International Property Ownership: So Many Choices – How Do I Decide?

If you are thinking about owning property overseas, you are not alone. One in 10 Americans is and for many, it’s a lifelong dream to retire to the tropics. For others, it’s a vacation home and rental property. No matter the reason, getting the purchase right the first time is paramount. There are some easy ways to make sure this happens. 

Of course, finding the right climate is critical for happiness. So are some other factors like, “Do I want to live in a city, small town, the country or a resort setting? Will I be comfortable on a small island in the Caribbean or am I better off in a developing country, perhaps a home in France?” The good news is there are tools to help evaluate and narrow the choices. These resources can make the process smooth, simple, and safe. 

The first big factor to consider is the weather. Fortunately, it’s an easy one to get right. The other major factor is the setting type, either urban, rural, or resort. The world is a big place and serves up every type of geography. Many people are looking at Europe, Africa, or Asia. However, since most buyers from the US decide to own property in the Americas, the examples are from this region. 

The geography of the Caribbean and Latin America serves up just about every climate type imaginable. Buyers find breezy tropical islands, snowcapped Andes mountains, vineyard areas similar to Napa Valley, and tropical highlands where it’s springtime all the time. At the beach you can find lush lowlands, to semi-arid beaches with a southern California-feeling, to dry deserts along the coast. 

Most people looking for property overseas want warm weather. But what kind of warm weather? Some people prefer hot, dry weather like Phoenix. If so, then the deserts of Mexico would be a great choice. For a Southern California climate, the coastline of Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica deliver that. Some folks want a hot, humid climate like Miami or Houston. Tropical Panama would be perfect for them.

The Caribbean islands really just have two seasons: dry and rainy with humidity levels being seasonal. The rainy season runs from late summer to early December in the Caribbean, and temperatures generally band between 80-90 °F. The warm temps and gentle humidity are offset by the trade winds blowing in off the sea. 

Trade winds in San Pedro Belize keep temps in the 80’s most of the year
Many folks enjoy a cooler climate resembling springtime year-round. Throughout tropical Latin America, an area’s temperature is determined by elevation. Cuenca, Ecuador, possesses a wonderful year-round springtime climate because it sits at 8500 feet above sea level. Temps are in the high 50’s at night and mid 70’s in the day. A little lower in elevation, places like the Central Valley of Costa Rica or Medellin, Colombia, temperatures are in the 80’s during the day and the 70’s at night, every day of the year. 

The last consideration is whether to live in an urban area or a rural area? Do you prefer a modern city with high rises, a subway, and shopping malls? Or is a small colonial city with brick streets, small markets, and rough sidewalks preferable? Maybe a resort setting with golf is more your style. A modern city at the beach would be Panama City for example while an old colonial city on the beach is Cartagena. Gran Pacifica provides year-round oceanside golf and a semi-arid, resort setting. 

Answering these types of questions on geography and climate greatly helps people identify and locate possible cities and areas that meet their lifestyle criteria. The main factors to consider are these listed here, but none are black and white. It’s an open recipe that’s best experienced first-hand. The good news is that the incredibly varied geography of Latin America can usually serve up the right solution for almost any need. 
International Property by SJ Baren is licensed under Unsplash License

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