view of berlin from an apartment balcony

Berlin: Germany’s Vibrant City Full Of Affordable Real Estate

Investing In Europe’s Economic Powerhouse

Germany doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Its efficient economy is the powerhouse of the Continent, and its standard of living one of the highest in the entire world. Universal health care, free college, respect for individual rights, plenty of jobs, affordable housing—Germany seems to have it figured out.

The city of Berlin is an example of how tearing down walls rather than erecting new ones can spur rapid economic growth. Since tearing down the Berlin Wall that divided the city from the end of World War II until 1989, the city has gone on to become a leader in the borderless EU. And with the United States and U.K. withdrawing from the world stage, Germany is quickly emerging as the leader of the free world.

Cities like London, Paris, and Barcelona receive more than their fair share of attention when it comes to the top spots for urban living in Europe. But Germany’s capital city, Berlin, is a world-class city like no other. And, when comparing Berlin to other world cities, there’s one aspect that makes it especially appealing: Continue reading

An Urban Setting With Plenty Of Green Space

Cali, Colombia: An Urban Setting With Plenty Of Green Space

Cali: Great Lifestyle, Low Price Tag
My workout over, I wipe my brow and walk over to chat with Sergio.

Sergio comes to Parque El Ingenio almost every day to sell agua de panela—water flavored with brown cane sugar and lime—to the folks who exercise at what I have come to call “The Flintstones Gym.” The equipment here is homemade. Barbells and dumbbells sport blocks of concrete rather than steel plates, but the equipment is well maintained and this is a popular spot in the mornings. The men who come here are serious about working out, but also friendly, and they welcome me with smiles and nods.

Sergio pours me a generous cup of agua de panela, and I fish a sweaty 1,000-peso bill—about 35 cents—from my pocket. I hand it over and we begin another of Continue reading

San Telmo: Best Area For Property Investment In Buenos Aires

Find Real Character In Buenos Aires’ Oldest Neighborhood

Plus: Skeptical About These Brazil Beachfront Lots…

“This is the soul of Buenos Aires,” the cab driver assured me in his heavily Italian-accented Spanish, “…the heart of Argentina.” Out of metaphors, he stopped the cab at Calle Defensa in the old San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, and I ventured down the street into the brilliant Sunday afternoon sunshine.

And the driver had a point. The city of Buenos Aires enjoys the well-deserved reputation of being the “Paris of South America” and is clearly a world apart from most anything else you’ll see on this continent. Rich in culture, the arts, and history, Buenos Aires is a gem, offering endless fine dining, excellent wines, theater, and, of course, tango.

Buenos Aires is easily the most European city in South America but has its own strong identity, with over 450 years of history and culture behind it. It enjoys four distinct seasons but has no extreme weather and no ice or snow. Continue reading

canada property markets

Canadian Property Markets: An American Investor’s Best Buddy

Now Is The Time To Buy Canadian

It was an ongoing joke throughout the presidential campaign: Americans wanting to escape the toxic political situation and move to Canada. Cape Breton, a small town on Canada’s east coast, even based an advertising campaign on it with instant viral success.

Then, for many, it stopped being a joke when they woke up Nov. 9.

Google Trends showed a massive spike in searches for “how to move to Canada” and related queries following the election results. So many people visited the Canadian Immigration website that it crashed, and this wasn’t the first time in this election cycle that this happened. The page also crashed after March’s Super Tuesday primary results.

Whether the election results produce any significant increase in U.S. immigration to Canada will take time to be seen. Already, many of the celebrities who had previously threatened leaving have fessed up that they didn’t actually mean it.

The “True North” Remains Strong And Free

The idea of escaping the United States to the Great White North is nothing new. Loyalists fleeing during the U.S. Revolutionary War, escaped slaves joining them via the Underground Railway, and war resisters crossing the border during the Vietnam War—Canada has provided a beacon of freedom for hundreds of thousands of Americans over the years. And it still does today.

More recently, the impetus for moving to Canada became more political. Much like it has this year, after President Bush’s reelection in 2004, Canada’s immigration website saw six times its average traffic. By Continue reading

Santa Marta: A Hidden Gem On Colombia’s Caribbean Coast

Santa Marta: Colombia’s Calmer Caribbean Alternative

Cartagena continues to boost its profile as a prime travel and investment destination, and it’s not hard to see why. The city is teeming with culture and liveliness, and boasts a wide range of features—from the outstanding cuisine and tropical climate to a bustling city center and bohemian neighborhoods—that make it both dynamic and livable… a true Caribbean marvel.

But for those seeking more refuge and relaxation, there’s another coastal Colombian city less than 200 miles away. It’s cheaper, more geographically diverse, and less worse-for-wear by international tourists than the “heroic” Cartagena…

That city is Santa Marta.

Colombia’s First Colonial City, On the Rise

If this is the first time you’ve heard of Santa Marta, you’re probably not alone. But for Colombians, it is hardly a secret. Santa Marta, Colombia’s oldest colonial city (in fact, one of the oldest cities in all of South America), was founded by the Spanish in 1525. The city was also the Continue reading

10 Things To Know Before You Buy In A Planned Community

10 Things To Know Before You Buy In A Planned Community

Planned Communities: 10 Things To Consider Before You Buy

You’ve been dreaming about living abroad for years, and now you finally can afford to buy the perfect house in a beautiful gated community. You’re ready to sign on the dotted line, hand over the cash, and move in.

Not so fast—your dream home could rapidly become your worst nightmare.

By paying attention to these ten areas, you can avoid getting yourself into a home that is not what you thought it would be.

#1 The Condominium Regime

Is your dream home in a private gated community where visitors are restricted? If so, then in all probability, it must be legally formed as a condominium. Here in Mexico, only condominium communities are allowed to have gates that restrict who comes and goes.

If you like the gate restriction, then make sure you ask to see the legal paperwork that initially formed your community Continue reading

Puebla, Mexico, is one of the best locations to invest for a cooler but still spring-like weather overseas.

3 Top Spots For Enjoying Spring-Like Weather All Year Long

Three Top Spots For A Cool Mountain Setting
Plus: What Happens To Your Investor Visa Money…

If you’re been researching the topic of retiring or buying a property abroad, you’ve seen a lot about beaches, sun, sand, and warm-weather locations.

But I routinely hear from readers who don’t like hot weather or humidity and have no desire to live near the beach. Just this week, I heard from two people asking for more articles on destinations with cooler climates.

The term “eternal spring-like weather” is abused frequently by those of us who write about overseas living… and I have been among the offenders.

The problem is that “spring-like” is different for everyone. Springtime in Alabama is quite different from that of Ontario, for example. I’ve seen lots of people who were too cold in Cuenca, Ecuador, while Continue reading

Treinta Y Tres, Uruguay

Treinta Y Tres, Uruguay: The Ultimate Low-Key Lifestyle

The Best Place To Disappear Abroad, Starting At US$80K
Plus: Firsthand Input From Rosarito Beach
Top Picks In Bogotá, Colombia

Those of us who write about living overseas tend to focus on the positive. That is, we make our case for living or buying abroad based largely on the advantages of overseas life… rather than the advantages of escaping your previous life.

But let’s face it… some expats simply want to disappear—to spend their days under the radar.

Or, if they don’t want to disappear right now, they want theability to disappear if they should feel the need to do so.

When looking for an out-of-the-way haven, I have a few preferred criteria… I like a low-profile country, at some distance from the United States, in a low-key city that has no big attractions or tourist traffic. It also helps if the destination is not particularly easy or Continue reading

Arequipa Cathedral, Peru

Our 3 Favorite Mosquito Free Places To Live Overseas (And Avoid Zika Too!)

Forget Zika: Best Places For Mosquito-Free Living
Plus: Buying With Your 401k More On Daniel Ortega

If you’re paying attention to the news these days, you’ve heard plenty about the Zika virus. It’s just one of many mosquito-borne diseases, and some—like malaria, yellow fever, and dengue—can be far worse than Zika. Dengue alone accounts for 25,000 deaths per year.And Zika seems to be spreading everywhere.That is, everywhere but up.

That’s right… you can escape Zika (and all of its nasty companions) by living at an altitude greater than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters).

In the Americas, we have a lot of good options for living at this altitude, from Alaska to Chile.

And if you’re near the equator, you have an added bonus, you can enjoy year-round, spring-like temperatures with little seasonal variation. This means you can come to your home abroad at any time of the year and enjoy the same even temperatures. You’ll save plenty on heat and air-conditioning.

There are many good options for life above the Zika line. Here are three of my favorite expat venues over Continue reading

The Basílica catedral is mandatory place to visit when looking at Arequipa, Peru's Real Estate

Arequipa, Peru’s Real Estate And Residency Are Eye-Catching

Peru: Offering The Best Destination You’re Not Hearing About 

Plus: She’s Stealing Your Apartment! And Where To Invest US$150,000

My first trip to Peru revealed one of my absolute best discoveries in Latin America… and also one of my most disappointing.

And my biggest and best surprise was found by looking into Peru’s immigration and citizenship laws… they’ve got one of the best residency and citizenship programs out there.

Although it almost never rains, the skies are grey and overcast for most of the year. So if you weren’t already depressed by the noise, knotted traffic, and eye-watering pollution, the damp fog and lack of sunshine will eventually wear on your good nature. Of course you could go to the nearby beaches, but the weather is no better, the water’s cold, and the city’s sewage is pumped into the ocean.I started my trip by flying directly from an assignment in Montréal to Lima, Peru’s capital. Lima was the disappointment.

After a day of discovery, I knew I was not going to recommend Lima as an expat destination. I wasn’t even tempted by apartments for less than US$20k… at least not very tempted.

But my disappointment was a good thing. I spent the rest of my days in Lima as a tourist, exploring its wealth of fine restaurants, cafés, museums, and even ancient ruins… all while getting to know some of Lima’s great people. I got a look at Peru’s fascinating culture, which I probably wouldn’t have if I’d been out looking at properties.

I’ll have to admit that Continue reading