Digest: Own in French Castle Country from $114,870

In this week’s digest:

  • Own in French Castle Country from $114,870
  • Another Scout is in Montenegro…Europe’s Secret Riviera
  • Own in a Beach Town from just $109,000
  • Get Income from an Apartment in Florence

I’m in France today…

Once you’re in Europe travel can be done at a whim. Changing scenery and switching cultures and cuisines is as easy as a low-cost flight, a train ride or a few hours’ drive…

I’m writing to you from the Loire Valley…

View of Chinon, in the Loire Valley, France. Real estate here isn’t the cheapest in France, but you can certainly get bang for your buck.

The Loire Valley, often referred to as the “Garden of France” or “the Valley of the Kings,” is in central France.

This is the France of fairy tales…

It’s a living storybook of French heritage…a fertile ribbon unfurling through the heart of the country. The landscape is a delicate interplay of rolling vineyards and stately châteaux, evoking a sense of pastoral elegance and bygone splendor.

Some of the best wines in the world come from here including Sancerre, Chinon, and Vouvray.

Scattered throughout the valley are over 300 châteaux, ranging from grandiose castles to charming manor houses. These architectural masterpieces, such as Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, and Château de Villandry, showcase Renaissance and Gothic styles and are often surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.

Each château has its own unique story, reflecting the opulence and strategic importance of the region throughout history.

The towns and villages in the Loire Valley are characterized by cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and vibrant markets. The local cuisine is delightful, featuring dishes made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The town of Chinon is cradled in the heart of the Loire Valley. It’s a symphony of medieval whispers and timeless vines. Around here ancient fortresses preside over a tapestry of vineyards, their tendrils weaving tales of the region’s rich past. The town, a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and timbered houses, exudes an air of serene antiquity. As the Vienne River winds through, it carries with it the echoes of centuries-old sagas, from the days of Joan of Arc to the subtler stories etched in the faces of local artisans.

My team found a three-bedroom house in the heart of Chinon listing for just €106,000. (That’s $114,870).

In the center of Chinon is this three-bed house listing for just $114,870. A short walk to restaurants, bakeries, cafés, bars…and your weekly market.

And as I told my RETA members yesterday, if you’re in the market for a French castle, then the Loire Valley is a great place to start your search. For example, I came across a 15th-century manor house with spiral staircases, stone fireplaces and wood beams. List price €790,000.

If you dream of being lord or lady of the manor…how about this 15th-century French house on over four acres.

Now…

If you prefer being by the sea and you like majestic mountains, then elsewhere in Europe…

Another Scout Hits Montenegro

You probably remember I had two scouts in little Montenegro last month. Alan and Eoin reported back here in Your Overseas Dream Home.

This month it’s Margaret…

I’m highly focused on Montenegro, especially the Bay of Kotor area, where I’m putting the finishing touches to an off-market RETA-only deal. (If you’re not yet a RETA member learn about the benefits here.)

I’m highly focused on Montenegro, especially the Bay of Kotor area, where I’m putting the finishing touches to an off-market RETA-only deal.

That’s why I sent Margaret. Here’s a note she sent me on Friday:

“My base is Kotor Old Town. It’s a warren of narrow cobblestoned streets and old buildings surrounded by ancient city walls. Behind the town, stony mountains rise up like cliffs. To the front, there’s the impressive Bay of Kotor, a deep blue fjord stretching along the horizon.

“Old Town is a nice spot for whiling away an afternoon. It’s easy to get lost, but that’s part of the fun. You never quite know what you will find. An antiques store with vintage and more modern finds. Stores selling leather jackets, hand-made rugs and souvenirs. There’s even a cat’s museum (entry price €1).

Kotor Old Town is a lovely place to stroll and sip…just avoid coming on a day when several cruise ships dock.

“There are plenty of places to eat and drink. If you just want a pit stop, you can grab a big slice of pizza for €3. I found really good gelato at €3 a scoop. Just outside the city walls, there are stands selling fresh local fruit for a few euros a bag—cherries, strawberries, you name it—and an intriguing selection of cheeses, dried mushrooms, honey and vegetables,” says Margaret.

“There are two ways to get a bird’s eye view of Bay of Kotor. If you want a bit of a workout, you can climb the walls behind the city. The easier way is to take a trip on Kotor Cable Car. It’s around 10 minutes outside Kotor. If you time it right (a sunny day without any wind) you get spectacular views from the top. It’s more than 1,000 meters up, so it is cooler than Old Town—I was glad a friend recommended bringing a light jacket. There’s a café at the top for drinks and snacks. A round trip ticket is €18 for an adult.”

A mammoth Path of Progress is rolling down from Croatia into little Montenegro and we’re ahead of it…

A tip from Margaret if you plan on visiting Old Town…

“The pace is set by the cruise ships which dock in the bay. A one-ship day is busy. A three-ship day is insane! The traffic backs up and the narrow streets fill with tour groups. If you schedule your visit for a no-ship or one-ship day, you’ll have a much more relaxed experience.”

In recent years, Montenegro has emerged as a new Riviera. This tiny country south of Croatia is home to exclusive resorts and ultra-luxe marinas. You’ll see mega-yachts and private jets. It’s been dubbed a new Monaco.

Now, as so often happens, the “ordinary rich” are coming to Montenegro too, following the flow of wealthy folks.

“Ordinary rich” is a term I use for professionals…small-business owners…computer scientists, bankers, lawyers, doctors…people who earn well and can move around to some degree. Most aren’t in the market for multi-million-dollar mansions or 5-star resorts. But they want luxury and exceptional resort-style amenities, and they want a perfect location…and they can pay for it.

Montenegro is seeing an influx of these folks, particularly around the stunning Bay of Kotor, the country’s most popular destination.

That represents a big investment opportunity, which is why so many of my team have traveled to Montenegro recently.

RETA members stay tuned for news of a deal.

(Not a RETA member? Find out how to join today.)

If You Love the Beach…

In case you missed it…

My team has researched real estate in the best beach towns in the world in search of real estate beach bargains…

I put the best of what they found in a brand-new Overseas Dream Home report—5 Bargain Beach Towns Where You Can Own from $109,000.

Here’s a taste…

  • A two-bed home in a gated community in a charming village on Mexico’s Caribbean coast for $109,000.
  • A fully furnished condo in a community with a pool less than a mile from the beach in Portugal’s Algarve region for $177,500.
  • A recently renovated two-bed apartment in the historic area of a popular beach town on Spain’s Costa del Sol for $204,500.
  • A two-bedroom condo on a golf course and walking distance to the beach on Panama’s incredible Pacific Riviera for $235,900.

It’s all in the full report…absolutely free to you as a reader of Your Overseas Dream Home.

Tips on Buying Real Estate in Mexico

Earlier this week, I shared a special video Q&A with Ivan Castillo, the attorney I and many members of my Real Estate Trend Alert group use to buy in Mexico.

Ivan shared very valuable insights. Click below to watch:


In this video Q&A, the attorney I use in Mexico, Ivan Castillo, shares important insights on buying and owning real estate there. Click to view.

Some highlights include:

  • Strategies you can use to minimize your capital gains taxes in Mexico…
  • What a fideicomisois and why you must have one to own property in many places in Mexico…
  • The difference between physical and legal delivery…

Watch Ivan explain here.

Real Estate in Florence

Eoin’s been taking another look at real estate in Florence, Italy.

He’s a champion of our Italian Lake District idea and he’s looking to get a trip on the schedule.

But the lakes are about four hours north of Florence. So why is he looking at real estate in the birthplace of the Renaissance?

Buy an existing short-term rental property in Florence and you could have something special that makes an income.

Well, I guess it’s easy to get distracted by real estate in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. And Eoin was last in Italy in 2021 scouting real estate for us in Florence and Tuscany, hence the interest…

“The opportunity you identified Ronan may have passed. But what a great call it was, as now there seems like a moat for anyone who bought back then.

“Since last October the city authorities have brought in a ban on new short-term rentals. So if you already own a short-term rental in Florence you’re not going to face more competition…at least for a while. And this is a city that gets over 10 million tourists a year!” says Eoin.

Plenty of demand.

Despite the tourists there’s a vibrant local community in Florence. And a short walk from the historic center of Florence you’ll find lots of properties listing from €100,000 to €300,000.

The play in Florence and other major historic Italian cities like Venice and Rome was to find an overlooked and unloved property a short walking distance to the center.

I’m talking a two-bed apartment of 500 square feet or so. The ideal city pad and short-term rental.

Walk down a side street…or just around a bend of the Arno River…and you’ll find lots of apartments in need of TLC. You just need to find the right one…

Plus, Italian banks will lend 50% to 60% of the value of a property to an American from what we’re told, although…rates have doubled since Eoin scouted in 2021. Back then fixed rates were in the region of 1.4%.

Now it’s more like 3% to 4% fixed.

Real estate prices have climbed too, yet if all you want is a place to retreat to in Florence then you’ll find it…

“You can still find semi-basement apartments close to the historic center from €100,000 to €150,000,” says Eoin, “But go shopping for a property with €300,000 and you’ll have plenty more choice.

“Of course there is still a way perhaps to make it work,” says Eoin.

“Buy an existing short-term rental.

“And then you also get the track record of an established rental business.”

Eoin’s started looking.

“I’ve found one penthouse with what appears to be views of the Duomo that is an existing short-term rental. Now, it’s listed at €570,000 but if you factor in financing it might be interesting…

Here’s a rough calculation on the thingamajig:

We’ll see what Eoin’s research throws up. And then, as we know, to find true value you have to hit the streets…

 

Ronan

Ronan McMahon, Founder, Overseas Dream Home & Real Estate Trend Alert

P.S. If you have a question or any feedback, I’d love to hear it. Maybe you’d like to know what I think of a particular destination…or perhaps you have a suggestion about where you’d like us to scout next… Let me know here.

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