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Old 21-06-2010, 06:33   #1
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Where to Buy an Overseas Home ?

Some time in the next few years we'd like to buy a house/base for when we finish our circumnavigation, and it needs to meet the following criteria:
- Warm and tropical
- Great sailing area
- Great diving
- Great locals
- Great food
- Cheap

It would also be nice if it were to:
- Appreciate over time
- Be rentable to fund our cruising
- Be expat friendly!!

A few times, over various threads, sailors have mntioned they have bought properties which are either rented out, or which are simply cheap havens for cruising breaks. Are there any ideas about where are good places to invest in the current climate?
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Old 21-06-2010, 07:37   #2
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I would seriously consider Langkawi and other places in Malaysia, as well as Thailand.
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Old 21-06-2010, 07:49   #3
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We bought a place in Thailand. It's got everything you are looking for.

We are outside Krabi Town and too rural for rental potential. I'd look at Koh Lanta ... villa or condo, best for rental.
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Old 21-06-2010, 08:22   #4
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Cuba, before the Americans move in and buy it up.

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Old 21-06-2010, 08:30   #5
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Central America looks pretty good to me.

More stable in the future than Thailand and Malaysia... too many Aussies in Thailand! LOL

Central America is very close to home for folks from the USA and I think there can be a huge economic surge there just from medical tourism if nothing else.

We found Panama much cheaper than Malaysia. And many more western style products... cheap alcohol.
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Old 21-06-2010, 08:37   #6
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2nd the Central America: Costa Rica is supposed to be pretty good.
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Old 21-06-2010, 08:43   #7
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Many Americans and Canadians are here in Mexico but I would be hesitant to buy a place in Mexico (unless it was very cheap) because I have heard too many horror stories regarding loosing property here in Mexico.
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Old 21-06-2010, 08:47   #8
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No matter where you end up looking, do your research thoroughly, and use recent sources, as things can change fairly rapidly in some areas of the world. I would also advise you to go to the top one or two spots you end up choosing, and actually live there for a few months in a rental property before buying or building your own place. The rose-tinted glasses tend to fade a bit after a while. Some folks find that they're just not cut out for living in a country so different from what they grew up with. We've seen it happen here.
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Old 21-06-2010, 09:07   #9
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go to the top one or two spots you end up choosing, and actually live there for a few months in a rental property before buying or building your own place. The rose-tinted glasses tend to fade a bit after a while. .
My dad had a saying never buy property thats advertised. (Except in the normal real estate part of the paper)
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Old 21-06-2010, 10:36   #10
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Rio Dulce. Only 2 1/2 hours from the US by air. Lots of expats. Good local folk. Very cheap living. Getting a bit crowded from what I read. Do know a couple folks down there. Ken
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Old 21-06-2010, 11:39   #11
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Cool. We haven't been to Central America yet, although we've spoken about it heaps!! But very far, and very expensive to get to!! What are the ownership laws in Central America? Can you own property outright there? Do people make money renting out? Does it matter what nationality you are (I'm British, he's German)? Are the hurricanes there really bad, or do folks keep their boats there year round? I'm going to change our cruising map to add in a good season there!!!

See, although Thailand would be our first choice (at the moment), it's not possible to own land there as an expat, unless you have a business agreement with a local... OR you just buy an apt in a condo or managed estate. Folks do it, but it all seems very unstable, especially as a friend who is there tells me they're trying to reclaim property off foreigners (not sure what the full story is, though).

And I agree with Mark - I'd rather pick up a place on our travels if we fall in love with somewhere. The boss is a bit keen to get a 'retirement pad' tho... Just in case we sink the boat!
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Old 21-06-2010, 11:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
No matter where you end up looking, do your research thoroughly, and use recent sources, as things can change fairly rapidly in some areas of the world. I would also advise you to go to the top one or two spots you end up choosing, and actually live there for a few months in a rental property before buying or building your own place. The rose-tinted glasses tend to fade a bit after a while. Some folks find that they're just not cut out for living in a country so different from what they grew up with. We've seen it happen here.
Good advice from Hud

I would also add research the ownership laws and occupancy / visa laws and also tax / residency implications, plus property taxes (local / national / regional)...........and not just internet "facts" - although very useful to get a handle on your unknowns.........and don't assume anything is like "home" (wherever home is). Especially anything "obvious" ............just like buying a boat is basically the same worldwide, but with (sometimes wildly) differing practices - some norms are even illegal elsewhere.


Might also want to get a grasp of planning laws in some countries - and how "your" property fits in. Over here property just doesn't get built without planning permission (albeit disputes can still arise over what was built vs what was approved ).........in other countries the approach can differ. Spain springs to mind But I am sure others.............

And also inheritance laws & taxes might be worth looking into if a retirement place. Some countries have forced heirship laws, which can defacto disposses a spouse of the house (I knew a case of Brits in France - families ). or simply high death taxes that do the same. Might also want to look into whether a local Will also required - as usually dying intestate is another inconveniance (in addition to being dead ) and often expensive.

I would also research the sale market, the reality of - might not be a question of how much, might be at all - especially if property over designed for a westerner, in an area that is not / no longer attractive to most other westerners - even if you simply love being 10k's from the nearest town up a dusty mud track. that in the rainy season is a river of mud or enjoy being in town next door to the local knocking shop

In some countries debts can be attached to a house, including for taxes - yours / previous owners. and not just for property related debts - not neccessarily in a way that can be checked.


..............or you can rent

Me? I've got half a hankering (long term) on Malaysia. Not spent a lot of time there, but appeared very civilised - people and the place. Certainly not Thailand (plusses and minuses to that of course - but I figure by then dull will be the new exciting ).

BTW not saying don't buy - just eyes wide open.
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Old 21-06-2010, 14:01   #13
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Thank you, Folks, a lot of food for thought there, and good pointers on what to look out for. Hud is quite right about spending time in a place first - as well as getting a feel for the place I guess it's easier to get a grasp on how the legal systems work!

Quote:
Me? I've got half a hankering (long term) on Malaysia. Not spent a lot of time there, but appeared very civilised - people and the place. Certainly not Thailand (plusses and minuses to that of course - but I figure by then dull will be the new exciting ).
LOL!!

I spent 5 weeks in Malaysia a few years ago, and it is indeed a beautiful country with very genuine, gentle and polite people. Hm - and I think property laws are friendlier there too.

I was in Thailand for a month (left not long after the tsunami), and a few weeks this year; the locals I met were upbeat and friendly, but they really had fine-tuned the tourist tout culture. Fickle as this might sound, tho, I much prefer the food in Thailand!

I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to make up my mind. I'm sure that as usual whatever happens to me will happen anyway, regardless of what I plan.... Anyway, it's good to be well informed just in case something does crop up!

Anyway - does anyone have first hand experience of cruising on rental income - and if so, where is your home? How do you receive your income? How well does it support your cruising (ie, can you cover costs etc)
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Old 21-06-2010, 16:48   #14
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We haven't been in Thailand long enough to be any kind of experts but one thing for sure ... we feel very "safe", despite what's been in the new about the Red Shirts/Yellow Shirts. That stuff was all up in Bangkok and a little further north. We are 450 miles to the south and everything is cool here. We are near the Andaman Sea coast and rural to semi-rural. I would walk down the streets at any hour of the day and not worry about my safety. No bars on windows, something we saw everywhere in the Caribbean and CA. Of course, it is third world ... but if it was otherwise, it wouldn't be cheap! And the food is soooo good!
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Old 21-06-2010, 16:57   #15
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Not renting?

I've been curious about this for a while.

What makes me suspicious is the small number of places for rent in some of these areas. Buying where the property laws essentially say that your real estate can be taken by a local with the right connections cannot be a good idea.

Some of these places are a little unstable so the ability to make a quick getaway with finances intact is highly desirable.

It's what convinced me to buy a boat.
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