What $300,000 Buys You Around the World
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World

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An estimated five million Americans live overseas, according to the U.S. State Department, with a steadily growing number of affluent baby-boomers at or close to retirement.

The allure of a more laidback, lush lifestyle and lower cost-of-living are easy sells for popular expat destinations in Europe (which has a population of about 1.2 million Americans, according to the Association of Americans Resident Overseas). In Central and South America, warm weather year round and a low cost-of-living are big draws (InternationalLiving.com reports that 1 million Americans live just in Mexico). It's not only baby-boomers adding to the ranks of expats, either. As the world economy recovers from a global recession, companies are once again sending execs overseas, with families in tow.

So how much home can you afford abroad? Here are seven properties for sale overseas at prices around $300,000 (Note: We've done the currency conversion in U.S. dollars as of May 25). Before you consider permanently switching international time zones, you'll need to do some homework:

Contact the domestic branch of the international realty firm nearest you. They'll be able to connect you with real estate brokers in your desired country, who can explain local home-buying guidelines -- from property taxes to converting currency, says Rafaella Pace, a marketing executive with Coldwell Banker Italy. And when you're ready to seriously start looking at properties, take a couple of vacations to the destination you're interested in to make sure you actually like the lifestyle, suggests Audree Mevellec, a real estate specialist with RE/MAX based in France.

Here's a sampling of beachfront villas, downtown apartments and mountain-side homes.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 2 of 8

Panama City, Panama

Courtesy RE/MAX Beaches & City

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Price: $315,000

Square footage: 2,450

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Three full, one half-bath

Kitchen: One full

Located near San Carlos Beach, this home has an open kitchen with granite countertops, a two-car garage and is situated in a gated community. The neighborhood's social center, which is under construction, will provide residents with a pool, tennis court and clubhouse.

A wide range of expats live in Panama -- from young professionals to retirees -- so it's easy to find like-minded people, says Janet Novak, a real estate consultant for RE/MAX Panama City. The U.S. State Department reports that around 27,000 American citizens reside in the country with a rapidly growing number living in the Chiriqui Province in western Panama.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 3 of 8

Fivizzano, Tuscany, Italy

Courtesy of Jackson-Stops & Staff International

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Price: $281,708

Square footage: 1,722

Bedrooms: Two

Bathrooms: One full

Kitchen: One full

As part of a renovated monastery, this two-story, semi-detached stone house offers picturesque views. It also has a living room with an open fireplace, dining room, storage room, terrace and private courtyard.

Italy came in at number 11 on InternationalLiving.com's Quality of Life Index this year, which ranked 191 countries to determine the best places to live. The rich culture and world-renowned food are just a few of the things that make it a prime destination. "[With our] prospective U.S. buyers, most are looking to permanently relocate to Europe, rather than just buy an investment or vacation home," says Frances Petersson, a marketing director for Jackson-Stops & Staff International realty firm. Many of their clients are often interested in homes in Liguria, Lake Como, Abruzzo and Tuscany, she adds.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 4 of 8

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Courtesy of Coldwell Banker Vietnam

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Price: $320,000

Square footage: 1,800

Bedrooms: Three

Bathrooms: Two full, one half

Kitchen: One full, one half

A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath apartment at the Bayview Towers, which is currently under construction, comes equipped with a separate dining area, living room, a study and balcony. The 30-story high-rise building will offer residents a sky garden, three-level shopping center, infinity pool, playground and gym. This property also has up to six-bedroom units available for purchase.

Despite current guidelines that require expats to live in Vietnam or be married to a native before they can buy a home, the country is making strides to increase its international community, says Danny Nguyen, chief operating officer of the Minh Viet Investment Corp. Many big companies, such as the Intel Corp. and Visa Inc., have set up shop here. Cities like Hanoi (known for its cultural scene) and Ho Chi Minh City (which has a thriving expat community) are attractive to tourists and expats, because of the progressive lifestyle, Nguyen adds.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 5 of 8

Fabregues, France

Courtesy of Village Center, Interaview Production

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Price: $264,829 to $308,498

Square footage: 473 to 581

Bedrooms: Two

Bathrooms: One full

Kitchen: One full

The split-level, two-bedroom, one-bath apartments at Village Center Le Domaine Du Golf are situated in a resort community. Studio and one-bedroom units are also available, and depending on the sub-division, residents have access to a swimming pool and golf course. Nearby cities include Montpellier, Lattes and Saint-Jean-de-Vedas.

Popular areas in France for international home-buyers include Antibe, the French Riviera and the South of France, says Audree Mevellec, a real estate specialist with RE/MAX based in France. The weather (which is generally mild during the spring and early-summer) and the income potential from renting out your home in tourist-heavy cities, such as Paris and Versailles, attract many expats, she adds.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 6 of 8

Recoleta, Buenos Aires City, Argentina

Courtesy of Sothebys International Argentina

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Price: $255,000

Square footage: 807

Bedrooms: Two

Bathrooms: Two full

Kitchen: One full

This apartment has a separate dining area, living room and balcony. Many cultural hotspots are located in this area, which is one of the more upscale districts in Buenos Aires City. Popular attractions include the Teatro Colon, home to the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the city's national museum of fine arts.

"Around 60% of our international buyers are from the United States and they represent about 20% of our overall client base now," says Federico Boero, a marketing executive with Sotheby's International Argentina. Boero’s firm gets many requests for second homes in Buenos Aires, Mendoza and the Patagonia and Calchaqui regions.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 7 of 8

Phuket, Thailand

Courtesy of Hunter Sothebys International Phuket

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Price: $291,803

Square footage: 1,722

Bedrooms: Two

Bathrooms: Two full

Kitchen: One full

Situated in the Ao Po gated community, this apartment home comes with an ocean view. The community also offers parking and an infinity pool for residents and is located just 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport.

Some international realty firms, such as Hunter Sotheby's International Phuket, work almost exclusively with non-native clients. "All of our buyers are foreigners, but many are regionally based expats buying holiday homes or retirees, who usually are familiar with Phuket and have been coming here on holiday," says Krista Hunter, a director for the realty firm. A lower cost-of-living and tropical climate attract many people to this part of Southeast Asia every year.
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What $300,000 Buys You Around the World | Slide 8 of 8

Corso Magenta, Milano, Italy

Courtesy of Coldwell Banker Italy

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Price: $267,693

Square footage: 936

Bedrooms: One

Bathrooms: Two full

Kitchens: One full

This split-level penthouse has a study, a newly renovated living room and a balcony. The city has plenty of historical landmarks, including the Palazzo Litta cultural center and the Teatro Alla Scalla opera.

The types of international clients vary depending on the specific region they're interested in, says Gianmarco Cattaneo, a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Italy. "Many of our customers looking in Northern Italy are generally wealthy middle-aged people. Those looking to buy in Southern Italy are most likely older people who want to retire there," he says. Northern Italy is more metropolitan consisting of bustling tourist cities, such as Rome and Venice. Southern Italy is very relaxed with cities like Sicily and Belmonte Calabro and a lush countryside.
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