Let’s face it, we live in an international world nowadays.
We can fly from one continent to another in a matter of hours, we are aware of world events on the nightly news and we eat foods from around the globe.
So, why are we limiting ourselves to living in one place?
I’m not suggesting that you pack up your stuff and become a vagabond…
But, I do think that the average person is not exposing themselves to all of the incredibly interesting and attractive opportunities that there are around the world.
Owning foreign real estate is a great way to have fun and create wealth in the process. Here are the top ten reasons to buy foreign real estate:
Even though most people wouldn’t consider foreign real estate as an investment, what about the gains you personally get?
I would argue that one of the best investments you can make is in yourself. The way you treat yourself with your education, your surroundings, your friends and your time is what will ultimately determine the satisfaction in your life.
So, in other words, if a house in a foreign country allows you to relax and gather your thoughts, then maybe foreign real estate fits right into your personal investment portfolio.
2. Safety Zone
The chances of our primary homes becoming uninhabitable are slim. Other than war, natural disasters or a significant political change, there is not much that would drive people away from where they live.
But, what if something like that did happen? What if there was a war, or a massive earthquake or some change in society that you couldn’t live with?
Do you have a place to escape to?
3. Currency Diversification
Most countries throughout the world use their own currency. If you hold US dollars, Euros or any of the major currencies and you’re concerned about inflation, purchasing foreign real estate is a great way to diversify your holdings.
Not only will the real estate itself be a real asset, but if you decide to sell later on, you will be receiving money that is not dollar dependent.
4. Build Your Portfolio
One of the most important characteristics of a healthy portfolio is diversification. A mix of stocks, bonds, precious metals and real estate usually check all the boxes of a traditional portfolio.
But very few people expand their holdings to foreign real estate. This is due to fear of the unknown and because it’s a pain in the butt to go through the process.
However, purchasing real estate in a different country is actually easier (in most cases) than buying real estate in the US. In many countries, you simply hire a lawyer or expeditor to take care of everything. All you do is sign documents.
5. Enrich Your Life
Do you ever have that restless feeling where you just want to escape?
Immersing yourself in a different language, different food, different culture, different sights, etc. is a great way to add variety to your life.
I always wonder if the normal person gets bored of their daily routine?
Is that why people drink to get drunk? Are they trying to escape something?
Why not go to your private retreat that adds spice to your life, so when you return to your permanent home you are rejuvenated from your daily routine funk.
6. Quality of Life
There are many arguments to what the ideal quality of life is – and I won’t suggest that any way is right or wrong.
However, every country has their own cultural priorities. For example, I find that most Latin American countries put a huge amount of importance on spending time with family; something that we here in the US often lose sight of.
Being able to spend time in a different society that has different priorities really puts your own lifestyle in perspective.
When you take a step back and really think, “What am I doing?” you can reassess how you can make the quality of your life better.
7. Make Money
You can make money in foreign countries with real estate – a lot of money.
You can also lose a lot of money.
In general, most developing countries have much less regulation on how land is bought and sold. There are less rules about what you can build, where you can build and what your allowed to do in general.
This can create a ton of opportunity for someone who doesn’t want to navigate the sometimes impossible bureaucracy that we are faced with here in the US.
As an example, a house we built in Panama required only a couple permits that were less than $100 and were basically instantly approved. Compare that to somewhere like LA or NY where you’d have to pay thousands and thousands just in permits and wait years for building approval.
8. Secure Your Family
For many people, protecting their family is just as, if not more, important than protecting themselves.
That’s why people buy life insurance, create trusts and make detailed wills. They want to ensure the protection and prosperity of their heirs.
Foreign real estate is an excellent way to pass on wealth and protection without your home government interfering. Many countries, like the US, impose inheritance taxes and hurdles that sometimes put more burden on heirs rather than benefit.
Foreign real estate is just that – foreign! The only thing you have to worry about is the country that the real estate is held in. Fortunately, many jurisdictions have very strong property ownership laws that ensure family members will receive the value of the property, instead of the government usurping any value.
9. Hide Your Wealth
This is probably one of the most important reasons to purchase foreign real estate.
I’m not talking about secret bank accounts with shady accounting here, but instead, I’m suggesting that everyone has got to have a way to hide their wealth.
Some people chose to bury their money in the back yard, or store their jewels in a deposit box, or even hide their money under the mattress.
But, what about owning a foreign property that you can rent out and/or enjoy?
You could rent out a home that you buy in a different country and receive monthly rent checks, just like income property here in the US. The difference is that you are not at the mercy of the US government. You are at the mercy of the foreign government. That might sound scary, but believe it or not, US property rights are actually ranked at 15th overall internationally .
That means that even though the US has very strong ownership laws, there are many many countries that are very similar or even better.
And… if you’re holding your money in a bank account, there is the legitimate possibility that the bank or the government can freeze or confiscate your account. Foreign real estate cannot be confiscated by your home country; after all, it’s foreign!
10. It’s Awesome
Ok, I can’t not include this fact.
It’s just plain fun to own foreign real estate.
Whether it’s a property that you enjoy visiting or something that you can offer your friends to stay at, the fact that you own a valuable asset in a foreign country makes for an exciting life.So… Now What?:
Ok, so you’re convinced, kinda, that you should buy foreign real estate.
First, you need to pick where you’d like to spend time.
For me, I need warm weather and good surf. For you, you might like cold weather and tall mountains.
Finding what you like is going to be totally up to you, but once you have decided on what type of environment you’d like to be surround by, you can then start to narrow down your country search.
For me, right now in today’s environment, Panama and Colombia are the top two choices to buy foreign real estate.
Panama checks all of the boxes for me. Warm weather, great surf, friendly people, easy (and strong) property buying process, stable government, etc.
Colombia has a little bit more instability, but the quality of life is top notch and prices are at rock bottom. Much of the Colombian real estate for sale is for less than the cost of construction – that will not last long.