RealtyCast Global BLOG Header #2 Investing in Foreign Property with Stefano Lucatello

RealtyCast Global #2: Investing in Foreign Property with Stefano Lucatello

Welcome to episode #2 of RealtyCast Global – a global connection to all things real estate, hosted by Hugh Gilliam, president of Global Property Pros.

Are you dreaming of investing in a property abroad but unsure of where to start? Get ready to have your questions answered by the exceptional Stefano Lucattello, Senior Partner at Kobalt Law LLP. He’s not only a legal eagle when it comes to international property law, but he’s also the author of ‘Investing in Foreign Property: The Ultimate Guide to Buying Safely.’ Stefano’s insights will guide you to safely navigate the often complex world of buying properties abroad.

Our conversation with Stefano takes you on an intriguing journey from his roots in Italy to his successful career as a commercial lawyer in England and now, also an international property expert. He unpacks the intricacies of buying properties abroad, emphasizing the importance of understanding the taxation laws of the country you’re buying property in.

Stefano’s wealth of knowledge doesn’t stop there. He delves into the critical factors to consider when setting up a business abroad, guiding you through the process of declaring income tax for rental income and wealth taxes. We wrap up our enlightening conversation with Stefano sharing his excitement for opening an international cookery school and his plans for retirement. This episode is an essential listen for those considering buying property abroad. So sit back, relax, and let Stefano give you a masterclass on turning your foreign property dreams into a reality!

Those interested in purchasing a book can obtain a copy on Amazon. All profits go towards funding cancer research.

For real estate agents looking to expand their business internationally, expose existing listings to a global pool of buyers, and connect with new clients, check out Global Property Pros.

For Property Buyers & Sellers seeking assistance in the international market, check out RealtyHive’s property marketing solutions.

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About the guest – Stefano Lucatello:

Stefano Lucatello is the Senior Partner and Head of Kobalt Law LLP.  He qualified as a Solicitor in 1988. Languages and Law have always been a very important part of his life and practicing career as a Solicitor. Kobalt Law LLP is the culmination of many years of practice both in England and abroad. Stefano combines his knowledge of English and foreign law to advise clients from around the world.

He practiced in Gibraltar as an international partner of a Leeds-based practice, where he developed his skills in offshore tax and trust law, advising High net worth individuals to protect their fortunes.

Stefano is an accomplished author, writing on many different international property topics and platforms, as well as appearing on his own Property TV shows and seminars.  He has written an international property buying guide, entitled, ‘Investing in Foreign Property: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Safely.’

The first edition was published in 2015 and the second in 2018, with an updated chapter on “Brexit”.

The book is a generic guide about what potential foreign property buyers need to know and be aware of when considering buying property abroad. Stefano says “People never learn that buying foreign property is no less difficult than buying in the UK. How can you possibly buy in a foreign country, without specialist legal assistance, like that provided by Kobalt Law LLP, international property lawyers?

It is very hard when potential buyers don’t speak the foreign language or understand the different foreign law that applies to foreign property purchases. 

They believe the agents, who say that they don’t need this kind of assistance, and merrily follow the agent’s advice to go to a foreign lawyer, without checking them out first.”

The book is filled with great tips and advice, which apply to most countries in the world and takes you from the moment you decide to start the property search journey, to completion of the purchase and then onto living your dream in that foreign country.  It has 10 chapters and takes 2 hours to read.  It has been described by certain well-known foreign property commentators, as “incisive and well written”, explaining difficult topics in an “easy-to-read way”. It has a notepad, at the end, so that readers can take the book with them and write notes as they visit agents.

About the host – Hugh Gilliam:

Hugh Gilliam co-owned a national transportation company, created a land development business, and worked as a general contractor in residential and commercial construction for over two decades. Hugh also co-founded an international distribution company and successfully negotiated and contracted with 135 sales representatives in the United States, Canada, France, Brazil, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Today, Mr. Gilliam is affiliated with RealtyHive, LLC where he serves as Director of International Real Estate and President of Global Property Pros. His duties include involvement in commercial and residential transactions, plus promoting marketing systems and lead generation platforms.

He is also co-founder of the luxury digital magazine, DOORWAYS INTERNATIONAL, powered by RealtyHive, which serves as a platform for Brokers and Buyers throughout 70 countries.

Hugh’s Designations Include:

  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist
  • Certified Distressed Property Export
  • Certified International Property Specialist
  • Certified International Investment & Immigration Specialist
  • Transnational Referral Certification

Hugh’s Memberships Include:

  • Georgia Association of REALTORS
  • National Association of REALTORS
  • International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI-USA)
  • Asian Real Estate Association of America

RealtyHive Announces Partnership of Global Property Pros and FIABCI-USA

RealtyHive announces partnership of Global Property Pros and FIABCI-USA; Medal of Honor Presented to Hugh Gilliam

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES, June 14, 2023/ — RealtyHive, a global real estate marketing platform has announced a partnership between its global real estate networking platform, Global Property Pros, and FIABCI-USA, the world’s leading international real estate organization. At the installation of Carla Kidd as the new President of FIABCI-USA, she announced the partnership, which includes membership/access to Global Property Pros for all FIABCI-USA Chapter members.

“Having a global marketing platform for our organization just adds another level of value for our members,” stated Carla Kidd. “One of the things agents always have needed was a way to showcase their listings to other professionals around the world. Now, the world has become smaller due to GPP and all it offers to build referral relationships and sales.”

Through the partnership with Global Property Pros, all FIABCI-USA Chapter members will gain access to the platform where they can easily market their properties to buyers in over 200 countries, through RealtyHive. Members will also be able to connect with other like-minded real estate professionals around the world and gain new clients through these networking opportunities.

Hugh receiving medal of honor - Global Property Pros & FIABCI-USA Partnership

“Amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, Hugh Gilliam exemplified outstanding leadership as he navigated our national organization through uncharted waters,” stated Florentino Dualia. “Mr. Gilliam seamlessly adapted to the sudden shift to virtual meetings and kept the team motivated, engaged, and connected. His unwavering dedication and resilience helped the FIABCI-USA Chapter achieve great success despite the circumstances. Mr. Gilliam proved that true leaders emerge and thrive in times of crisis.”

Founded in 1951 in Paris, France, FIABCI, the International Real Estate Federation, is the world’s leading international real estate organization devoted to all real estate specialties and activities. With chapters in over 70 countries that are spread over five continents, FIABCI provides direct access to international real estate contacts and international business opportunities. Since 1954, FIABCI holds special consultant status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. FIABCI takes great pride in our efforts to help the United Nations address serious housing and environmental issues worldwide.

RealtyHive is a global real estate marketing platform connecting property sellers and agents to buyers from over 200 countries, with over 2 million site visitors each year. In today’s ever-changing real estate market, real estate agents and industry professionals are seeking new and innovative ways to create value for their clients and grow their network. RealtyHive’s Global Property Pros was built by agents for agents, providing the ability for them to showcase their listings globally, collaborate with like-minded professionals on a common platform, share listings with buyers, track the global activity of their listings, stay abreast of popular countries to invest in, and be informed of global shifts in the real estate market.

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RealtyCast Global Episode 1 - Purchasing Property in Portugal with Antonio Barbosa

RealtyCast Global #1: Purchasing Property in Portugal with Antonio Barbosa

Welcome to the premier of RealtyCast Global – a global connection to all things real estate, hosted by Hugh Gilliam, president of Global Property Pros. During this podcast feature, Hugh discusses the tips, tricks, and benefits of moving to Portugal with industry veteran Antonio Barbosa of Infinite Solutions. Whether you are a real estate agent with a client looking to purchase property in Portugal or a property buyer seeking advice on the steps to take, you don’t want to miss this discussion!

For real estate agents looking to expand their business internationally, expose existing listings to a global pool of buyers, and connect with new clients, check out Global Property Pros

For Property Buyers & Sellers seeking assistance in the international market, check out RealtyHive’s property marketing solutions.

About the guest – Antonio Barbosa:

António Barbosa is a REALTOR® living in Portugal and with more than 20 years of experience in Real Estate. He will tell you that he doesn’t sell homes; He fulfills lifestyle dreams. He’s a charming man with the most disarming smile who makes friends wherever he goes. If you are not his friend, it’s because he hasn’t met you yet!

He prides himself in being part of the decision of more than 500 families making Portugal their new home. In addition, He considers his biggest achievements in life the personal and business relationships he built, which led to long-lasting friendships not only with his esteemed clients but also amongst his distinguished colleagues!!!

He’s happiest helping people to find a home or wealth investment property in Portugal or worldwide. His company name is “Infinite Solutions”, and it’s a perfect name because he’s not problem-oriented, he’s all about solutions.  

He’s also a world traveler and foodie, so if you need a solution of where to go for dinner, on vacation, or where to buy your next lifestyle property, he’s your person! He speaks fluent Portuguese, English, and Spanish.

Antonio is a proud Member of FIABCI-USA as well as NAR® and holds the CRS® / CIPS® and ABR® designations.

About your host – Hugh Gilliam:

Hugh Gilliam co-owned a national transportation company, created a land development business, and worked as a general contractor in residential and commercial construction for over two decades. Hugh also co-founded an international distribution company and successfully negotiated and contracted with 135 sales representatives in the United States, Canada, France, Brazil, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Today, Mr. Gilliam is affiliated with RealtyHive, LLC where he serves as Director of International Real Estate and President of Global Property Pros. His duties include involvement in commercial and residential transactions, plus promoting marketing systems and lead generation platforms.

He is also co-founder of the luxury digital magazine, DOORWAYS INTERNATIONAL, powered by RealtyHive, which serves as a platform for Brokers and Buyers throughout 70 countries.

Hugh’s Designations Include:

  • Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist
  • Certified Distressed Property Export
  • Certified International Property Specialist
  • Certified International Investment & Immigration Specialist
  • Transnational Referral Certification

Hugh’s Memberships Include:

  • Georgia Association of REALTORS
  • National Association of REALTORS
  • International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI-USA)
  • Asian Real Estate Association of America

A Taste of Beautiful RealtyHive Developments

Although buying international properties comes with a number of benefits, it can also be extremely difficult finding the right one for you. There are so many variables that go into purchasing a property in general but even more so when you’re buying abroad. The simplest to purchase properties abroad is to purchase a unit in a real estate development. International developments also offer amenities that other properties don’t have such as gated communities/security, concierge services, social spaces, and so much more! Want to learn more about real estate developments and whether or not its the right choice for you? Click here!

1. Estepona, Spain

This is a stunning residential development located in a privileged area of Spain. A number of amenities nearby such as golf courses, shopping centers, and much more. This development offers 187 one, two, three or four bedroom properties distributed amongst three different residential spaces. All residences are just minutes from the beautiful sandy beach!

2. Hua Hin District, Thailand

This gorgeous villa boasts 165 sqm of living and dining space! The unique “H” layout of this home makes it just as functional as it is stunning! My personal favorite feature of this home is the upper terrace that boast stunning views of the surrounding mountains. If mountains aren’t your thing the home also includes a 36 sqm private swimming pool. So thats pretty cool.

3. Long Bay Village, Anguilla

This development is the newest beachfront resort in Anguilla. There is much excitement around this new luxury boutique resort as it lies on one of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches! This beautiful waterfront resort offer 15 professionally managed 1-3 bedroom condominiums! Each residence includes an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the sea and a hot/cold tub!

4. Bonita Springs, FL

Seaglass at Bonita Bay is committed to providing a relaxing yet luxurious waterfront living environment. Seaglass combines lovely coastal interior design with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico! Resort offers amazing amenities such as steam/massage rooms, state-of-the-art fitness center, a theatre room, resort style pool, and so much more! You will never be bored in this Bonita Bay beauty!

5. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

This development property is located in Playacar Phase II, one of Mexico’s most exclusive gated communities. Mara Playacar is surrounded by 18 hole golf courses, restaurants, shopping centers, and is only 2 blocks from the best beach in the Riviera Maya! The luxury amenities and stunning ocean views will make you never want to leave. And since Mara playacar has everything you could ever want or need… you never have to.

6. Roches Noires, Mauritius

5 years ago this large estate was made on the north east coast. Since then it has metamorphosed into a tight knit and lively community! This development is offers luxury residences on a golf course right by the sea. These gorgeous residences also offer stunning natural surroundings, a safe neighborhood, convenience, and a sense of community.

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This luxurious apartment project located in a once-in-a-lifetime location that overlooks 150,000,000 gorgeous blooming flowers. Each apartment is designed to offer uninterrupted views of Miracle Garden & Butterfly Garden. This development is particularly perfect for lovers of the architectural designs of the Roman era, an inspiration for the design of this real estate project.

8. Paradise Island, Bahamas

Situated on Nassau Harbour, Bahamas in between an Ocean Club and One&Only Resort, This beautiful development combines amazing location with stellar views! This gorgeous piece of waterfront real estate has a never ending list of amenities including a large pool, fitness center, concierge services, underground parking, 24hr gated security, and a marina! Residences are filled with natural light, luxury, and premium appliances!

9. Chicago, IL

74-story tower designed by Helmut Jahn, an internationally-renowned architect. Located in the windy city this development was made for urban connoisseurs and city dwellers! The floor to ceiling windows provide unobstructed views of the city, Lake Michigan, and Grant Park! This development also offers some amazing and luxurious amenities! This development just all around screams luxury and lavish living!

10. Sosua, Dominican Republic

This beautiful development offers private villas ranging from 2-5 bedrooms and starting just $199,900! With an amazing location just minutes from beautiful beaches, shopping, and restaurants and a number of luxury amenities, you’ll never run out of things to do! Property owners can play mini-golf, tennis, bocce ball, and shuffleboard. A waterpark, gym, and BBQ will be opening soon and a perimeter walking trail surrounds the development. Finally there is beautiful communal grounds and a waterfall for owners to enjoy!

11. British Virgin Islands

Surrounded by the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, this development is a visual representation of what “luxurious living” means. Experience the finest of private island living while staying at on of Oil Nut Bays exclusive luxury villas! The development has a number of amenities including a private staff, seaplane, helicopter, or boat, a kids hangout space with movies, video games, and arts & crafts along with much more!

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Why Buy in an International Real Estate Development?

International properties in general are an amazing buy. They offer rental investment opportunities. They’re about as superb a vacation home as you can get. Plus, there are often tax laws that make owning an international property both lucrative and more affordable than you might realize. 

But as you look through international listings, it can be difficult to find the right one, especially when you don’t know much about the culture or laws where you’re buying. There’s an easy solution: go with an international real estate development. These developments are one of the most solid options you can choose from.

What is an international real estate development?

International developments are often gated communities or apartment/condo complexes. They have security access and the properties (condos, apartments, or houses) are available for purchase.

Why buy in an international real estate development?


As mentioned, these developments are usually gated, often with 24-hr security access. This can serve as a relief to homeowners who feel some unease from living in a foreign country. It can be intimidating when you’re new to language and customs. Wanting to feel secure — especially when out of your comfort zone — is natural.


International developments often have tons of amenities onsite, and we’re not just talking about the pool. Amenities may include (but are not limited to):

  • Stores
  • A bank
  • Pharmacy
  • Workout facility

These conveniences makes many of your vacation plans easier (which is exactly what we all want when on vacation). If you want to rent out this property, it makes your place all the more enticing.


One of the biggest amenities is being surrounded by concierge and staff from the area. Whether you need a doctor, are hoping to buy a car, or even just want the deets on the best restaurants in town, they’ve got you covered. 


If you want a vacation home where English is widely spoken, an international real estate development is practically a must. Most of these developments have English-speaking staff. Plus, US dollars are generally accepted and homes are more in the style of US/Canadian homes. International developments offer a lot of the “home away from home” vibes that many property owners are looking for.

Pay Structure

A lot of times, foreigners can buy from an international real estate development by paying in chunks. It’s not always easy to get a mortgage when buying abroad, but developments make it easier.

More Opportunity

Certain countries don’t allow foreigners to buy or own land whatsoever. Or, there are limitations in place (such as buying a foreign home from another foreign seller). Developments open up buying opportunities for foreigners in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

We’d all love to sip mojitos poolside in a beautiful destination abroad but arguably, we’d love it even more if it was a home away from home. Whether you’re ready to find your dream vacation home, are looking for a new rental property investment or just want to dream a little, look through the RealtyHive international listings for some incredible international real estate developments!

What’s the Difference Between a Lease & Leasehold Property?

The United States loves to pride itself on freedom, and owning property is no exception. Nearly every property in the US is a freehold property, in which you own a place or land, free and clear.

But in many other places around the world, leasehold properties are more common. It’s important to know the distinction between freehold vs. leasehold, as well as leasing vs. leasehold, especially if you ever want to buy property abroad.

What is a leasehold property?

A leasehold property is where you lease, or, rent, the property, but don’t own it. In some countries, leasehold properties are common, if not the exclusive way to live in a house. In Vietnam, for example, no resident can own a house outright.

In many other countries, residents can own freehold properties but foreigners cannot.

How is a leasehold property different from a lease?

Even though we don’t call them “leasehold properties,” we still have leases in the US, right? Aren’t they the same thing?

Duration of Lease

One of the biggest differences with a leasehold property and a traditional lease that we think of here in the states is the length of the lease. The concept of leasing is the same, but leasehold titles last for much longer — anywhere from 25 to 99 years — whereas leases are for 6 months, a year, month-by-month, etc. 

Corporate vs. Residential

The US almost exclusively deals with freehold properties, but not always with commercial properties. Foundations, companies, and nonprofits will allow for leasehold properties — but again, even in this instance we still refer to this as a lease.

“Lease” vs. Title

Leasehold properties still provide residents with a title to prove “ownership.” As most of us who have ever rented know, tenants sign and get a copy of the lease, but it’s all temporary. There are also restrictions that renters often have to deal with that leasehold property “owners” don’t. Painting the walls, hanging certain things up, and smoking in the property are just a few examples.

Is a leasehold property my only option for owning internationally?

Not necessarily. If you’re hellbent on owning a freehold property, there are two ways to make this happen:

  1. Find a country where foreigners are allowed to own property (Belize is one of the most popular countries where US residents buy).
  2. Own a condo or apartment. This works in some instances because you’re not technically owning the land.

Keep in mind, however, that other countries’ rules and customs should be respected, not treated as something that you’re exempt from. If you think another country’s way of doing things is “wrong” or “backwards,” you probably shouldn’t be buying there.

Now comes the fun part: finding an international property! RealtyHive has a mix of freehold and leasehold properties around the globe. Look through our listings and find your ideal vacation abode, rental, or home away from home.

14 Delicious Recipes for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is a religious holiday that celebrates the last day before Lent. Also called Fat Tuesday, it’s a time for giant celebrations, age-old traditions and of course, delicious dishes! Mardi Gras isn’t just popular in the states though, people all around the globe celebrate Fat Tuesday by frying up sweet and savory pastries. From New Orleans classics like kings cake or etouffee, to international delectables like German fasnacht or Swedish semlor, make this Mardi Gras the best one yet with these 14 scrumptious Fat Tuesday recipes:

Cajun Jambalaya

If you haven’t ever had the chance to try Jambalaya before, you are sorely missing out! Jambalaya is a Louisiana original dish with European and West African influences. It’s mostly made of meat and vegetables, and it’s a Mardi Gras-must. The Cajun seasoning gives it that extra kick that makes it so flavorful. Bonus: It’s super easy to make!

Shrimp Etouffee

Etouffee is another classic Mardi Gras dish that comes from New Orleans. Originally, etouffee comes from Cajun and Creole recipes, but now the dish is known all over the world! You can’t have Mardi Gras without etouffee, and this delicious shrimp etouffee recipe is the perfect way to celebrate it!


Gumbo is a token symbol of the city of New Orleans. In fact, it’s actually Louisiana’s state cuisine! There are probably 1000 different ways you can make gumbo – chicken, shrimp, sausage, vegetables – try this recipe for instant pot gumbo that’s bursting with flavor!

Dirty Rice and Shrimp

A truly authentic Louisiana cuisine, dirty rice gets the name “dirty” from all of the delicious ingredients that it’s cooked with. Chicken, beef, vegetables, spices and seasonings all add to the delicious flavor. Try this recipe for dirty rice with shrimp!

Red Rice and Beans

Not that great at cooking? Don’t want to spend hours on one dish? Try cooking red beans and rice! Red beans and rice is another delicious Mardi Gras dish that comes from Louisiana, but it’s super easy to make and takes no time at all!

Kings Cake

If there’s one pastry you’re gonna try for Mardi Gras, let it be Kings cake. Kings cake isn’t just a dessert, it’s a tradition that people all over the world celebrate! Not only is it absolutely delicious, but it also brings families together to celebrate. Plus, it has a super interesting story behind it!


Mardi Gras originally started as an excuse to eat as much sugary, sticky, fried food as possible before the season of Lent. What’s a better food for Mardi Gras than beignets? In New Orleans these light, fluffy delicacies are served for breakfast, dessert, or even just a quick snack! You can make beignets right at home with this easy recipe!

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Get your beignet on. #regram @yamarilet

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Bread Pudding

While bread pudding is served all over the world, in the states, particularly in Louisiana, it’s especially sweet! The sugary sprinkles and the sweet sauce topping make it the perfect dessert for Mardi Gras!

Milk Punch

Milk punch, coming from the saying “milk with a punch” is a classic New Orleans cocktail. The city of New Orleans may not have invented milk punch, but they definitely perfected it! The brandy and bourbon mixed with the sugar and nutmeg make it the perfect beverage for the Mardi Gras season!


Also known as Polish donuts, Paczki has been a part of Polish cuisine since the middle ages, and since then they’ve become a huge part of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday meals. In fact, they even have their own holiday, known as Paczki Day, for people to make and enjoy paczki before Lent. They come in a bunch of different flavors, and you can make your own here.

Swedish Semlor

In Sweden, Semlor are a delicious Fat Tuesday tradition that goes back ages. Semlor are sweet rolls that are topped with whipping cream and powdered sugar, perfect for a Fat Tuesday celebration!

Italian Bowties

Cioffe, frappe, angel wings, there are probably 1000 different words for the same thing: these light, fluffy Italian pastries. Italian bowties are pastries made for Carnevale, which is the celebration of Mardi Gras in Italy. These heavenly pastries would make the perfect recipe for a Mardi Gras celebration!


Want to try a German recipe? Try fasnachts! Fasnachts are traditional German pastries that are usually served during Mardi Gras (or Fasching, in Germany). They’re similar to donuts, but much tastier!

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Ab und zu gewähre ich einen Einblick in das Rezeptebuch meines Grosssvaters der Bäcker-Konditor gelernt hatte. Dies z.Bsp. auch bei diesem traditionellen Fasnachstgebäck den Fasnachtschüechli. Das Rezptebuch hat er zu seiner Gesellprüfung geschrieben und ich bin mächtig stolz darauf es geerbt zu haben. Wer hat auch schon mal selbst Fasnachtschüechli gemacht? Ist gar keine Hexerei! Versprochen! Den Rezeptlink findet ihr in der Bio. #rezept #tradition #traditionellesrezept #fasnachtschüechli #chiechli #chneublätz #schweizergebäck #fasnacht #rezepte #rezeptefürjedentag #rezeptideen #rezeptebuch #altesrezept #backen #backenmachtglücklich #backenistliebe #backenmitliebe #foodblogliebe #opa #teamsälbermache #daweissichwasdrinist #delicious #eifachfein

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You can’t talk about Mardi Gras recipes without mentioning pancakes! Pancakes are the original traditional Fat Tuesday pastries. In some parts, Mardi Gras is actually called pancake day! You can celebrate by frying up your own hot cakes, or you can use this Fat Tuesday Pancake Recipe!

Home Buying Tips for New U.S. Citizens

The home buying process is often daunting for many people, but for those who are new U.S. citizens, the task can be particularly difficult. However, having a house to oneself is a dream for many immigrants, and there are options available that can help make the process easier to navigate. 

In order to help get your footing on the home buying process as a new U.S. citizen, here are a few tips and resources you can utilize to make your journey as easy as possible.

Save Early

While there are first-time homeowners loans available that immigrants should certainly take advantage of, these loans still require a down payment of 3.5%. Therefore, saving money in advance is imperative to the process. 

Signing up for a bank account in the United States as a new citizen can be difficult, especially due to the potential lack of a U.S. credit score. However, there are now online banks that don’t require credit checks to sign up, allowing you to have a safe place to save your money during your home buying process.

Build Credit

As mentioned previously, credit scores play a major role in the home buying process; your credit history will impact the interest rates and loan amounts you have access to. This applies to most mortgage services, aside from a few agencies that perform underwriting for home buyers and don’t take credit score into account when applying.

However, there are options available for new citizens looking to build their credit. One option would be to use your international credit report to get credit in the United States. This means that you won’t need to spend time signing up for credit cards and building credit, if you have a solid credit score from your previous nation of residence.

Find Community Support

Remember that the home buying process isn’t something that you need to take on all by yourself. Through the support of your friends, family, and other members of your local community, you can find a great network of people who have been through the home buying process themselves. Many of them would be more than willing to provide insights and advice on how to navigate it in the best, most cost-effective way. 

Finally, look for real estate agents that have experience working with new citizens, as they can often point you in the direction of the best resources for you to utilize while searching for a home. They will also be more understanding of your current situation, and give you the time and advice you need, to avoid rushing into the process and overspending, or settling on a home you don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, being a homeowner is a wonderful experience, and the day you finally sign the final deal will be incredibly rewarding.

Relatable articles: Why “We Buy Houses for Cash” is a Bad Idea

How to Market Your International Property

What do cooking, painting, decorating, outfit planning, and real estate marketing all have in common? They all are proof that the devil is in the details. 

While we could talk about the details of accessorizing outfits or line movement in art, we’ll stick to what we know best. Because while marketing an international property might seem the same as marketing a domestic one, you’re about to find out how the details make these two selling situations drastically different.

Detail #1: Vernacular is very important.

Thinking of buying a house and renting out bedsits? Do you need a letting agent or a barrister to do so?

While bedsits (single-occupancy rooms) and barristers (lawyers) are U.K. English words, it goes to show that language differs a lot — even across English-speaking countries. For this reason, it’s essential to know the lingo that your international buying audience uses and searches for.

Here are some tips to ensure your listing is linguistically accurate:

  • Measuring units: Convert to metric or imperial measurements when necessary (or consider using both if your buying audience is also international).
  • Use outside resources: Find websites with real estate glossaries specific to a region or talk to someone local who has great insight.
  • Keep it simple: Sometimes it still makes sense to list in English even if your buying audience doesn’t speak American English. If that’s the case, avoid lengthy and descriptive text — a text is considered difficult to read even when a person understands 98% of the words. When potential buyers can’t understand what you’re writing, they’re much more likely to give up on your listing.

Detail #2: Pictures are priceless.

Most of the time, international properties are not sold to locals but to buyers living outside of the region or country. When traveling takes hours or even days, you need knockout, professional photos that show buyers this property is worth the trip. 

With that in mind, honesty is crucial. If your property is further from the beach but your listing makes it seem closer, you’ll turn off potential buyers. Make sure photos accurately depict your property so that potential buyers know what to expect when they visit.

Detail #3: Amp up amenities.

This Dubai condo certainly has some brag-worthy amenities.

This detail is definitely a real estate marketing tip that transcends borders. Everyone wants to know what your property has to offer! Is your house walking distance to downtown? Does it come with a pool? Are the views sensational? Is the bathroom newly remodeled with a to-die-for shower? Every property has its own unique benefits — use photos and your listing to make these benefits both enticing and clear.

You might want to downplay the less-than-stellar aspects of your property (HOA fees, anyone?) but being upfront is essential. If a potential buyer feels like something is sprung on them, they’ll most likely back out. Honesty is always the best policy.

Detail #4: Web presence is powerful.

While very rare, it is possible to get away with a newspaper ad or sign out front for a domestic real estate listing. However, we can’t emphasize enough that a web listing is virtually necessary for marketing your property. This becomes even more true with international real estate marketing — you will likely never sell an international property without an online listing.

But this is where it gets tricky. Since sites like Zillow don’t list internationally, how can you get your overseas property out there? 

RealtyHive is the answer. We offer marketing and international listings to get your property the attention it needs. And since we always list international properties, we have the marketing skills you’re looking for. Sell with RH today!

How to Buy International Real Estate

A beautiful Bahamian bungalow or a Spanish seaside condo? An apartment in Toronto or a modern house in Ecuador? 

Once you find the international property you want, you’ll know. But then what?

Countries Where Americans Can’t Buy Real Estate

Vietnam is the only country where you flat-out cannot buy a property. This is because all land is owned collectively — even native Vietnamese citizens cannot own property.

However, there are a few countries where, while not impossible, it’s pretty tricky for a US citizen to buy real estate overseas.

  • Greece: A bit easier if you’re part of the EU, not so much if you’re an American. The birthplace of Rome has tons of zoning restrictions due to its archaeological history. Mortgages in Greek are also notoriously hard to come by.
  • Thailand: The only way a foreigner can own land in Thailand is if they form a corporation, which requires 51% ownership from Thai nationals.
  • Mexico: Probably the least tricky of the four, but purchased land must be in an unrestricted zone.

Best Countries for Buying International Real Estate

There are a lot, but Belize is pretty popular for US citizens. It’s a gorgeous country with phenomenal beaches and marine life, it’s not too far from the states (less than 2½ hours flying from Houston, direct!), and it’s an English-speaking country.

Paying for International Real Estate

Nearly always, you’ll need enough money to buy the property outright (or enough to almost buy it outright). Financing is typically challenging or met with insanely high-interest rates.

What to Look for in a Foreign Property

Just like buying in the US, you want a property in good condition and in a solid location (or at least, a location that meets your needs). 

However, you also want to make sure you’re buying a freehold property (a property that you own entirely and that you have rights to use as you please, as long as it’s in accordance with the law).

Buying a freehold property isn’t always possible, and that doesn’t have to spell impending doom. Just know what you’re getting into and understand the limits in place for a property that’s not freehold.

Who to Hire When Buying Foreign Property

Here’s who to assemble when buying property overseas:

  • Local lawyer: Someone local to the area where you’re buying.
  • US accountant: Someone who specifically has experience in international real estate (if they have experience with your country of preference, even better).
  • Local real estate agent: Use RealtyHive to find an agent — we can find an experienced agent in practically any location.

What to Use Foreign Property for

Most often, people use foreign properties for vacation or rental purposes. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t relocate to a new destination — we applaud your adventurous spirit!

Some people even purchase land abroad solely for protective purposes. If buying near a coral reef or forest, you could speak to the local authorities about conservation efforts. Whenever we have the means to help the environment, we should do what we can.

Beginning to look for international real estate? Check our overseas listings! Ready to make a purchase? Let us help you find an agent! Get started on buying property overseas today with RealtyHive.