I got quoted in this Fox Business News story about buying real estate abroad, so of course we think it’s worthy of a read. Called What you need to know before buying foreign property, it’s specifically about whether it’s worthwhile to go on a real estate tour that gives you a crash course in the local market.

I can’t say I’ve ever been on one of those tours, but I’ve talked with a few people who have and were happy that they did it. The biggest obstacle for most people in buying real estate in Latin America is figuring out the landscape: what’s the real value, what are the laws, how does the process work? If you rent somewhere for six months or a year, you’ve got time to figure all that out. If you’re trying to buy more quickly, however, you can make some major blunders if you don’t get good expert advice. Most markets don’t have an MLS and all you have to do to be a real estate agent is print up business cards saying you are—no license required.

I prefer the tours run by the likes of International Living and Pathfinder over the ones focused on a specific development. Sure, there are lots of discounts built in because the sponsors are hoping you’ll buy something, but there’s not the kind of pressure you get from a single developer who is incurring costs to have you there. There are lectures and Q&A sessions from agents and legal experts, plus you get to see a range of properties to get a decent feel for the market. As always, ask independent questions on your own and do your own research in addition, but you’ll leave one of these real estate tours with far more knowledge than you had going in.

See the full article here.

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