Lock-and-Leave Condos from $135,000 in Latin America’s Most Vibrant Cities

My friends and family have a nickname for me. They call me “the weatherman.”

You see, I don’t like the cold and I’ve organized my life accordingly. I move with the weather, so I’m always in places where I don’t need air con or heating.

I spent time each winter at my beach condo in Cabo, Mexico. For stretches of spring and fall, I’ll use my beachfront condo on Portugal’s Silver Coast. And in summer, I’ll typically be at my primary home in Ireland, as I am right now. This way, I’m always in a place where the climate is just right…not too hot, not too cold.

With some of the properties I own, I rent them out when I’m not using them.

For instance, I rent out my Silver Coast condo in the peak summer period, a season I want to avoid anyway. This year, my condo is pretty much fully booked until I return on August 29. I’m looking at grossing about $15,000 in income just for catering to this busy summer season.

That’s enough to cover the entire cost of owning it. I recently decided to clear the mortgage on this condo. But before I did, the rental income I earned just from renting it out in peak season more than covered the mortgage, HOA fees, taxes, my golf club dues on two great courses, and insurance. I even had some pocket money left over…

My condo on Portugal’s Silver Coast sits right up on this stunning beach.

That’s an incredibly attraction proposition…but it does come with a certain level of management. You need to hire a rental manager, for instance.

With overseas properties, you do have another option (one I use on certain properties): just lock up and leave.

That can also be very appealing…

If you own a lock-and-leave condo you don’t need to find a rental manager or someone to keep an eye on the place when you’re not there. And if you don’t have any renters, you can enjoy your condo whenever suits your schedule, and you know it will be exactly as you left it when you return.

I asked my team to find some affordable lock-and-leave condos. They focused their search on some of Latin America’s most vibrant cities…places that offer stunning environments and incredible lifestyles…

In other words, perfect destinations to have a lock-and-leave escape pad.

Here’s what they uncovered… (Note, we haven’t visited these properties or done any due diligence on them.)

Montevideo, Uruguay
Listing Price: $135,000

Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo is full of history, culture, and music…and you could own here for just $135,000.

Uruguay has been described as the “Switzerland of South America.” It has a reputation for safety and is a beacon of stability in an uncertain world. And foreigners can buy, own, and sell property with the same rights and protections as a Uruguayan citizen.

The capital of Montevideo is the country’s main cultural and commercial center. Sitting on the Río de la Plata (River of Silver), the city is known for its large parks, tree-lined streets, and wide avenues. Along the Montevideo waterfront is the rambla, the road and wide sidewalk that run along the city’s coastline.

Although Montevideo’s coastline is not technically “oceanfront,” it does look like the ocean and boasts wide, sandy beaches. During the Southern Hemisphere summer (January and February) Montevideo’s beaches are thick with sunbathers. One of the most popular Montevideo beaches is Pocitos. It’s where regulars meet to play volleyball and bocce, a bowling game of Italian origin.

At night in Montevideo you can choose from a range of entertainment options: dining out, tango classes, theater, and trendy nightclubs. During the 40 days of Carnival, there’s nightly outdoor entertainment at Parque Rodo’s summer amphitheater.

Montevideo is also full of culture and history. Montevideo’s Old City, Ciudad Vieja, is an eight-by-12 block area, which was once the entire original city of Montevideo, founded in 1730. Here, you’ll find the Metropolitan Cathedral, dating from 1790, and rows of tall trees shading wooden benches around a white gargoyle- and cherub-decorated marble fountain.

In the old town, my team found a renovated, one-bed, one-bath condo in an Art Deco building that dates back to 1908. It has a large kitchen area and a living room with big windows that make it airy and bright. It’s listed at $135,000.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Listing price: $225,000

San Miguel is an expat hot spot, with good reason. It offers great food, an affordable cost of living, and has an artsy vibe that’s hard to beat.

San Miguel de Allende is a perfect-weather escape in the Colonial Highlands of Mexico that’s drawn artists, poets and expats for decades.

Locals say that San Miguel is built on a bedrock of rose quartz. That’s why it’s got such a magical appeal, they tell you, and why so many folks feel drawn to it…and it’s not hard to see why this colonial city is a firm favorite with expats.

The city’s colonial center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so all buildings—homes, churches, civic structures, businesses—must retain their original, historic appearance. The charming narrow streets, made of cobblestone or flagstone, are lined with homes in shades of yellow, red, orange, and brown.

Artists were the first to cotton on to San Miguel’s appeal. They came for the quality of light. And today, in the historic center, stately buildings house art galleries and studios. It’s not just artists flocking to San Miguel these days though. It’s now a trendy destination for the well-heeled of the world.

The city hosts a jazz and blues festival, a chamber music festival, a performing arts festival. And there’s a burgeoning food and wine scene, too. You can sample delicious French pastries, eat fine Italian fare, or sip expensive cocktails at a rooftop terrace bar. If you’re a foodie, San Miguel will keep your taste buds busy.

In a gated community just outside San Miguel’s Centro is a three-bed, two-bath condo spanning just over 1,600 square feet. The kitchen, living, and dining areas have an open-play layout that opens out to a small terrace. The building has a rooftop terrace that has a private jacuzzi, barbecue area, and views to Centro. The community also has a shared swimming pool. This list price is $225,000 and you can see the full listing here.

San José, Costa Rica
Listing price: $185,000

Often overlooked by the visitors who are in a hurry to get to the beaches, San José offers a big-city experience that shouldn’t be missed. 

The capital of San José may not be the first destination you think of when considering a base in Costa Rica. Most visitors land at the international airport here and head straight out of the city to the coast. And there are plenty of lock-and-leave condos on the popular Pacific coast, to be sure.

But don’t dismiss San José outright.

It’s a center of art, culture and entertainment, with several well-regarded museums; a national theater known for the world-class performances of its orchestra, opera company, and more; and trendy neighborhoods with innovative gourmet restaurants, chic boutiques, and more.

In the heart of downtown San José, in the centrally located Rohrmoser neighborhood, is this two-bed, two-bath condo. It also has an open-plan kitchen/living area that opens out to a terrace with views of the nearby river and the suburbs of Heredia and Alajuela. The community has a shared pool, gym, a yoga deck and green spaces. The condo also comes with two parking spaces. It’s listed at $185,000.


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

P.S. For more listings of affordable overseas dream homes, click here to follow our Your Cheap Dream Home Instagram account.

Questions and Feedback

Have a question or comment? A destination you’d like us to scout? A city where you own or would like to own a lock-and-leave condo? Share it here. Here’s a question I got from an Overseas Dream Home reader…

Trish C asks: I purchased in a Real Estate Trend Alert deal in the Yucalpeten Resort & Marina in Progreso, Mexico. I’ve noticed that Ronan often speaks about various profitable RETA properties in Mexico and their future potential. Is there a reason why he rarely mentions the Progreso area?

Ronan says: Hi Trish, a huge congratulations on getting in on the RETA deal in Yucalpeten Resort & Marina. This was an amazing opportunity to own in this unique beachfront condo community in the stunning town of Progreso at mind-blowing, off-market pricing.

In answer to your question, I agree entirely. I don’t talk about Progreso nearly enough. In a moment, I’ll explain why. But first, just to update everyone on this RETA members-only deal…

In 2021, RETA members had the opportunity to own luxury condos in Yucalpeten from a RETA-only $209,800. This was a sensational deal.

Yucalpeten is a first-of-its-kind high-end marina resort and beachfront community. It is set to have an exclusive beach and private beach club. The 110-berth marina is already open and operating. Plans called for a pool on the roof with Caribbean views, a spa, gym, and a host of restaurants, bars, and stores…

Stroll out of this community and you have the wide, white-sand beach and boardwalk that fronts the town of Progreso. And it’s a short, straight drive—about 30 minutes—from the beautiful, culture-rich colonial city of Mérida.

This is a stunning community and best-in-class real estate there is now in high demand.

Recently, a two-bed condo in one of the first two finished buildings in Yucalpeten was retailing for $560,000. While this condo isn’t identical to the ones that RETA members could buy (this two-bed condo is slightly bigger), it gives an idea of the demand for condos in Yucalpeten…and the price growth.

Now, why don’t I talk about Progreso and Mérida as much as I should…

Quite simply, because I’ve yet to find another deal there that’s anything like as strong as the one RETA members got in 2021. I’ve been keeping a close eye on developments in both Progreso and Mérida and staying in close touch with my contacts there. I haven’t been to zero in on a deal as good as this…but I’ll keep looking.

In the meantime, Mérida and Progreso remain stunning destinations…places that should be on everyone’s radar.

That’s why I just asked my team to produce a special report on Mérida and Progreso, Own a Colonial Home in Mexico from $126,000.

This report is entirely free to you as an Overseas Dream Home reader…click here to start reading it now.

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