How to Live “Like A Local” In Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia

Most people who move abroad enjoy the familiarity of an existing expat community and seek out destinations with a number of expats already in residence.

But not everyone.

There are a few of us who want to live among the local community, become a part of the local culture, and are happy if we rarely see another American or Canadian expat.

There are a few advantages to living a local lifestyle in a foreign community…

  • The cost of living is usually lower, without the market influence that expat communities often bring. This usually includes properties;
  • The cultural experience is far richer and more authentic;
  • It’s much easier to learn the local language when you’re using it to get by every day;
  • You’ll make friends quickly and easily if you’re one of only a few North Americans in the area, and you’ll enjoy a smoother assimilation.

Continue reading

Yes, You Can Retire Overseas and Still Play World-Class Golf

Yes, You Can Retire Overseas and Still Play World-Class Golf

Golf, Beaches, And Good Property Deals

I get a lot of inquiries about golf from people looking for a good place to retire overseas that also gives them a chance to continue to play the game.

And, according to most of these inquiries, I don’t talk about golf often enough.

So this week I’m going to report on two established projects that offer three things: a great place to live and own property, miles of unspoiled beaches, and golf.

Ten Miles Of Unspoiled Beach And A Top-Notch PGA Course 

Estrella del Mar is a huge, 850-acre residential and golf project that sits alone on a stretch of 10 miles of pristine beach… 3.5 miles of which belong to the development. It’s located just south of Mazatlán, Mexico, about 15 minutes from the international airport.

This project is perfect for those who want an undeveloped beach out front and the area’s best golf course out back.

Plus, you’ve got all the amenities of Mazatlán close at hand.

The golf course is a spectacular, 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones championship course, and a host on the Latin America PGA Tour. The course is par 72 (7,015 yards) with six holes running along the ocean. I spoke with Continue reading

9 Questions To Ask Before Ruling Out Planned Communities

9 Questions To Ask Before Ruling Out Planned Communities

Checklist For Those Who Hate Gated Communities
Plus: IRA Properties—Should They Be In A Trust Or Corporation?
Every year, I speak with hundreds of potential expats at events, and I get thousands of emails from people considering moving to Latin America. Most say that they would never consider living in a gated community overseas… especially an expat-oriented one.Their arguments are good ones—and almost always the same. Because when we consider moving abroad—dreaming of moving abroad—much of the appeal has nothing to do with practical issues… the allure of overseas living has more to do with adventure, excitement, and a rich cultural experience.

And the best way to get that experience is to be part of the local culture… not to be part of a North American enclave.

So the vast majority of potential expats say the same thing: They would not consider a planned community favored Continue reading

colombia beach

Property Q And A With Lee Harrison

“I’ll Assume You Have No Clue…” Readers Speak Out

Aug. 25, 2015
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

As of today, I have 99 pages of reader questions—of which, some 40 are unanswered.

So I’m going to hand this issue over to the readers of Overseas Property Alert. This is a good way to cover a number of topics of interest to readers… topics that may not warrant an entire article on their own.

Plus, it’ll cut down on my backlog of questions…

Hey, what happened?

I am quite surprised that Mr. Harrison has not responded to my email, which I submitted well over a month ago. If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll assume you have no clue on how to respond to my question.

Thank you anyway.

Erick

I love guys like this. They sign up for a free e-letter, and then they’re unhappy that they didn’t get a free personal consulting service along with it. I wonder if he writes to the editor of The Economist for Continue reading

The beach and Marina in Salinas draw visitors all year

Enjoy the high season while earning income in the off season

Plus: “I’d Be Bored To Death In A Beach Resort”

April 21, 2015
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

I have a continuing dilemma when it comes to part-year residences. My goal—like anyone’s—is to have a property I can use for part of the year, while renting it out during the rest of the year to cover costs.

The problem, of course, is that the season when I want to be there is also when everyone else wants to be there. And the season I don’t want to be there is generally the worst possible time to rent the property out.

Punta del Este, Uruguay, is a good example. The summers are glorious… and the beautiful beaches, magnificent weather, and world-class restaurants and nightlife draw people from all over the world. But in the winter, it’s often-dreary weather and shuttered shops draw almost no one. Good luck renting your place then…

So in recent years, I’ve set out to find markets where I can use my property during the high season… but also have a demand to rent the property during the low season. (Or perhaps a place where the “low” season suits my personal preferences better than the “high” season.) There are a few situations to look for:

  • A place that’s always nice, so it doesn’t matter when anyone comes;
  • A destination that draws a segment of people who come to the area for a different purpose than you do… a purpose that fits your off-season;
  • A demand created by people who have no choice but to be there at off-peak times.

alamos mountains

Discover Authentic Spanish Colonials in Historic Mexico

An Undiscovered Trove Of Authentic Spanish Colonials
Plus: The truth About Rental Income Taxes In Spain

April 14, 2015
Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

Properties in Álamos trade in U.S. dollars

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

I’ve just found a small treasure trove of authentic, historic properties from the Spanish colonial era. I’ve been traveling the Americas and looking at colonial homes since 1998, and I’ve never seen anything remotely like Álamos, Mexico.

I’ll put this into perspective. My first choice among the properties I saw here is a mansion that was built by a wealthy silver baron during the presidency of George Washington. It’s from a time when the first book was copyrighted in the United States, and just after New York gave up its claim to the Republic of Vermont for US$30,000.

This home is just one of many similar properties in town… and prices have dropped to the lowest levels in years.

Dramatic Silver Wealth Resulted In Magnificent Colonial Architecture

Álamos was founded in the late 1600s, after silver was discovered in the area. The huge wealth generated by the mines allowed the residents of Álamos to build dozens of colonial mansions and hundreds of colonial homes throughout the downtown.

The silver eventually ran out, and the silver barons and their crews moved on. Álamos began to decline after Mexican independence from Spain, and was invaded numerous times during the Mexican Revolution in the 1920s. When the city finally fell during the revolution, its population was Continue reading

Algarve rock - coast in Portugal

Portugal’s Algarve Versus Spain’s Costa Del Sol—Finding The Best Value

Plus: The Path Of Progress In Tulum

April 7, 2015 Algarve, Portugal €1=US$1.08

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

When it comes to sun, sea, and sand, southern Europe offers two attractive options on its warm, southern coastline that are known throughout the world—Portugal’s Algarve and Spain’s Costa del Sol. Each share a similar history of Roman and Moorish patrimony, excellent fresh seafood, and sunny idyllic climates. Owning a property and living in either of these locations would be a dream for almost anyone.

However, the property markets of the two regions differ in both value and affordability, with the Algarve being a better choice for those who want to live in the sunshine.

Let’s take a look at both of these popular regions. Continue reading

One Piece Of Sound Advice For The Property Buyer

One Piece Of Sound Advice For The Property Buyer

Plus: “What Is Lee Harrison Smokin’?”

I bought my first overseas property almost 14 years ago. Since then, properties have financed a good portion of my retirement. They also make up more than half of my income.

Perhaps more importantly, I’ve also been able to live in some fascinating and enjoyable places along the way.

I developed and honed my property-buying skills over those 14 years while spending literally tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs.

I worked with some great real estate agents…as well as some crooks and scammers. Most didn’t speak English.

Eventually, it worked. I’m good at this now.

While my means of getting there is not for the faint of heart, it’s definitely one approach you can take.

But let me to give you some sound advice. There’s a better way to go about it.

And it deserves very serious consideration for anyone who’s considering buying a property abroad or who wants to see what their options are, quickly and efficiently.

Join me at the Global Property Summit, March 18–20, 2015, in Panama City.

Let me spare you the sales pitch and get to the point. Continue reading