All Things Real Estate: Know the rules and regulations before investing abroad

All Things Real Estate: Know the rules and regulations before investing abroad
Phil Raices

So you’ve now decided to purchase a vacation home or condo in a development or hi-rise outside the U.S. Maybe you are thinking of some exotic location like Costa Rica, where 200,000-plus from the U.S. and Canada and expatriates from other countries have decided to buy and eventually end up there to retire.

While the dollar is still somewhat strong in comparison to other currencies, it just might be an excellent time to consider your purchase. Moreover, interest rates have gone down once again to less than 3 percent, so possibly refinancing your home to take out additional money for the purchase might make a lot of sense.

If your current interest rate is at least 1-2 percent higher, then it will save you money as long as you stay in your home five-plus years or more. However, you will need to see what the total cost of the refi would be as you will have a payback period of those costs until you can really take advantage of your lower rate.

Obviously, your current business or job income, credit scores and debt/income ratio are the key factors that will determine your borrowing power and interest rate. Another consideration is how much longer you will be living in your home.

The younger your children are the longer you potentially might be staying put at least until they graduate college. So borrowing now with these historically low rates will be to your advantage.

Conversing with a qualified professional mortgage broker will provide you more insight into whether or not refinancing will work for you. But first, you must think about the financial strength and footing of your business and how secure is your job and position.

Amazon and other internet businesses have had a marked effect on how we have purchased our groceries and necessities and the adverse effect on a vast amount of businesses throughout the U.S.

Although infection rates have come way down, we are still in a COVID-19 pandemic environment. The Delta hybrid virus is having an effect on certain parts of the U.S. and other countries, too, with infection rates spiking and increasing over the last month. You have to tread lightly when determining whether you have the continued and disposable income as well to buy your vacation/potential retirement home.

On the positive side, my professional opinion is that you probably will have an excellent opportunity to purchase a property at a much more discounted price and value now as opposed to if and when the viruses subside.

Predicting that happy event is anyone’s guess and at this point is surely an unknown.

The following countries do not allow foreigners to own property or make it next to impossible to do so, such as:

 Vietnam
 Greece
 Thailand and other countries so check out the policies of any country before doing anything

There are many other countries where Foreign Nationals can own property and the investment is somewhat of a solid bet, such as:
 Turks and Caicos
 Mexico
 Barbados
 Anguilla
 The Cayman Isles
 Bermuda
 Costa Rica
 Canada
 Philippines
 United Kingdom
 Spain
 France
 Italy
 Panama
 Bahamas
 Germany
 Brazil
 China (you must have worked there at least 1 yr and are purchasing for self use)
 Belize
 Colombia
 Jamaica

One must read and learn what the rules and regulations are so you will become more well-informed prior to looking for a property.

Hiring a local experienced and knowledgeable Realtor who will be able to provide you all the information needed to purchase will be to your advantage and benefit so fewer mistakes and glitches will occur.

Having the needed and necessary information will back up whatever the agent(s) convey to you so you will be that much more informed in minimizing and eliminating issues, losing money and time.

Also, hiring a local attorney with a good reputation and reviews will back you up by providing you legal representation, again to minimize potential issues that surface and to assist in solving problems.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S).

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