Does Your Retirement Plan Include an Out-of-Country Relocation? What Should You Consider?

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Those who have spent their working years in a high cost of living area and are seeking a more laid-back pace of life (perhaps in combination with a warmer climate) during retirement shouldn't need to limit their search to the continental U.S. Many retirees have found new homes outside the U.S., particularly in countries with universal healthcare or a favorable exchange rate. If you're wondering whether an out-of-country relocation is a good idea for your own retirement, ask the following questions about real estate.

What should you consider when financing your next home?

The financing decisions you'll need to make may largely be driven by the specific country in which you decide to settle. Many countries have few restrictions on the ability of non-citizens to own property or take out loans, but other countries may make it all but impossible to break into the real estate market unless you're prepared to hand over cash. You may want to consult with a real estate attorney before beginning your search in earnest; doing so will give you the information you need to proceed. 

Even if you're planning to head to a country that will allow you to take out a mortgage on your next home, it can be a good idea to have a significant chunk of your budgeted price available in cash. Not only can this improve your creditworthiness in the eyes of a foreign lender, but it can also give you the flexibility to pay for repairs or other costs of homeownership even after you've purchased the property.

What should you consider when purchasing your next home? 

Once you've taken the preliminary steps of choosing a retirement country, researching whether foreigners in your retirement country of choice are allowed to own (or finance) property, and determining your financing options, you'll then want to begin shopping for homes in your stated price range. 

During this process, it's important to have "feet on the ground" in the area. Even if you're unable to see your future home in person before putting in an offer, having an agent or other designee who has a fiduciary responsibility to you perform a quick inspection and give you his or her impression of the property's durability, the safety of the surrounding neighborhood, and other factors that could impact its value and your own comfort is crucial to ensuring you don't wind up stuck with a "lemon" of a home from half a globe away. You may be able to hire a real estate agent from abroad or even rely on friends or family members in the area to scope out your potential property and give their thoughts. 

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6 March 2017

A First Home Purchase

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