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WashingtonPost article on vacation homes abroad
Old 06-14-2019, 10:51 AM   #1
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WashingtonPost article on vacation homes abroad

What to know before buying that dream vacation home in another country

Although one of the best things about this forum is advice directly from someone who has been there before, this article still was pretty interesting. It mentioned some pitfalls to buying a home abroad that I hadn't thought about before. Any comments/criticisms from members who have been there, done that?

Looking to FIRE in the mid-2020s, which would be our mid-50s.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:18 PM   #2
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so...we have an apartment in Paris . We bought with our hearts without having the head fully engaged, but luckily it has worked out well. We run it as a business, renting it out for short-term rents. That was surprise number one - Paris cracked down extremely strictly on the practice just after we bought. Faced with the end of the business we spent a lot of money to legalize ourselves, getting the apartment zoned for commercial use. So the lesson: laws change, governments change - you can get surprised if you arent on top of things. I learned a lot but also spent a lot on lawyers, fees... and a bit of stress. Lesson two - exchange rates change. Duh. Of course I knew that but hadnt really thought through the effects of even minor changes on major investments. Thats wiped out the appreciation in the local market when i translate back to dollars. Lesson three - French isnt one of the languages I know. Being able to order a meal isnt the same as arguing with lawyers, accountants and contractors. Lesson four - banks take on the temperament of the place where they are,not where they are headquartered. Even though we bank with HSBC the world over (weve had a complicated life!), the Paris branch is by far the weirdest to deal with. Nothing horrible, but stressful. Certainly stressful. But, hey, we have an apartment in Paris. We use it, it actually brings in decent money, and I get to say to myself I have an apartment in Paris. Bottom line? Im happy we did it, but if Id really known in advance everything it would have entailed, I might have been a little less eager. I guess what Im trying to say is, you need to have passion and a bit of craziness to do it. It isnt a completely rational choice.

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Old 06-14-2019, 03:23 PM   #3
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I think any purchase away from home is a lifestyle expense. If you manage to recoup some of that expense through renting, then so much the better.

In Nice we rent through and they cost more but every property is superb! We rented from airbnb in Paris before the crackdown.

We just sold our place in PV MX and made 50% on exchange gains alone. But we do not expect that in our next purchase. We are at the stage of Blow That Dough so we are OK with that.
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Cosmic Avenger View Post
I had a condo in the Philippines in a high rise building (43 storeys) which we rented out. We had one non-paying client, so that was a problem. But selling the condo unit was a headache because the management took time to issue the title - the officers were corrupt, and the red tape was extremely difficult. This is common in Asian developing countries. We did sell it , but the government charges taxes for selling property that was above a certain amount. Our property was below the amount, so we didn't pay for the 10% tax. And it is not a capital gains tax. The government just wants 10% of all your sales proceeds. So, It would be wise to check taxes. Glad we didn't pay.

I don't think it is that much different from vacation homes anywhere. I built a log cabin in the US and carpenter bees were a problem. You build a dream log home, only to be drilled by carpenter bees ... A bigger problem I had was a neighbor who cut down all the surrounding trees around and made the mountain bald. Everyone in the subdivision was pretty pissed at this neighbor who owned hundreds of acres, because he destroyed the surrounding land around us .. he made a huge loan on this farm land and I think he was about to declare bankruptcy and wanted to make some money by logging out all the hardwood trees and acres and acres of land become completely bald .. he destroyed the views and annihilated all the trees around. So, we sold our log home.

Now, I'm just satisfied using our time share
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Old 06-14-2019, 04:12 PM   #5
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I used to dream of having a 2nd home in Provence. Changed that to a dream for a home with a waterfront on the Puget Sound. Gave that up too, and got a home in the high-country boondocks, only 2-1/2 hour drive from my main home. That makes it a lot more accessible, and still costs plenty.

At this point, I can't imagine buying a home abroad, even if I had more money. Lots of headache. If I want to stay in some foreign places, there's plenty to chose from on Airbnb.

My brother just rented a large beachfront home in Mexico for his family reunion with the children and their spouses. While they were there, the renters of the house next door got burglarized when they were down at the beach swimming. The poor people lost all their valuables such as wallets, smart phones, electronics, etc... Aye, aye, aye...
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Old 06-14-2019, 10:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
If I want to stay in some foreign places, there's plenty to chose from on Airbnb.
Unless, of course, it's a city that is cracking down on it:

Conde Nast Traveler: 13 Places Cracking Down on Airbnb

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