Wendy Howarter

Wendy Howarter was an attorney for 23 years until she decided there must be more to life than 60-hour work weeks and 10 days of vacation every year… to say nothing of looking beyond the many feet of snow and ice she had to shovel every year living in Illinois… So she left it all behind and retired (very!) young. After a lot of research and selling everything they could, Wendy and her husband Darren moved from northern Illinois to Medellín, Colombia, in 2014. She has now reinvented herself as a real estate investment guru and freelance writer and photographer who loves sharing her new home and new discoveries (in Colombia and beyond) with the world. At this time of retrospection, Wendy adds, “I can truly say that this adventure has turned out better than I ever expected…”

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Helpful Tips On The 4 Main Overseas Investment Options

pile of money outside a model house

Every week I strive to bring you some of the most exciting real estate opportunities from around the world. While it’s easy to get excited about a property adventure, you’re taking a big chance if you don’t ask lots of questions before you spend your hard-earned money.

So, this week I’m going to take a step back and identify the five most important lessons to learn, long before you pull out your checkbook or initiate that electronic transfer. But first, let’s look at four different property types that require different initial assessments.

The Ultimate Plan B: Our Experts Talk Doomsday Scenarios

person looking out across a mountain range

Most of us don’t want to think about a possible End of Days situation. With global climate change, political unrest, and general hostilities on the rise, many are concerned about the future and how to protect themselves and their family from a potential worst-case scenario.

This topic is part of Live and Invest Overseas’ Wealth Building and Diversification Kit, where Founding Publisher Kathleen Peddicord leads a panel of four experts who share their thoughts about how to survive our current world problems while creating a fulfilling life that’s also risk-adverse, insulated, and protected in case of darker days.

Haunted Houses, Hornets, And Other Overseas Horror Stories

skeletons at a party

I love Halloween.

From creative costumes to children trick-or-treating, Halloween is a fun time of year. After moving overseas, I learned that it’s celebrated in many countries around the world.

In the spirit of the holiday, I thought it’d be fun to share some spooky stories from my far-flung colleagues here at Live and Invest Overseas.  …

Classic Italian Properties On The Trabocchi Coast, Abruzzo

Civitella de Tronto, Abruzzo view of town

“The coast of Abruzzo, Italy, is anything but monotonous.”

I’m quoting native Italian and Live and Invest Overseas colleague Monia Di Guilmi, who has a real passion for the area on the Adriatic Sea she calls home. In fact, I so loved the story she shared with me about the rickety fishing huts dotting the beaches, I had to share it with you here.

First, a little background about this stunning and varied stretch of coastline… …

Three Interesting Property Markets Near Salinas, Ecuador

The beach at Salinas, Ecuador

A few weeks ago I shared the details about four apartments on the market in Salinas, Ecuador. If you missed that story, you can still read it here.

While I was scouting in Ecuador, I also had the opportunity to travel up the Pacific coast to the more traditional and tranquil communities of Ballenita, Punta Blanca, and Río Chico. Each of these towns offers a different experience within one hour’s drive from the more touristy area around Salinas.

Upon arriving at the coast I was greeted by a friendly, Italian expat who offered his real estate facilitator services to show me around the area. We soon met up with a real estate agent and began our tour. …

4 Amazing Properties In The Seaside Town Of Salinas, Ecuador

salinas ecuador

In 2013, I visited Ecuador during my personal search for an overseas home. After attending the Live and Invest Overseas Ecuador Conference in Guayaquil, my husband and I ventured inland, over the Andes Mountains, to Cuenca.

Cuenca was (and is still today) the hot spot for expat living—approximately 6,000 expats residing in a town of 600,000 people. It proved to be everything we had heard and read about. But if you’ve been following my story in these weekly missives, you know we didn’t choose to live in Cuenca.

Instead we chose Medellín, Colombia, mostly because we felt a greater connection to the cosmopolitan lifestyle Medellín offers. It was simply a hard-to-explain gut instinct. This is but one reason I recommend visiting any place you’re considering living before making a decision.

Back To The Beach

Now, five years later, I think Ecuador deserves another look. However, instead of revisiting Cuenca, I headed to the Pacific coast to check out the beach communities of Salinas, Ballenitas, Olón, and the little towns in between. For anyone dreaming about a beachfront retirement or second home, this area should be on your radar.

Here the high season runs from December until April, so I visited in August to experience the off-season atmosphere and property opportunities. This time of year is also known as the “gray season” in some locations because the sky is usually hazy in the morning. However, the sun peeked out for a couple of hours each afternoon during my stay.

The ocean-side towns were tranquil, the traffic was light, the beaches were nearly empty, and the vibe was laid-back. Several of the apartment towers I visited were occupied by just a handful of tenants. This means fewer residents at the private pools, or using the gym equipment, or in the sauna. I found an overall peaceful lifestyle compared to the high season when the noise level amps up and vacationers fill the town.

A local real estate agent was kind enough to spend a couple of days with me to view a variety of properties. Whether you are looking for a place to live year-round or during your winter months, or if you’re considering an income-producing rental, you can find something to fit your needs in Salinas.

I can’t share every property I saw, but here’s a quick sampling of four different options currently on offer.

  • Spacious Apartment With Private Elevator Access: This 279-square-meter (3,000-square-foot), 10th-story apartment is one block from the beach, with gorgeous ocean and yacht club views. Built as a “Smart Building,” you need a security fob to enter both the building and the elevator. This allows the elevator to open directly into the units, all of which are one per story.
Phoenix view

Enjoy this view from your spacious “Smart Apartment” in Salinas

This 4-bedroom, 4-bath home comes fully furnished and would make a great rental. With two balconies—one facing the bay on the north side and the other facing the south side of the Salinas peninsula—refreshing breezes sweep through and cool the apartment without need for air conditioning.

You could expect rental income of US$2,000 to US$2,500 per month during high season and US$1,200 per month in low season. The list price for this 10-year-old apartment is US$279,900.

  • Compact Boardwalk Bargain: Located directly on the malecón, with easy access to the beach and viewing pier, this 18th-floor, 91-square-meter (980-square-foot), fully furnished apartment offers 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. As this unit is on the back corner of the building, the spacious balcony looks directly toward the south side of the peninsula. But when you relax at the cute, two-person café table, you can enjoy the bay view as well.
Aquamira balcony
Sip your morning coffee or a glass of wine while enjoying this view
from your expansive balcony in this affordable condo

Designed with a clever use of space and all appliances included, this turnkey home is perfectly suited for the rental market. Your tenants will enjoy full use of the pool, gym, and concierge services in this 24-hour secured, 3-year old building. The price was recently marked down to only US$164,000.

  • Chipipe Jewel In The Rough: Further out toward the point of the peninsula you’ll find the Chipipe neighborhood. With an expansive beach and fewer shops and clubs, this area is quieter and more residential. The unit I visited was a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom unit on the 14th floor of an older building, which means the rooms are larger with more architectural detail than the ultra-modern construction you’ll find in brand-new apartments.
El Valero Azul street view
Just across the street from this apartment you can enjoy
the expansive Chipipe Beach

But it also means the apartment needs some updating, especially in the kitchen and baths. Because the cost of labor is low in Ecuador, you can expect to pay approximately US$5,000 for a brand-new kitchen, and a new bath will cost you around US$2,500. It boasts over 158 meters (1,700 square feet) and a spectacular view of the bay from the large balcony. The list price of US$240,000 means you’ll have money left over to upgrade this apartment to suit your style.

  • Brand-New Luxury Chipipe Offering: Tower One of this two-tower project is complete and available for sale with five different floor plans to choose from. Listed at US$550,000, the apartment I toured was 200-square-meters (2,152-square-feet) with 4 bedrooms (2 with en suite bath) and an additional 1.5 social bathrooms.
Punta Pacifico view
One of the best beach views offered in the Chipipe area

The 16th-floor, unfurnished apartment features a huge balcony with one of the best beach views I found anywhere in the Salinas area. Owners have access to two pools, a gym, a billiard and ping pong area, and an open social area.

With Tower Two under construction as I write, you can lock in an apartment ranging from US$195,000 to US$365,000 with only US$10,000 down. As construction proceeds over the next 15 months, you pay 60% of the total cost of your unit, with a balloon payment at the end. The developer is expecting a 25% increase in the value of your investment upon project completion.

I only mentioned four real estate opportunities in this letter, but I saw many more options with this energetic, professional, and licensed real estate agent. She’s a transplanted New Yorker who has lived in the Salinas area for more than 10 years, so she knows everyone and everyone knows her.

Watch for future Ecuador reports as we keep our finger on the pulse of this exciting market.

Wendy Howarter
Editor, Overseas Property Alert

ROC: Where Property Deals And Retirement Dreams Meet

Beautiful Lake House

As I write this week’s edition, it’s the day after our spectacular Retire Overseas Conference, and I’m exhausted. This year’s event took place in vibrant, sparkling, crazy Las Vegas. My head is still reeling from the lights, bells, crowds, and energy of this city like no other.

I didn’t see much of Las Vegas because the last four days were booked solid with presentations, conversations, and social events geared toward helping our attendees create a personalized plan for their future lives overseas.

We’re not talking pie-in-the-sky, what-if kind of plans. This was hardcore, detailed, specific planning leading to definitive next steps and attainable short-term goals for long-term dreams.

This Conference Is Like No Other

If you were in the room with us this year, I hope we had a chance to chat and discuss your overseas aspirations. If you couldn’t join us, I cannot say this strongly enough: You need to come to this conference next time. Here’s why…

This year’s event featured seven important workshops where …

Live Like Robinson Crusoe On Your Own Private Island

Private Tropical Island

My advice for you this week is… dream big!

Picture yourself swinging in a hammock, sipping an icy beverage, and listening to the waves lapping the soft, sandy shore just steps away. Many people share this dream, especially during cold, blustery winters when warm temperatures seem so far away.

Most dreamers limit their tropical-getaway scenario to an ocean-view apartment… or maybe a quaint bungalow near a touristy beach area… or even a condo community with a pool and margarita bars nearby.

But I say: Think more exclusive!

Fast Returns Up To 23% On Your Investment In David, Panama

Altos de Coquito house plan

Many of the opportunities I share in these weekly missives offer a great place to live, retire, vacation, or invest for rental return. However, if you’re interested in a quick-turn overseas investment without leaving home, pay special attention to today’s post.

This simple, secure, and straightforward project is for you… if you want to realize a great return on your investment directly from your easy chair. You might be looking at 23% return on your downstroke of less than US$50,000 within only two years’ time.

Invest In Truffle Production And Watch Your Profits Grow

black truffles on gold plates

Each week I bring you news about the most exciting real estate opportunities around the world… I share details about residential developments, commercial investments, or retirement/rental homes in spectacular locations.

Not this week.

To quote “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”:

“And now for something completely different…” …