Welcoming The Digital Nomads

Worldwide, there has been a major shift in the way we conduct business and do work over the past year. Daily tasks and “office” work took a sharp turn, upending the standard office and cubicle culture. A whopping 71% of the workforce in the United States has switched to working from home, up from a mere 20% in pre-pandemic times. The year has proven that work can and will get done, despite location, thanks to digital resources like Zoom, online group chat resources and file-sharing applications.

There has also been a major change in the way corporations are looking at their business model. Remote work wasn’t considered acceptable in the past, perhaps due to fear of loss of motivation and a drop in productivity. Being a Digital Nomad – someone who has a location-independent job and can work from anywhere – takes motivation and self-discipline. This person needs to ignore distractions and truly focus to produce. Corporations have had to shift their mentality in the pursuit of production and employee safety, and that now means that location doesn’t take precedence when it comes to accomplishing tasks.

For those who aren’t tethered to a mortgage or other obligations at their home base, the idea of working from anywhere is quite appealing. Does doing remote work anywhere in the world sounds like a dream? Which beach would you pick as your Zoom background: a digital wallpaper, or an actual beach outside your doors? Would you choose to spend months at a time in one place? Would you be a seasonal nomad? Are you open to year-round remote working? 

 

Digital Nomads Love the Personal Freedom

 

Rachel Jensen, a Digital Nomad from the suburbs of New York, says working remotely has given her the ability and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. Her home base on Ambergris Caye, Belize was mostly home to an expat community of retirees escaping the snow and cold. A few years of living in the tropics has shown her remarkable growth and improvements in reliable Internet and fiber optics. With these changes, Rachel has seen a shift in the demographics. With a younger, more diverse group of individuals moving to the island, there is an entire community of digital nomads populating the bustling Caribbean island. Many opt for a few months before heading elsewhere, while others have stayed for a few years and continue to do so.

Post-pandemic, Rachel has seen a significant increase in the arrival of new faces, and she doesn’t blame these new arrivals one bit! Digital consultations and emails at dawn on the beach sound significantly more tolerable with the prospect of a sunset sail later in the day!

 

Real Estate for Digital Nomad

 

Computer next to pool

 

Investors would do well to capitalize on this new (literal) movement. Forward-thinking real estate investors have noted that corporations might be giving up the idea of large office spaces. With success still guaranteed via the work-from-anywhere model, why keep the office building open? The future is not guaranteed – but as any major global shift has shown – decisions made during major changes like a pandemic often become the norm. In this case, there may be an entire generation of employees who may never step foot into an office building (the possibilities are endless!)

 

Requirements for the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

 

The Truck Stop, Ambergris Caye2

 

In order to accomplish work, a fast and reliable Internet/Wi-Fi connection is absolutely a must. 

For inspiration, a unique lifestyle is a plus. Being able to connect with similar-minded individuals is a bonus, especially in a place where fun activities abound and getting around is easy. If these nomads come from a place that’s often cold and miserable, a warm, tropical location simply makes sense. Comfortable, affordable accommodations, a nice pool, a sense of community – all combine to make the perfect home away from home.

Once provided with these requirements, remote workers often find themselves extending their stay, opting to settle in for long-term. It isn’t a vacation for them, it’s a lifestyle, and they are getting paid while living the dream.

Central America, with its close proximity to the US and significantly lower cost of living, has become quite the draw for Digital Nomads. Tourists already enjoy the perks of short travel time to paradise, but their stay hardly goes beyond 5 to 10 days. Remote workers are extending their stay, opting for months at a time. This extended stay gives them the opportunity to get to know their community of choice, immersing themselves in the local lifestyle and learning about their new home base. Three Central American countries seem to draw such a crowd, and they are Belize, Nicaragua, and Panama.

 

Belize

 

Turneffe Atoll Scuba Diving

 

As the only English-speaking country in Latin America, Belize is often the first choice for someone seeking to make a transition. With the added bonus of dual identity: Central American and Caribbean, Belize offers Caribbean Seas, tropical vibes, adventurous activities both at sea and on land, and a vibrant social lifestyle.

An increasingly popular tourism destination, Belize has also attracted real estate investors over the past decade. In fact, as its tourism industry grew, repeat visitors became a niche market for long-term rentals and thus Belize is in the best position for real estate investment. With the increase in demand from remote workers, your investment dollars can truly grow. Unique over-the-water rental bungalows (starting at $169,900) or branded hotel condos (starting at $108,600) can be yours, with 80% financing available.

 

Nicaragua 

 

Girl With Surf Board

 

Adventure on a budget – with the lowest cost of living in Central America, Nicaragua fits the bill for digital nomads on a budget. Surfing, outdoor exploration, and an unmatched authenticity characterize Nicaragua as the “up and coming Costa Rica”.

Properties in a gated, beachfront community on the Pacific start at under $92,000 with up to 80% financing available. 

 

Panama

 

Panama City

 

Offering creature comforts of home, Panama is the ideal location for a digital nomad that wants familiarity in a different location. Easy residency programs, diverse geography, incredible infrastructure, and established expat communities make Panama an easy choice.

For less than $120,000, investors can own long-term rental properties near the popular tropical highland community of Boquete.

A forward-thinking investor would do well to capitalize on the growing trend of work globalization. Contact us to learn more about investing in rental property to serve this growing demographic; email expat@ecidevelopment.com

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