Expat or investing from overseas

19 Replies

Hi all! I'm new to the real estate community. I live in Dublin, Ireland, and I'm currently trying to learn more about investing locally in multifamilies, as well as investing in the US market *from here.* Not easy. Anyone have any guidance or tips? Any ideas? How does investing from a different state differ from investing from a different country (excluding tax issues, which I'm on top of)?

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks! :) 

@Hannah Stern , investing while overseas is doable, but I’d want to know the area very well and have a team in place. Be prepared to travel there a few times a year to check on your properties.

Do you have US Citizenship? That helps a lot.

I would look for more passive real estate strategies. Syndications, turnkeys, notes, and the like. @Charles Carillo hosts a podcast on this, the Global Investors Podcast. Check that out!

@Bryan Mitchell I haven't started looking yet, but I'm from NYC and that's the area I know the best... and I doubt I'll find anything good in that market. I'm familiar with DC, so maybe MD/DC/VA area, but it seems like some of the better deals are out in the mid-west. It sounds like you're saying "stick to an area you know and are comfortable with, if you have to invest remotely," is that fair? Ok. I have more homework to do. Thank you for the reply!

Agree with @Taylor L. that passive investing in a syndication might be the best way to get started in your situation.  If you want to get more hands on and purchase your own properties, suggest reading David Greene's Long Distance Real Estate Investing book.  Good information about finding the right market and forming the necessary team to execute your investing strategy.

Best of luck, Mel

@Hannah Stern

I will ping some of my mastermind group members in that invest while living overseas. Sorry, I do not have any experience in this area. You might want to also reach out to the people in this below forum that asked a very similar question. 


@Damien Pulvino @Marcus Long  

Brothers, could you help Hannah with her question. 


@Hannah Stern , yes, I lived in both Germany and Italy while investing in the US. I stayed with areas I knew well. I traveled back there and bought a few units. I’d much prefer to have units closer to each other as well. It’s a added benefit when you have family and friends in the area that you can visit. 

@Joshua McMillion ~ Thanks for the tag!

@Hannah Stern ~ I am active duty and currently stationed in the UK. Prior to moving here almost two years ago, I had about 15 buy and hold properties. Since moving here, I've done a fair amount of private lending, invested as a Limited Partner in three apartment and mobile home park syndications, currently have a BRRRR going on in Kansas City and a General Partner on a syndication getting ready to close a 100 unit near Tulsa. I'd be happy to share my experiences and the pros and cons of the different strategies from my perspective if you're interested.

We also have a monthly virtual meetup of investors in Europe mostly investing in the U.S., but a few invest in their local market. It is largely military, but there are a few contractors or expats. 

Let me know if I can help in any way. 


@Marcus Long I will certainly take you up on the offer of advice, thanks so much! Obviously, when you're just starting out you don't want to make a load of expensive mistakes. I'm in Dublin so I know the areas around here well enough to get a feel for what a fair market rate is, and what's just taking the p*ss. But I would love to sit quietly in the corner and learn from your virtual meetup investor group, or to pick your brain about investing in the US from overseas! 

How did you start? What books did you read? Did you just run numbers on properties you found online when you were investing from a distance? If you could go back and do it all over, what would you do differently?

Thank you! 

@Hannah Stern  

Not that I recommend the approach, but admittedly I had a few properties before I really started to focus on education, routinely analyzing, and becoming more intentional about real estate investing. I bought my first property in 2004 with my VA Loan, house hacked it, and kept it as a rental when I transferred in 2008. My next couple of properties were somewhat opportunistic purchases near my hometown in 2010 and 2013. In 2016, when I was really just starting to read and listen to content about real estate, I partnered with my brothers and we began to routinely analyze and purchase some buy and holds near our hometown. It is a small, rural area, but at the time that is what we knew and where we had some connections since we were all geographically separated.

When I moved to England, is when I actually I started to scale my investments beyond our buy and holds. I joined a mastermind for active duty and veterans and that is when I was exposed to many other strategies. Initially, most of my investments while overseas were very passive including private lending and Limited Partnership in multifamily syndications (with trusted General Partners that I met through the mastermind). As I continued my education, joined a second real estate mastermind, and began connecting with team members in more populated markets, I returned to being more active through BRRRRs and now as a General Partner on a syndication myself.

I probably read more mindset and business books in general, although I did listen to a lot of real estate podcasts. Long Distance Real Estate Investing by David Greene is a great book for active investors and really the biggest differences in investing from overseas vice another state is mostly administrative (time difference, access to or cost of a notary, if a wet signature is required do you have someone that can sign, etc). I also think that passively investing can be a great strategy if you have the capital to do so and if it achieves your goals, so while I haven’t personally read it The Hands Off Investor by Brian Burke may be a good option.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have surrounded myself with other like minded individuals much sooner. While I have owned real estate for 17 years, the most significant growth has been in the last two since I started attending meetups and joined masterminds.

Feel free to drop me a message if you want to jump on a call and talk through anything in detail or drop me your email and I can get you added to our monthly meetup distro.



Lots of folks do long distance real estate investing from overseas, I’m trying to as well but it is proving difficult due to multiple different factors. 
I have not actually acquired property yet but have had success providing funds for private lending, which is greatly beneficial if one is looking for truly passive and hands off investing. @Marcus Long is definitely a more experienced hand than I with long distance REI and an awesome source of info!

Hi Hannah!

I am in the same boat as you, although ready to make my first purchase now. I live overseas (Chile). I am a U.S. citizen with good credit score and a great W-2 job that allows me to save for investing. I have read many, many books on REI, which have opened my eyes to a lot of good information and tips on all imaginable topics. I second @Marcus Long´s opinion regarding David Greene´s book "Long Distance Real Estate Investing" (fabulous book) as well as Charles Carillo´s podcast (Global Investors). I would also add "The REI Concierge" podcast, that focuses precisely on U.S. citizens -living overseas- investing in the U.S. Real Estate market. After a couple of months listening to the podcasts and reading, I feel I am ready to make my first move.

The one thing I feel I am missing, though, is to participate in groups of like-minded investors (mastermind). I would be happy to join such a group and any other with expat investors that already have experience. If you are interested, let me know and/or if there is any out there (open for new members) I would be thrilled to participate. 

Probably the biggest difference compared with many other people I´ve been interacting in the past months is that I am not that young anymore. I am 50 and without the 30 years horizon before retiring... ;) Still, I am commited to my goals, to this is a fun adventure and am glad I discovered this journey! I admire this community which boosted my learning on REI in a verty short period of time.



Thank you for the kind words @Damien Pulvino ! You are definitely taking the right actions yourself and you're exactly right that there are many doing it. That is why it is so important to voice our goals or what we are trying to achieve, because we often don't realize how many others are doing it or trying to do it until we start voice it. 



Originally posted by @Hannah Stern :

@Andrew Hogan Yeah it seems the most cost efficient way to go is multiple units; that's my ideal. But there aren't a load of apartment buildings near me in Dublin. Definitely a bit more homework to do, but thank you for the guidance! 

 Who says you have to live next to your investments? Investing with a partner, or team of partners allows you to invest from overseas.

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