This is true whether you buy for investment or for retirement and argues in favor of buying for retirement rather than renting.
Buying your new retirement residence overseas means moving money out of the United States and putting it into another market and, potentially, another currency. Moving all your money out of the States and into a new retirement residence overseas doesn’t alone bring you the diversification you should be seeking right now. However, using some of your capital to purchase a retirement residence in the place where you want to live and putting other of your capital to work in another market (that perhaps uses a different currency) gets you not only diversification but also what amounts to a rent-free retirement.
Rent is typically the lion’s share of any retirement budget. If, when the time comes to flip the switch to that stage, you’re able to move into your dream retirement residence, bought and paid for years earlier, rather than having to become someone’s tenant, you’re way ahead of the game.
Another advantage of buying your retirement residence overseas rather than renting it is that it helps you to “take the plunge.” It allows you to move your life forward, unequivocally, embracing the new adventure.
Many who rent before they buy do so to be able to maintain a property back home, “just in case.” While this can be sensible, it’s also an anchor, a drag. It can divide your attention and keep you looking backward instead of ahead to your new life. Keeping one foot on the pier and the other on the departing boat can land you in the drink. You may remain only partially committed, which will be a handicap.
The bottom line for the retiree-buyer is to follow your instincts, not only with regards to what to buy overseas but also when answering the question, should you buy at all?
You know yourself, your motivations and preferences, and how well you’ve researched your chosen destination. You know your level of commitment, your level of readiness, and your tolerance for risk.
If and when you decide that you’d like to buy a place of your own for your retirement overseas, here are nine points to consider as you compare one property with another:
1. How much space will you need?
Do you want an apartment or a house? One bedroom or two? (You probably won’t need more than two.) Two levels or only one? A guest room or even a guest house? Will you have guests often, for example? Will you want them to be able to stay with you, or would you prefer if they came and went from a hotel nearby?…
2. Would you like a front yard, a back garden, or a swimming pool?
All of these things require care and maintenance…
Do you want to be in the heart of downtown or out in the country?…
4. Type of property
Do you like the idea of living in a gated community, or would you prefer a more integrated setting, such as a neighborhood where you could become part of the local community? This is a key consideration. Going local means you have to learn the local language (if you don’t speak it already). Or perhaps you’d prefer to be off on your own with undeveloped acres between you and your nearest neighbor. In this type of rural setting you will need to build your own in-case-of-emergency infrastructure…
5. Traffic patterns and transportation
Where you base yourself determines whether you’ll need to invest in a car, which is an important budget consideration…
6. The convenience factor
How far is it to shopping, restaurants, nightlife, parking, and the nearest medical facility?…
7. Furnished versus unfurnished
You may have no choice but to buy unfurnished (unless you buy, say, from another expat who’s interested in selling his place including all contents). Buying unfurnished means you’ll need to purchase furniture locally or ship your household goods from home…
8. Your budget
This is the most practical guideline of all, of course. Be clear on your finances before you start shopping, and, if your budget is strict, don’t be tempted to consider properties outside your price point. You’ll only be disappointing yourself unnecessarily…
9. Finally, ask yourself what kind of view you’d like from your bedroom window each morning.
This can be an effective way to focus on something important that might otherwise be overlooked until it’s too late.
Founding Publisher, Overseas Opportunity Letter