I always thought that owning a retirement property in a warm country would be paradise. So, when my son invited me to visit him in Brazil, several years ago, I was tempted to stay for longer than just a few weeks. Out of curiosity, I tracked down a local real estate agent and set out to find out what the local market was like.
Like many first-time overseas property buyers, my first impression was extremely positive. I couldn’t believe what I could buy for just a fraction of the cost of a house in the U.S. All of the properties had pools and I dreamed of spending my final decades in relative comfort, sipping chilled wine and watching the ebb and flow of the waves from my balcony.
Several days later, when the novelty of the situation wore off, I started discovering some of the potential pitfalls of buying property in a country like Brazil. For starters, it wasn’t always entirely clear who owned a piece of land. The property ownership records were incomplete in some cases and missing in others.
I also discovered that, at least in the city that I was investigating, it was common for some locals to steal construction materials from unguarded homes. This meant that most expats hired a local family to stay in their home while they were traveling.
To be clear, I’m not saying that buying property in Brazil – or any other country for that matter – is a bad idea. I’m simply saying that it is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. No matter how much you read on the Internet, nothing beats spending several weeks (preferably months) in your target destination.
As I reflected on my adventure in Brazil, it occurred to me that many of you have probably successfully purchased property overseas. Since many other women in our community may be looking for a retirement property abroad, I thought that it would be a great idea to share our stories here. This way, we can learn from each other’s mistakes and victories.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Please take a few minutes to join the conversation.
Have you bought one or more properties overseas? What did you learn from the experience – positively or negatively? What advice would you give to someone in our community who is considering buying their first property in another country?