Part Two: The Americas
We recently began researching and writing for a four-part series looking at locations around the world where you can find affordable real estate for your retirement – after all, a home is the most expensive item most of us will ever purchase. So, if we can save you money on a property then you will have far more cash in the bank to enjoy your retirement with!
What’s more, a decent home is the one thing we all need to really feel stable and secure – especially if we decide to expatriate and live overseas away from all that is familiar to us when we retire.
Because the thought of buying real estate abroad is daunting for many people, and it is even a factor that leads to some people being reluctant to commit to a relocation overseas despite the fact that they do want to move away and find a better quality of more affordable life, we wanted to prove to you that even with the tightest of budgets you can still find a home abroad. You need not let the thought of having to plough hundreds of thousands of dollars into buying a home abroad put you off making the move. For the sake of your happiness in retirement, allow us to show you that you can find a place overseas that will suit both your budget and your lifestyle requirements.
From the outset we have set ourselves the task of searching out real estate bargains around the world that could suit even the tightest retirement budgets, and so far in part one of the series we have looked at a number of homes in Australia and New Zealand that range in price from 30,000 to 115,000 US dollars. Today we’re turning our attention to the Americas, before moving on to Africa and Asia in part three, and Europe for part four.
How to Use This Series of Articles for Inspiration!
We have been inspired to produce this four part series of articles because we know that not everyone has a huge budget to plough into constructing their ideal villa in the sun in California for their retirement. What’s more, because of the work we do we know that there are countries around the world that offer so much to the expatriate retiree, but which are poorly promoted and therefore lesser known.
You may not like every single one of the properties we present to you in this series – but we are using them as benchmarks to show you how far a given budget can stretch in a given country. We also want to inspire you to perhaps step off the beaten track to get more for your cash – and so we will be bringing you the names of new regions, towns and perhaps even countries to explore for your own ideal piece of retirement real estate.
If you happen to come across this article a few months down the line, or save it to read when you’re nearer retirement, of course the homes featured may well have sold already – but what will not have been sold or ‘lost’ is neither your dream of a retirement abroad, nor the fact that there are many regions in the world where your US retirement dollars will buy you more in the way of real estate and freedom than they will if you remain onshore in the United States.
EscapeArtist.com is all about inspiring and assisting people who want to get the most out of life by seeing more of the world – this article, and it’s three accompanying chapters have been written to inspire you and show you that you have choices and chances, opportunities and a real way forward to a happy and affordable retirement overseas. When reading about the nations where you can find reasonably priced real estate bargains in our article series, you can refer back to the relevant country sections on EscapeArtist.com and get the most up to date information on the property buying process as well as details of new real estate bargains for sale that might suit both your budget and your taste.
Is it Possible to Find Retirement Real Estate on a Budget in North America?
The one thing that some retirees complain about is being bored when they give up work. Well, the location of the first home we have found will ensure that you’re never bored! It is situated within the grounds of the Four Seasons Nature Resort, and for a modest monthly maintenance fee, full membership to the resort’s facilities such as pools, saunas and hot tubs is included. This two-bedroom bungalow is situated in Freelton in Ontario, 20 minutes north of Hamilton, 45 minutes west of Toronto, and it is in very good condition given its very low asking price of just 28,000 Canadian dollars (26,599 US).
If you require more space so that you can enjoy all your hobbies in retirement or have space for the grandkids to come and stay, what about a three-bedroom bungalow in Manitouwadge, Ontario instead? This property has a full cellar that’s ripe for conversion to living space, a fourth-bedroom extension has already been started, and although it has only one garage, there is room to add another. The property is located close to all the amenities and facilities you could want – from a recreation centre to a lake, from hiking trails to shops. Again, it is in good condition though you may wish to update the décor, and it will only set you back 53,900 Canadian dollars (roughly 51,000 US dollars.)
If you want to spend your retirement skiing then how about moving to Saskatchewan? In Kamsack there’s a really substantial three-bed, two-bath property on the market for just 60,000 Canadian dollars (56,868 US). The house has triple pane windows to keep out the cold, it has recently been re-painted externally, and inside it is very neat and tidy indeed meaning that you can move in with no need to exact any repairs or undertake any renovation. The agent advises that the property is perfect for retirees as it is close to social and recreation centres, as well as all services and highway access.
All homes detailed are available through independent agents in Canada, but can be viewed via the PropertySold.ca portal. US dollar prices are based on the rate of exchange offered by xe.net on the date of this report’s writing and should be checked again before you even consider making an offer of interest for any property.
If you’d like a challenge in retirement and you can stretch to buy a property for just 47,700 US dollars and still leave yourself room for a renovation budget, a country house in San Miguel de Allende in the Guanajuato region might be right up your street. It isn’t much to look at now, but with vision you could turn this shell into an ideal retirement property in a stunning part of Mexico.
The house has two bedrooms and a shower room, a small and manageable outside space, and it’s worth noting that San Miguel de Allende is a really popular destination with American and Canadian expatriates as well as wealthy residents of Mexico City who have second homes in the beautiful and historic town. If you want location, this property ticks the right boxes – but as stated it does need vision. It’s being offered through HolProp.com.
If you want a ready to move into residence instead, if you increase your budget to just 50,000 US dollars there’s a stunning beachfront studio apartment for sale in Acapulco. This property is genuinely right on the beach! It comprises of a compact but immaculate living space and is right in the heart of all the action! If you want to live it up in retirement and enjoy restaurants, bars, beaches and all sorts of sports and attractions this is for you. Alternatively, if you want to sit on your balcony and watch the ever-changing sea and sun-scapes before you this studio would be ideal.
An interesting alternative for a slightly more substantial budget is an absolutely immaculate and spacious home in Oxkutzcab in Yucatan. For 100,000 US dollars – or offers in the region of – you can buy yourself a four-bedroom property on a large plot of land that has been lovingly constructed, rebuilt and updated. The house has four parking spaces, two bathrooms, an orchard; it is walled and gated and located in a thriving town that’s also just 30 minutes Southeast of Merida and in the midst of Mayan pyramids on the Ruta Puc. This home shows you what shopping around and looking a little of the beaten track in a given nation can bring you.
Hunting for Retirement Real Estate Bargains in Central America
As one of the most popular places with retirees in Central America, Belize is of course well explored by many; but again take a step off the well-trodden path and you will find your money can go far further. For just 37,500 US dollars for example you can buy a two-bedroom retirement bungalow in Hattieville that is in very good condition indeed. It has street frontage and is well protected with anti-theft bars to all windows, giving you that extra feeling of security as granted, Hattieville isn’t the most beautiful or prosperous part of the country. But if you really want to live in Belize, you want a decent home for a decent price and you’d be willing to compromise on location, this real estate could fit the bill.
Alternatively, if you prefer to pay more for a better location, how about buying almost 25 acres of land that has been developed with two properties, that has all services and amenities and which is just waiting for someone to make it home. This substantial piece of real estate is a great find, it’s located in Orange Walk just 2 miles outside San Felipe, and it really offers someone a great opportunity. You could renovate the properties or develop afresh, you could enjoy the land yourself or turn it into a business or even a tropical market garden! The opportunities are endless – and all for just 85,000 US dollars.
Step your budget up a little further and you can buy your own private island off Belize! For just 100,000 US dollars in the Hick’s Caye area North of Montego Caye there’s a real-life desert island for sale where you could build a log cabin and retire in style. All properties featured are visible on the Century21Belize.com website – and hopefully show you that there is a massive range of real estate for estate in this very popular country.
Costa Rica & Panama
The two other most popular destinations for expatriates heading for the beauty, excitement and lifestyle available in the Central American region are Costa Rica and Panama – but does popularity mean that the nations are now outside the affordability bracket for retirees?
We have found a stunning villa that’s ready to move into in Alegria, Limon in Costa Rica for just 70,000 US dollars. The property is located within the Finca Maquengue Falls Resort so that the home allows you access to all of the amenities within this 100-acre Caribbean dream lifestyle destination, all for a very reasonable asking price.
The property itself has two bedrooms and one bathroom, two parking spaces and it is ready to move into as it’s fully equipped with satellite television, a complete kitchen with a stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave and cookware. It offers plenty of living space and is fully furnished with comfortable furniture too! The home is situated on the top of a hill and the front porch provides stunning views over the valley and towards the volcano and all the way out to the Caribbean Sea! The kitchen window and the patio behind the house overlook the untouched jungle and a 100-foot waterfall. Paradise!
For just a little less in Panama, (68,000 US dollars to be exact), you could have an immaculate three-bed, two-bath property in Potrerillos Arriba where the climate is described as perfect and the natural environment is described as untouched. Potrerillos Arriba is certainly quieter and much more relaxed than better-known Boquete – but is just a short drive away from Boquete’s nice restaurants and also just a few minutes drive from Panama’s second largest city of David where you will find more great restaurants, an international airport, a very modern hospital, new shopping mall, theatres and even a casino.
Both homes are ideal retirement properties, both are just a little off the beaten track proving you get more for your money the harder you search.
Guatemala & Nicaragua
To perhaps get even more for your retirement budget you’re prepared to step away from popular real estate hotspots and be more adventurous with the countries you consider? How about Guatemala then where 60,000 US dollars can buy you a five-room house in Guatemala City ripe for some renovation, or where 69,000 US dollars can buy you a three-bed, two-bath townhouse in San Lucas that is immaculate and ready to move in to? Both locations have their pros and cons – for example they are secure homes in popular communities, but you may wish to update the décor to your tastes.
In Nicaragua you might like to increase your budget a little because for a negotiable 85,000 US dollars you could purchase the ideal retirement retreat that will also become a popular hangout for your friends and family from back home! Your budget will buy you a fabulous four-bed, three-bath villa set in 2 and a half acres of land that has a swimming pool, coffee trees, grape vines, avocado trees, mangoes, guavas, pithayas, oranges, tangerines, cashew trees, plantains trees, orchids, roses, geraniums, calla lilies, dahlias and ferns!
Located in Ocotal, a thriving town just 13 miles south of the border with Hondouras and on the Pan-American Highway, this stunning home has to be seen to be believed – but it is also an excellent example of what a modest budget can buy in this beautiful and lesser explored nation.
Stylish Retirement Residences for Sale in South America
South America offers you such a diverse choice of nations when it comes to your retirement real estate options that it’s perhaps wise to break it down into the well known – such as Brazil and Argentina – and the lesser explored countries for real estate such as Chile and Venezuela.
Brazil & Argentina
If you like the thought of having a certain amount of say in the finish of your retirement paradise, we’ve found a very well-priced new development of condominiums in Natal in Brazil that you might like to consider. From 79,444 US dollars you can get your hands on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in a luxury high-rise, purpose built development that has been designed with stylish and discerning buyers in mind.
The properties will be finished to the highest standards with marble and granite throughout, and the site will come complete with swimming pools, a fitness centre and games room, lounges, a barbeque area and 24/7 security. Condos are scheduled for completion in 2013, and this development is reported to be in the wealthiest area of Natal, and in a location with the highest capital appreciation record.
If you like the location but you don’t want to wait to move abroad in retirement, how about a one-bedroom, one-bathroom alternative that’s right on the beach and just a 20-minute drive to the thriving centre of Natal? Located on Buzios Beach, the development that this particular resale apartment is on features a communal pool, direct beach access, cable TV, parking areas and 24/7 security. The apartment is immaculate if compact, and it comes complete with all electrical appliances – and because it has been priced to sell, it’s described as a bargain. Both properties are on the market with PropertyInBrasil.com.
Argentina is an excellent alternative nation to consider – it is such a vast and diverse country offering every type of climate and landscape as well as a whole host of real estate bargains. No matter what you’re searching for, you will probably find it if you look hard enough – and as an example of what a modest budget will buy you how about a stunning, luxury condominium in the heart of Palermo Hollywood in Buenos Aires?
This studio condo is fabulous – and excellent attention to detail has gone into every aspect of the finishing of this home. It is brand new, and on the market for just 79,000 US dollars – that’s a real bargain for this level of luxury in this fabulous location. On site you have a gym, a spa, a solarium, gardens, patio and grill areas, wifi and there is even 24-hour security.
Alternatively – if you need space and you can stretch your budget towards a very negotiable 159,000 US dollars you can get your hands on seven acres of a Gold Medal award-winning vineyard that has views of the Andes! This parcel of land is as yet undeveloped – apart from the vines – but as the owners of the other parcels of land within this vineyard will demonstrate, with some vision you can develop the most fabulous dwelling on the land and still harvest your award-winning crop for maximum profitability and enjoyment!
The land is located in San Rafael, Mendoza – an area already hugely popular with international expatriates and a location growing in repute with tourists and discerning wine enthusiasts to boot. Whilst the asking price is higher than any other we have detailed so far, we felt that this was an opportunity we just had to bring to your attention. This prospect is a once in a lifetime chance to buy a unique piece of land in a stunning location and develop your perfect home abroad.
Chile and Venezuela
For some of the best-priced and most fabulous real estate in Chile consider heading to Patagonia where for example, you can buy a fully furnished, two storey house with a separate guest cabin that’s set in over an acre of grounds for just 85,000 US dollars. The property is about 17 miles from the provincial capital of Futaluefu and 22 miles from the Argentine border, and it has simply stunning views of Tres Monjas and the surrounding Andean mountains.
In terms of the main house, it is constructed out of wood, posts and beams, it has 2-bedrooms, is fully furnished right down to a flat screen TV and DVD player and has beautiful river views from the outside decking area. This bargain even comes for sale complete with a 2008 Nissan double cab pickup truck and the aforementioned guest cabin too. In other words, if you bought this property you could just pack a case, up sticks from your old life and begin your new life abroad with the absolute minimum of fuss.
Alternatively, if you want even more space and can stretch your budget to 115,000 US dollars there’s a lodge for sale in Patagonia on Lake General Carrera in Aysén. The property comes with 5 separate guest cabins that you can let out to supplement your pension income, and because of the fabulous location of this property you can guarantee there will be plenty of demand for the cabins! Lake General Carrera is fondly referred to as the ‘Patagonian Sea,’ and the surrounding location enjoys a really mild microclimate – making it an ideal place to retire to if you’re looking for a favourable climate.
The main house is spacious and functionally furnished – but it could certainly be made more homely if you imported your personal effects and redecorated. The entire real estate is currently set up as a business – which as mentioned you can continue if you want to supplement your retirement income. And everything you need – from freezers to washing machines, bed linen to outdoor furniture is included in the sale, making the transition a smooth one. Both properties are advertised through AllSouthernChile.com.
Your money can go even further in Venezuela however, and so if you’re perhaps looking for a similar small business opportunity so that you can semi-retire and still earn a bit of an income, for just 85,000 US dollars in La Asuncion on Venezuela’s Margarita Island you can buy a spacious 6 bedroom house and rent out rooms on a bed and breakfast or even a long-term basis for income purposes. The property is beautifully rustic in style and set in the most fabulous gardens complete with mango, banana, passion fruit, papaya, loquat, fig and lime trees. If you can extend your budget to 195,000 US dollars then you can buy this property and one other that sits adjacent to it in even larger gardens. You could then rent one house out completely and live in the other!
However, perhaps I have digressed a little – after all the purpose of this report is about finding affordable real estate bargains for retirement – so how about a beach view condominium for just 19,950 US dollars? Ok, so it needs basic internal renovation – but this still represents a fine bargain! It’s located in Isla De Oro, Rio Chico in Venezuela and comprises of one bedroom, one and a half bathrooms and one parking space. The property was constructed in the 1970s so needs a small amount of money invested in it to bring it up to date. US dollar prices quoted in this report are based on the rate of exchange offered by xe.net on the date of this report’s writing and should be checked again before you even consider making an offer of interest for any property.
In this, the second chapter of our four-part series about affordable retirement real estate bargains around the world, I hope we have been able to show you that even in the most popular nations you can still shop for well-priced property if you dig deep. What’s more, I hope we have perhaps inspired you to look away from popular haunts and explore nations that are emerging or as yet still undiscovered with the majority of internationally mobile citizens.
At EscapeArtist.com we want to inspire you and enable you – which is why we have country sections dedicated to all the nations we’ve introduced you to in this report, and which is why we aim to keep them up to date and even to bring you brand new real estate listings from as diverse a range of international locations as well. There are no limits when it comes to your retirement abroad – so reach out and take what you want from life!
About the author: Susan Beverley is a writer and editor for Escape From America Magazine and also writes for and maintains Expat Daily News – the expat news blog for EscapeArtist.com. She traveled extensively before becoming an expat herself having found a place to call home in South America where she has lived since 2005. She understands the concerns, needs and difficulties that expats face from first-hand experience and is dedicated to supporting and encouraging anyone who is looking for a new nation to call home.