To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad

When you move to another country, there can be one of two ways of doing so. It is that you are moving with a company (employment relocation) or that you are doing it yourself, on your own, or with your family (such as retirement).

In the case of employment relocation, more often than not, your traveling and moving, expenses are covered by the company and your lodging is acquired by them as well. So it is not a concern for you. But when making the move on your own, to buy or to rent deserves your full attention.

It is a very good idea to visit the country you have chosen at least twice before moving. The first time, go for fun; explore and look at everything, talk to people, discover as much as you can. If you are not sure of the area you would like to settle in, then you rent. But if you know exactly what you want and where, research both rentals and real estate. Thanks to the internet, research is quite easy, although it is time consuming. There are many online resources such as:

~ Forums geared to specific countries, or ‘expat’ forums where all countries are discussed. There are many out there but not all are good. When entering a forum, look for the stats, which will tell you the number of members, visitors etc. Next find out if the forum is active (lots of posters and daily interactions) by reading through the threads menu and specific threads.

~ Real estate and rental websites (hundreds, if not thousands, to browse through!)

~ Government website to look up ownership, immigration and other laws

~ Blogs (like this one) from people living abroad, or who have lived abroad, and share their experiences. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to use the ‘comment’ field. Bloggers love corresponding with their readers!

~ Tourist/vacation related websites have lots of info about the country in general.

Before you buy, here are some things you need to know, or be able to answer:

► Real estate market. What kind of prices am I looking at.
► Laws (different countries mean different laws)
► Expat ownership laws (which in some countries may vary from laws that apply to locals)
► Purchasing procedures, requirements and time frame. What are the extra fees beyond and above the property price itself.
► Do I use a realtor, a real estate broker, an attorney… It is very important to find someone you can trust with your transaction and money. Ask for references.
► Political and economical state of the country. Semi to long term investment value.
► Will I have clear title of my property?
► Am I allowed to remain in the country for as long as I own? What are the immigration laws and different programs for expats?

Once you are familiar with those points, it is then time for your second visit to meet with the contacts you have made during your research and view the properties that have peeked your interest. You can then safely make your purchase and feel confident about it.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
8 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
9 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
10 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
11 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
12 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
13 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
14 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
15 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2

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The Invasion Of The Flood Flies

At the first rain, following a drought, the flood flies invade! Those ‘flood flies’, which look a lot like ants, are ‘winged termites’. They are about ½” to 1” long and have 2 sets of wings.

This is a phenomenon that occurs a few times a year. This year it happened on May 29th, when tropical storm Arthur brought a deluge on Belize. The last time it rained here at Barton Creek was on March 5th. Everything, including the jungle, was very dry, dry enough that a lot of wildlife were lower in the mountains, nearer the creek.

On that day, the rain started in the early afternoon, and it came down hard! But it felt so good as you could feel the dust being washed off everything such as the trees, the rocks, the truck, the house… it smelled so clean. But, in the early evening, at dusk, the little pests arrived!

Here’s a very good video by Calvary Chapel Murrieta. After clicking on the link, then click on ‘flood flies’.

Since we had already experienced this invasion, we were aware and got ready for it. We made sure all screens were tightly in place and used masking tape around the windows’ handles where there are small gaps. We also closed the door early. But even with all that, those annoying bugs still found their way in. Within minutes we had a few hundreds in the house, but it was very minimal compare to what you can have if not prepared. They fly around lights and people, bump into you, crawl on your skin and are extremely irritating. Fortunately, they do not bite or sting! After just a few hours, they drop their wings, and start crawling all over the place…

CRAWLING ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER AFTER IT’S LOST ITS WINGS

… on the floors, furniture, ceiling fans, just about everywhere. The next day, all are dead, and it is then cleaning time! That is also quite exasperating as those wings are very small and light and therefore a nightmare to sweep.

HUNDREDS (THOUSANDS?) OF LITTLE WINGS EVERYWHERE!

But the best is that our water tanks are now full with the best water source when living off-grid. And the worst on this occasion is that some parts of Belize got hurt really bad and are still in the process of cleaning and rebuilding.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
5 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
6 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
7 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
8 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But… Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panels Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2

Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access

This blog can be written in only 6 words; Go see Harry in Spanish Lookout!

Ok, maybe I can elaborate a bit more on this internet access!

There are not too many installers in Belize, or in any other undeveloped 3rd world countries! So your first step is to locate them and find out what brand, system, equipment and provider they carry. They might only carry one, so your choice will probably have been made for you! Our choices were between different sizes of Hughes satellite dish and modems. As technology improves so rapidly we went for the latest model which was the HN7000S modem with a .94m dish.

The installation of the dish is most important. It is attach to the roof so it has to be done professionally. Once installed, it must be precisely aligned and secured to the proper satellite. We had Harry and his brother do it all. Both of them on the roof, one at the dish and the other one sitting down with his laptop. In no time they had homed in to the satellite and secured the dish. That was in November 2006 and we’ve never had any major problems since. When the rain is really intense you may lose connections, but it is for a short amount of time and very rare.

The speed is totally acceptable. There are 2 type of speeds; Download (to receive data) and Upload (to send data). Here are some speed comparisons:

Dial Up: Download – 40 Kbps to 48 Kbps / Upload – 36 Kbps
Cable: Download – 4 Mbps to 15 Mbps / Upload – 384 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps
DSL: Download – 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps / Upload – 128 Kbps to 768 Kbps
Satellite: Download – 512 Kbps to 1 Mbps / Upload – 128 Kbps to 256 Kbps

Through our provider, Hughes.net in the USA, we subscribe to the middle package which gives us a speed of : Download – 800 Kbps to 1 Mbps / Upload – 200 Kbps to 256 Kbps.

This speed is sufficient for our usage requirements. At most and at the same time, we had 4 computers working on the internet with one connected to Skype making phone calls to the USA and getting a clear connection. The connection through Skype is not always clear, but Skype to Skype calls are usually far better. Skype to land line or cell phone sometimes has delays and tends to break up or off. But overall, it is acceptable enough when chatting with friends and family. To conduct business it is not the best. But for the fact of being in the middle of the jungle and being able to phone home is quite amazing and fun!

And prices for both connection and call rates through a VOIP provider is much cheaper than the local phone company, and more often than not, more reliable.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging
4 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
5 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
6 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
7 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2

 

Building Off-Grid In The Jungle, Fun But Challenging!

First thing first… you have to be there. Attempting to build while out of the country is a BAD idea, unless you have a really good trustworthy manager on site.

Some decisions you will have to make before starting your homework are very important: will I build concrete or wood? What size and type of building do I want? The other million things I will need (hardware, furnishings, etc). Being off-grid, what type of commodities do I want (pressured water or gravity, hot water, electricity…)

Building contractors don’t always provide proper outsourcing for specifics like plumbing, electrical, painters/coaters, inside finishing such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Many do, but you have to be on top of everything, as anyone can call themselves plumber or electrician because no license is required in those fields. But did you know that to be a tour guide you must be licensed!!! There are good chances that you will end up having to find those labors yourself in the end.

We went for wood buildings on cement posts. I recommend cement over wood posts (sturdier and longer lasting). The hardwoods of Belize are amazing. I never thought I would need to pre-drill a hole to pound a nail… plus I have never gone through so many drill bits in my life! The entire 1,500 sq. ft. floor is thong & groove Cabbage Bark. The walls and ceiling are a mix of Santa Maria, Red Wood, Mahogany, Ceba, and many others.

The homework for this one is a bit tougher as communication can be an issue. Many contractors have ‘mini’ websites with some information. Email works well with many of them, but you have to be ready to get on the phone or better yet, go down for a visit!

You also have to build in the right season. During rainy season, construction often comes to a halt due to some serious downpours that can last a month. So obviously the dry season is the time to do it. That season is from November to May.

There a 2 ways to do the hot water; solar or butane. We have an on-demand butane water heater (very standard in Europe) and it works great. Those little heaters ignite when you turn on the tap by the pressure tripping the flint. All you need is a D battery for the igniter.

Do your homework on butane. For your own safety, you might want to do your butane line yourself. Once you know how to flange an end correctly, it is relatively simple. Butane is important as it will also fuel your stove, fridge, and a clothes dryer if you chose to have one. What we have found out is that those butane appliances are easy to install and they are reliable… the fridge can be a little finicky until you figure out how it reacts to the weather and temperature changes.

TropiCat

Other Posts:

1 ~ Living Comfortably In The Jungle Of Central America!
2 ~ Producing And Storing Your Own Electricity, You Have The Power To!
3 ~ Easy Broadband Satellite Internet Access
4 ~ Water Supply Considerations, Off-Grid In The Jungle
5 ~ The Domestic Cats’ Life In The Jungle
6 ~ The Belize Mennonite’s Lifestyle
7 ~ How To Live As An Expat In A Foreign Country
8 ~ The Invasion Of The Flood Flies
9 ~ Living in Paradise! But, Where Is It?
10 ~ Solar Panel Placement & Sun Chart Creator
11 ~ Health Issues When Living Abroad
12 ~ Telecommunication Challenges In A 3rd World Country
13 ~ Fleas & Ticks In The Jungle
14 ~ The Dangers Of The Black Poisonwood Tree
15 ~ To Buy Or To Rent When Moving Abroad
16 ~ Home Schooling When Living Abroad
17 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 1 of 2
18 ~ Tips & Hints On Things To Watch Out For During Construction – Part 2