Newly Arriving Expats: Should They Buy a Home in Colombia?

Hi Everyone.- My husband and I are working on long-term planning to buy a home in Colombia and move there permanently over the next several years. He is from Colombia. I speak an intermediate level of Spanish. We would like to buy a home and have the freedom to travel back and forth to the U.S. I am hoping to launch my own business so I can work remotely while in Colombia. Right now we are figuring out some of the financial matters, such as what we may need for savings and where to purchase a home. Would love to hear other people's experiences. We are interested in Medellin.

Top reasons why NOT to buy a home upon moving to Colombia...

1.  Many Expats discover that the first neighborhood they choose -- sometimes the first country they choose -- is not ideal for them longterm. Buying at the outset can make it difficult or expensive to move, especially when it is not a seller's market.

2.  Nobody knows how long the covid era will last.  For snowbirds and part-time Expats, this blind spot can create a problem getting back and forth between their home country and Colombia when the authorities restrict travel.  The current ban on passenger flights to and from Colombia has been in place since March.  It is expected to end on September 1st, but who knows....

3.  Practically any type of housing you would buy in Colombia can be rented with a lower level of commitment.

4.  If you have a landlord, he or she is likely responsible for repairs and damage, for instance after a flooding incident.  Expat homeowners often face a language barrier to success in navigating the world of Spanish-speaking handyman types, flooring installers, heating/cooling companies, etc.  This may or may not apply in Ryan's case due to the Colombian husband.

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My thanks go out to the Home Office in the Mascarene Islands for moving this discussion from the members-intro thread to this new thread.

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[at]cccmedia "Practically any type of housing you would buy in Colombia can be rented with a lower level of commitment."
More great advice. Move slow and check things out thoroughly before committing. Less risks and disasters that way.

There is one more fact of Colombian law to consider before buying a home in Colombia. As a spouse owning a home, you do not have the right of a Will regarding how that property is dispersed. Colombian law dictates that upon the death of your spouse it is her family, NOT YOU, that inherits his or her share. Period. End of story. You end up with only 25% of the real estates value that you can play with unhindered..
That goes for all your assets in Colombia. Surprise surprise.
Spend some time studying the Colombia "forced heir" system before making a commitment.

It is always a good idea to rent for a time. That gives you an opportunity to explore neighborhoods and gain an understanding of the values of real estate. Investment in Colombia is usually good depending upon the area where you purchase. Don't listen to real estate agents that will tell you that the peso is only worth 2,000/dollar so as soon as you buy, you have built-in equity. They say that to encourage you to buy immediately. They've been saying that for years and someday they may be right or not.

I would recommend buying but only after due diligence. Of course, there will be those here that will call me an idiot so in the end, you have to make your own educated decision.

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