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Old 14-06-2017, 02:08   #1
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Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

So, let's say you're planning on heading out. And you could be 25 or 55, but would like to have a parcel of land somewhere to think of as "home", though there's yet to be building one on it. Which, you're doing this not so much for the value of the acreage of the dirt, but as a hypothetical bailout plan. Whether you actually plan to head back to it in 5 years, & build a house & raise a family, or retire. Setup a business, or sell it, & buy something else, etc.

So... the big question is, where? And how much would you realistically buy, & why that amount? Somewhere near to where your current friends & family are now, or elsewhere entirely? The PNW, Chile, New Zealand, Fiji, other?

I'm looking for ideas, as much as I am reasons. And if folks are kind enough to toss out rough prices, so much the better. Especially as this seems like a common enough topic here on CF. Though one which I ain't much seen addressed directly like this.

To start off. I can think of spots in most of the places I named, with land ranging anywhere from downright cheap, to say $50k for a few acres, with good timber & water. Including great neighbors with both 2 legs, & 4. The downsides being residency rules in a few, along with sucky building codes in some. But... if you look, there are some great spots out there.

What are your fav's?
Guess I'm partial to mountains, & timber, near to the ocean. With a fairly mild climate. Meaning at most a few weeks of snow a year. Less works, as does warm sand under foot, if'n the bugs ain't horrid.

PS: The idea for this thread got stirred by another recent one on here -->

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Old 14-06-2017, 06:12   #2
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Of course this is a very subjective question that only the individual can answer, but here is what Ive done.

Well chosen real estate is a good investment so Ive bought a little in several countries as Ive moved along. These include, in chronological order, Belize, Guatemala, Panama. Ive lived in all 3 countries and still have homes in 2 (Guatemala & Panama).

Ive bought and sold undeveloped land and have also built in Guatemala and Panama.

Ive sold some of the land Ive bought and roughly doubled my money on most of those deals. Ive also very nearly lost it all a couple of times, but have so far dodged that bullet.

Bear in mind that real estate deals in "developing" countries are not like deals in "developed" countries. For example, title issues are much more common and your realistic legal recourse may be limited to non-existent. Its quite common for foreign owners to encounter legal issues with real state deals here in Central America.

Each country has pros & cons that once again only the individual can weigh. For example, I love Guatemala, but it is a bit too "wild west" for many. Be happy to discuss specifics of the countries where Ive lived.

Each country is also different in terms of residency options and the degree of difficulty/expense in establishing residency.

As far as a bail out plan, my place in a little village on the Rio Dulce would be a good option. Off + 2 wells. The village gets nearly zero government services...there are no emergency, fire, policy, medical services for example. They take care of thier own needs and problems (with force if necessary). So, the Guatemalan & USA governments could collapse and it would make little practical difference.

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Old 14-06-2017, 06:27   #3
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Originally Posted by Mischief_Inc View Post

Guess I'm partial to mountains, & timber, near to the ocean. With a fairly mild climate. Meaning at most a few weeks of snow a year. Less works, as does warm sand under foot, if'n the bugs ain't horrid.

In a number of cases you can get all that in one relatively small country. Panama for example, has 2 ocean coasts plus mountains. No snow, but you can get freezing temps at high altitudes here. We live in the Chiriqui highlands at about 4,500'. Near perfect weather. Cool in the evening thru morning (Im wearing a jacket still @ 0815). And, we can drive to either coast...about 2 hours to the Pacific and about 4 to the Atlantic. A cool benefit of that is that we can get fresh seafood in the mountains...the fish trucks come up at least once a week from the coast. They farm raise trout here in the mountains too. Chiriqui is also the major agriculture province of Panama...fresh produce in abunance, lots of dairies, cow/pig/chicken farms...easy to buy fresh local affordable healthy real food here.

Panama also has a variety of residency options...more than any other country I almost anyone should be able to find one to fit their circumstances.

Land is still very affordable in many areas here (about $30/sq meter for a lot in the town of Volcan for example). Undeveloped larger parcels of rural land are still quite inexpensive on a per unit (hectare, acre, sq meter...) basis. Real Estate is WAY more expensive in places with a large gringo population like Boquete. Also way more expensive in good areas of Panama City.

Overall, Panama has a lot of positives for an expat...and thus many are moving here.
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Old 14-06-2017, 06:59   #4
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Be careful of political changes and attitudes towards foreigners. I invested in a retirement ranch in the Guyana highlands, border of Venezuela and Brazil. Absolutely stunning country. Whoever would have thought Venezuela would slide into chaos?

But you are right. retiring in the third world is a must for me. More exciting and affordable.
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Old 14-06-2017, 08:11   #5
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

check green cove springs fl
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Old 14-06-2017, 08:26   #6
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

The land of "Cash" (gold if you aren't comfortable with fiat currency or preferably investing if you have a 5yr or longer horizon).

Realistically, you will make little if anything once you factor in taxes and other carrying costs but if you decide in 10yrs that your land is not where you want to live it can be complicated and time consuming to sell and there is usually a significant agent fee to pay.

You could consider rental property but the place I would want to live in...I probably wouldn't want to rent out (and vise versa). While it can turn a profit if you know what you are doing and are careful, there is a big hassle factor which I wouldn't suggest to someone who isn't already into rental properties and is immediately planning to be off cruising distant lands (long distance landlord).

With some form of cash, you can quickly buy what you want, where you want, when you want. Say you have a hip go bad...suddenly the mountains with all those steep hills and stairs look a lot less inviting. Or as others have suggested, what if the political, economic or tax climate changes in a country? You could suddenly have an unusable piece of land with drastically less value.
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Old 14-06-2017, 08:36   #7
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

We started cruising with no home left in our native California, or anywhere else. We felt like we were completely untethered, and I for one sort of missed having an invisible attachment to a piece of land, I don't know why. I have lived abroad, or just across the country, away from my wife and children for extended periods before and always sensed a geographic tug inside that felt like home was far away, but in a certain direction, like the silver cord that connects your soul to you ( in a dream I had as a pschedelisized teenager) . We had to return for family problems and so we bought a truck and camper and drove 40,000 miles last year looking for a place to return to. After eleven states we ended up buying 2 lots side by side, in Manila California. The 1/4 acre lot has a ramshackle doublewide mobilehome on it and 4 even ramshacklier outbuildings on it. They were all an indoor marijuana farm for many years and several owners. The other lot is a 1/2 acre of weeds. We are here until November of 2018 when our ability to cruise will arrive. While waiting for the rainy season to diminish so I can rebuild the roof on the house, we planted 23 fruit trees, 20 berry bushes, some grape vines and built 3- 5' 4"" x 16' raised vegetable gardens. When we were in Mexico we met a whole lot of snow birds, mostly Canadians, who cruised the Sea of Cortez in the winter and went home in the summer. We thought it would be a great way to extend our cruising into old age. Our plan has evolved to now build a small cottage on the 1/2 acre to come and go from and to rent the existing house. Then we can drive our camper to Mexico in the fall and cruise the Sea until the beginning of hurricane season, then return to Manila for the summer and fall. That is our plan and we are sticking to it, unless a better one presents itself.
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Old 14-06-2017, 08:55   #8
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

This is a great topic. We are planning to go cruising to Mexico next year and beyond. I sold my big house here in California but I have a couple of small rental houses in eastern Canada and on the west coast of Florida. I'm thinking that I'll go cruising in the winter and pick one of my rental properties to renovate in the summer for a more permanent place in a few years. I also have an old cottage in Nova Scotia on the ocean that could be rebuilt for a summer place . That's the plan for now but who knows , once I spend some time in Costa Rico or Fuji or New Zealand that could all change. I think the secret is to have a small place that you can rent out that doesn't drain your finances too much.
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Old 14-06-2017, 09:05   #9
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

You might like New England. Maine, and Mount Desert Island in particular.

If you are retiring, living is fairly cheap after you purchase a house, but after selling you house in Maryland, you probably won't have a problem. Lots of boaters. Great community for retired people, and lots to do even in winter.

However, if you have to sail a lot, then you may find that the early June to early October season is too short for you. Of course if money is no problem, then you can have a small apartment in South Carolina, and sail there in the Winter.

PM me if you want more information.
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Old 14-06-2017, 09:24   #10
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
The land of "Cash"
We keep looking at land and having a problem committing. I keep coming back to cash as a way to stay flexible.

Often cheap land requires good health (for building/maintaining and because it is far from medical services). One reason to delay is that where we live depends a lot on how our health is, and age, whenever we bail out.
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Old 14-06-2017, 09:39   #11
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

I have never seen a style of life as all or nothing.

Sailing for me is a part of life, and as such, well here in Europe anyways, I envision living on a catamaran in the marina when the dog days have got too long...

A cat is minimal steps up and down. A Marina with all facilities is lest than 5K per annum. Already owning the Cat makes everything else redundant. The water is a good pacifier. There is a cheap cafeteria in the marina, full shower block and a medical centre 5 mins away.. the town is full of restaurants and the scenery is great.

This scenario is throughout Spain and Italy, Greece, the Islands etc etc.. ... its a matter of choosing where.

A house costs to upkeep and so does a Catamaran... I prefer the Cat.

Just a thought..
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Old 14-06-2017, 09:44   #12
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Originally Posted by Mischief_Inc View Post

So... the big question is, where? And how much would you realistically buy, & why that amount? Somewhere near to where your current friends & family are now, or elsewhere entirely? The PNW, Chile, New Zealand, Fiji, other?

At least for me the first consideration is that in PNW and New Zealand peeps speak English, or at least what passes for English. Not so much so in Chile; not sure about Fiji. As others have mentioned there are also what I will call culture considerations, e.g. wars, revolutions, serious government changes.

You mentioned $US50K, which in lots of places is the life time earnings of many folks. But in other areas it may only be a couple of months pay. I have a friend who sails almost full time. He bought a laundry mat in Argentina which makes money and qualifies him for medical and dental care there at below US costs. But the value of the Argentine peso is worth less than half of what it was worth in 2012. Which raises the issue of medical and dental services and how to pay for them, and will you be able to use currency exchange to make payment easier. Even if the US has inflation it is far less than most of the rest of the world.

I have a condo in Florida I consider my home even if I cruise most of the year. At some point my age will most likely reduce my ability to cruise at which point I will revert to a landlubber. While I really don't have any advice about the best place to retire on land I still dream about finding a paradise homestead. Just not quite sure where it will be.
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Old 14-06-2017, 10:43   #13
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

I'm 73 years old and have been cruising since 2002, have a wife and house (wife has a disposition lying somewhere between that of a wolverine and Tasmanian Devil) know that sooner or later I will probably have to move ashore but cannot envision any lifestyle preferable to living on the water.

Since with health issues, family relations etc ones future is lost out there in the mists of time I tend to the opinion that the only realistic option is to amass as much cash as possible in order to meet whatever the future brings.

The appeal of a land base is strong but the reality tends to be accompanied by all sorts of complications like local rates and taxes, inheritance issues, security, maintenance etc.
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Old 14-06-2017, 12:00   #14
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

This is a tough one for me. As a kid back in the 1950's we moved a lot. Dad was a heavy equipment operator during the Eisenhower highway building period. We followed the construction jobs through the south west. Moving around became a way of life for me.
All of my immediate family (Mom, Dad, Sister) have long ago passed on. At this point my only attachment is my wife of 27 years. She has family in southern Calif. and we moved back there to be closer to her kids and grand kids. I think I could be O.K. living just about anywhere except where I'm at now. The boat is a means of escape for me.
After shipping out for 20 years I have a hard time putting down roots. I like Asia and traveled through parts of Japan and Korea, lived in the Philippines for 3 years. Passed through the Med and Suez Canal, Indian ocean and Panama Canal more than a few times. I like most places but not enough to buy and live there. After a few months in most places I feel like I want to see other places. I can't seem to help feeling this way.
I guess there's more people like this. Many cruisers must feel this way.
I often think about a place in the mountains with clean water and good soil for growing
but I have to be realistic that at 67 years it's hard to start a new homestead. The wife is perfectly happy right here and has her friends and family. I'm happy when I can get to the boat and spend some time doing repairs and a few upgrades. Still thinking of slipping the dock lines and heading back down to Mex. and even further Just to see what's around the next corner. Not sure If I can make it to Tahiti but still a dream. All I know is if it's going to happen it better happen soon while I still can sail.
Sorry for the long winded reply, just letting it all out.
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Old 14-06-2017, 12:08   #15
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Re: Post-Cruising "Retirement" Land - Where, & Why?

Don't buy any land. Invest the money and get something when the time comes and where you want to be.

jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
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