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International Real Estate: An Income Investor’s Dream

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From the Desk of Chief Income Strategist Marc Lichtenfeld: Today is a milestone day for us here at Wealthy Retirement and for the entire Oxford Club.

I am thrilled to introduce you to the Club’s new Real Estate Strategist… Ronan McMahon.

Ronan is an international real estate investor who has been hunting down the best deals around the globe for more than two decades. He is also the founder and editor of Real Estate Trend Alert, one of our trusted partners here at the Club.

I’ve gotten to know Ronan well over the years – in fact, he’s been a featured guest speaker at several of our annual Investment U Conferences – and I can tell you firsthand that there’s no one more plugged in to what’s making waves in international real estate.

To help you get acquainted with Ronan, I’ve invited him to share his criteria, some of the exciting income opportunities he’s unearthed in the past, and why he’s just as passionate about international real estate as he was when he started more than 20 years ago. You can also learn more about him by visiting his website here.

We’re ecstatic to have him on board, and I know you will be too.

– Marc


I pull back the sliding glass doors to let in the sound of the Atlantic waves.

From my terrace, miles of golden-sand beach stretch out in front of me, covered in rolling dunes and dotted along the way with cliffs and coves…

This is about as majestic as life gets. Indeed, Praia D’El Rey, where I have my home on Portugal’s Silver Coast, literally translates to “Beach of the King.”

And I feel like a king every time I’m there…

I have access to an incredible oceanfront golf course… those miles of golden-sand beach… and a nearby treasury of stunning historic towns and fishing villages where I can get amazing coffee and fresh-from-the-ocean seafood.

It’s a perfect home, one of my favorite places to spend time. And here’s the thing: It doesn’t cost me a dime to own there.

The Praia D'El Rey community on Portugal's Silver Coast, where I own an ocean-view condo. This is one of several overseas oceanfront golf communities where I've invested... and seen big gains.

The Praia D’El Rey community on Portugal’s Silver Coast, where I own an ocean-view condo. This is one of several overseas oceanfront golf communities where I’ve invested… and seen big gains.

My whole life and portfolio is real estate. I own almost no stocks, no gold, no crypto. I have no collectible coins, no cellars of fine wines and no classic cars. Instead, I own properties around the world. I travel. I scout for opportunities to invest in real estate globally. And – almost all the time – I make a profit.

It’s my “job,” and I love it. I’m an international real estate investor and scout – one of the few who do this full time. Perhaps the only one.

I’ve done it for two decades now. And I’ll never stop, for the simple reason that the lifestyle opportunities and the gains are too incredible.

Take my home in Portugal…

Here I am teeing off at my home course at Praia D'El Rey. This stunning course is just a stroll from my beachfront home on the Silver Coast.

Here I am teeing off at my home course at Praia D’El Rey. This stunning course is just a stroll from my beachfront home on the Silver Coast.

In 2020, I recommended Portugal’s Silver Coast to members of my Real Estate Trend Alert investment service. And I put my money where my mouth is (as I’ve regularly done with RETA opportunities) and bought my own condo here.

My condo in the golf and beach community of Praia D’El Rey cost me 300,000 euros. Last year, a local real estate agent wanted to list it for 450,000 euros, but I’m not selling. Here’s why…

I only tend to visit my condo in spring and fall. In summer, it’s listed as a short-term rental. And the income I make from summer rentals at this condo more than covers the cost of owning it for the entire year.

A little while back, I decided to clear the mortgage on this condo. But before I did, the rental income I got during peak season more than covered the mortgage, as well as my HOA fees, taxes, golf club dues on two great courses and insurance for the year. I even had money left over for gas and pocket money when I was using the condo.

Opportunities like this are far from rare. They’re available in desirable destinations all across the world. Take the example of my condo in Los Cabos…

Beautiful beaches... the laid-back vibe... it's no wonder the world is coming to Cabo.

Beautiful beaches… the laid-back vibe… it’s no wonder the world is coming to Cabo.

In 2015, I bought a condo in Cabo in the five-star Quivira master-planned beach and golf community through an exclusive, off-market deal I brought to members of my RETA investment service.

The RETA-only price on a two-bed, two-bath ocean-view condo in the best-in-class Copala community in Quivira was $336,156. A few years back, an identical condo two floors above mine listed for $725,000. That’s $388,844 more.

I spend time at my Copala condo each winter. I enjoy the perfect weather, the incredible food, the outstanding golf and the beachside lifestyle…

Then when I’m on the road again, I rent out my condo.

In Quivira, my neighbors are making upward of $3,500 per month renting out two-bedroom condos on six-month or yearlong contracts. I’ve rented my condo in Copala for $3,000 a month.

That was lower than I could have gotten (it was from a very low-maintenance renter who could work around my departure and return dates). But at $3,000 per month, I’m already earning a double-digit gross annualized yield.

Copala residents in the luxurious Quivira master-planned gated golf community enjoy access to stunning amenities like the Casa Club Copala. I've earned $3,000 per month renting out my Copala condo... and I could have earned more.

Copala residents in the luxurious Quivira master-planned gated golf community enjoy access to stunning amenities like the Casa Club Copala. I’ve earned $3,000 per month renting out my Copala condo… and I could have earned more.

Across my international real estate beat, I’m seeing yields like these for owning incredible homes in the world’s most desirable destinations.

And these are the kinds of deals that I scout for and that I bring to my RETA group.

For a deal to cut my muster, I have to see clear potential to double our money in five years. I particularly love deals that offer rapid appreciation and enormous income potential should we choose to rent upon delivery.

I’ve been able to find opportunities like these for RETA members because I’ve been diligently building a network of international real estate insiders for two decades.

I have contacts with best-in-class developers all over the world. These developers know and want to work with my RETA group because of our group-buying power.

By selling a chunk of their inventory to RETA members in an off-market deal, a developer offsets their risk, so they can then go to the retail market with confidence. In return, RETA members get “off-market” rates… essentially discounts that often total tens of thousands of dollars.

Thanks to this group-buying power, we’ve seen extraordinary gains again and again…

  • $125,638 in Caribbean Mexico: In March 2022, RETA members had a chance to get in on an off-market deal at The Village at Corasol, a master-planned beach community in Playa del Carmen. Two-bed condos in The Village that are similar to the ones RETA members could’ve bought at $258,600 later listed at retail for $384,238 – that’s $125,638 more.
  • Gain of 223,000 euros in Spain: In 2020, I brought RETA members an opportunity in a community called Casares Costa in Spain’s Costa del Sol. A RETA member bought a luxury condo here for 327,000 euros. It was sold in late 2023 for 550,000 euros.
  • Boost of $602,885 in Cabo: In 2017, I brought RETA members the chance to own luxury villas in Copala in the Quivira master-planned community in Cabo. One RETA member bought a villa here for $385,115. In early 2024, I saw the same Copala villa listed for $988,000. That’s an uplift of $602,885.

An aerial view of The Village at Corasol in the beach resort city of Playa del Carmen. RETA members have already seen big uplifts from buying here... and I figure condos in this best-in-class community could generate yields north of 14%.

An aerial view of The Village at Corasol in the beach resort city of Playa del Carmen. RETA members have already seen big uplifts from buying here… and I figure condos in this best-in-class community could generate yields north of 14%.

There are lots of great reasons to own international real estate.

You can spend time in the world’s most beautiful places… destinations where the cost of living is often much more affordable than in the U.S.

You can diversify your portfolio, as having a strong stable of foreign real estate can help insulate you against market changes and reduce your exposure to your home market.

And you can buy with other people’s money, as nonresident U.S. buyers can access financing in many countries.

But the No. 1 reason to own international real estate is simply that you can make a lot of money.

That’s why I’ve built a portfolio of income-producing properties from Cabo to Portugal and beyond (I own six condos in Cabo alone).

And it’s why I’m constantly on the road, scouting the world for the next great real estate markets… and the key opportunities in those markets that will see double-your-money capital appreciation and double-digit rental yields.

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