Should I invest in real estate overseas?May 11, 2013: 6:30 AM ET
What are the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investments overseas? —DANIEL L., New York City
Direct investment in foreign property, be it a mall or a second home, is a risky proposition. Sure, you could nab greater gains than in the U.S., should you be smart, knowledgeable, and lucky. But noncitizens can face extra expenses and red tape, and back in the U.S., you're subject to complex investment rules, warns Rapid City, S.D., real estate broker and financial planner Rick Kahler. A safer bet is a fund with global real estate holdings. Try SPDR DJ International Real Estate (RWX), a MONEY 70 ETF; it returned 39% in 2012, compared with 18% for U.S. REITs, though five-year results lagged. Keep foreign holdings at half or less of your real estate allocation, which itself should be at most 8% of your portfolio, says Miami planner Jorge Padilla.
Got a question for the Help Desk? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.