Here’s the dope on freelancing: it’s one of the greatest silent revolutions in the history of mankind. While it does change the nature of work and is sure to be the preferred route for working for self, or for companies (on work-from-home arrangements), freelancing allows you to go location-independent. We’ll resist the temptation to hark on location independence for now but think of what happens to real estate demands, property-buying patterns and the changing scope of real estate purchases.
Helaine Olen, of The Guardian, calls this movement “America’s silent freelance army.”
Teresa Wiltz — who also writes for The Guardian — writes that the U.S. is no more a nation of industrial or commercial workers and that one in three workers are freelancers today. In total, there would be some 42 million freelancers without the restraints of a 9-to-5 job, 401(k) plans and any retirement benefits.
What freelancers do have is freedom to move. According to Shane Snow, CCO of Contently and an influencer on LinkedIn, “work is no longer a place.” She also writes that the economics of freelancing are compelling. Add the crumbling markets and rising costs for employment; freelancing is almost an antidote to the present economic situation in the U.S. and most other countries.
Freelancers can typically work from anywhere given that they are self-employed. Unless the nature of work is such that personal presence is a must — gift consultants, wedding consultants, property builders and architects — most others can work off their computers from anywhere in the world.
The global — and virtual — nature of freelancing work enables freelancers to buy property absolutely anywhere in the world, and not just in the U.S. Even within the U.S., the range of properties to consider vastly grows in size since the typical, “I’ll have to live where I work” condition is now irrelevant. So, let’s see what impact freelancing has on real-estate demand:
Suddenly, there are no limits
One of the benefits of freelancing is your ability to earn as much as you like (limited only by the amount of time you have in a day, your productivity, your skillset, among other things). If you are now earning just as much as your last take-home salary or probably more, your choice for real estate buying opens up as far as affordability is concerned.
True, you’ll have heard of the ups and downs in freelancing. Many would make you believe that freelancing is risky. Here’s a secret: it’s actually risker to have a job since you’d limit how much you’d earn and depend on corporate perks, raises and bonuses to make payments. At least with freelancing, you’d have more control on your earnings.
For real estate buying, this simply means more affordability and location-independent options.
The world is your oyster
If you could work from anywhere and practically live anywhere you please, why would you want to stay at any one place? Unless, however, you like to, of course?
For starters, all of the U.S. is open for you to go shopping. Then, there’s the world you could consider. If you think that U.S. isn’t exactly where you’d like to buy your next home, you can look at places such as Malaysia, Colombia, Panama, Belize and many other locations. Not only are these great places to live in, but they are also more affordable while being friendly for foreigners who’d like to invest in property and stay.
The Malaysian My Second Home Program, for instance, is a government initiative to attract foreigners to Malaysia. Buying property is optional but if you wanted to, you could find good real estate deals starting from $160,000. Escape From America features plenty of information for Americans or those from other western countries to many destinations to invest and live.
Your Ticket to second passport
Continuing from the point above, you’d also be able to move to another county entirely and now just buy a home and live there for a while. While it allows you to move to a foreign land, it also opens up doors for a second passport or renouncing your U.S. citizenship (if you’d want to do that). This is the era of the expatriates, digital nomads and global citizens. You could buy homes for cheap in the Republic of Seychelles or Mauritius, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Or live in Saint Kitts and Nevis, a two-island country in the West Indies, and many other places as a direct route to citizenship.
Where do you want to go next?
Some real estate markets are just better than others
While the U.S. is suffering bouts of ups and downs with real estate markets, many countries usually have a premium on real estate and it’s rare to see any massive dip in the real estate uptick. Consider Hong Kong, Singapore, or Mumbai: real estate always comes at a premium in these cities. There could be ups and downs in each of these cities too (all markets have ups and downs), but Hong Kong or Singapore will likely never be a Detroit.
In some developing countries, real estate is almost always a money maker and you’d rarely go wrong with cash down on a piece of property.
As freelancing continues to grow as a trend in the U.S. and elsewhere, real estate demand isn’t related to geography (at least not where you live, if you are a freelancer) anymore. It’s now more to do with cash to invest, opportunities other countries and states within your country provide.
You are no longer stuck to a place. You can invest and live anywhere. If Ohio isn’t your dream state, you could live in California if you wanted to. If the U.S. isn’t where you want to be, you could live anywhere in South East Asia.
If you are a freelancer and if you could be everywhere, how would that affect your real estate buying decisions? What would make you leave and go live elsewhere? Would you consider buying property in markets where you’d almost double or triple your investment on real estate?
Tell us your views.
Frank Pipolo is President of FP Internet Marketing a certified Internet marketing consultant, professional marketing advisor to new home builders, real estate agents and brokers, and writer for WCICommunities, a Florida community of new homes builder. He has more than 20 years’ experience partnering with clients to build their business through development and implementation of track-proven Internet marketing strategies. Follow him on Google+