Originally Posted by brett
We looked at buying a second home. Not in Florida though. In Mexico or Costa Rica. We are still looking...for an area first.
We have not followed through because we are not at the stage where we want to feel tied down to one area or one property.. We match our bucket lists with warm weather winter spots, often traveling to two or more adjacent countries.
We have not even considered the financials or the issue of out of country medical coverage (we currently have two months at a time so we could fly home for a few days in between a four month stay depending on the cost of purchasing a two month extension to our current coverage).
Having lived as an expat in Mexico for a cumulative 5 years (mostly Lake Chapala, but also San Miguel de Allende and much travel to other areas) and living now as a "sweatbird" in Tucson I have a few thoughts to share.
Owning property outside the U.S. unless you're a full-time expat is very rarely a good idea. In Mexico and Costa Rica the humidity and very different construction materials and standards = constant upkeep expenses at a level entirely different than folks in the U.S. are used to. Throw in sky-high property crime rates, the very real possibility of squatters you can't get rid of, outright government confiscation and many other issues and why bother. Of course there are exceptions in some areas and a property manager can help but very rarely have I seen tying up that kind of cash be worth the aggravation vs. renting.
Completely furnished rentals are abundantly available in pretty much all of the gringo hotspots in those countries and prices are dropping precipitously due to the pandemic. It's very likely to be a renter's/buyer's market in those countries for at least the next couple of years. Of course the cratering of tourism also means that unemployment and crime, already high, are likely to spike further. I suspect Costa Rican will do OK, while Mexico, already run by the cartels, will likely implode further assuming it can survive AMLO's disastrous management of the pandemic and economy.
All good reasons to keep one's options open. Hard to have a good crystal ball considering we're still in the early phases of this COVID world but I suspect those sticking with snowbird places they can easily drive to in the U.S. are going to rest a whole lot easier than those of us who planned on getting on a plane every winter.