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Helping Snowbirds Fly Overseas

drink-on-beach

It’s almost that time of the year again. There’s a chill in the air and chili in the crock pot. The leaves turn orange as holiday décor begins popping up in stores. We all know what’s coming. -Winter. And while I enjoy this time of year, many retirees disagree as they begin preparing for their departure to warmer climates. Although many Americans know Florida as a hot spot to spend their golden years, many also opt to live out of the country entirely. In this post we will discuss how you can help these clients make a sound decision no matter where they choose to go.

While retiring overseas is exciting, it’s not as easy as one may think. This decision must be made carefully and long ahead of time. It’s easy for a client to run wild with emotion and make a hasty decision when they are dreaming of spending their days relaxing on the beaches of Sardinia with a Negroni in hand. It is up to you, their global expert, to bring them back down to reality for just a moment before embarking on their journey. You’ll be doing your buyers a favor if you draw their attention to important issues to consider before pulling up stakes and moving overseas. Below are a few topics to discuss:

Distance: How do you feel about living far away from your family? Door-to-door travel times can be easily found online. For example, the shortest flight between Chicago and Cuenca, Ecuador is 11 hours with two stops.

Health care: Is good medical care available and at what cost? Are there nearby clinics and an accredited hospital less than an hour away?

Language: Will you need to learn a new language? Or do you prefer limiting your search to destinations (or specific communities) where you can easily speak your native language?

Weather: Will you enjoy the weather during all seasons? Is the area vulnerable to extreme storms or other natural hazards?

Familiar faces: Is it important to live among expats from your home country? Or are you more interested in making new cross-cultural connections?

Once you have covered the basics you can dive deeper into the nitty-gritty. After you have an idea of where your clients would like to go, have a look at that country’s real estate practices. Some countries restrict foreign land ownership and in most countries professionals aren’t licensed. Knowing what hurdles to expect can better prepare both you and your client. Buyers should also know that financing outside the U.S. can be difficult or even unavailable. In some countries, the concept of mortgage lending is new. It’s also important to become familiar with tax laws in other countries to give your client a general idea of what to expect. However, remember that you should always refer your clients to a tax professional since these numbers can make a big difference in living in one country over another.

Another fool-proof way to prevent any buyer’s remorse is to encourage your clients to rent first. This gives clients a way to take their potential purchase for a “test-drive” before making the move. By the end, whether they’re miles away in an exotic locale or a hop-skip away in the sunshine state, your clients will feel at ease since all things were considered, thanks to you, their global expert.

If you are interested in more ways to help buyers with overseas retirement, then click here for our feature in Global Perspectives.

Charlee Gibson

Charlee Gibson is a Marketing Coordinator for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division. She can be reached at cgibson@realtors.org.

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