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Brainstorming about buying a flat somewhere in Europe...

Brainstorming about buying a flat somewhere in Europe...

Old Dec 16th, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Brainstorming about buying a flat somewhere in Europe...

Okay I know, very broad question, but at this point it's just a thought. And I can't watch House Hunters International from where I am so I need help!

Let's just say, "hypothetically," that one has approx 125,000 euro, give or take, to purchase a small, modest apartment in western or central Europe. The idea would be to live there part time and rent it out, probably to tourists when possible.

Some considerations are: needs to be in a walkable city/town (not looking for small remote village) where no car is necessary to either get there or get around; a city with character/historic appeal, needs to be in a location where tourists would want to rent, should be in a city convenient to an airport, must be in a regular neighborhood, not a holiday complex. Oh, and needs to be in a country where US citizens can purchase property!

Has anyone here done such house hunting during your travels, or remember such an episode on House Hunters? Is this price range/wish list anywhere near reality? Thanks for any opinions!
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 11:24 PM
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Hi Nutella,

I bought my apartment in Garmisch in 2010. I live here full time, but there are many, many people who buy vacation apartments.

I think 125,000 euro is pretty low. I would get as close to 200,000 as possible, or else others might not see it as attractive enough/big enough to rent.

Here's a link to a German real estate site that lists virtually everything on the market (only in German though). You can see what's selling for how much in specific towns:

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/de/f...kauf/index.jsp

Have fun!

s
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 11:27 PM
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Ok, here are some specific examples of what you can buy in Garmisch for 125,000 euro:

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expo...-Partenkirchen

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expo...-Partenkirchen

s
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Old Dec 16th, 2011, 11:30 PM
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oooh, this one is really pretty (but note that it's only 33 sq meters).

http://www.immobilienscout24.de/expo...-Partenkirchen

s
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 12:02 AM
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Here's a practical website in spanish www.idealista.com .

you want "venta" not "Alquiler".
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 12:14 AM
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There is a website where you can easily browse property abroad

[email protected]

I have to admit to spending some time on it.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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internationalliving.com escapeartist.com 2 best sites for me.
Locarno in Switzerland will isolate you from the endless
downward spiral that is the rest of Europe.Switzerland has been the fortress country of Europe for Millenia the only place I would remotely consider a real estate investment in currently.Honestly in this economy would give it a pass.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 04:46 AM
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Unfortunately, Switzerland has lots of restrictions on foreigners buying property. You can only buy specific properties that are approved "for foreigners," and you have to get permission from the Canton.

s
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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As a long-time property owner in France, my advice would be to buy something in a place you know well and where you speak the language really well. If you don't, you will pay through the nose to deal with plumbers, electricians, masons, etc. who do, or to work through an intermediary. If you don't know the area intimately, you really can't function as a landlady. So that's just for starters. Also consider being a distant landlady - not so easy (particularly so if you're not fluent in the language and can't call your electrician to tell him you've got renters and the pilot light oon the furnace is out and he needs to get over there urgently).

I think Switzerland is probably the only country to place restrictions on foreign buyers. Most other countries are more than happy to take your money.

As I'm in the process of getting my French home ready to sell and planning to buy a smaller place in another area of France, I'm pretty familiar with price ranges in different areas. You could find a place within your budget in France, but it would likely be a studio and maybe too small to be easily rentable. Alternatively, you could easily find a place for that price in a more remote area, but it doesn't sound like that's what you want. I'm not familiar with pricing in countries other than France as I haven't been looking.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:34 AM
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Does property ownership in these countries help you get residency visas?
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:55 AM
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Hi Nut,

Since you are planning on staying in the flat, I suggest that you find a region where you would like to live for some months each year and then see how small and modest an apt you can buy for 125kE.

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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:56 AM
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PS
Good luck
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for all the input so far, good discussion!

St Circ you make a good point about language. I guess I have a short memory - now I'm recalling that it was quite a challenge to deal with people who came to the door in Bombay only speaking Hindi. Or was it Marathi? I couldn't tell the difference lol.

I'm currently in Italy and do speak Italian, and this is my first choice. But I'm finding my dollar doesn't go very far here so was wondering about other options.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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<i>Does property ownership in these countries help you get residency visas?</i>

Usually, it doesn't. You have to qualify for a long-stay visa in some other way, like marriage to an EEA citizen, work permit or sufficient non-earned income (your rental income will in most cases be disregarded). But in most of Europe, being in Schengen, you can stay for 90 days and leave, and return after 90 days etc and you can repeat the pattern indefinitely.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 08:50 AM
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Does property ownership in these countries help you get residency visas?

Not in my experience, but I was already holding a European passport when I bought. I'll have to get some sort of residency permit I suppose when I move over there, though.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 08:52 AM
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Hi again,

Well . . . I have to disagree a bit with what StCirq says about paying through the nose.

Unfortunately, I don't speak German and didn't when I bought my apartment and had it renovated (new kitchen, new bathroom, paint, and new floors). Luckily, though, I had made some friends here, and they were immensely helpful in translating and even in helping me shop and bargain for resources.

Now, I'm not saying you should try to make friends just to take advantage of them (I'm still very close to the people who helped me initally). Making good friends locally will help you learn the language and help you feel at home (which you probably already know from living in Italy). But you may find lots of resources available that you don't yet know about and won't know about until you make the plunge.

I say, do it. You'll find a way to make it work.

Oh, and no scrb11, owning property doesn't help me with my residency visa.

s
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 09:55 AM
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Well, first of all, I'm assuming that hold a passport tat allows you to live in europe. If not, you first challenge is qualifying for such a visa.

Also, some countries have very restrictive laws about foreign citizens owning property (don;t know all the details - but do know a colleague living/working in Switzerland found it almost impossible).

Third, I thin your budget is VERY small unless you are talking about a tiny apartment in a small town at the end of nowhere. If you look at the ones in Garmisch - not exactly a bustling metropolis - they range from tiny to minute.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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As far as size is concerned, when I had a nice sized (but not huge) one bedroom in NYC it was about 110 sq m. One of about 60 was considered about as small as a one bedroom could be.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 10:30 AM
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Thanks Swan for the words of encouragement!

NY, yes, I'm talking about a tiny apartment. That's all I need. I want to live in a place where the local piazza is my living room and coffee shop down the street is my breakfast nook
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 03:12 PM
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"<i>As far as size is concerned, when I had a nice sized (but not huge) one bedroom in NYC it was about 110 sq m. One of about 60 was considered about as small as a one bedroom could be.</i>"

That isn't very realistic in Europe.

110 sq meters is nearly 1200 sq ft which would be a huge 3 bdrm flat.

60 sq meters would be a large two bedroom apartment in most European cities.
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