Properties shape us more than we know.
Settling into my new apartment here in Paris stirred up memories of all the houses in my life—and how each one shaped my future.
In Maryland, before moving to Ireland, we lived in four different homes, but none were very special to me. What was special was the home I spent much of my childhood in (perhaps more time than in the others combined)… my grandparents’ house.
My grandfather built it for my grandmother and their kids in the 70s. On a slope, with a creek running through its 10 acres, it was quirky and idiosyncratic—the setting of countless coming-of-age stories of my mother and aunts and uncles, my cousins, and myself. Before my time, there were chickens and during my tenure always cats and dogs… and snakes and mice (they particularly liked the barn).
My grandfather died in the early aughts and my grandmother stuck stubbornly to this vestige of our family. Until she no longer could. It was isolated (back then they called it “the country”—these days it’s barely a suburb), it was rambling, it was too much to handle. My grief at its loss was second only to my grandmother’s.
Even though I knew I’d never want to live there full-time, I always imagined myself in that house in the future. I was grateful my husband Harry got to see it before my grandmother sold it. When he realized my grandfather built it by hand, he half-joked, “Well, then, we better buy it back one day!”
I sometimes wonder if our family development in Panama, Los Islotes, is my mother’s version of her childhood home… on 200-plus acres, including beach and estuary, house built on a slope, quirky and idiosyncratic (in very different ways than my grandmother’s), and with lots of animals—dogs, cats, horses, cows, and probably many more snakes.
The purchase of the next big home in my life paved the way for much of my future: Lahardan House, Waterford, Ireland. We spent seven years in the stately manor house in the middle of nowhere. I’ll not delude you into thinking I loved it… but I liked some of what it offered—land, horses, and privacy in my budding teenage years.
More than any of that, though, its sale provided the capital that allowed my family to gain a foothold in France—and this was the single biggest herald for my future. It provided my home during high school, but also my base in France after I’d moved away…
So many of my friends lost touch with the City of Light after high school. When they returned, they felt like strangers… like the city wasn’t theirs anymore. I get it. In fact, I believe the only reason I still felt a connection to the city was thanks to my family’s apartment. Even while we were thousands of miles away in Panama City, our bond with Paris remained strong.
Likewise, the purchase of Los Islotes meant my family was locking itself into Panama for the long haul. Family vacations generations from now will, hopefully, take advantage of this flag my parents planted.
In this way, a property guarantees a certain part of your future. You know you’ll have an interest wherever your property is until you offload it.
And, of course, buying property is the oldest method of socking away some cash—land never loses all of its value, even if it depreciates.
When you get right down to it, a property is a place to store yourself, your things, your memories, or your money. When you buy a property overseas, you’re also giving yourself the gift of diversification.
It is with all of these thoughts in mind that we count down now to our annual Global Property Summit taking place in Panama June 24–26.
Whatever it is you’re looking to achieve with your own overseas property purchase, the experts at this year’s Global Property Summit can help.
As I write, this team of global property pros, with, among them, decades of experience and impressive and extensive track records of success, continue to work on the ground, around the world, scouting opportunity—in crisis markets, in recovering markets, in boom markets, even in markets previously off-limits to foreign investors.
They’ll come together and share their latest findings at our 2019 Global Property Summit.
We won’t run another property-focused summit like this until 2020. If you’re serious about owning a property overseas—whether for your own personal use… for investment… or a bit of both—don’t miss this special gathering in Panama City next month when Lief Simon and his team will help you put your plans in place without delay. Get started here.