international real estate musings

Monday 28 July, 2008

I caught this article by Lew Sichelman in the Tribune Buying abroad is picking up a US accent After acknowledging that currency-rich foreign buyers are buying up American real estate, he jumps into how Americans are buying abroad. The assumption is this is focused on residential real estate-foreigners have been buying into commercial-industrial real estate for many years. I’m disappointed there wasn’t more detail on who’s buying what & where. I question “No one knows who is buying what or how much.” I would bet someone @ the National Assn. of Realtors or consultant has a pretty good idea.

I attended a conference on Latin American residential real estate opportunities earlier this year Latin American Investment summit. I’ve also had a friend or 2 look into investing in property in Latin America & backed off after looking at the potential risks. I actually earned my realtor’s license in the mid-1990’s in the delusional hope of getting involved in real estate in the then-reunifying Germany. I never earned anything from it, but it was a valuable learning experience. I got to know another guy who worked in it more seriously, & he learned how much of an insider it helps to be to do these kinds of deals. Fiabci-the international real estate federation was a big help. I even worked for a short time for Deutsche Bank, which is providing financing for cross-border deals. I do find it interesting that Deutsche Bank is triangulating the process-a German bank Americanizing the lending process in Latin America. Just because Deutsche Bank is promoting this doesn’t mean there isn’t any risk. These deals are still governed by local laws administered/enforced by local officials, so someone will get burned. It’s just a matter of when & how badly.


One comment

  1. As the author of the article in question, I would like to point out that not even the National Association of Realtors has any clue as to who is buying what or where overseas. No one keeps tabs on this. No one. And I don’t see how anyone can. All reports are purely anecdotal.

    As far as people getting burned when purchasing property overseas, the old adage holds true: buyer very much beware. My article was only about the fact that buying in foreign countries is becoming easier everyday. Not necessarily safer, but easier.

    Lew Sichelman
    Syndicated Housing Columnist

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