4 Top Countries For Low Risk, Dollar-Based Property Buys

Colorful houses in Cuenca, Ecuador

My big “currency awakening” came in Uruguay.

I first visited Uruguay in 2004 and fell in love with its First World environment, honest culture, and super infrastructure. And, at an exchange rate of 34 pesos per U.S. dollar, life there was an amazing bargain.

In fact, I finished my first article on Uruguay with the words “…and best of all, it’s cheaper than Ecuador.”

A couple of years later I moved to Uruguay full-time, and by then the exchange rate was only 25 pesos per U.S. dollar. This drove my cost of living up by 36% in dollar terms. The cost of living was no longer “cheaper than Ecuador,” but it still wasn’t bad.

But by 2008, the dollar had weakened so that I was getting less than 20 pesos per U.S. dollar… and in 2011, it was …

Panama’s Tourism Industry Is Changing And You Can Profit From It

panamas tourism

Panama And The Rise Of The “Whole House” Experience

As the long season of COVID-19 wanes, everyone worldwide seems ready to get back traveling. Booking sites can’t take reservations fast enough… wedding venues and caterers are booked months out… family celebrations are hastily being planned… sporting, arts, and music events are back on…

And Panama is at the top of many travelers’ wish lists.

What’s drawing more international visitors here?

For R&R seekers, there’s white-sand beaches, word-class resorts, and year-round warm weather…

For outdoor and nature enthusiasts, there’s surfing curls fit for international competition… scuba diving and snorkeling in blue Caribbean waters… volcano hikes up 1,550-foot Baru… native flora and fauna in protected reserves… and deep-sea fishing (for which Panama has more records than anywhere else on the planet)…

Not forgetting the city’s high-end shopping malls… the Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo… and that little engineering feat called the Panama Canal (and its museum)…

All this and more makes Panama a unique and exciting vacation destination. But it’s only recently that the government started to focus and capitalize on its tourist treasures. There’s a good reason for this delay…

Unlike neighboring Costa Rica, Panama worked hard at keeping the nation’s GDP less dependent on a single industry. The services sector—including banking, insurance, flagship registry, container ports, and product distribution—contributes almost 70% to GDP, while agricultural products such as bananas, coffee, shrimp, and sugar have slowed to under 10%. The carrying capacity of the Panama Canal was doubled in 2016 and consistently contributes directly over 12% to GDP, and indirectly, through the other sectors, up to 40%. One of the world’s largest copper mines—located about two hours outside Panama City—is expected to eventually contribute as much as 21%, further diluting the dependency on any one sector.

So far, tourism has remained steady at just under 8% of GDP. But the time has come for that to change…

Cortizo Recognizes The Importance Of Tourism

Tourism was one of the major political planks of Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo’s promised administration. He ran for president and won, empowered from 2020 to 2025. Coritzo recognizes the emerging audiences of the “extreme traveler” and the environmentally focused. His government recently awarded $6 million to a local agency to develop marketing to these audiences.

During the first wave of the pandemic, Panamanians were offered training in various tourism roles. This included everything from food preparation to leading “green” tours.

Cortizo’s administration is also teaching North Americans that, in a country about the physical size of South Carolina, you can engage in a wide variety of activities— sometimes all in one week. This covers sport fishermen with trailing children, honeymooners, glampers, cruisers, and those seeking a spa getaway.

Free Stop-Over In Panama, Anyone?

Major projects such as the new Panama Convention Center, the new dual cruise ports on the Amador Causeway, and Central America’s only subway are just three of the many attractive services Panama offers tourists and business travelers.

The convention center will introduce many first-time visitors to Panama. The largest exposition hall in Latin America, officially opened in September 2021, it has 14 large upcoming conventions scheduled, with 50 more being vetted.

Meanwhile, Copa Airlines recently introduced a program called “Stopover in Panama.” This allows travelers on Copa’s network to book a stop-over in Panama—for a minimum 24 hours to a maximum of seven days—with no additional cost to their airfare.

Delta Airlines recently announced its plan to increase passenger capacity to Panama City by 80%—with additional direct flights from New York (JFK), Los Angeles, Orlando, and Atlanta.

Travelers Want Different

Now that so many are working remotely, the definition of home has blurred. Where can home be? A beautiful beach… A long-term rental where children pick up an additional language… Or maybe a new destination full of possibilities…

According to Airbnb, travel is undergoing major changes. Seniors no longer look at “renting off the grid” as something questionable… instead, it’s something to be sought. Whole-house rentals are rapidly replacing the cookie-cutter, “what city am I in?” hotel room with little more than a bed and a bath. Today’s traveler expects more…

Panama Offers Up More

Many condo units in Panama have been developed to accommodate the tsunami of travelers. From ocean-facing beach units to those near schools and multinational businesses to luxury hybrids that embrace both, the options are amazing.

Ever since owners took possession of the first units at Royal Palm, with direct Pacific Ocean access, renters have found a welcoming whole-unit experience at amazing prices. Investors can capitalize on smaller units (for under US$200,000) to larger models offering family experiences. With tax abatements and low financing, return on investment is attractive. Royal Palm used to experience high season from November to April. Since the country opened up again, these units have been rented consistently over the past 12 months.

With more and more multinational companies setting up in Panama, you’ll find a steady flow of employees looking for an attractive long-term rental option here. The master-planned community of Costa del Este, where many international companies are based, is one area to watch. Existing buildings, such as Parkside, provide investors with immediate access to the influx of new visitors and workers.

Luxury condominiums in the Casa Bonita residences share amenities with the five-star Westin Hotel, located steps away and provide a whole-unit experience with full kitchens and views of the ships queuing up for transit through the Panama Canal.

For those looking for higher-end options, there are million-dollar residences available such as Matisse with maids’ quarters, private elevators, and sweeping views of Panama Bay.

Bottom line, convention-goers, as well as cruisers, want to find the best local accommodation options at the most attractive price. In sizing up your investment options, consider projects with Airbnb whole-units marketed directly to these audiences.

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

Beautiful aerial view of Puebla Mexico and its church

If you’ve been researching the topic of retiring or buying a property abroad, you’ve probably 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 frequently abused by those 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 met lots of people who found Cuenca, Ecuador, too cold, while others were too hot in Medellín, Colombia, yet both places are said to have “spring-like” weather.

To me—and in today’s essay—“spring-like” weather is that which stays in the lower-to mid-70s℉ year-round. Here are three of my favorite locations that fit that definition.

El Retiro: Colonial Living In The Cool Colombian Mountains

El Retiro, Antioquia, Colombia
Adobe Stock/camaralucida1

When I first saw El Retiro, I fell in love immediately. The network of narrow streets, its wealth of colonial architecture, and the bustling and energetic town square make for an inviting setting. What’s more, the town is surrounded by mountains that provide a beautiful backdrop to its colonial ambiance.

El Retiro is a small colonial city in the Colombian highlands, a short commute southeast of Medellín. It’s also a pleasant, 30-minute drive southwest from the José María Córdova International Airport. Founded in 1790, the current population of El Retiro is around 21,000 people.

I first discovered El Retiro on a trip from the airport to my home in Medellín, when the driver suggested a short excursion. He knew El Retiro well because his family often leaves Medellín to visit on weekends and enjoy the small-town ambiance and cool weather.

The colonial center is anchored by a stately white church that overlooks the town plaza. Called Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario, it was named after a painting of the same name. This plaza is the social hub of the town’s historic center… always bustling and full of life.

El Retiro is somewhat sleepy during the week, but its cafés and restaurants come to life on the weekends as people from Medellín—many of whom have second homes in the area—come to enjoy its charms. The constant flow of visitors and the number of new projects going up in the area bode well for anyone considering buying here.

Another good sign is that the government is investing in parks, recreation, and infrastructure, in response to the town’s popularity. Renovation of the riverside park with picnic tables, a new bus stop on the plaza, investment in street lighting, sidewalks, and a new entertainment plaza are all examples of projects completed in recent years.

El Retiro is perched at an altitude of around 2,175 meters. The average high temperature is 73°F with a seasonal variation of one or two degrees. Overnight lows average 55°F, easily qualifying as comfortable, “spring-like” weather.

Here are a couple of examples of the kind of properties you can find in El Retiro…

– In the center of El Retiro, you will find nicely finished apartments, less than two years old, with up to 100 square meters of living space, three bedrooms, and three bathrooms. These properties offer spacious living and are perfectly located for car-free living in the heart of town, with shops, cafés, and the central plaza all within a short walk. They would also work well as rentals, accommodating weekenders visiting the cool mountains from Medellín. You can pay as little as US$100,000 for these apartments.

For those who prefer country living outside of town…

– You will find numerous country homes in the tranquil hills outside of El Retiro with expansive views of the surrounding lush mountains. The main house usually comprises around 200 square meters of living space with up to three bedrooms, often each with its own bathroom. Sometimes a guest or caretaker’s house comes with the property, usually with around 80 square meters of living area, two to three bedrooms, and a single bathroom. These properties sometimes go for less than US$200,000.

Puebla: A Cool Highland City In Colonial Mexico

Aerial view of Cholula in Puebla, Mexico
Adobe Stock/Byelikova Oksana

This is my favorite city in Mexico. It’s not well-known on the retire-overseas circuit… and that’s probably why it’s my favorite.

Puebla is one of the most impressive Spanish-colonial environments you’ll find in the Americas because it’s a real, living city… not one that caters primarily to tourism or expats. Its population is around 3.25 million, yet in many ways it manages to feel like a small community.

Among international travelers, Puebla is known for its famous Talavera pottery and its mole poblano… a rich, dark sauce made from toasted ground chili peppers, spices, chocolate, and up to 25 other ingredients.

Puebla’s zócalo (town square) is one of the best in Mexico, an entire city block lined with sidewalk cafés and shops hidden behind the classic portales (arches) common to the zócalos of many colonial cities.

The sheer size of Puebla’s historic center—and its pristine state of preservation—make it a rarity in Spanish America and led to Puebla’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. There are over 1,000 colonial buildings downtown, the cathedral is magnificent, and you’ll find 70-plus beautiful churches in the historic center alone.

There are few American retirees in Puebla. In fact, if it weren’t for family connections, I may not have made it here myself. This lack of a large North American or Canadian expat community will be a positive for some and a negative for others… but it does create the feeling that you’re in traditional, old Mexico.

As for the climate, Puebla sits at an altitude of about 2,135 meters and enjoys a subtropical highland climate. The average high temperature is 77°F, with a seasonal variation of about ±5°F. Overnight lows average 49°, passing as optimum temperatures for most of us.

The property prices here are surprisingly low, even near the zócalo and cathedral. This is partly because homes are priced in pesos—unlike the better-known tourist and expat haunts—giving dollar holders a tremendous advantage at today’s exchange rates.

– Interesting property purchases in Puebla can be found in genuine 16th-century casas antiguas, certified historic monuments located in Puebla’s Historic Center. Some of these have been completely restored and divided into condos. These condos have about 200 square meters of living space on two levels, including three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, and covered parking for one vehicle. The asking price hovers around US$150,000.

– Pay a little extra and enjoy the perks of having a balcony, laundry area, and parking for two cars. These slightly more expensive properties often have common areas, including elevators, roof gardens with views of the surrounding mountains and historic center, multiple-use salons, storage spaces, and even hot tubs.

Arequipa: A Sparkling Colonial City In The Peruvian Highlands

Aerial drone view of Arequipa main square and cathedral church, with the Misti volcano as background.
Adobe Stock/christian vinces

Arequipa is Peru’s second-largest city and one of its biggest tourist destinations. Due to its beautifully restored historic center, Arequipa was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Known as the Ciudad Blanca, or “white city,” many of Arequipa’s buildings are constructed using sillar, a white stone made from volcanic rock found in the area. The effect of all of this white architecture is a sense of brilliance in the strong Andean sun.

Arequipa has a strong Moorish influence, resulting in a fascinating blend of architectural styles throughout the city. Construction quality is good here compared to what I’ve seen in other colonial cities due to the use of sillar for older buildings, which better withstands earthquakes.

Arequipa has its own airport but it’s pretty small, so for most trips you’ll need to connect through Lima to get here.

As for the spring-like rating, Arequipa sits at an altitude of around 2,300 meters. This gives the city a gorgeous climate, with an average daily high temperature of 75°F. The average low is around 50°F, with almost no seasonal variation.

For a real estate buy, I like most areas in the historic center… although I’d avoid the blocks immediately around the main square due to the heavy tourist traffic. There are also several pleasant residential areas outside of the historic center, such as the Cayma district.

– Apartments with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, maybe a study, a family room, a spacious kitchen, and a single garage space are available in the historic center. These buildings are conveniently located close to colleges, universities, and commercial centers. The asking price for one of these city center apartments is around US$150,000.

– You will also find modern houses built in the old Peruvian style, with charming stone arches and counters with tropical-hardwood finishing. A two-level home with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and an area of around 220 square meters… plus a little bit if there is a carport and maybe even an interior courtyard would have an asking price of less than US$200,000.

A second home by the beach is enticing to many people… but certainly not to everyone. If you’d rather have cool weather—without the need for heating or air conditioning—then these three options are worth your attention.

Lee Harrison

Latin America Correspondent


Letters To The Editor

For countries with an investment-for-residency visa, is it a one-time investment?

If a periodic re-investment is required, will a home purchase satisfy the requirements? If you leave after, say, five years, is the investment returned?


Good questions. Investor visas take numerous different forms, depending on the country.

Generally speaking, you do have to maintain a qualifying investment to keep the investor’s visa. In the case of homeownership, this means that you still own the property or own another one of sufficient value to qualify. If you’re holding a certificate of deposit, you’ll need to show that you still have one of the proper value.

That said, in some countries, after holding the visa for a specified period, you may be eligible for some form of permanent residency, which does not require periodic re-qualification.


I am currently single and would like to live on the coast somewhere in Mexico. I would prefer to buy a beachfront condo rather than rent. I hear from Mexican friends that if the seller knows you are an American, the price will go up.

Should I try to buy through a Mexican friend and then somehow transfer the title?

I appreciate your advice,


It’s true that you may be a victim of “gringo pricing” as an American or Canadian buyer. But the truth is that it’s actually rich-people pricing… that is, a wealthy Mexican would most likely get the same price as you would.

You definitely do not want to have a friend buy the property and then transfer it to you. There would be a significant transaction cost in doing this—including the setup of a trust—it would probably cost you more than it would save… plus, it’s risky.

One trick that I’ve used is to have a friend (or a native speaker) establish the price for you, after which you’d take over and sign the actual documents. That may get you a better price, and there’s no risk or extra cost.

In Brazil I once gave a hotel receptionist the equivalent of US$20 to respond to about a dozen real estate ads in the paper. I figured that when they heard my accent, the price might go up. I don’t know if I got the best prices… but at least I know it wasn’t my accent that did me in.


This one was directed to contributor John Clites.


Your article on Domingos Martins mentioned its German roots and heritage but did not mention if German is still spoken there.

Can one get by there speaking German, or is Portuguese an absolute necessity?


You would really need basic Portuguese to manage in Domingos Martins. Although there are efforts to expand the number of speakers, only a minority of residents speak German… which in Domingos Martins is an old Pomeranian dialect, not modern German.

Have a question? You can write to us here.

Pros And Cons Of Living In A Tourist Area

Colorful large group of unrecognizable people blurred in front of Paris Eiffel Tower at evening

After living for six years in Punta del Este, Uruguay, I swore to myself that I’d never, ever live in a tourist area again.


And that includes places with large numbers of expats, which can have the same impact as large numbers of tourists on an area.

However, after making that declaration, I have since bought two more properties in high-tourism areas…

That’s because there are really two sides to that coin. Living in a popular tourist destination can be annoying… but it also has its advantages.

Things That Really Annoyed Me About Living In A High-Tourism Area

Tourists at the Pont du Gard, Nimes, France
Adobe Stock/spiritofamerica
Tour guides can be an annoyance of living in a tourist area

1. Lack Of Community:

Touristic areas just don’t have the same community feel as a normal residential setting. Since many of us stand out as foreigners when living abroad—and tourist destinations have high numbers of foreigners—you often feel like you’re being treated as a tourist rather than a local resident who is part of the community.

2. It’s Hard To Integrate:

In touristic areas it can be hard to integrate with the local culture and people because the local residents often place you in the “tourist” camp (or expat camp) rather than the local camp.

3. Higher Costs And Gringo Pricing:

As an expat living in a tourist area, it’s hard to exempt yourself from the pricing practices that tourists usually fall victim to.

4. The Disneyland Effect:

Popular touristic areas anywhere in the world often don’t reflect the country or region’s genuine character. Instead you get a caricature of the country, one designed to attract visitors.

5. Tourist Annoyances:

High-tourism areas often come with annoyances, such as a constant stream of vendors, tour guides, scammers, and even beggars. When I lived in Montevideo’s Centro neighborhood, I watched from my balcony as the town’s pickpockets, thieves, and beggars passed uneventfully through Centro on their way to Ciudad Vieja to prey on its wealth of tourists and cruise-ship passengers.

There may also be issues with crowds themselves, bringing noise and traffic, or taking up valuable space in your favorite parking lot or restaurant.

There’s no doubt that these things can be bothersome. But high-tourism areas also have benefits… benefits that you’ll appreciate.

These Advantages Of Touristic Areas May Outweigh The Annoyances

Nations Park with Volcano Fountain in Lisbon, Portugal
Adobe Stock/mybixo
Tourist areas often have great infrastructure

1. The Community Amenities:

Touristic areas usually have more than their fair share of nice restaurants, cafés, and entertainment. When I first moved to Vilcabamba, Ecuador, we had 16 restaurants listed in the guidebook, in a village of about 500 people. This is far more than you’d see in a normal Ecuadorian mountain village.

2. Care Of Infrastructure:

Tourist destinations usually have excellently maintained roads, sidewalks, trails, and beaches. In Mazatlán, Mexico, there are crews who clean the boardwalk streets and beaches every morning. In Punta del Este, Uruguay, platoons of young people rake the beach each day while looking for stray items of litter.

By contrast, I once lived on a “local” beach in Brazil where the plastic bottles and trash stayed put until the homeowners got out there to clean them up.

3. Lack Of Obvious Poverty:

Obvious poverty can be a downside in poor countries, but in tourist areas you’ll often see far less of it. One reason is that these areas bring local jobs… the other is that local officials often make efforts to keep panhandlers and homeless people away from the high-tourist sectors.

4. Better Flight Connections:

Areas with high tourist traffic usually have convenient ways to get there, such as international airports with frequent flights or good public transportation.

5. Rental Income And Resale:

Many tourist areas offer the opportunity for good rental returns due to the high demands for short-term stays. They can also provide you with more liquidity at resale time.

6. More English Spoken:

English is the primary international language and is almost always used in tourist destinations. So if it’s the only language you speak, you’ll generally be better off in an area with lots of tourists or expats.

7. More Conveniences:

I’m talking about things like ATMs and bank branches as well as North American franchise stores and North American products. In areas with lots of tourists passing through, these conveniences are plentiful, making life abroad much easier.

8. Better Construction Options:

High-tourism or expat areas often bring better options for housing than the local market would otherwise demand. You’ll find more high-end condos, for example, built to first-world standards in areas with high levels of tourism.

This can cut both ways. Sometimes high-tourist areas bring mass-market, low-end, bargain construction that results in poor quality housing.

9. Finally, Great Local Intrinsic Attributes:

Tourists usually don’t come just to hang out with other tourists… they come because the area has something good to offer. This can include beautiful beaches, sublime weather, scenic mountains, or quaint old cities.

Whatever brought the tourists in the first place is something that you probably will enjoy, too.

A High Concentration Of Expats May Produce The Same Effect As Tourists

When I first moved to Cuenca, Ecuador, in 2001, there was maybe one restaurant in town that qualified as fine dining. Litter was a problem in the historic center and many of the streets and sidewalks were in poor repair. Locals didn’t speak English, Spanish was mandatory… it was six months before I met my first English-speaker in Cuenca.

Today, Cuenca has between 8,000 to 10,000 North-American retirees.

This influx has brought some disadvantages: a lack of integration with the local community and higher prices all-round. The local culture is changed, likely forever.

But it’s also brought positives: dozens of creative and elegant dining options, cafés, ethnic food, a more diverse supermarket stock, and a cleaner, better maintained downtown.

You will also find far more English spoken, plenty of modern condos on the edge of town, and even a local immigration office.

Ultimately, a large expat community affects the local environment in many of the same ways that tourism does, bringing both the bad and the good.

Consider The Tourism Angle Carefully When Buying Abroad

Be honest with yourself about whether you’ll be using your overseas home full-time, for part of the year, or as a vacation getaway. In my experience, the more you’re in residence, the less you’ll like the tourist environment.

If you’re spending one month at a time abroad, you’ll enjoy the tourist areas’ amenities, and the annoyances won’t have time to wear on you. Long-term residents, however, will appreciate the community feel and local culture of non-touristic areas, long after the novelty of the tourist amenities have worn off.

Medellín, Colombia, is a rare find where I enjoy all the amenities of a tourist destination without the tourists or annoyances that come with a busy tourist trail. I can go weeks without seeing another American while still enjoying a convenient, upscale lifestyle at a low cost.

But aside from isolated examples like Medellín, you should give this issue careful thought when buying a second home abroad. Buying in a popular tourist destination will bring you some much appreciated amenities, but they do come with a price.

Lee Harrison
Latin America Correspondent


Letters To The Editor


Thanks for your information about Colombia. I used to live in Cali and I’m interested in returning now that things are politically calm.

I would like to know if it’s worth the time and money to ship my things, like my bed and a small amount of furniture. I don’t even know where to start in that regard.


An excellent question—and one that comes up frequently. I’ll start by saying that I’ve moved a household internationally three times and had a good experience each time. Each year the process for booking an international move gets easier. A number of sites will even put your move out for bids, after which you’ll get competing prices via email. Take a look here for two that I’ve used in the past month:

  • International Movers
  • Worldwide Moving

However, I would not consider moving furniture to Colombia. At today’s exchange rates, high-quality, Colombian-made furniture is a real bargain, and there’s no way you’ll save money by moving a few items. You can buy brand-new furniture in Cali for thousands less.

For more information, check out this report on buying and living in Cali, Colombia.

Earn Residency By Buying Property In These Five Top Countries

St. Julian's Bay Malta

When you buy a property overseas, it will sometimes come with an important bonus: It can open the door to foreign residency. When it does, you not only have a second home in the traditional sense, but you’ve got a second home in the broad sense as well—a place that, when you go there, they have to take you in (to steal a phrase from Robert Frost).

This overseas residency will also provide you a gateway into the host country’s banking system and financial services sector, along with a potential path to citizenship.

Obtaining residency can be a hassle, requiring you to provide extensive financial records and …

Investing In Your Own Coffee Farm Overseas

Ripe red coffee cherries

Back in the year 2000, on one of my final retire-overseas exploratory trips, I looked at a small, rustic home beside a rushing river in Mexico. Giant trees grew along the riverside, shading both the house and most of the large property.

Among the trees, I found a plant that I didn’t recognize… it turned out to be a coffee plant, lush with ripe berries. I plucked a few berries from the tree and thought about how great it would be to grow my own coffee right on my property. I still have the berries today as a souvenir.

We didn’t buy that house just south of Xalapa, but I never lost sight of the dream of …

5 Best Options For Financing Property Overseas

View of the most beautiful lake in Italy, Lago di Como

5 Ways To Fund Your Overseas Property Buy

How can you fund the purchase of your second home or investment property in a foreign country?

First, you need to figure how much capital you have available to invest. If you don’t know this number already, take time right now to do the math. (Sorry, you’re on your own for this bit.)

Second, you should look at the kind of financing or purchase terms that might be available to you.

The bad news is, in much of the rest of the world, it’s not possible for a foreigner to borrow money locally to buy real estate. No bank will lend to you…

And, in places where it is possible for a foreigner to get a mortgage, you won’t find the terms as user-friendly as they tend to be in the United States.

Questions You Must Ask Before Buying A Home Overseas

The Caribbean island of St.Maarten landscape and Cityscape

Should You Buy Or Rent Your Retirement Home Overseas?

If you’re planning to retire overseas, should you buy or rent your property?

Of course, you should always rent first… until you get to know a place and decide you’re ready to put down roots (or move on to the next adventure). The next step, once you’re committed to a place is to make the call on whether to rent somewhere long term… or take the plunge and buy…

Today, Overseas Property Alert Director Lief Simon walks you through the advantages of buying your retirement home and what to look out for…

Lynn Mulvihill
Editor, Overseas Property Alert

Rent-Free Retirement
By Lief Simon, Editorial Director Global Property Advisor

Buying real estate overseas is fundamentally about diversification. This is true whether you buy for investment or for retirement and argues in favor of buying for retirement rather than renting. Buying your new retirement residence overseas means moving money out of the United States and putting it into another market and, potentially, another currency.

Moving all your money out of the States and into a new retirement residence overseas doesn’t alone bring you the diversification you should be seeking right now. However, using some of your capital to purchase a retirement residence in the place where you want to live and putting other of your capital to work in another market (that perhaps uses a different currency) gets you not only diversification but also …

Avoid Unpleasant Surprises With Inheritance Laws Abroad

Tropical white beach house surrounded by palm trees on the island Koh Kood, Thailand.

What Happens To Your Overseas Property If You Die Before Selling?

Before you buy property in any country overseas, you need to understand the local inheritance laws.

The good news is, with the right preparation, you should be able to leave your property to your chosen heir(s)…

Senior Real Estate Correspondent Lee Harrison has invested in numerous markets in Latin America where he’s met with his fair share of inheritance laws. Below are Lee’s insights on what you need to watch out for…

Lynn Mulvihill
Editor, Overseas Property Alert

How To Avoid Surprises On The Sale Of Your Overseas Property

Back in 2005, my friend Della was living the dream in Ecuador, with Alan, her husband of 31 years. By 2008, she was unexpectedly sharing ownership of her dream home with three adult stepchildren.

And it happened for an all-to-common reason: The couple hadn’t understood Ecuador’s inheritance laws.

In most of the United States and Canada, citizens enjoy a great deal of flexibility when it comes to estate planning. With a valid will, you can leave your property to pretty much anyone you like.

In most cases, it’s normal to leave your home to your spouse, a practice we North Americans assume to be our inalienable right.

But that’s not how it works in much of the world. Many countries require that you leave your property—or your portion of a …

Plain Speaking About Overseas Agro-Investments

Soy field and soy plants growing in rows in a field, at sunset.

One Little Piece Of Land = $752K In Your Bank Account 

I’m not a gardener. 

The past 14 years we’ve had our home, I’ve left it to my husband to maintain the modest patches of lawn to the front and rear. 

Despite any real plan, he’s had some growing successes… 

The bamboo he planted 10 years ago (for extra privacy) has quadrupled its hold over the bottom of the garden. This week, as we contemplated cutting some away to reclaim space, he reminded me how much it costs at our local garden center… 

Bamboo is counted among one of the most valuable crops in the world right now. Here in Ireland, you’ll pay up to 50 euros for a 5-liter pot. My husband wonders if our two oldest sons might work together and make a little money on it over their summer holidays… 

Okay, so we’re far from sitting on a goldmine here. But this reminded me how, when you go about it the right way, you can make money from the smallest holdings of land… 

We’ve talked here before about the opportunity in owning land—and particularly productive land… 

Productive land is a finite resource. And those that hold it—and know how to manage it—can take advantage of our planet’s growing demand for food… 

The good news is that you don’t have to be a millionaire (or a millionaire farmer) to break in. In recent years, it’s become ever easier for the small investor to grab a slice of the pie…