Where Retirees Can Buy a Home Overseas for Under $100K

Not everyone dreams of retirement in Florida or relocating to a community near the grandkids. Some people are looking for a distinctly different experience during their golden years.

If retiring overseas is on your radar, you can find affordable places to live on virtually every continent. The key is to take your time to explore a country before putting down roots.

“As a nomad and travel journalist, I have known and heard of many who get excited at the idea of owning a property overseas,” said Norm Bour, a retiree living abroad who shares his experiences on his website TravelYounger, in an email. “They ‘fall in love’ with this place or that and don’t think it through.”

Renting a property in a foreign country is the best way to make sure it is a good fit for you. Don’t simply stay for 10 days either. Plan a trip that will last months, if possible, to get a feel for your potential new home’s culture, customs and weather.

For affordable homes that cost less than $100,000, retirees should consider one of these countries:

— Albania

— Argentina

— Bulgaria

— Indonesia

— Malaysia

— Mexico

— Vietnam


While Albania may not conjure up the same images as Italy or Greece, the southeastern European country is located close to both. Running along the Adriatic Sea, Albania draws expats to its coastal cities as well as its capital of Tirana.

“We lived in Saranda in the south, just 20 miles or so north of Greece,” Bour said. “It is part of the ‘Albanian Riviera’ and even though prices have gone up, they are still affordable.”

While living there, Bour spent $500 a month for a two-bedroom, two-bath unit with a full ocean view. His friend recently bought a condo in Albania for around $70,000, with an additional $10,000 in upgrades needed. That property offers a partial ocean view. Typically, inland properties cost less than those on the coast.

One advantage of Albania is that it allows Americans to stay in the country for 365 days without a residency permit. There also are no restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing property in the country.

[READ: 10 Places to Retire Abroad on Social Security Alone]


While Argentina has recently battled runaway inflation, that shouldn’t scare away U.S. retirees. “If expats earn in dollars, then they are immune to the economic trouble in Argentina,” said Carlos Grider, an expat and digital nomad who chronicles his experiences on his website, A Brother Abroad.

This South American country may be a good choice for those seeking a European lifestyle without the high European price tag.

“Few places in the world deliver as high a quality of life as Buenos Aires, which could be described as a combination of New York and Madrid with a warm Latin American cultural undercurrent,” Grider said.

When living in one of the priciest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Grider spent about $1,800 a month on rent and other expenses. However, condos and homes are available to buy for less than $100,000. While Argentine law allows foreigners to purchase property, there are some restrictions. For instance, they may not purchase land near important water supplies or in border security zones.


Bordering the Black Sea, Bulgaria offers some extremely low-cost house options, said Tim Leffel, expat and author of “A Better Life for Half the Price,” in an email. “You could buy a studio apartment in some towns and put it on your credit card.” For those who want a full house, property can be bought for as little as $50,000 in some areas.

However, with the exception of European Union residents, foreign nationals can only purchase the building and not the land underneath it. To buy land in Bulgaria as a U.S. expat, you’ll need to register a business in Bulgaria and then have the business own the land.

Sofia, the country’s capital, is a modern city where retirees will find the most amenities and a diverse international community. Other popular destinations include Varna on the Black Sea and Bansko in the mountains.

[See: The Cheapest Places to Retire Abroad on $1K Per Month]


Malaysia is another country that Bour has called home. He lived in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and spent $650 per month in rent. The city is considered one of the more expensive areas of the country, and retirees looking for bargain housing may want to look to cities such as Ipoh in the northwest section of Malaysia.

Bour’s apartment did not include a full kitchen although it did come with access to a fridge and hot pot. “In many of these ‘cheap’ countries, eating out is so affordable that many do that entirely,” he said.

While Malaysian law makes it possible for foreign nationals to purchase and own property, each of the country’s states sets its minimum selling price for foreign buyers. In most states, that amount is at least 1 million Malaysian ringgits, which is a little more than $200,000 at the current exchange rate. If you want to purchase a home for $100,000, your options may be limited to the states of Perlis and Sarawak as well as strata-titled properties in Melaka and mainland Penang.


If you are looking for an affordable place to retire outside the country, you don’t have to travel far. The United States’s southern neighbor, Mexico, is a popular option.

“You can still find a home near the beach in Mexico for $100,000,” Leffel said. But, he added, it is getting more difficult. “The interior is a whole different story.”

With the exception of cities such as Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, most inland areas are quite affordable for American expats. Queretaro is one place to consider, Leffel said. Located at a high altitude, it may be ideal for expats seeking temperate weather and a vibrant community.

Although cartel violence has been a problem in parts of the country, there are fewer instances of violence against tourists or expats, Leffel noted. He currently resides in Guanajuato where crime has not been an issue during his many years in the country, he said.

[READ: The Best Places to Retire in Mexico.]


Indonesia, located in Southeast Asia, is a popular destination for American expats. Among the country’s many islands, Bali is Grider’s favorite.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Grider built two houses in Bali — one for $50,000 and another for $85,000. “The major perks of owning real estate on Bali is I pay $0 in real estate taxes each year and there is a very strong vacation rental market,” Grider said. “So when I leave for six months, I can rent out my home for three to four times my costs.”

The catch is that foreign nationals can’t technically own land in Indonesia. To get around that restriction, Grider entered into long-term leases for 50-year periods. The process of finding property and leasing it can be involved. According to Grider, finding a trusted Indonesian lawyer to draft the necessary paperwork can be helpful.

Before even reaching that step, though, be sure to spend enough time in the country — preferably a year — to experience all the country’s seasons. Nusa Dua and Sanur tend to be particularly popular with retirees. To the north, Amed and Lovina are quieter, with fewer Westerners and lower prices.


As in Indonesia, foreign buyers can’t purchase land in Vietnam. But they are allowed to purchase property while on a tourist visa and can obtain a renewable 50-year leasehold on the land under it.

“I think the entire country is affordable, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang,” Bour said. He has plans to stay in Da Nang and will be paying $730 a month for a property that is two blocks from the ocean.

According to Grider, retirees should consider properties in Da Nang, Hoi An and Hanoi. Many areas offer modern rentals for $500 a month and that includes all services and utilities, he said. Vietnamese cities are also generally safe and easy to navigate. “Right now, Vietnam is the cheapest developed destination in Southeast Asia.”

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Where Retirees Can Buy a Home Overseas for Under $100K originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 05/22/24: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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