Let me start off by wishing you all a Happy New Year! A fresh, clean slate to be filled with another year of memories and adventures. And moreso, to thank you for stopping by the otherwise, quiet NoMad Luxuries. Perhaps quiet would be an understatement, which truthfully makes me sad because writing has always been one of my greatest passions and why I initially created NoMad Luxuries. But, that’s the thing about being a writer. You’re at the mercy of your own voice, or more commonly, the lack thereof. I struggle with finding my voice, consistently that is. Partially due to a lack of time to think, to be inspired, to simply be and other times, for no real reason at all. And then there are times, like today, where I feel a resurgence of my voice, a free flow of words and thought and ideas that it’s hard to get them down on paper fast enough.
I have to say, I feel incredibly optimistic about 2019. And while I’ve said that about other years, this year may be the first, in many, that I actually feel it. Deep down in my bones. Terrified, but optimistic – a combustible combination that sets ideas into motion.
I briefly mentioned on instagram of my upcoming plans to buy a property in Greece, a long-standing dream of mine. I also promised to document the process on the blog. Today, the beginning of a fresh new year, couldn’t be a better opportunity to start. So, here we go…
Where’s your head at?
My therapist asks me this question every Wednesday at 1pm and let me tell you, the answer is never simple. Let me try to wrap this fully-loaded question in a nice and neat package for today. My immigrant, Serbian grandparents that raised me, made their humble money in real estate. With no education or experience, language barriers and in a new country, they were able to build a portfolio of several properties that gave me everything I have today. For that, I am forever grateful. I spent my childhood knocking on tenants’ doors on the first of every month waiting for the rent check. Other times, helping pull weeds from their lawn’s in the Summer. I’ve always been around real estate and it’s something that has interested me. This past year, I even went as far as getting my real estate license – simply to be informed.
Which brings me to the next step, purchasing an investment propety(ies) in Athens. I currently own two properties in Chicago and this will allow me to finally get on foreign soil; where my feet so desperately miss. I am currently looking at purchasing two. One of which I’ve found and am pretty dead set on and the other, still struggling to narrow down options on size and neighborhood.
Why Greece? Why Athens?
Yes, yes the economy is still recovering and that may even be embellishing the grim situation. Baron Rothschild said that “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets”. For whatever insignificant reason, that quote has resonated with me for y.e.a.r.s. There’s really no place to go but up and my “light” reading the past 6 months has been on the Greek economy, the projected tourism forecast and articles after articles on Greek tourism. Not exactly my ideal night of reading economics after a full day’s work, but it had to be done, folks. Unfortunately, I’m not a fortune teller and frankly, learning as I go in this entire process. This could be in fact the worst idea I’ve had, or the best. Time will tell. For now, I’m trusting a gut feeling on this one.
Put all of that aside and it simply comes down to, Greece is home. But you were born and raised in Chicago? What do you mean home? That word has haunted me from childhood. Home. Often times there were too many homes, which confused me. While other times, no place felt like home and the rest of the time, stuck somewhere in limbo between the two.
Athens? For a myriad of reasons, but it happens to be one of my favorite cities. So many tourists simply skip over Athens and head straight to the glitzy islands. I get it, but Athens has so.much.to.offer. Restaurants, culture, history, art, a resurgence of past and present coexisting. If you know where to go, Athens will quickly become a city you love, too. My goal is to really introduce you to Athens. Eventually it will feel like an old friend you’ll always want to go back to.
What do you need to buy international property?
This really depends on the country you are looking into – each has their own set of laws. For Greece, it’s been incredibly helpful that I am an EU passport holder (dual-citizen), which allows me to purchase property much easier than someone who isn’t. Greece, among many of the other Mediterranean countries, I’m looking at you Portugal, is now offering a golden visa initiative where if you invest in a property of 250k€ or more, you will receive Greek residency. In other words, that means visa-free travel in the European Union. There’s a huge influx of Asian investors buying up properties in Greece, mostly to get their deflating ¥ out of the country. I asked my realtor, tell me where the Asians are going. If they’re buying, I want to know where it is!
I’ll make sure to share more logistical details as I learn them myself!
Where is this $$$ coming from?
My intentions are to be completely transparent here and on a topic that makes me, and let’s face it, most of us incredibly uncomfortable: $$$. Am I a millionaire? Negative. I do spend like one far too often, though. I’m a lavish leo, baby, what can I say? I inherited my childhood home, obscene taxes and all, when my grandparents passed, and I have kept that home for over a decade. I was a 19 year old student with no income. But I refused to let my grandparents hard work go to waste, so I took odd jobs, graduated university early and went to work so that I could afford to keep the home. Finally, I found amazing tenants who now want to call this their forever home.
This is a sensitive topic for me…mostly because this is truly the only place I’ve considered home. It’s hard not to get tied to physical places when you are really missing the people that made it home. In reality, I have nothing physical that ties me to my past when I sell this home and that’s why it’s been incredibly difficult to part ways. I’ve held on, white-knuckled, for over a decade, but I’ve finally come to peace with selling. Truthfully, it’s going to be a teary-eyed closing when the sale goes through. I know that my grandparents intentions were not to have this home hold me back, but quite the opposite. To have it serve as a tool and resource to help me achieve my own dreams. Perhaps that’s why I’ve dragged my feet for so long. Because I didn’t want to sell without a clear path of how I was going to create something bigger and better for me and my future. I finally feel that what I’m about to embark on is not only following my dreams but also honoring my grandparents’, and for that, my heart is at peace.
Yes, I have emotions and feel, people. A surprise to most, I’m sure.
What are you going to do with these properties?
Logical next question! Ah, yes. So what are you doing all this for, anyway? Well, I have always been taught that real estate makes for great passive income and I really hate paying for someone else’s mortgage. Ya feel me? Equity is where it’s at for me. But also, these properties are going to be a part of The NoMad Collection. A carefully selected and designed handful of global boutique residences.
Whaaatttt? Short term rentals, meets good design, concierge services and an elevated approach to the home away from home. Sure, I have more up my sleeve and I won’t bore you with the whole gambit of my executive summary, but you get the idea. I have an idea. A vision and it’s big, per usual. I’m excited and a nervous wreck and I’m aging myself significantly in this process but I hope when this all comes together, we can all thoroughly enjoy it. Together. In Chicago and in Athens.
What are the next steps?
I’m booked and headed to Greece in 2 weeks to pay a visit to my dad, attend a wedding and also scope out all of the properties I’ve been inquiring about from afar. Found a great realtor by accident, and happen to love his Western approach to customer service. He responds to my emails within two hours. I’ll also be attending the B&B Guest Conference in Athens to learn more about the short-term rental market in Greek tourism. Several meetings have been scheduled with people I’ve connected with via LinkedIn from the tourism and hospitality industries. Ideally, I would like to secure 1 or both of the properties before I leave to start the process. I will have to fly back to close, so you’ll be seeing lots of Greece on IG until this settles. But, who’s complaining?
Did I mention I technically have no idea what I’m doing but I’m following my gut, the little I learned from observing my hard-working grandparents and my creative energy and hoping to learn as I go. I’m not sure how often these posts will be, perhaps as needed and as things unfold. I do hope you’ll follow along, if nothing more than for pure entertainment and moral support for your girl! And maybe, just maybe, this will inspire you to follow a crazy dream of your own. Whatever it may be.