Tag Archive | "real estate developers;"

Selling Your US Property for Ecuador


Here a thought on selling your US property so you can buy real estate in Ecuador… or just to get your US place sold.

One of the most frequent notes I receive from people wanting to move to Ecuador… or move at all or receive debt is… “I’ll do it as soon as I sell my place.”

There are some great property deals in Ecuador.

For example these adobe homes are…

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about 1,500 square feet. This is a shot Merri took last September of me with the builder Jorge Quilambaci. Here is the front yard of this house.

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The have nice interesting designs and…

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are roomy… but…

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the asking price is only $85,000.

That house is probably finished now, yet many people who would like to buy it cannot… unless they sell their US or Canadian house.

Here is a tip that can help you sell your property:  In tough buyer markets, we have to be creative by spotting distortions.

Here is a true story of how I helped a developer take advantage of distortions during the 1970s economic crunch.

This developer was a Brooklyn Boomer, and at that time a young real estate developer who got into international fund raising to save his neck.

He was sharp, intelligent and successful and in the 1970s he stumbled onto an exciting real estate idea that was bringing him great profits. Manhattan real estate prices were rising strongly in the 70s. The boomer saw that young professionals his age (late 20’s and early 30’s) could no longer afford to live in the better parts of this exclusive island.

He knew they needed to be close to town for their profession, wanted lots of room to raise their families and liked living in a nice setting with good architectural design and all the conveniences of modern living.He filled these needs by converting warehouses in Brooklyn into attractive and spacious condominium living units. The idea worked very well. The warehouses were only short blocks from very nice residential parts of Brooklyn and were capable of providing many large living units. This man’s business prospered and soon he started an even bigger project and then another. He was doing really well.

Then the economy bombed the boomer.  He was more than fully committed, over borrowed and needed quick cash to keep his deal going. An oil shortage, a banking crash and really high interest rates were on the verge of shutting him down.  For real estate developers the 1970s recession was almost as bad as now.

The developer was caught in a bind having already borrowed as much as he could based upon his previous successes. His financing was all in short term construction loans that were coming due, and he had to refinance at higher and higher rates.

High interest rates hit him doubly. First, his construction loan rates ruined cash flow and ate potential profits. Even worse the high rates increased mortgage payments so young professionals could no longer qualify for mortgages. His bankers were edgy.

At this stage, he consulted me about raising money from Europeans to tide him through his cash crisis.

At his request, I flew to New York and rode with him to the apartments. They were beautiful, so attractively designed that they had been featured in an architectural magazine. “Just the kind of place Europeans love” was my thought, “but how do we get quick financing?”

Perhaps, I thought that it would be better to sell apartments to Europeans rather than ask for loans!

Owning houses is something Europeans readily understand. They have confidence in owning houses. Making loans and investing in equities are not so much their deals.

So we treated the apartments as the investment and placed small, classified ads in the Netherlands, England and Germany.

Here is why.  Interest rates on the dollar at that time were at all time highs. Plus the U.S. dollar parity was at an all time low versus the British pound, German mark and Dutch guilder. These Brooklyn condos, seemed really cheap, when converted into foreign currency!

We did not try to sell the condos by mail. The sole object of our first ads was to find Dutch, German and English investors who were interested enough in investing in New York, that they would come and look at the condos.

Our sales package was aimed at getting the investors to Brooklyn, not at selling the condos direct. We wanted centers of influence. The marketing package included a copy of the famous architectural magazine showing the condos as well as details about profit potential of the property and the really low price in European and British currency terms. We kept a clear message that we were offering an investment backed by property ownership and that we wanted to meet the buyers and let them see for themselves.

The American buyers who had been buying from the Brooklyn Bomber were buying homes. These Europeans were making an investment which was very different.

We designed a package so the Europeans could buy an apartment, and immediately lease it to an American buyer – with a lease option.

This helped the Americans who wanted a place to live but currently could not qualify for a mortgage. They could immediately move into the house of their dreams and buy it later when they had a larger income (or when interest rates fell).

The lease on the other hand created immediate income for the European investor and the lease option sales price locked in a capital gain for the European.

The Europeans loved this because they earned income now, appreciation later and the entire package was secured by the real estate itself.

This was a win – win deal all made possible by distortions of currency fluctuations. The weak U.S. dollar made this property seem really cheap to Europeans. Yet the weak dollar pushed up oil prices, and interest rates made the condos really expensive for Americans.

One more point can be gained from this Case Study. The developer’s goal was to sell as many apartments to European investors for cash as fast as he could while the distortion remained. Yet we also set up a limited partnership designed for small investors who could not afford to buy an entire apartment. The partnership took title to one condo at a time and sold units of ownership for as little as U.S. $5,000.

This allowed Europeans to own a part of condo and gave the developer investment packages to sell for all ranges of investors. He sold the apartments for $125,000 to $250,000 to single investors, but with his deal could offer a $5,000 investment.

By taking advantage of this distortion this Brooklyn developer did not bomb out!  This gave the Brooklyn Boomer a plan to salvage his tight position then, but also gave him much, much more. Once he had developed a group of real estate investors in Europe he had an entirely new source of financing for the future. As interest rates fell and the leasees began to exercise their options, his European investors saw profits and had extra cash. By developing good will with these investors he maintained a steady source of equity finance that allowed him to outgun other developers in the area.

This led the developer into an international business, with an overseas sales company. He learned how to use the Circle of 100. He paid this sales company generous commissions and built an asset protected cash reserve aboard.

This is a wonderful case where the solution to a short-term problem (that could have bankrupted the developer) created a reliable long-term source of finance, solved his current problem and remained so he could also use it in the future.

He gained a source of money in many currencies and often at competitive interest rates. This source of money was available in good times AND bad, when other developers could not get money at all!

He gained an overseas company with 50% non-U.S. owners so he reduced U.S. tax liability. The assets in this overseas company were also protected from lawsuits and litigation in the U.S.

Distortions in currencies and interest rates around the world can bring an infusion of cash, buyers, different rates of interest, opportunities to reduce tax, eliminate liability. The process can also be a great deal of fun, if you learn how to understand markets abroad and adapt your plans to match the market!

Until then may all you business be good.

Gary

Join us in Ecuador or Florida or Both. See the best Ecuador property for you.  Find the best real estate offers.  Know more of Ecuador. To help you experience a bigger adventure in this wonderful nation, to broaden your horizons, to expand your awareness of all Ecuador offers, we are providing deep discounts in 2010 for those who sign up for multiple tours.

Join us at our upcoming courses and tours.

Join us in 2010. See our winter Ecuador real estate tours below.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour $499 Couple  $749

Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749
Jan. 15-18     Coastal Real Estate Tour $499 Couple $749
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749
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Join us in February or March.

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Feb. 18-19   Coastal Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 20        Travel to Cotacachi
Feb. 21-22   Imbabura Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Florida $749 Couple $999

Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
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The American Dream Goes South at Florida Investment Seminar


I’ll focus on how the American dream is heading south at JGAM’s multi currency seminar in Florida this May.

If looked at one way… the American dream is dead. Let’s ramble through economic history for a moment to see why.

In the early 1980s the US had a challenge… a severe recession from July 1981 to November 1982.  Inflation was high so the Fed  slowed the rate of growth of the money supply and raised interest rates. The federal funds rate rose to 20% by June 1981. The prime interest rate, at the time a highly important economic measure, eventually reached 21.5% in June 1982. Businesses went broke by the drove… 50 percent over the previous year.  Especially hard hit were farmers and real estate developers.

The recession was the most serious recession since the Great Depression.

This was tough but inflation eased and the economy rebounded.  Growth took off again… real growth without bad inflation because the real estate overhang and subsequent bankruptcy of the Savings & Loan industry was dealt with by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

RTC liquidated via auction and a massive sell off to private business, the real estate that had been assets of savings and loan associations that were insolvent.

The US government had the sense then not to try and control these assets.  Entrepreneurs bought the assets for pennies on the dollar and turned the property into viable deals in ways that no government agency ever could.

Japan then had a serious recession and the same opportunity.  There was a real estate and stock bubble in Japan in the 1980s.   Then in 1989 there was a massive withdrawal of confidence. Investment collapsed, causing the Nikkei index to fall more than 60 percent.

The Japanese government however decided that it could provide a fix. the Japanese felt they could not let big Japanese businesses go broke.  Between 1992 and 1995, Japan tried six spending programs totaling 65.5 trillion yen. They cut  taxes in 1994. In 1998 they cut taxes again and launched stimulus packages worth more than 40 trillion yen.,  A year later… another stimulus program. In 2000 11 trillion yen more was spent to stimulate the economy.

Over a decade the Japanese government provided 10 stimulus packages worth more than a 100 trillion yen.   The main result was to ruin the Japanese government’s credit with public debt that exceeds 100 percent of GDP. This is the highest percent of debt of all major nations.

Any other results?  Here is evidence… the main Japanese stock index the Nikkei 225 from 1989 till 2009.  Japanese society is indebted for life and the stock exchange has fallen from over 35,000 to  7,600 in 20 years.

Wow that really worked well… so

power-investing

now the US government has decided to do the same thing.

Last week the government  offered another $30 billion in funds to A.I.G. insurance.  This is the fourth round of aid to the American International Group. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company. How much more can they buy?

This sounds like a good investment since the insurance giant was about to report a $62 billion loss after the government has already given a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and purchased $50 billion of the company’s toxic assets.

Behind this, the government has invested $50 billion in Citigroup… $45 billion in Bank of America.  The Us auto bailout could cost another 100 billion. More on that in a later message.

This is all taking place as the US economy spirals down at an accelerated pace.

Yet the current administration is basing its spending on calculations that suggest vigorous rates of economic growth in years to come.

They have suggested this economic growth will come in 2010.

I wonder?

There seems to  a disconnect between the Federal projections and fiscal reality.   Current conditions are not yet at the level of the 1980s, when unemployment exceeded 10 percent, but they could be soon.

Moody’s chief economist now places the odds of “a mild depression” at 25 percent. In that view, the unemployment rate would reach 10.5 percent by the end of 2011 — up from 7.6 percent at the end of January — average home prices would fall 20 percent on top of the 27 percent they have plunged already, and losses in the financial system would more than triple, to $3.7 trillion.

Yet President Obama calls this a “once in a generation” opportunity and proposed a 10-year budget that overhauls health care, arrests global warming and expands the federal role in education.

How to pay for it?   Tax more corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers.

Wrong!  Higher tax will simply kill business or drive it abroad.  What a  good idea to chase away the last of the success.

The President said  he would shrink annual deficits.  His explanation is that he will increase revenue from rich individuals and polluting industries, reduce war costs and assume a good rate of economic growth by 2010.

The rich will stop working or leave the US.  The polluters will move to Mexico or China or wherever.   The high rate of economic growth will not appear.  Stopping the war will help… but not enough.

Technology means that politicians can no longer ignore the global market and tax its citizens to death.

Take for example what is happening in Ecuador.  Remittances sent by  Ecuadorians who work abroad fell 22 percent in the last quarter of 2008.

$643.9 million was sent from October to December 2008. This is $181.7 million less than in Oct.to Dec.2007.

A similar drop was experienced in the third quarter of 2008 and is caused by the global financial crisis and especially the economic slowdown in the United States, where it is estimated 1.5 million Ecuadorians live and work.

The U.S. employment rate has crashed especially in manufacturing and construction which employ a large number of Ecuadorians.

The same is true in  Spain – where 600,000 Ecuadorians live. this is the second-leading destination for Ecuadorians.

This means that there are more Ecuadorians to serve for less in Ecuador.  This forces the Ecuador cost of living down down.

So if you are an American who is about to be super taxed… where would you choose to live?  Our farm manager sent us this note recently, “We had 4 inches of snow in China Grove.”

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Would you rather live there and pay more tax or…

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enjoy open air dining as Merri and are doing here in our Cotacachi hotel courtyard with Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins or…

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would you rather enjoy a mountain train ride as these…

multi-currency-investing-florida-course new Cotacachi residents are doing…  passing through green mountains  and blue skies.  Getting a sun burn.

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The is the train from Ibarra to Salinas Ecuador.  Would you rather be taxed extra to be in this pool or…

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be here on Ecuador’s coast with tax advantages?

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Which view will the rich prefer?  This in the US or…

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this… especially if this San Clemente Ecuador ocean view costs much, much less?

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Where would I prefer to walk with my hound?  Here in sub zero temperatures or

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here in Cotacachi Ecuador…especially if I am taxed less and the cost of living is much lower and government interference in my life is less?

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Technology and the global market gives us as individuals enormous power to live where and as we choose that politicians can no longer ignore.

The government’s attitude to increase taxes on those who work hard could turn the existing brain drain from the US into a brain torrent.

In short there are many reasons I see that suggest the economic mess will  last for years in the US,  just as it has in Japan.

Recently, Warren Buffett wrote in his company’s annual report that “the economy will be in shambles, throughout 2009, and, for that matter, probably well beyond.”

This is not the picture we expect of the American dream.  However the picture is not bad for all.  Not all Italians became poor when Rome fell.  Italy is still a great place to live.  There are still millions of Japanese who have thrived over the past 15 years of Japanese recession.  The end of the America dream does not have to be the end of your dream.

In the US we can expect the rich to get richer… the poor poorer.   We can see why from our study of Power Distance Index.  We looked at PDI, and what it is, in a recent message about JGAM’s multi currency seminar.

There is more about Power Distance Index at http://www.clearlycultural.com which says:

Hofstede’s Power Distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.

On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ grows larger and larger.

The trick then is to not accept the PDI from the lower end. Let me explain.

Excerpts from 2007 article by a Stefan Bach , Giacomo Corneo  and Viktor Steiner at www.voxeu.org entitled German income inequality outlines an idea.  The article says:

Paul Krugman frequently mentions that America’s super rich make the 19th Century wealthy look poor. “We know what John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in Gilded Age America, made in 1894 … $1.25 million, almost 7,000 times the average per capita income in the United States at the time.” Krugman wrote. ”But that makes him a mere piker by modern standards … James Simons, a hedge fund manager, took home $1.7 billion, more than 38,000 times the average income.”

Surely such extremes cannot happen on Continental Europe with its social market economics and social solidarity. The authors of Policy Insight No. 4 shows that although income inequality in Germany is a long way from reaching US proportions, the trend is in that direction. Germany rich are getting richer, and its super-rich are getting super-richer.

In other words as a society progresses, those with power get richer while the majority of  the population become poorer.

Note above that power is determined  from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.”

Power is an illusion that keeps most investors and business people depressed while a few gain from this social falsification.

The internet destroys this illusion. The web gives us all power!  Today we have as much opportunity as the rich to gain from the changes that this economic correction will bring.

This is why Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  More on this in a moment.

First what you can do as an investor or with your own business.

One answer we saw above is to live in a better lower cost environment like Ecuador.

Another answer is to be a multi currency investor. Despite America’s government spending , the dollar has been gaining, particularly against European currencies. The euro slipped to under $1.26, nearing a two-year low and down from a high of almost $1.60. This is caused as fearful investors jump into 10-year Treasury bonds… which have been shown to be terrible long term investments.   All the US government spending means that the US dollar will fall. But against what?

The euro is not a trustworthy currency now. A March 1, 2009 New York Times article by Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle entitled “Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe” explains why.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels in an emergency summit meeting that seemed to highlight the very worries it was designed to calm: that the world economic crisis has unleashed forces threatening to split Europe into rival camps.

With uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions, the European Union is struggling with the strains this crisis has inevitably produced among 27 countries with uneven levels of development.

Whether Europe can reach across constituencies to create consensus, however, has been an open, and suddenly pressing, question.

“The European Union will now have to prove whether it is just a fair-weather union or has a real joint political destiny,” said Stefan Kornelius, the foreign editor of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We always said you can’t really have a currency union without a political union, and we don’t have one. There is no joint fiscal policy, no joint tax policy, no joint policy on which industries to subsidize or not. And none of the leaders is strong enough to pull the others out of the mud.”

Thomas Klau, Paris director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, an independent research and advocacy group, said, “This crisis affects the political union that backs the euro and of course the E.U. as a whole, and solidarity is at the heart of the debate.”

“All of that is in doubt if the cornerstone of the E.U. — its internal market, economic union and solidarity — is in question,” said Ronald D. Asmus, a former State Department official who runs the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund.

If the the euro is a good currency for diversification, which currencies are?

Our multi currency course helps you learn how to diversify into safe currencies.  Our studies currently suggest that the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian kroner and Canadian dollar make sense. For example beginning in March the Swedish kroner hit a new record low. The Eastern European problems are having an adverse impact on the Swedish banks.   Also the Norwegian currency is a good technical buy.

You can join us to understand why these currencies make sense by subscribing to our on line multi currency course.

You can also join us for a currency review at JGAM’s Naples Florida investment course May 29 to 31, 2009.  This course is $499 ($750 for two) but free to those who have subscribed to our on line multi currency course.

Another way you can attend JGAM Florida seminar free is to subscribe to our course on how to have a web based business.   You can enroll in this special course for $299 and attend the JGAM course in Naples free.

Here is a special offer on this course “Tangled Web – How to Have a Web Business“.

Or join us for an upcoming course in North Carolina or Ecuador.

Gary

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two