“I’m 29-years old and I make $125,000 annually, my husband makes $80,000 a year and we have about $60,000 to invest in a piece of property,” said the young woman on the phone. I couldn’t help but smile. This was not the first Millennial buyer I had worked with recently, so I was prepared for the personality. Direct. Organized. Goal oriented, fair and all business.
She explained her husband did not have a college degree, so there was no student debt for him. She had served in the military and military benefits had paid for much of her degree. She currently was working as a project manager for the government and her husband worked as a personal trainer. “No children yet, but we’ll see. We want to be financially stable before we consider a child,” she said. “Right now, I’m not sure we could afford good child care,” she laughed and was obviously being modest.
No Longer Just Baby Boomers!
It used to be, most of my calls were from Baby Boomers, who were looking to purchase retirement property. The questions were mostly easy and relatively non-intrusive. I knew not to ask too much about money, but to let them guide the discussion. We’d discuss grandchildren and how many times they were planning on returning to the States, for birthdays and other family celebrations, but we did not discuss how much money they had to invest. I learned early, for North Americans, that was considered rude.
But today, the Millennials are largest generation ever—eclipsing the Baby Boomers by some five million. They aren’t hesitant to ask the hard questions and are generally more researched than any group I have ever worked with. They know where their dollars go, tend not to have credit card debit, or spend money freely and they are careful about purchases large and small.
Wanting To Fit In
“Why are you considering Panama,” I asked as an ice-breaker. “My husband is from Puerto Rico,” she began, “so we wanted a place sort of like PR where we’d be comfortable, but somewhere not subject to hurricanes and brutal weather. My mother-in-law is so over riding out the storms, I think, on some level, we are buying this for her. It’s also important that Spanish is the official language.”
The simple questions followed. They wanted a beach property with enough room for family and friends and they were open to renting to offset the cost. “We recently purchased our home,” she explained, “and the big selling point was the fact there was a mother-in-law suite we could rent for about $900 a month.” I was impressed and also pleased that I was working with someone who knew rental property wasn’t just about collecting the rent!
Absolute Beach Front Property
I explained that there was a beachfront property, Royal Palm, located about 50 minutes from Panama City that had been selling really well, so the builder was interested in getting the property closed. “I’ve never had such great prices on such a desirable property,” I told the young woman. We chatted about the 70 square meter units that were selling for $175,000, with as little as 10% down. I explained, if she put 20% down, the owner would finance at 4%.
The building, which is a soaring two-tower amenity-filled property, has a few of the much larger front-end units with wrap around balconies still available. These units can be combined with the smaller ones, providing a much larger footprint, with up to four bedrooms. The interest rate on those units can be as low as 0.75%, depending on down payment and location.
In the end, the young woman and I were not able to get two side-by-side units, but I was able to negotiate a purchase of two-units on the same floor. She was flexible and reasonable with a solid downpayment and I just kept working with her to make things happen.
“I can’t believe we got two units” she almost squealed into the phone. “Less than $500 a month mortgage for the next ten years,” she repeated, referring to one of the units. “If I just rent it for a couple of nights each month,” she mused. “My mother-in-law can have her own unit. Unbelievable.”
Being Willing To Consider And Negotiate!
It doesn’t always work out as well as it did for my young investor, but if clients are forthcoming and willing to work, I can usually put together a fair and appealing package.
“Since we live in Houston,” she said, bringing the conversation back to business. “I can get round-trip flights for under $500,” she continued. I was not surprised that she had figured the financial aspects way beyond simply purchasing the property.”
We chatted about property managers who would be able to help with renting the units when she and her family weren’t enjoying the dazzling views over the Pacific Ocean. “Wow, if you had ever told me I would be buying property with an ocean view before my 30th birthday, I would still be laughing.”
I loved hearing the joy in her voice. “My mother-in-law has never been all that sure about me,” she confided. “I think I may go up a few points after her first visit!” I thought about what a totally enjoyable person she was!
Coming To Panama Is Vital
We made plans for her to come to Panama and visit the property, including being picked up at the international airport, taken by helicopter to Royal Palm and being provided a couple of free nights to see how it felt to actually live in the building.
“We drive for Grubhub,” she said, as an aside. “If we have a bit of free time, we can log into our app and see if we get hits. We’ve got it down to a science,” she laughed. “My husband drives and I pick up the food and deliver it to the door. We take pride in getting it to people in record time. We have about a 4.9 rating out of 5.0. With this property, I think we may be checking in more regularly. You can easily pick up a hundred or so dollars each night,” she said.
“Young energy”, I thought. By the time I am finished with a day, I’m not thinking about picking up other people’s food for delivery!! But, it did make me smile, that this new generation, was so organized and eager to fulfill dreams. We could learn a lot from them!!