Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Belize from afar

Back at home , the internet becomes our link to our dreams 3000 miles away. As we google Belize, cruise the forums and follow the links to old or dead end web pages, we wonder if our dream will come true.
Then, a couple of weeks after we returned, we received a call from a friend in Corozal. She knew of a couple of lots that were available at Consejo Shores. As luck would have it, I had visited those lots while I was there, so I had an idea of what the lots looked like. I had taken pictures and decided that lot 27 was the one we wanted. Now comes the price.
We contacted the owner of the lots and she was an expat living in Corozal. She and her friend had decided to sell their lots and knew vacant lots in Consejo Shores were at a premium. They had set a price and were pretty firm on what they wanted. Now the price becomes the deciding factor. Do we spend the money now, and get our slice of paradise, or do we take our chances and wait for other properties to become available in the future.
I had done some research and could not find any vacant seaside lots that had been for sale. There were lots that already had homes, but they were out of the price range of what we wanted to pay. Some also had foundation issues and probably would have to be torn down anyway. So a decision looms. We counter offer on the price, and she accepts. We, are going to own property in a foreign country.
The housing bubble is about to burst but the equity in our home is double what we paid for it, so we decide to refinance, pull the money and buy into our dream. Was it a good idea? We'll see. For now, it was a search for the dream and an early retirement to help fulfill the dream.
We refinance our current home in Camarillo to purchase the lot in Consejo Shores. And the dream begins in ernst.
The process of buying land in Belize is not as bad as buying land in the States. A LOT less paperwork. Just get a good paralegal or lawyer you can trust and be willing to wait. And wait. And wait. Things move slowly in Belize, but isn't that why you want to move here? It will get done in two to three months if all the paperwork is in order.
And then it happens. You get a FEDEX from your paralegal. And there it is.... the deed to your dreams.
And now the work begins on how leave life as we know it, pack it up and move to Belize.
I'm a lucky one, in that, a few years after leaving high school and a few college courses under my belt, I apply for a clerk position at the phone company. Not expecting to spend a lot of time there, maybe a couple of years or so, I begin a career that I would have never expected. After a couple of years as a clerk, I took internal classes at my work to improve my chances for a transfer out of this job as a clerk. Again as luck would have it, I received a transfer to the location and outside job I had wanted and so began my career as a telephone install and repairman. What a job. I'm outside, in So. Cal, where it never rains, I get my work in the morning and away I go. Back in the garage by 4:30. I like this.
But Ma Bell changes, each time losing the family feeling I got being employed by them, even though it was a large company. Ma Bell became Pacific Telesis which then became Pacific Bell. After a few years, Pac Bell was bought by SBC which then bought the parent company ATT and 25 years later we are Ma Bell again. But things have changed along the way. DSL and TV. After 30 years it is time to let the young kids take over. Old habits die hard and ATT is headed in a new direction. And soon, so am I.
We saved our money, made a few wise investments and I had a pension after 30 years with the phone company. Is it the right time to retire early? 6 months, a year ago I would have said yes, but at that time I didn't have my thirty years and needed that last year to collect my full benefits. Now, at this time, with the market as bad as it is, it really makes me think if we can make it.
But plans have been in the works for months, and I'm scheduled to leave for Belize in mid November to pick a contractor to build our home. We will probably have to downsize our plans, but the house is designed so it can be built in sections. I don't want to put the dream on hold, so I hope we find a contractor.
Next is all the planning to make it work.

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