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Advice for future expat

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9/25/2014 16:29 EST

Hi there, my name is Greg, I am a Canadian citizen who has traveled the world in search of the perfect place to start my life. Though I have never been to Chile, all of my intuitions are pointing me there at the moment.
Out of all of the places I have traveled I really think my own province in Canada, BC, is the most beautiful perfect place for me to settle down, start my life and my family, unfortunately, living in BC has lost all of its luster over the last 20 years, with some of the highest costs of living in the entire world, outrageously high taxes as well as taxation without representation, beauocracy up to the eyeballs, even on a civic level, and the highest levels of corruption in government both federally and provincially that we have ever seen with no signs of change for the better in our future.
Please, anybody reading this, correct me if I am wrong on this assumption, but according to my research parts of Southern Chile really resemble BC in a way don't they? Mountains you can snowboard on, not far from the ocean, Hundreds of beautiful islands all along the coast, four seasons where the leaves on the trees actually change colors, snow in the winter, and it never gets absurdly hot and humid like places closer to the equator.
What I am looking to do specifically is to purchase a 40-100acre piece of property, close to snowboarding, close to a lake, or not far from the ocean in southern chile, and begin to develop the land. I would like to have a small hotel/ hostel, as well as a very large space for farms and greenhouses.
What are some important things I should consider before making the trip to Chile?
What is it like for a foriengner to own land and to start a small business in Chile?
How does an expat acquire a permanent residency card or become a Chilean citizen?

9/25/2014 18:27 EST

Hi Greg.

Uff, a lot of questions. I will address just some of your enquires.

1. A group of North American citizens have already started fly fishing lodges and other ecotourism resorts on Southern Chile. Some of them had been very successful trough the years.

2. We have the natural resources, but the clients are foreigners. So, if you plan on a lodge or a resort that may pay well, you need to focus strongly on your market. It means to understand how and where you may find your market niche. That is a research you must start while you live away from Chile. if you want to live out of Chilean customers, they pay much less and travel concentrated in January and February mostly.

3. Otherwise, you could enter in a partnership with an existing hostel.

4. There are properties suitable for your interest in the Patagonia and South of Chile.

5. You can not start a business on your name. But you can do start it on the name of a company, where you maybe the sole owner. However, the signing authority of such corporation must be Chilean or a foreigner with permanent residency. Until some years pass by and you will be able to sign in full.


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9/26/2014 17:04 EST

Thank you very much Socium. That is exactly what I wanted to hear, and I plan on taking all of your advice. Are you currently living in Chile? What has your Chilean experience been like? Where are you originally from?

What does purchasing land involve in Chile? and where do I even begin to look? Trying to find listings through the internet has been impossible.

I'm not even sure which cities to look in... What are some nice southern cities I should do more research on?

If you have the time, I would love to have your ear over skype sometime. It has been so hard to find people who are knowledgeable about Chile.

Im @guerrillagreg

9/27/2014 07:33 EST

Hi Greg,
I moved here to Chile from the Slocan valley in BC. I agree very much with your sentiments-BC has become a place far too expensive with a runaway government who does not even pretend to represent the actual will of the people.
I have seen much of Chile and have decided that southern Chile makes the most sense for me as well.
This is after I moved first to Ecuador from BC. After two and a half years living in Ecuador I am done with that country! I am now trying to sell my house and land there so I can buy a small farm in southern Chile.
Finding real estate here in Chile is often difficult and requires (in my opinion) for you to be here and speak the language rather well. Without the language skills it is still possible to find properties here but often at inflated prices. It pays to have a fluent local person looking on your behalf and/ or helping negotiate a price. Many have been successful without that type of help but it does take time.
Another factor here in Chile is the fact that there is no such thing (as yet) as a multiple listing service, so one must first identify the area you are attracted to and then find an agent who knows the area or has listings in that area. Better yet (after your Spanish speaking skills are very good is to hang out in the area of your choice and talk with as many locals as possible. This sometimes will yield properties to consider that have never been listed.
I am still living in Santiago so that I can more easily find opportunities to work as an English teacher, as my finances are strained and I must await the sale of my property in Ecuador to have funds to buy a place here in southern Chile. I would like at some point to meet with you in person so we can discuss fine details of various parts of southern Chile.
Good luck,
Michael Nisbet

9/27/2014 09:41 EST

1. I had avised foreigners for more than 25 years, so I know cases of success living out of a Chilean business. Also, I know cases were they have slowly extinguished their past savings and finally live out of their earnings from elsewhere.

2. The opinion of the first people is great about Chile. The second group just complain.

3. My grandparents arrived into Chile as immigrants. So by experience, I must tell you that not necessarily the first business you start, it is the final business for the rest of your life. You start blending with the country and start to make your own choices based on your own experience.

4. Why the big sharks on investment are successful when they do business in another country?

a) They hire local Consultants blended with the country.

b) They look through their eyes for new business opportunities. Local consultants know who is who around, beyond the business itself. Most o the time they do not search directly because they can get the business that nobody wants due to reason not shown on the surface.

5. Once they choose the business, they become investors on a local business on three different ways:

A) Many at the start, on a passive manner just as investors, so the begin to learn about the country and its regulation being guided by someone else. but most importantly, they start receiving earnings soon.

B) Another group becomes an active partner on a local business, but not taking the majority of the property, ( like a 20%-30%) so they benefit from the local equity on the company and their management.

C) There are others that like to take the control right from the start, but they got really a lot of money and a big team of proven executives working on the same area of business in another country. So, they move part of this top executives to the local branch. There is no other way to control a foreign company, if you are not already engaged on the same business in a different place.

6. Normally cases A and B mentioned before, wait and learn a few years. So, they can buy more shares of the same company, or they sell them and start a new business after they have already acquired the knowledge about the best market niche locally.

7. Have you been an entrepreneur in the past or basically an employee? The answer to this question is critical for your success. If you want to become independent on a foreign nation it is more difficult than in your home country. However, the guts, the need to survive can transform totally a person. But if this is the case, please hire advice and start associating yourself with a local entrepreneur before you extinguish your savings.

8. Do you want do do the same business where you have experience as businessman or as employee? That is the best for you, as you already know the details of the business. Like prices, costs, state of the art technologies, etc. However, the critical details of business success are dependent from blending with the local market. And many marketing approaches are useless in another nation.

9. Regarding government and bureaucracy, don't take your decision of leaving a country and living in another nation by such reasons. Chile become a few years ago part of OECD countries, so our bureaucracy is becoming slowly as dense as any European nation. On the other hand, it is a benchmark to have more steady policies for a developing nation.

10. Certainly I can advice you on the process of coming to Chile. I was raised and I have lived many years on Southern Chile. I presently live in Santiago.



9/28/2014 22:17 EST

Thank you so much you guys, you rock! I am more excited than ever now to come and check it out for myself. You have really given me the confidence I needed to have to make this decision. I am looking forward to chatting with you more, and Michael please feel free to add me on Facebook and Skype so we can discuss this in more detail.

Facebook: Greg McConnell
Skype: Guerrillagreg

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