Clients Living on Roatan
What is life on Roatan like after buying property. Below are just a few of the happy neighbors that bought homes and moved to Roatan.
Doug and Keri Meyer have lived in the Seattle, WA area since 1978. For the last 21 years, the couple owned and operated an international mail order house and restoration shop for a limited production British classic car. Prior to that, Doug ran his own company as a General Contractor/Builder and remodel contractor for over 20 years. Keri was employed at the Power Company as Administrator in the IT department prior to solely operating their current international classic car company.
“What led you to purchase your retirement home in Roatan?” I asked Keri.
“We had been looking for a retirement beach house and/or property to build on for over a decade,” she explained. “We considered Australia, Hawaii, Florida, Thailand, Cambodia, and Costa Rica, as well as several Caribbean Islands.
We love to dive, enjoy nature, and wanted to be a part of and interact in a small community. We wanted a simplistic, peaceful, and inexpensive retirement lifestyle. During our travels, we did not stay at many big tourist destinations, but wandered down every coast line on our own, looking at every beach and getting to know each beach community that seemed compatible to our desires.
And I mean literally EVERY BEACH! After the most recent tropical destination we explored – Thailand – I decided to revisit the Caribbean. While the communities and terrain on the islands off Thailand were ideal, there were aversions to certain meal preparations there that I could not overcome. Really! Gut the fish before it’s grilled please!
“What brought you to Roatan in the first place and when?” I asked.
“Many years ago, we had stopped on Roatan as a cruise ship destination. We hopped in a taxi and went off exploring. We loved the terrain and the snorkeling. The islanders we met were easy going and kind. We could only imagine what the diving was like!
I began investigating “everything Roatan” and Doug zoomed in on Google earth looking at various communities on the island. The more I learned, the more I liked it. There was nothing that I found as a deal breaker. For the month of November 2012, we rented a simple island home (during the rainy season) to see if we could make a go of it. We live in Seattle and are very accustomed to the rainy season but at least it would be a warm rainy season! The rental was exactly what we thought we wanted.
Our first outing that November was to McNab Place Restaurant (known locally as Puky’s) in Jonesville, for the Sunday BBQ. Imagine my surprise when a woman at the next table introduced herself as Liz Riggs. I had purchased a copy of the Roatan Relocation and Investment Guide. Liz had played an instrumental part in the creation of the book. Wow, small world! We asked a million questions and she gave us a million answers. During our stay, we met many of the expats through Liz as well as some of the Calabash area Islanders. They felt like family.
Three days before we were due to leave Roatan, we were drawn into a fortuitous conversation with a local man.
“You like Roatan?” he asked.
“East end is ideal for us,” we answered.
“Find a house yet?” he came back with.
“No, just know we like it here!”
“I have a house to show you ‘cause you will fit right in as neighbors.”
He led us to an unbelievable house on Calabash Cay, not far from the house we had rented. We had visited many homes and taken several boat excursions during our stay but had not discovered this house, nor anything like it!” Keri told me.
“From that point on, we were on a mission. We wanted that house! I had read my share of horror stories about buying in a foreign country, so I was hesitant to make a transaction without real estate representation. I feared that we could invest our retirement home nest egg and end up with nothing.
Not only did everyone I had come to know in the expat community recommended Alex Poirier, from About Roatan Real Estate, it was THE ONLY recommendation I was given. After meeting with Alex and even viewing other properties on offer, we could not tear ourselves away from this house.
Alex agreed to represent us as a Buyer’s Agent. We returned home to put the wheels in motion. It took a year to sell our U.S. rental property which worked in our favor, as real estate values at home were on a steady incline.
We returned to Roatan in May of 2014 and closed on the house we loved so much. Much of the behind the scenes real estate work was almost invisible to us. We had never done anything like this in a foreign country before. But none the less, closing occurred as scheduled, all of the documents were in order including the new survey of combining two lots into one. The seller did not have real estate representation but AARE took care of his end as well to ensure the deal went through and we got our house!
We also became friends with the previous owners, Honduran native Keyto Cooper and his wife, June. Each year, Keyto brings eye doctors and staff to the Oak Ridge Clinic, through Health In Sight Ministry.
They provide much needed medical care/surgeries and apparatus (eye glasses) to the under-privileged people in the area. Doug and I vowed to continue hosting these doctors so that they are able to continue their much needed ministries within the community. Upon returning from Roatan in June of 2014, our next mission is to sell our business and our home and return to Roatan to live permanently. If all goes well, we will call the island home by 2015.”
Debbie and John Malthouse began “Living the Dream” seven years ago. They severed their ties to shore, sold their home on Lake Simcoe, Ontario and moved aboard their 42 foot sailing ketch, Sweet Surrender, in 2007.
Since then, they have been full time liveaboards, navigating the eastern seaboard and poking around the islands of the eastern Caribbean, returning to the US and Canada occasionally to visit family and friends.
John enjoyed a stimulating career as a mechanical engineer for a family business. His work saw him travel to all corners of the globe. Debbie ran her own successful horticultural business and worked as a utility employee.
“What brought you to Roatan in the first place and when?” I asked the Malthouses.
“After 14 years together, Debbie and I finally tied the knot a few months ago. We held a quiet ceremony in the boating community of Stuart, Florida, where we were joined by family and friends from Canada. Roatan was our choice of a honeymoon destination. We were invited to stay with friends who live on the island.
We had watched our friends settle in Roatan and knew how much they loved living on the island. We instantly fell in love with the place and the life-style of the friendly bunch of expats we got to know during our stay. Within days, we were calling it our island,” said Deb.
“We both realized that during all the years we sailed the Caribbean, on some level we had been searching for the ideal location to drop our anchor and settle down. Our search was over,” John told me.
”Did you consider a vacation/retirement home in other countries or Caribbean Islands?” I asked the couple.
“Yes we did,” said John. “But we found Roatan to be the most suitable and upon first impression, one of the cleanest.”
“Did you know Alex or Marci before coming to the island, and if not, how did you find out about About Roatan Real Estate?” I asked.
“We had not met either Alex or Marci. They were recommended to us by friends. We were invited to Alex and his lovely wife, Marilyn’s home for dinner the day after we arrived. We had already an idea that we would possibly relocate to Roatan,” said John.
“Did you consider properties on other parts of the island?” I asked.
“Yes, we did. We spent a week touring every corner of the island but we chose the southern shore at the east end for its protective anchorages, the quieter, laid-back life style, and of course for the deep water slip for our 42 -foot sailboat at the property we bought.
The home came fully furnished, with appliances and everything we would need to begin our island life. In January of 2015, we plan to begin operating Blue Rock Vacations,” answered John.
In keeping with the simplicity of Roatán, Blue Rock Vacations will offer vacationers and fellow cruisers humble and unpretentious accommodations.
The two-bedroom home includes a loft area and a separate 1 bedroom apartment, perfect for rental accommodation.
A 19-foot panga with a 50 horsepower motor was included, complete with a covered boat slip and boat lift. There was a room full of fishing tackle and two kayaks, a tool box full of tools, and cupboards full of dishes, pots, and pans.
We will offer water tours, snorkeling on the reef, fishing excursions, and day sails on our 42-foot ketch. We can
arrange other land or sea adventures as well as trips to popular local restaurants. “
“How much of the year do you plan to spend here?” I asked the couple.
“We will sail Sweet Surrender from Florida to Roatan this November. It has been a long four months since we closed the deal and we can’t wait to begin life in our new island dream home.
While in Florida last year, John completed the mandatory 720 days off-shore boating. He graduated at the top of his class and received his United States Coast Guard
Master Captain License,” said Deb.
“He hopes to fly to the Gulf to work and we will make occasional trips home to visit family and friends. However, we want to spend most of our time here, and hope that our family and friends and come to visit us.”
For more information on Blue Rock Vacations check their website at http://www.bluerockvacations.com/