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House Hunters on HGTV
Old 01-16-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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House Hunters on HGTV

Just discovered HH and HH International.

A lot of the people are looking for vacation homes, retirement homes, etc.

HHI features episodes from all over the world but a number of them are in Central America and the Caribbean, locales which attract some retired Americans for lower-cost of living, including housing.

But these are not new discoveries so it appears housing has undergone a certain amount of inflation. Cheaper than some high-cost areas like CA but not as cheap as you might expect.

Have anyone here investigated Central America?
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:54 PM   #2
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I haven't personally, but that was my reaction too when watching House Hunters International on HGTV. There are plenty of places in the U.S. that seem as inexpensive. I will be interested in reading responses to your post from those who have a personal knowledge of the cost of housing in Central America and the Caribbean.

Of course, the other side of the coin is when they show a tiny fourth floor walkup condo in Paris for seven or eight hundred thousand. Whew! Seems like so much money. But then, Paris is like no other city.

Personally I don't happen to want to live in an area that experiences strong hurricanes, or in which English is not the primary language. That is just my preference. But I know that a lot of retirees are enjoying life in Central America and the Caribbean.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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I have enjoyed watching that show whenever I happen to catch it. The entertainment value for me is seeing how other people live. I particularly like European locales. Yes, houses are outrageously expensive by the US standard. An Italian house of perhaps 1500-2000 sq.ft. went for 300-400K euros. No, it is not near the beach or in the cities. Just a country house with no land, and just barely a car parking spot.
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Old 01-16-2010, 03:18 PM   #4
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Personally I don't happen to want to live in an area that experiences strong hurricanes, or in which English is not the primary language. That is just my preference.
New Orleans... Hawaii... yeah, I guess you've been there done that!
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:24 PM   #5
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Yeah Europe would be great but the prices are just ridiculous. If the exchange rate ever gets favorable, maybe.

Caribbean has hurricanes but Central America does not, right?

Curious about the cost of living though. One show in Panama had these gated communities but the HOA fees were pretty high, a few hundred.

The ep. on Buenos Aires had some spectacular apartments for only a couple of hundred thousand. But the HOA fees were around $1000 a month!

HH is interesting too. Just saw an episode in Concorde, NH. Very green and all the homes they showed were under $200k but they were very basic. But surprising prices for New England.

The HGTV site has some info. on some of the episodes, like links to the realtor's web sites.
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:25 PM   #6
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I watch this show, however for me it has almost slipped into the ridiculous territory. The problem I have, is the potential buyers are not trying to buy a bit of local real estate in the new location, the majority seem to be trying to transplant their american-style residence to Honduras or Paris or some other exotic location.

They moan because the kitchen is too small or because it doesn't have granite benchtops like they have at home. In Paris, with all the wonderful food available on your doorstep why would you want to cook when you are on vacation. Then it's I need a big soaking tub - hmm not a really great idea when you are in a very tropical location, I would think a decent shower would be more important. Then they whine about the closets being too small - how much crap do you take with you when you are travelling? Let's not forget that the colour of the tile will mark too easy - when you are in a developing country you can afford to have someone come in everyday and clean it if need be.

I do prefer the episodes where Europe is featured, as to me it tends to show locations that I am more interested in, as Central America is not anywhere we would ever consider locating to, and this series seems to be a big focus on CA.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:27 PM   #7
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Caribbean has hurricanes but Central America does not, right?
Hurricane Mitch for example was pretty bad in Guatemala and Nicaragua. The linked article states,
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Hurricane Mitch was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since the Great Hurricane of 1780, displacing the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 as the second-deadliest on record. Nearly eleven thousand people were confirmed dead, and almost as many reported missing. Deaths were mostly from flooding and mudslides in Central America, where the slow-moving hurricane and then tropical storm dropped nearly 3 feet (900 mm) of rain.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:30 AM   #8
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I really did alot of homework on this 3-4 years ago, and came to the conclusion that many of the countries in that area were just not safe enough. I even took a years subscription to "International Living" to study the costs (worth your time if you are serious about moving out of the country).
However, if I had an illness I'd head to Costa Rico or Mexico or another country that had excellent medical care for a low cost I think.

My friend has moved to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico about a year ago, and I recently received an email back from him when inquiring how much his expenses were running. He said overall about $2,000 a month (he's single), but he knows people living on less. Shoot--that's what I could live on in America, so why go out of the country to live then unless there's some unique need (like medical care)? Anyway, that's the conclusion I came to. Plus, I'd miss my library filled with English books--even tho I realize there is a sort of library there for Americans, it just ain't the same big one I have always had access to where I live in America.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:46 AM   #9
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When watching HGTV shows that make reference to prices, be certain to check the date of production. Some are a couple of years old and probably could be considered misleading, at least in some aspects.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:52 AM   #10
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Shoot--that's what I could live on in America, so why go out of the country to live then unless there's some unique need (like medical care)?
Medical is a big one! Winter (or rather absence of) is another. I will never spend another winter in the midwest.
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Old 01-17-2010, 08:58 AM   #11
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Let me mention that the one thing I found out--after doing alot of homework on the subject of moving to another country to live--is that it seems that so many folks after moving to another country to retire seem to stay around 3 years before quitting and heading back to America. I found it an interesting statement and phenomena. I'm staying in the U.S. and just traveling around when my duties here are done.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:29 AM   #12
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I like this thread. The ad reminds me to enter the Dream Home contest every day.

DW and I suffer from Ben Stein disease (desire to own too many homes in too many places), although it's in remission due to the loss in value of our current home. So we get our vicarious thrills out of watching HHI. We tend to like the Central America and island homes, although I think it would be nice if they focused on more reasonably priced places. The European home shows are useful in reminding us how different life is over there. Some of the places are hundreds of years old, are smaller than our bedroom is, and cost extrordinary amounts. I think in real life we'll stick with rentals and home exchanges.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:36 AM   #13
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I enjoy HH and HH international. Not that I relate to each and every person on the show either. I agree that you have to keep in mind if the show is current or not. Some from 2006 or 2007 vintage are still in full blown "house as piggy bank" mode. The international shows that I enjoy most are those in Europe, too. And, yeah, if I were moving into a Parisian pied a terre I wouldn't give a fig about anything but the most basic of teeny-tiny kitchens.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:50 PM   #14
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I enjoy HH and HH international. Not that I relate to each and every person on the show either. I agree that you have to keep in mind if the show is current or not. Some from 2006 or 2007 vintage are still in full blown "house as piggy bank" mode. The international shows that I enjoy most are those in Europe, too. And, yeah, if I were moving into a Parisian pied a terre I wouldn't give a fig about anything but the most basic of teeny-tiny kitchens.
A recent episode featured a couple looking for a second "home" in Paris, wherein the four "apartments", none bigger than about 400sf, ranged from $350k to $450k... The most expensive one had been Americanized to some extent, including a modern kitchen and bath.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:03 PM   #15
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I've been capturing a lot of episodes on my DVR and most of them seem to be 2008 or newer.

Of course those are the dates the episodes first aired but they could have been filmed a year earlier.

No talk of housing prices being affected by the bursting of the bubble or any examples of people looking at foreclosed properties -- at least none identified as such. Haven't seen episodes in areas like Miami, Las Vegas or Southern CA.

But the HGTV web site has links to some of the realtors featured in the episodes and some of them do refer to the current state of the market.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:35 PM   #16
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Orchid,
Not that it bothers me, but there are a lot of people that live in Mexico, Canada, South America, Centeral America, that consider themselves Americans. It is similar to being in Hawaii and saying 'We will be glad to get back to the States!'. I think Nords would correct them 'The Mainland'.
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:27 PM   #17
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I enjoy watching both of those shows also. I use the DVR and then will watch several at a time. I also enjoy seeing how other people live. I have seen many showers in Europe that are just small squares with nothing around them. I am not a large person, but I know that I would make a total mess of the bathroom if I tried to shower in one of them. I am sure that I am missing something about them, but have absolutely no idea how one would should in them. Can anyone correct my ignorance for me?

I have definitely come to the conclusion that we can live much more cheaply in the US. I still like watching and hope to do as Alan does someday with renting for a month or so and exploring the area.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:09 PM   #18
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I was just watching...you guessed it, HH International. It seems that all day tomorrow after 10, HHI will have back to back episodes. And my office is closed for MLK Day. How fortuitous! You see, this is what I'm afraid would happen to me if I retired. I would get up, loaf around sipping coffee, go to the gym, then come home and watch HGTV all day. I guess eventually I would get out of my rut.
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:26 PM   #19
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if I retired. I would get up, loaf around sipping coffee, go to the gym, then come home and watch HGTV all day. I guess eventually I would get out of my rut.


Of course , you can't go to the gym every day !
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Old 01-17-2010, 05:29 PM   #20
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Of course , you can't go to the gym every day !
No indeed! The gym that is...not HGTV.
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