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Buying property overseas

Build your overseas property investment portfolio by sending fast, reliable and affordable international money transfers.

If all of your assets and investments are held in the USA, is your investment portfolio really as ‘diverse’ and as safe as you think it is? There are plenty of benefits you can enjoy by investing in foreign markets, and when the US Dollar is performing well, one of the ways you can do so is to buy an overseas property.

As economies around the world go through boom and bust periods, it’s entirely possible to find undervalued properties and snap up a bargain. Alternatively, you could be a non-US resident looking to buy somewhere for your son or daughter to live while they further their education in the USA.

Whatever the reason you’re buying property overseas, you’ll need to consider the tax implications and any real estate laws and regulations surrounding your purchase. Just as important is the exchange rate when you transfer money overseas and choosing a money transfer service that offers reliable and cost-effective transactions.

What is the process of buying property overseas?

The exact process of buying a property overseas will vary depending on the country in which you are purchasing. Each country has its own laws and regulations regarding foreign residents buying property, so you’ll obviously need to abide by those.


For example, if you wish to buy property in Australia you’ll need to gain approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. You can apply for approval online for each separate property you intend to buy and expect to receive a response within 30 days. However, you’ll usually only be able to gain approval when buying a new home or vacant land, as opposed to an already established home.

On the flipside, there are plenty of factors to consider if you’re a non-resident looking to buy property in the USA. As well as tax requirements that vary across state lines, you’ll also have to satisfy a range of other requirements detailed in the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act.

Regardless of where you’re buying property, you’ll obviously need to transfer money overseas to fund your purchase. The first option many people think of to send money abroad is to go to their bank. Your bank is a good place to start — but only to provide you with a benchmark of how much it will cost you to transfer funds abroad.

Banks offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees on international money transfers, and you can usually get much better value for money from online money transfer companies. These providers, such as WorldRemit and OFX, offer superior exchange rates and lower fees than banks, plus they give you the convenience of a secure and reliable online transaction.

Where can I buy property?

You can buy property in countries all around the world, but the best places to purchase a home will vary according to a range of factors. These include the performance of the US Dollar versus the local currency, housing prices, and the laws and regulations surrounding foreign investment in property in certain countries.

For example, the recent financial crisis in Europe has made countries like Spain, Italy and France popular destinations for US property buyers. Not only have property prices fallen, but changes in exchange rates have made purchasing more affordable. For example, during October of 2014, there was a time when 1 US Dollar would have got you around €0.78 Euro cents, so a property priced at €500,000 would have set you back USD $640,000.

In September 2015, however, 1 US Dollar was equivalent to €0.90 Euro cents, meaning you would be able to purchase the same property for USD $555,000 — that’s $85,000 cheaper than it was less than a year ago.

How can I send money overseas to buy property?

As mentioned above, any major US bank will let you send an international wire transfer from your account. You can usually do this online or by visiting your nearest bank branch and supplying your recipient’s bank account details, information about how much money you wish to send and where, and the reason you’re sending money overseas.

Unfortunately, banks don’t offer a good deal in terms of exchange rates and fees, so it’s a good idea to compare the cost of sending a transfer with your bank to the cost of using a specialist money transfer service. These companies, including OFX and Wise, can provide higher exchange rates and lower fees on international money transfers, meaning you get more bang for your buck.

Once you’ve signed up for an online account with a money transfer provider — you’ll need to provide your name, address, contact information, and proof of ID —you can provide the full details of your transaction. Then it’s a matter of transferring funds to the money transfer company’s account, and the provider will then send the transfer to your beneficiary’s bank account.

How will the exchange rate affect my purchase?

The exchange rate you can get when you send money overseas is crucial, as it effectively determines how much buying power you have in an overseas market. That’s why it makes sense to shop around and compare exchange rates between money transfer providers. Even a difference of a cent or two in the exchange rate can make a huge difference to the amount of money that arrives to your recipient, especially when you’re dealing in large transfers — as is usually the case when buying property.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    GiuliaMApril 14, 2018

    If I buy a property in Europe (from the US) and need to transfer money from my US bank account to my EU bank account, which tax forms do I need to file by when?

      JoshuaApril 16, 2018Finder

      Hi GiuliaM,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      The tax form you most probably need to file is Form 114 (for anyone who at any time had a foreign account valued at more than $10,000) or Form 8938 (Required if foreign accounts and combined assets are worth at least $50,000.). We have a guide to help you learn further about these IRS forms.

      Please note as well that whatever the reason you’re buying property overseas, you’ll need to consider the tax implications and any real estate laws and regulations surrounding your purchase. So, it is important that you seek professional advice.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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