How to make money from your Cartagena real estate investments.

The increase in demand of cartagena real estate investments by local and international investors have made of the heroic City one of the hottest markets not only in Colombia but in Latinamerica. Important tourist and hotel international groups are currently developing high end projects to full fill the demand. It’s clear that global crisis have not affected big investment groups, nor the high income earners around the world and that’s one of the reasons why the demand is still very active in this segment of the Cartagena real estate investments market. But for the other hand, there are other type of investors, the ones just like you and me, that are just looking to take advantage of the common and simple life that the typical Colombian guy can have in the coast. I constantly receive inquiries from people of diverse countries asking for opportunities in the Cartagena real estate investment market that can be affordable for any guy in the world with a fixed income, whether a retirement income, the income provided by an internet website, for their revenues as a professional, etc. A secure investment that finally allow him to do what really makes of Cartagena a wonderful place to live, and that is to enjoy the 3 B’s: Beach, Breeze and Beer.

My friend and partner Nicholas Webb has written an interesting article about how he has found an interest niche to exploit in the Cartagena real estate investments area. Nicholas contacted me around a year and a half ago, when he was planning his relocation to Colombia with his Colombian wife. At that time I was creating the Colombia real estate and Visa Guide files, and he was the first person I asked to make a review of the documents before posting them online.

Not only he gave me a great feedback of the document, but, and it's something I want to believe, he made the best use of that information to start doing what he does now. Well, as you can read from his experience, you’ll find that all what I have explained before not only is possible but it’s happening right now. Nic has become a real estate expert in a niche that a most local real estate agents won’t show you at all. Unfortunately, and I plead as guilty as well, as real estate promoters, we focus on showing and offering the fancy part of Cartagena and the big new exclusive developments and we occupy most our time promoting that type of projects.I'm not saying that those are not good investments as well, of course they are! and I maybe disagree with Nicholas in this matter, But the point is that sometimes we forget to promote quality lower priced units that can be found also in the Cartagena real estate investments market. Well that’s something I’m starting to change with the help of Nicholas as one of our real estate associates in Cartagena. Nicholas is a real estate investor who has managed to make a healthy living in Colombia where many others have failed before him and the following article will show you...

"...How to actually make money (instead of losing it) from your Cartagena real estate investment.

Cartagena is becoming a costly location and has some, if not all, of the most expensive real estate in Colombia and perhaps in South America. Vacation rentals by owner especially oceanfront or beach rentals and luxury homes in Cartagena can well exceed USD 450,000 apartment (not such a big one either). These costly homes and new resort complexes are going up each day and the market is starting to saturate in some areas.

Surely nobody in their right mind would consider this kind of real estate as an investment! Beautiful these units may be but just how much higher can prices grow to make such an investment worth while? Prices of real estate are at an all time high in Cartagena and it's difficult to see the possibility of making hefty profits from these luxury vacation rentals in the near future. We mustn't forget about the monthly building administration costs either, which can go up to and well over USD 200 a month. By the way that is over $2000 a year! That surely eats into your cartagena real estate investments like a plague of killer ants. Naturally it is of no importance if you occupy the unit a day, week or all year ... you have to pay your fixed costs on your vacation rental investment home.

A Question For You ...

So we've already seen some of the negatives for these up market vacation rentals and beach homes in Cartagena, now try answering this question: Would you buy a stock if it cost you $2000 a year just for the pleasure of owning it?
Of course you wouldn't, then why would you want to buy into a holiday beach rental, as an investment, with such high up-keep costs? Such costs mean that in just over four years you would have eaten a chunk of almost $10,000 from your investment. Translated, this means if you wanted to sell for a profit after four years you'd need to be looking at somewhere around $15,000 just to break even.

As I have said, and I believe I have made the point quite clear, Cartagena is VERY expensive. However, if you are looking for investments in Colombia real estate, interesting properties can be found ... if you look hard enough.

My experience here has taught me to keep things simple and to work with lower priced units that hard working Colombians can rent.

Forget about fancy condo units, beach rentals and luxury apartment complexes for foreign tourists. Such properties generally rent out for two months a year. I prefer to have my properties rented out twelve months a year.

I want to tell you about a personal experience that happened with us last month (July 2009). We managed to find a small 3 bedroom apartment in a middle-to-low class gated complex that had a price of 40,000,000 pesos (20,000 USD). After negotiations we managed to get the price down to 37,000,000 pesos (18,500 USD) and placed a "For Rent" sign in the window. No ad in the local paper, just a simple sign in the kitchen window. We were getting on average of 5 calls a day from people wanting to immediately rent the apartment. Even after removing the sign we were still getting a couple of calls a day! We were able to rent the apartment for 450,000 pesos a month (225 USD) with no trouble whatsoever. That is more than 1% return on our cartagena real estate investments.

We are now negotiating a second apartment in the same complex and are currently talking to an architect who is interested in renting it for 1,000,000 a month (USD 500). Needless to say we are very interested. There are many gems like this available that won't eat into your saving and can give you a very healthy return. We are fortunate enough to own a handful of these properties and they give us very healthy returns. If you want to live in a luxury apartment then by all means buy one, but don't buy one here as an investment. Vacation rental by owner homes in Cartagena can be found to fit your budget, just don't stop looking. Of course it takes time and effort but the important thing is that you don't need to follow some over-priced, hyped-up, course on real estate investing, all you need is dedication and common sense."

Nicholas currently has some interest properties to offer for sale in La Boquilla and Manzanillo del Mar. As one of our associates in Cartagena, he will help you in the search of Cartagena real estate investments oportunities. Please use the form below to contact him. Also be sure to visit his website Vacation Rentals by Owner.

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