Author Topic: Overseas property advice  (Read 2186 times)

Ms. Doodles

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Overseas property advice
« on: March 29, 2013, 04:45:29 PM »
Quick background.  Currently new to the mustachian philosophy...  Unfortunately, I am not naturally frugal.  32-ish, living with SO, no kids.  We rent a condo because (1) we're waiting after marriage before partaking joint ownership and (2) we're planning to setup a business overseas (SE Asia) in three years.  It might not be prudent to purchase any property if we are staying here long term.

As for the business overseas, one of the plans is to purchase a rental property there for a steady income stream while growing the business. 

Coming from a really inexperienced background, any tips on where we can begin our research?  Which questions should I be asking about paperwork?  Would it be more prudent to live there a for a few months?  We plan to travel there next year for leisure but at the same time acquiring more knowledge on the requirements needed.

I would appreciate any suggestions and feedback. Thanks.

- Ms. D

lhamo

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Re: Overseas property advice
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 06:18:06 AM »
We waited until we'd been in China several years before buying, and I'm glad we did -- although if we had bought property in the complex we lived in a smaller city before moving to Beijing we probably would have earned a lot on it.  But renting several different places in different cities taught us a LOT about the property market and helped us know what we were looking for and what to watch out for. 

Laws and lending practices can vary widely -- here in China we don't actually own the property itself, that belongs to the state.  We have a 70 year lease that everyone THINKS will be extended when the time comes, but who knows.  70 years ago the PRC didn't even exist, so no telling what the future holds.  We'll likely sell when the kids go to college and we retire. 

Be VERY careful with property agents that target non-local investors.  Lots of room for scamming there.  ALso be sure you understand things like how titles work and make sure you have clear title on the property.  Friends of ours were going to buy a place that had suspected title issues (houses had been built on land that wasn't technically supposed to be developed that way) and I was glad when they backed out -- sounded like a really risky venture to me.

Oh, and be mindful that rules can change.  A few years before we bought our place foreigners could buy and rent their units out.  Then the rules changed.  We can't legally rent our place -- only self occupy.  It is one of the ways they are trying to keep the local property market from getting too red hot (it is already glowing...).  I'm not sure if that change affected those who bought prior to the rule change -- if it did, it could really throw a wrench in any investment plan.


Adventine

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Re: Overseas property advice
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 07:30:05 AM »
Interesting. Southeast Asia is huge. 600 million people and VERY different cultures. Do you have a specific country in mind or are you going to visit of each and every one? What kind of business do you want to set up? Do you speak any other language apart from English? Do you have family based here? Are you used to a tropical climate? Yesterday it was 34.9 degrees Celsius.

I ask because all these factors will affect how easily you and your family will be able to settle in SE Asia.

Ms. Doodles

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Re: Overseas property advice
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 06:30:37 PM »
Thanks for the feedback and advice!

We're planning on venturing in Manila.  A lot of interesting development and growth. I have family that may be able to help us out.  However, they can only help so much since they are also busy with their lives. 

While I can speak and understand the language, Mr. D can't.  Fortunately, it's an English speaking nation so he can converse with most people.  We are just worried about scammy people like what lhamo said.   The legalities of foreigners owning properties is still confusing.  We have to read the fine print.

Adventine

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Re: Overseas property advice
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 08:36:39 PM »
I'm glad you've got those bases covered. Manila's real estate market is definitely booming but a lot of people (locals and foreigners) are jumping in without doing their due diligence. I agree that the perception "foreigners = easy $$$" is very strong here and that having trusted family and fluency in the local language (I'm assuming Tagalog) will serve you well.

Two caveats, though. I checked with my mom, who does freelance real estate work, and she confirms that foreigners cannot legally own private homes and undeveloped lots in the Philippines. The only kind of property that foreign residents can own outright are condominiums. Lots of people skirt this law by registering properties in the name of their Filipino spouses. 

Second, local laws state that foreign ownership of any business is limited to 40% pf total equity. The remaining 60% must remain in the hands of a local partner. Although recent government reforms have made things better, you will likely have to pay some bribes to get your business permits, licenses, etc.

But, but, but. I'm still very optimistic about this country's potential. We recently got our first investment grade rating (for the first time in its history!!) and the government is serious about fighting corruption. Cost of living is very cheap for someone used to living in a First World setting, almost everyone understands English, people in general are relaxed and not as xenophobic as some other Asians can be. Maybe take an extended vacation for a couple of months to see if it's a good fit for you and your SO.