Guatemala Real Estate Offers an Inexpensive, Culture-Rich Investment Option

Looking for a new or second home or a vacation home in a more tropical locale? You certainly are not alone, and Central America and South America are increasingly popular destinations for foreigners looking to relocate to warmer, more exotic climate?

Although it had made headlines during its civil war some time ago, Guatemala does have a lot of the ancient culture and other features buyers want. Furthermore. Guatemalan Real Estate is very reasonably priced.

Guatemala is the Mayan heartland of Central America. The Mayan culture is evident throughout the country through rituals and native dress. Guatemala is not a locale for expats looking for beachfront living. The wildly popular city of Antigua and Lake Atitlan attract a majority of new property investors in the country.

Lake Atitlan is surrounded by volcanoes and villages rich with Mayan traditions, while the well-preserved colonial city of Antigua boasts features such as flora, cobblestone streets and Spanish language schools.

Activities available at Lake Atitlan include hiking to the volcanoes and surrounding areas and yoga and meditation retreats. Under Guatemalan law, foreigners can buy and sell real property with very few restrictions, although foreigners are prohibited from owning land directly next to rivers, oceans or international borders.

Anyone looking to relocate to or purchase property in Guatemala should first be aware that corruption is rampant at all levels in the country, including in property ownership. Property values are reported at a fraction of the actual price to avoid paying hefty capital gains and property taxes.

Despite those drawbacks, Guatemala is becoming one of the top choices for retirees looking to avoid the more “common” destinations like Costa Rica and stretch their pension dollars far beyond what they can afford in the United States or Europe.

In many parts of Guatemala, a property owner can live comfortably on $1,000 to $1,500 per month.

Homes prices in Guatemala are reasonable, as well. A three-bedroom, fully furnished house in Antigua can be purchased for about $250,000. Some homes in the Antigua area even sell for less than $200,000. If you have more money to spend on your Guatemalan dream, private, luxury estates are also available in the $1 million plus price range.

Land only prices range depending on the size of the lot, with some in Antigua available for less than $50,000 and others costing upwards of $300,000.

Like in many countries, home ownership is a good investment as compared to renting in Guatemala, as rental prices are inflated to account for high taxes. Those considering purchasing a condominium in Guatemala need to carefully review insurance and home owners association fees. Another important factor to note about Guatemalan real estate, whether considering a purchase for personal use or investment property, is that property buyers in Guatemala prefer to buy new rather than put work into upgrading or renovating an existing property.

As a result, new subdivisions pop up frequently, leaving the older, in some cases abandoned, neighborhoods to deteriorate rapidly. However, if the neighborhood is still desirable, some of these older properties can be purchased for a song, which may be a major plus for prospective property investors.

For those more interested in night life than lakeside tranquility, Guatemala City would be the place to buy.

Guatemala City is expanding and offers nightlife, bars and hotels, supermarkets and malls. Condominium purchases are most common in the city.