Vacation itinerary: Beach, buy a house in Canada, nap, repeat

by CRE13 Nov 2014
By Oliver Limcango

I have to put on headphones while writing this as I can hear fireworks, karaoke and people partying right outside my door. I’m in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I’ve been traveling for eight months now, all thanks to my real estate investments and the freedom they have given me.

The best part is that my portfolio continues to grow WHILE I'm traveling – in the first four months alone, we added six suites to our rental portfolio. 

A lot of people have trouble buying one property while they are in the same city, but I’m here to tell you how to do it from halfway across the world. Most of it is prep work, so make sure you set it up first before you start exploring the world.

First of all, you will need to build a team, including a mortgage broker, Realtor, lawyer, property inspector, handyman and property manager.

You can’t do it by yourself, especially while you’re on vacation, so make sure you have these guys on your side. Make it clear that you will be facilitating a purchase from abroad and confirm that they are comfortable to have numerous calls with you (even daily during crunch time).

As the facilitator/buyer of this transaction, you will need to make sure that the activities you want each of your team members to do is clearly communicated and has a specific owner. In other words, you need to hold the owners accountable for the action items under their names within the necessary time frame.
What to do Who does it What to watch out for
Mortgage pre-qualification Mortgage Broker I’ve seen many great deals fall apart because the buyers shopped first, and then checked if the banks would lend them money later.
Prepare documentation for financing pre- approval Buyer The lenders will need lots of documentation; be prepared to dig through your records.
Search for potential properties/negotiate Realtor Remember not to be drawn into a bidding frenzy and end up overpaying. Be willing to walk away; there’s always another deal.
Sign real estate offers Buyer Always be available to your Realtor for this, especially in a hot market; you could lose deals if you don’t.
Complete property inspection Property Inspector NEVER skip this part – read the report carefully and negotiate with the seller to get most of it taken care of.
Obtain financing approval part 1 (with real estate offer) Mortgage Broker Always get your financing approved first BEFORE waiving conditions.
Waive conditions Buyer Under no circumstance should you do this without completing the steps outlined beforehand.
Obtain final approval from lender Mortgage Broker After conditions are waived, the lender will ask for another batch of documentation. Make sure you provide it ASAP and get the FINAL financing approval.
Coordinate mortgage/real estate instructions from lender to law firm Buyer Most people forget this part and it can cause major delays in closing. Follow up with your mortgage broker and Realtor to make sure they send instructions to your lawyer right away.
Sign closing documents Buyer If you’re out of the country, make sure your lawyer can send it to you AND you can sign it with a notary.
Complete renovations/repairs needed Handyman Use your inspection report to determine what you will repair versus renovate. Make sure your contractor finishes on time.
Arrange for insurance, utilities, property taxes Buyer The penalties start to pile up if you forget to do these.
Transition to property management Buyer This should be the last step – do NOT expect them to do any of the steps above if you don’t want to pay additional fees.
The final thing to remember is that you are not your team’s only client. Communicate with them regularly, make sure they have what they need, and always let everyone know ASAP if something has changed. Good luck!


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