What $300,000 Buys You Around the World

An estimated five million Americans live overseas, according to the U.S.

An estimated five million Americans live overseas, according to the U.S. State Department, with a steadily growing number of affluent baby-boomers at or close to retirement.

The allure of a more laidback, lush lifestyle and lower cost-of-living are easy sells for popular expat destinations in Europe (which has a population of about 1.2 million Americans, according to the Association of Americans Resident Overseas). In Central and South America, warm weather year round and a low cost-of-living are big draws (InternationalLiving.com reports that 1 million Americans live just in Mexico). It's not only baby-boomers adding to the ranks of expats, either. As the world economy recovers from a global recession, companies are once again sending execs overseas, with families in tow.

So how much home can you afford abroad? Here are seven properties for sale overseas at prices around $300,000 (Note: We've done the currency conversion in U.S. dollars as of May 25). Before you consider permanently switching international time zones, you'll need to do some homework:

Contact the domestic branch of the international realty firm nearest you. They'll be able to connect you with real estate brokers in your desired country, who can explain local home-buying guidelines -- from property taxes to converting currency, says Rafaella Pace, a marketing executive with Coldwell Banker Italy. And when you're ready to seriously start looking at properties, take a couple of vacations to the destination you're interested in to make sure you actually like the lifestyle, suggests Audree Mevellec, a real estate specialist with RE/MAX based in France.

Here's a sampling of beachfront villas, downtown apartments and mountain-side homes.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and is a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C.