, to wait for its value to increase. An investment in foreign real estate requires active and ongoing management and administration, including visits to the property and establishing an infrastructure of support on the ground in the place where the property is located.

The result is that, while you're diversifying your portfolio and potentially increasing your net worth, you're also reinventing your life. I'd say that this, in fact, is the real upside to foreign real estate as an investment class.


Six Business Opportunities For The Entrepreneur Abroad

How To Fund Your New Life Overseas

March 5, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Starting a business overseas can allow you to fund your new life in the foreign country of your dreams.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

A friend in Poland years ago learned that Burger King was planning to open up shop there and needed warehouse space for its supplies. My friend bought a warehouse. Burger King became his client. In time, he expanded his storage business to include other clients and other products...and he made a nice living for himself in the place where he'd decided he wanted to live.

Another friend noticed how few coffee shops existed in Warsaw. (This was 15 years ago, before Starbucks came to this town.) My friend found a local roaster to roast the coffee beans and then packaged them himself. He set up a combination retail and wholesale operation that was bought by another larger one. That company is still going strong.

Some of the best overseas businesses start like these two--organically. You show up, discover a market niche, and find a way to fill it.

Other business start-ups can be more pre-planned.

About seven years ago, I took early retirement from the company where I'd worked for nearly 23 years. Six months later, I realized that retirement didn't suit me. I liked being in business.

For me, the question wasn't, what business might make sense? (I enjoyed the business I'd already spent 23 years learning how to practice.) For me, the question was, where best should I base the business I want to launch? (Panama stood out as the obvious choice.)


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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.


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