Wednesday, August 15, 2012
“This place is ****”, the e-mail ran, “I hate it. How can you possibly say that it’s fabulous?”
We often get feedback from readers. But usually it’s not quite so blunt. I contacted the reader and asked him to be more specific. This was the first complaint we had received about this particular area. I wanted to know what was wrong.
The answer was an interesting one. Our reader admitted that the place was exactly as we had described it. The drive time from the airport…the amenities…the beaches…even the restaurants: We’d painted a very accurate picture.
The problem, our reader admitted, wasn’t the location. The problem was him and the location. They just didn’t fit. On paper, this place looked perfect for him. It ticked all the boxes. It didn’t only fulfill his must-haves. It even gave him some of his out-there wishes. It should have been his piece of paradise. But it felt – well, wrong. He couldn’t explain exactly what was wrong. But he knew this wasn’t the right place for him.
I know how our reader feels. I’m a city girl. I adore historic buildings. Uruguay is one of my favorite countries. I thought I’d love Ciudad Vieja (the historic district in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city). But when I first traveled to Uruguay, Ciudad Vieja didn’t appeal to me at all. It’s got everything I want – and more – in a second home location. But it’s just not me.
Instead, I found that I preferred the Centro neighborhood in Montevideo. It feels more downtown and bustling. It’s dotted with stylish buildings that date back to the 1920s and 1930s. Yet I’d never even considered Centro before I visited Uruguay.
And that highlights the importance of trying before you buy. Before you sign a sale contract or start wiring money for your dream home, check it out first. In person.
You can probably come up with a million and one reasons why you don’t need to see the property or the location for yourself. It’s got everything you’re looking for. Your best friend loves the area, so you will too. You’re too busy at work. It’s a waste of time and money.
But your initial scouting trip to a new area is worth its weight in gold. Even if it’s only for a few days it will give you a feel for the location. You’ll know almost immediately if it’s the right place for you – or not. If it isn’t, weigh up the cost of your scouting trip against the headache you’ve saved yourself by figuring that out before you buy.
All of the real estate agents we work with will help you plan your scouting trip. They’ll arrange a personalized itinerary of property viewings for you.
They’ll recommend restaurants, activities, sight-seeing and anything else you want to add in while you’re in-country.
Some of our real estate developers go one better. They subsidize some of the cost of your first visit. All you do is book your flight and turn up at the airport.
Our top two developer trips include four days in Costa Rica’s stunning Southern Zone for $299. That price includes transport, accommodation and all meals.
Or you can try out Mexico’s Riviera Maya for $180. That gets you four days all-inclusive accommodation in a five-star beach and golf resort.
Although these scouting trips are an important part of the due diligence you should do before buying overseas, they’re also a lot of fun. I know I enjoy myself any time I’ve taken one.
You should always try before you buy. And with Pathfinder chill weekends there’s no excuse not to.