Profitable Niches – Investing Internationally

Is investing offshore right for you?

International investing can be both exciting and daunting. In our fourth installment of the Profitable Niches series, we hope to demystify the process for investors looking to cross some borders.

Every investment has a risk … you just have to learn how to evaluate the risk and the reward so you can choose wisely.

In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ show you’ll hear from:

  • Your world-traveling host, Robert Helms
  • His petrified-of-planes co-host, Russell Gray
  • CEO of Mahogany Bay Village and international investor, Beth Clifford

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Expand your horizons with international investing

Our guest has made a name for herself in international investing.

The CEO of Mahogany Bay Village and a pro at international resort investing, Beth Clifford started expanding her own real estate business by moving into different states.

It wasn’t long before she got an itch to start looking outside the United States.

She’s a great example of someone who’s become a success by opening up her geographic horizons.

“It’s always convenient to live and invest in the same place, but real estate is about location,” Beth says. Investors have to look beyond what is outside their bedroom windows.

International investment also provides an opportunity to diversify and put your assets into different baskets.

Whether you’re an investor looking to expand beyond your state of residency or your country, Beth says the methodology is the same.

To invest smartly, you have to understand the market, laws, and culture of the place you’d like to invest in.

And just because there might be a learning curve doesn’t mean you should shy away from good opportunities.

Take what you’ve learned and expand it into another arena, whether that’s a new asset class in the same location or the same asset class in a new location.

Either way, you expand your world—and get the chance to become an expert all over again.

When you’ve learned one new market, it’s easier to get to know a second one, Beth notes.

And … “It’s all about teams,” she says. As someone who owns, invests, and develops in multiple countries, Beth has learned the value of a talented team.

Let’s talk about taxes

As soon as you cross a country border, you have to understand an entirely new tax system. That’s why Beth has separate development companies for properties inside and outside the U.S. … and why she enlists professional help when it comes to accounting.

Although taxes can be tricky, owning property and businesses outside of the United States can reap great tax benefits.

Despite that, some tax professionals still make a habit of creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt for investors who would like to make some money across country lines.

Beth recommends shopping around for an informed professional … because although the attorneys make it seem hard, there are really only three documents you need to complete each year.

She recommends professional assistance for at least your first two years, until you have a solid understanding of the basics.

One thing to be aware of? Currency arbitrage and exchange. If you’re unaware of currency issues, they could bite you. Make sure you understand whether you can easily exchange currency and whether the jurisdiction you’re investing in is neutral.

A relationship business

Real estate is a relationship business. And especially when investing beyond your familiar boundaries, building local relationships is key.

We asked Beth how to she expands her network across borders.

“I ask for help when I go into a market,” she says. Investors should have “an attitude of humility, not hubris.”

The first thing Beth does is look for the Class A players in a given market. Who are the top three law firms, employers, development companies?

Beth seeks out the movers and shakers … then picks their brains for advice.

“A players fly with A players,” she says. “It’s the rule.”

Networking doesn’t cost you money … and it gets you into the contact database of the best and brightest.

Once you’ve sought out the best, go in with the intention to learn. Ask these bright business people how they’ve obtained their success and where they see YOU going wrong or right.

The goal is to find team members who provide value to you … and are excited to do so.

And one business relationship can net literally millions of potential customers.

It’s all about leveraging yourself.

Is making connections any different in a foreign country? “People are the same everywhere,” says Beth.

Basic human connection is the key, no matter where you go. People want the same things … so connect on a common level.

Thinking about making the leap?

Wondering whether you’re cut out to be an international investor?

Beth recommends starting by test driving the market. Do a due diligence tour outside of the U.S. … like one of our discovery trips.

It’s a great way to get to know the area in which you might be investing, educate yourself on the culture and special considerations, get to know local movers and shakers … and have some fun.

Seeing how others put together international investments can be eye-opening, says Beth. Discovery trip attendees get a year of education … in four days.

So get there … and see what awaits you beyond the horizon.


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.

Finding Your Paradise Market and Property for Fun and Profit

Perhaps you’ve got a lot of investing under your belt and you’re looking for a picturesque place to retire. Maybe you’re interested in a second home or a vacation spot. Or you’re part of a new generation of nomads, working from exotic locations across the globe.

Whatever your situation, finding your paradise shouldn’t just be a far-off dream. In this episode of The Real Estate Guys™ episode we’ll discuss lifestyle investing … and why now may be the prime time to invest in your own personal paradise.

On the show today, we chat with an American ex-pat who now makes his life … and his living … on one of Belize’s beautiful Caribbean islands, Ambergris Caye.

You’ll hear from:

  • Your pro-paradise host, Robert Helms
  • His not-so-picturesque co-host, Russell Gray
  • The Paradise Guy, real estate pro William Narod

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Broadcasting since 1997 with over 300 episodes on iTunes!

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Making the leap from stateside to the Caribbean

William Narod spent 26 years selling real estate in the United States.

After all that time in one country, William got the diversification bug. He started doing research, then headed down to the Caribbean to scout out several different markets.

That’s where he met The Real Estate Guys™ … lucky for both us and him, William joined us on a field trip his very first day in Belize.

William wanted to find an investment opportunity outside the U.S. … and he ended up finding a new life as well.

Today, William lives with his wife and kids on Ambergris Caye.

But he didn’t make the move without a significant amount of research. Before he settled on Belize, William looked at the leading indicators … tourism numbers, prices and appreciation, and so on.

Like William, the very first step you should take when you’re considering making any sort of investment outside of your native country is getting educated.

Every country has different laws, protocols, and customs.

We certainly went through the ringer the first time we took our investments out of the country. It took a while to get our heads around ideas like land trusts.

The key to successfully educating yourself? Don’t get overwhelmed.

Instead of focusing on the HOW, figure out WHAT you want and WHY.

No one else can tell you what you want or why you want it … but once you know your goals, you can find someone who can help you out with the how.

Your scenario, your goals … they won’t be unique. And that’s a good thing! Because it means the issues you’re facing have been faced … and conquered … before.

A paradise that pays YOU

It’s important to note that William Narod didn’t move to Ambergris Caye to retire. He moved there to invest, work, and help other people invest … but he also moved there to have fun!

We want you to think further out than the immediate future. Imagine your life in 5, 10, even 20 or 30 years.

Are you saving right now to pay for a paradise when you retire? Why not flip that idea on its head and let your paradise pay YOU … right now!

Start by figuring out what you’re looking for. What activities and lifestyle options are most important to you? Where can you see yourself thriving?

In his real estate advising business, William Narod often sees two types of investors.

The first are the retirees … folks who headed to the islands to retire, only to discover they weren’t satisfied spending their days just scuba diving.

The great part about where William is located is business opportunities abound. “You almost need to put on blinders down here because there is so much opportunity,” he said.

So folks who moved down to Belize intending solely to enjoy their retirement days lazily strolling the beach often end up getting involved in local business and real estate.

The second type is people who’ve been in Belize for 24 hours and want to buy right away. For these folks … and any new investor, William recommends taking three key things into consideration:

  1. What your objectives are (i.e. what you want your investment to do for you)
  2. How you’ll use your investment (and for how long, with what time frames)
  3. How you want your property managed

Speaking of management, finding the right management solution is key, especially if you’ll be operating mainly offsite and need to be less hands-on.

Not in Belize? What you’re missing out on

Like many Caribbean destinations, Belize is a strong market with escalating prices. For people who want to retire there in 10 years, now may be the time to make a move before prices spiral out of control.

William told us that folks come for many different reasons. He gave us a run-down of some of Belize’s strengths, which include:

  • Warm sparkling water for scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
  • A location that’s very close to the United States (two hours from Miami)
  • A primarily English-speaking population
  • A large, welcoming, and very friendly American ex-pat community
  • Fantastic, affordable food
  • Potentially low cost of living
  • Excellent school systems
  • A very diverse culture with very little prejudice

Although Belizean culture can be quite different from fast-paced American lifestyles, William loved the slower-paced environment of Ambergris Caye from the beginning … enough to move his entire family there.

Today, his kids attend schools that William’s wife, a teacher, has given two thumbs up.

They play in the ocean, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing a few days a week. Other days they splash in the best pools on the island.

Every day is a play day … and even better, his kids get to grow up in a melting pot full of people from around the world, a place where everyone is treated as an equal.

A paradise within your reach

We chatted with William about some of the current development happening in Belize.

Despite its rising popularity, Belize hasn’t seen interest from big developers until recent years.

The new proactivity of these big brands is a strong indicator of the future of the area, William says. It indicates that interest is there … and is strong enough that bigger corporations see opportunities for growth.

Development outside the U.S. can sometimes spell disaster … irresponsible decisions that harm the local environment, for example, or cut-rate developers who can’t cut it in the States.

But in Belize, developers work with local communities to ensure responsible developments that fit with the environment.

Like William says, “There’s only so much opportunity you can turn a blind eye to.” The entrance of big names onto the scene spells out a short period where properties will be accessible to the little guys … before Belize gets too hot to handle.

If you build the right team and execute your vision strategically, your future in Belize is really bright, William says.

Belize sound like the place for you? Listen in for exclusive access to a report William Narod compiled just for our listeners.

Not sure if Belize is the place to go? Take a look anyway! The report offers great perspective about questions to ask and things to look for as a fledgling lifestyle investor.

And if all this talk of Belize has really piqued your interest, take a look at our discovery trips … educational events in a picturesque location that offer you the opportunity to check out everything Belize has to offer for yourself.

There are so many ways to be a real estate investor.

Investing shouldn’t just be about surviving … it should be finding ways to thrive!

Whether Belize appeals to you or not, we encourage you to ask yourself the questions: What do I really want real estate to do for me? What is my ultimate paradise?

Whatever your idea of paradise, we want you to think about whether it has to wait. Chances may be that paradise is within your reach … today!


More From The Real Estate Guys™…

The Real Estate Guys™ radio show and podcast provides real estate investing news, education, training and resources to help real estate investors succeed.