One of my favorite shows on television is International Home Buyers. This show travels to different spots around the world and takes you along while an English-speaking real-estate broker assists a buyer (usually American, Canadian, or British) looking for a house to buy in a foreign country. I have already traveled with them through northern Spain, southern Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Belize, and Argentina to name but a few, and the other day I started working my way through their latest location, the Bahamas.
Watching these buyers look for homes in locales other than where they originally come from is a real eye-opener. I have seen them exclaim how beautiful homes are in France and Spain, while I noted that many of these “beautiful homes” had no kitchen other than a wood-burning stove or a cold-water hand pump bringing water to the “kitchen.” (Incidentally, the real-estate broker called that “indoor plumbing.”) Many still had the rotted wood from the original 600-year-old roof of that “quaint” cottage. And yup, that original stone fireplace, dating back to when the house was built in the 1300s, is perfect — just what they were looking for.
After the buyers go back and forth in deciding what location and which style home is best for them, the next segment of the show jumps 4–6 months ahead; the buyers have finished purchasing their perfect home and are now living in it, inviting you in to see the “before” and “after.” In you go to see that the original kitchen with the cold-water hand pump and the wood-burning stove that was “just what we were looking for” has disappeared, and a $75,000 (converted from Euros, of course) top-of-the-line kitchen is in its place. (So much for original details.) I never did find out what happened to the hand pump and wood-burning stove with one cooking plate on top.
Now that we are working our way through the Bahamas, I figured that this is where the fun really starts — beautiful beaches, great weather, gorgeous landscaping. I sat back, ready to see what houses they were going to show our foreign homebuyers, especially since they had a purchasing budget of $1,000,000 to play with.
Our couple of the day wanted to purchase a 4-bedroom, 3-bath home. I said to myself, “Sounds good; with that kind of budget we will see some nice stuff.” The real-estate broker, all excited, brought them to the first house of the day, which, in my eyes, looked little better than a painted shack, and declared, “Here is a beautiful place with 1,600 square feet of space and three and a half bedrooms, listed at $1,200,000.”
I sat up and looked at this place that I could not have even given away in the Five Towns if I offered a monthly allowance to go with it. Instead, I listened to the real-estate broker go on to tell them that although there was no eat-in kitchen and no dining room, there was a lovely large patio, and eating outdoors was more preferable anyway — as long as you had a nice canopy in case of rain. The couple nodded (as if they agreed) and worked their way through the rest of the house to check out the bedrooms. The master bedroom looked to be no larger than possibly a 9×12 room. The half-bedroom had enough room for a single bed and a little walking space next to it, plus a window. As they continued to plod through the rest of the house (it was so small it did not take more than five minutes), the real-estate broker brought them to a ladder attached to the balcony situated on the second floor, and they all climbed up to a flat area on the roof where he declared, “Can you believe this view? It is worth the asking price of the house alone!”
The couple agreed and bought the house!
I have decided that I must find this guy and bring him here to sell all the homes that nobody wants. It will be mind-boggling to see at what prices he’ll decide to list them all!
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.