How to Make Money Even When You Don't Want To
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All we have ever wanted to do was to get away. We were not looking for ways to make extra cash. But despite this fact the money has rolled in again and again.
Great places bring opportunity and joy from life. London was a great place to be in the 1970s and I increased my investments eleven times in two years by buying property there then.
Switzerland in the 1980s brought my readers a real estate boom and then we really cleaned up buying Isle of Man property.
Naples, Florida was a great place to be in the 90s and we also invested in and took readers to look at land in the Dominican republic. Once again fortunes were made.
We increased our investment five times in property there.
More recently Ecuador in the last decade has offered it all-low prices, simplicity, every creature comfort. Property we bought is sky rocketing now. Business has been great.
Many of my best profits have come from distortions in property prices. This point is important now because distortions in Ecuador have come together to create some excellent opportunity. See why below!
Earlier in 1970 I had also lived in London, England for a year, then moved to Hong Kong. During that time I also maintained a home outside of San Francisco, California.
This was a time of great inflation. My homes in California and in Hong Kong appreciated greatly. In 1976, when I moved from Hong Kong back to London, I noticed that London real estate was priced about the same as it had been in 1970. This puzzled me. Why had London property prices remained flat despite inflation?
On investigation, I learned that there had been a huge real estate crash in 1970 which continued to dampen real estate prices six years later despite the rampant global inflation. I felt this was a great distortion as European property prices had risen, but London prices had not. Yet London offered the best utility as the center of the English speaking world. This, to my way of thinking, created a huge distortion.
Then the British pound collapsed from two dollars per pound to its lowest level ever (a pound per dollar for a short time) so the distortion widened. This meant in US dollar terms London property had dropped almost 50% while property in other major cities of the western world had increased in price by three or four times. I bought a house in West London paying 34,000 pounds, 9,000 pounds down (then $9,000) and took a mortgage for 25,000 pounds ($25,000).I lived in the house and three years later the pound had recovered to 2.2 dollars per pound plus London real estate had caught up with property in other major western centers. I sold the house for 115,000 pounds or $253,000 a profit of $244,000 on a $9,000 investment.
This was not the end of our British Property distortion experiences. About the same time I noticed that real estate prices in the tax haven Isle of Man seemed stupidly low. This island had a population of only 60,000 and yet 2,000 properties were for sale there! I took hundreds of investors and they bought beachfront property for as little as $12,000. Today the same properties sell for many hundreds of thousands!
Then we moved to Naples, Florida. There was just one traffic light in the whole town and not a whole lot more. We had to drive nearly an hour to reach any major store (such as Sam's Walmart or Office Depot etc.) and our nearest international airport was two hours away.
The maddening crowd rushed in and ruined the place (in our opinion). We were well rewarded for leaving. When we left, Naples had become a booming cosmopolitan city with the wealthiest income per capita in the U.S. We made a fortune (we are talking seven figures here). Again!
So we moved to Ashe County to get away from the crowds, hustle and bustle of life. Making money in real estate was far from our mind but now real estate prices are exploding here. We have already made money again which seems to be the story of our life. We move to a beautiful, quiet place to get away from the crowds and then the crowds follow. Recently a neighbor put a property smaller than ours (and without water) on the market for millions more than our investment. We have more acreage with better land and half a mile of bold rushing stream.
Perhaps our most important overseas property is 800 acres we bought in the Andes. This is a beautiful site with incredible views, five white horse tail waterfalls flick off black rock and spray over verdant forest scenery. Layer after layer of jagged mountains slide into a horizon where mists lay over valleys in a kaleidoscope of grey and green that pours into rushing streams below. I can hardly predict the profit potential.
This is why I have been zeroing in on Ecuador real estate. Several facts are exciting. The first is a USA Today analysis found that one in 7 Americans now live along the East and Gulf coasts. Beach economies often are growing fastest, as jobs and businesses follow this migration to the shore.
A new American migration, one that rivals the exodus from the Frostbelt to the Sunbelt a generation ago, is transforming the Atlantic and Gulf shorelines.
From the rock-strewn coast of Maine to the sandy barrier islands hugging Texas, an unprecedented influx of residents is converting laid-back, seasonal resort towns into year-round communities with burgeoning economies.
Sixty something retirees and aging baby boomers are all drawn by a simple, alluring premise: The weather, the recreation and the scenery.
This coastal migration is transforming seasonal resort towns that used to bustle for just a few summer months into sprawling, year-round communities. This has been the largest, richest migration in the history of mankind and the crowds along the U.S. coast create many severe social problems. Plus prices for such land has risen dramatically.
Second, there is a huge movement of people into warmer, sunny parts of the U.S. which places enormous strain on resources, water, air quality etc. Prices in these areas are rising as well.
Just 3 hours and 45 minutes from Miami (a little more from Houston), Ecuador is the only source of direct sunlight 365 days a year and has miles and miles of empty beaches on the Pacific coast and millions of acres of spring like weather in the Andes. Prices are a fraction of what one pays in the U.S.
Let me give some examples: I was offered three pieces of land by a real estate broker. One property was a beach front lot for $5,000 in a National Park that backs up to a fresh water river as it reaches the Pacific. A similar lot where I sold my last house in the U.S. (Naples Florida) would cost millions. This is a huge distortion!
The second property offered to me was a house on a beachfront property in a National Park for $15,000; 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, big balcony one complete bathroom. It's all made of wood and can be improved beautifully for around $1,500.
The third was a 2.2 acre beach front property in the village of Crucita for $55,000 that is adjacent to the house of the Vice-president of Ecuador and is zoned for development or residential.
These properties are gone but as you will see below there are still enormous bargains.
What makes this even more exciting is the fact that we can currently borrow weak yen at less than 2% per annum. This means that a $5,000property (such as the beach front lot above) can be purchased for as little as $8.33 a month.
Sound outrageous? It is! Yet my readers and I have been cashing in on such distortions for thirty years. Opportunity still exists and this is why we will conduct a special Ecuadorian real estate tours this February.
Here are details of the tours.
Old Quito Tour.
The first tour is free as part of our International Business Made EZ. The focus is OLD Quito, one of the most magnificent pieces of mankind's infrastructure that has been almost totally unused and offers a grand Ecuador investment.
With the help of Unesco and the Ecuadorian government the entire area is being restored. To attract investors for Quito real estate and new residents in Quito property these renovated properties are being sold for pennies on the dollar. This area offers history, architecture and structure that cannot be duplicated even if 100 times the selling price were spent.
Ecuador offers numerous earning and living advantages. One benefit is low cost living yet the fact that you can still enjoy personal services that no longer exist in the Western industrialized world.
The Old Quito course fee is $299 ($349 for two) or FREE if you attend the International Business Made EZ course.
The course fee for International Business Ecuador is $499, ($749 for two) including the old Quito real estate tour.
The balance of the real estate tour will be Feb 7-8, 2004 in the North Andes.
The Andes at the Equator offers eternal Spring and one could not ask for a better climate in the province of Ibarra, which is kind of a green desert. There is a rainy and dry season and the rainy season provides water enough, but for six months (November to April) during the dry season, the sun is almost too much. So there are plenty of magnificent Spanish style houses with thick walls and shaded patios and pools that make it easy to remain cool.
The sun rises at 6 am and sets at 6 pm, 365 days a year. The air is desert clear and high altitude thin, so vistas jump out and everywhere you look there are grand views.
Ecuador is a rugged, violent volcanic land, with ripples, creases, valleys and gorges that cut blue skies pierced by spiked peaks, razor back cuts and ridges. There is so much it becomes difficult to describe the beauty of it all.
So let me begin with one small view, out the window of our Andean property. Far in the distance is a huge mountain, purple and brown. Closer in a green valley runs to just below a small plateau where we sit. The fence is ringed by trees and shrubs, acacia, bottle brush, Norfolk and Australian Pine. Tropical flowers crawl along the wall, mainly bright bougainvillea and geranium, adding splashes of color to the green. A hummingbird of iridescent green sits in a small pine.
There is a profound silence in the morning that turns to a symphony when the birds come alive. Sunsets are so purple, I cannot come up with the correct words.
This is a wild isolated beauty, yet in the center of the province is the city of Imbaburra which has everything. The Super Maxi supermarket has every creature comfort one needs all neatly wrapped in plastic. We far prefer the native markets, fruits piled in mounds, every conceivable vegetable (and a few we cant even conceive), plus row upon row of meats, fish (delivered fresh from the coast) etc.
The weather is perfect and warm, yet about 6 pm we need to light the fireplace and an early night.
In this wonderful region we have identified a site where the developer wants to build beautiful homes designed by the Faustos, a family of architects who run the architectural firm Barro Viejo. We chose them to build on our property as their houses are all-natural homes yet combine the best of modern conveniences with traditional Ecuadorian style and craftsmanship.
They are constructed with a cement-straw building system, the design details are slick and inviting: recessed lights in the walls, rounded breezeways, natural stone showers and fireplaces, lots of exposed wooden beams for warmth and strength, and cozy, step-down chiminéa areas where the family can all meet around a warm fire.
The houses plans range from 1,500 to almost 2,000 square feet and yet prices can run below $50,000!
This area is also near Otavalo the largest native market in South America.
Plus we’ll visit the capital Ibarra. Upon arrival we’ll ride along wide, clean boulevards lined with stately Canary date palms into the plaza filled center.
The town is famous for its candy shops that specialize in a blackberry syrup and sugarcane candy called Nogada. This walnut covered candy comes in four flavors, (blackberry, vanilla, cream and cinnamon). This delight is packaged in circular and heart shaped wooden containers (perfect for export) and is highly unusual. We always buy dozens for gifts. The costis mere dollars.
Another treat is an ice cream shop named Rosalia Suarez. This shop, opened 105 years ago by Mama Rosalia, makes it own ice cream and sherbets on the spot. A large, round wooden bowl is lined with thatch and loaded with salt, sugarcane, ice and fruit. Stirred with a huge wooden spoon the resulting sherbet is slightly below heaven, but not much. Unless you have tasted fresh, home made ice cream on a hot day while sitting under a shady oak tree, you cannot begin to imagine the treat. Flavors you know are blackberry, coconut, banana, mango, cream, and chocolate. Others such as guanabana, fruitilla, naranjilla, ovo, taxo and maracuya are pretty much endemic to Ecuador but no less delicious. All are served up with barquillos (wafers made from banana skin). You can read details about this and more on the province at:
You can see 12 pictures of Merri and me at many of Ecuador’s exciting sites at http://www.garyscott.com/archives/2001/04/23/273/index.html