Many of us are calculating how much money we need to retire. With accommodations often taking up about one third of our budgets, this is a good place to start. Owning your own property can help to hedge against rising costs and exchange rate risks. If you choose wisely, your new home may also prove to be a good investment rather than just an accommodation expense.
My previous articles, Retire on $500 per Month and Rent for Less than $10 per Day rely on stable low priced rental properties around the world. With more people traveling and living abroad, I feel that it is inevitable that rents will increase around the world. While purchasing property in a foreign country has its risks, it can greatly decrease your monthly living expenses. For example, my mortgage in Japan, is close to what I was paying for one room in a shared apartment when I first arrived more than 12 years ago.
Matadorlife.com had an article, “What Can $150K Buy in Real Estate Around the World,” while that was helpful, I wanted to see what could be bought for much less. I chose the arbitrary figure of $50,000. Anyone can afford $50,000 after a couple of years of hard work and sacrifice so I felt that it was a good amount. Even in Canada, I know of many houses that are much less than this price in my grandmother’s home town of Kamsack, Saskatchewan. There are limited stores and winters are harsh, but there is a beautiful lake only 7 km away. If you can put up with shoveling snow all winter, the summers are amazing.
Here are some properties around the world for less than $50,000.
Imus Cavite, Philippines
105 square meters. House. 2-bedroom, 2-bath layout plus a study or den (2 floors), conveniently located near churches, schools, hospitals and shopping malls. With Carport and balcony.
52 square meters. Condominium. 1 bedroom, 1 bath and 1 balcony, near major hospitals, schools, universities, and airports. Five minute walk to a full size golf driving range with a spa and health center.
1,720,000 BHT (US$50,455) (The cheaper units sold out during the time I have been researching this article.)
Elhovo, Yambol, Bulgaria
570 square meters. House. Located in a peaceful village, large rooms, two-storey house, toilet and bathroom in a separate building outside beside the house, with garage and a garden.
26,600 EUR (US$34,652)
Piedras Blancas, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Ecological Tree Homes. This beautiful farm is located on the base of an almost 6,000-foot primary rainforest mountain on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and is bordered on the North by Río Piedras Blancas and Río Bellavista to the South.
Ujsor, Bodony, Hungary
94 square meters. House. Beautiful mountain view, two bedrooms, fireplace and central gas heating, established with vegetable garden, fruit trees and flowers, Only 30 minute drive to Gyongyos and 40 minutes to Eger. Close to all the services of Eger and Gyongyos, yet in a quiet and private area with clean air. (John’s note: Eger is a great small wine city in Hungary. I would love to live there for part of the year!)
2 bedrooms and 1 bath with a nice kitchen and a single garage, a well and is fenced on 3 sides. Really nice and well maintained
Dixie Hills, Atlanta GA, USA
Great location, close to downtown & airport, accessible to Marta and Train station. Kitchen with tile floors and counter tops. 3 bedrooms, hardwood floors, huge living room and laundry area. Cable ready. Ready to move in.
Apartment. Nice kitchen with space for a dining area, a full bathroom with access from the kitchen and the bed-sitting room. Large balcony where you can see the Atlantic ocean. Close to the beach and close to town.
Altinkum Aydin Province Turkey
120 square meters. Apartment. The apartments are being built on an already well established road in the popular Hunters Valley area of Altinkum. Positioned just off the main road with all amenities close by, the location is ideal especially as the beach is only a 5 minute walk away. These thoughtfully designed and well built apartments will have a communal swimming pool and garden, and off-street parking facilities. The development is due for completion in May 2010.
GBP £34,500 (US$49,640)
Gorna Oryahovitsa Veliko Tarnovo Province Bulgaria
180 square meters. House. Two storey fully renovated house on the shore of the Yantra river – a natural border of the property. The property is situated in a village 22km away from the ancient historical town of Veliko Tarnovo, 10km away from Gorna Oriahovitza and the airport. One hour drive from Russe, the Danube River and Romania. One hour and a half from the Romanian capital Bucharest and the airport there.
Sicily Gibilaro, Italy
75 square meters. Three storey townhouse, staircase is in marble, in good condition. Roof is in wood with an attic which can be converted into a terrazza with a panoramic view, semi restructured and is ready to move into straightaway. With spectacular views around the valley of the river Platani, many shops, pizzerias, restaurants and an air ambulance service. 30 mins away from the beach (Seccagrande/Eraclea Minoa/San Giorgio). Access to the main towns of Agrigento, Sciacca, Palermo. 40 minute drive away from the spectacular Sicani Mountains and its picnic area.
To Buy or Not to Buy
Buying a house in a foreign country can seem incredibly risky and arduous, but it is not hard to find examples of expats who have been successful. I managed to buy a house in Japan. It can be frustrating when the buying process is so different than what you’d expect in your home country, but it is completely feasible. Some countries are riskier and more difficult than others. Do your homework and find a reputable real estate agent to assist you through the process. Your inexpensive retirement home may turn out to be the best investment you have made.
I love to travel, but I can’t live out of a backpack for 12 months of the year. The ideal situation would be to have two or three properties around the world and rotate between them with a little traveling in between. It would be great to connect with like minded couples and share properties, but I know that it is hard to trust strangers with your personal things. However, if you are interested in some type of regular home share agreement please let me know. Also, I am on the look out for an inexpensive place in a interesting country, so if you have any advice please leave it in the comments.