A Guide to Buying a Property Overseas | Guest Post

This guest post was contributed by iCompareFX.

What gets people to move to the U.S.? In several cases, it is the proverbial “California Dream.” Some get to the country simply by chance and there are those who get to our shores to be with their families. Since the 1980s, the number of immigrants coming to the U.S from Canada has remained fairly steady, at around 800,000 per year.

A considerable number of immigrants from other countries such as Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, and Cuba also make America their home. Besides, around 9 million U.S. citizens live outside of the country. One aspect that connects diasporas from different countries is the need to buy or rent a home. While the latter is usually simple, the former requires paying attention to multiple aspects. If you’re wondering who buys properties overseas, consider this – Indians spent $112 million in buying property overseas during 2016-2017.

Whether you’re coming to the U.S. from Canada or any other country, or if you plan to move out of the U.S., the basics of buying a new home remain the same. For instance, widespread use of the Internet gives you easy means to look for properties that might be of interest, although approaching local real estate agents may work in your favor too.

Real Estate Agent Fees

In some countries, buyers and sellers need to pay fees to real estate agents who work on their behalf, and how much they charge tends to vary from one country to another. In the U.S., only the seller pays commission to the agent, and buyers may use their services for free.

Local Laws

Some countries have stringent laws when it comes to selling property to foreigners. If you plan to buy a home in the U.S., the government gives you almost the same rights as American citizens, although some local laws require additional disclosures when foreign buyers pay for purchases using cash. In addition, you may find limitations imposed by community associations such as condominiums and cooperatives.


No matter which country you plan to buy a house in, taxes will be part of the picture. These can be particularly tricky when property purchase involves foreign nationals, because tax laws of two countries might apply. Not all countries have similar tax treaties with the U.S., so how you will be taxed depends on the country of which you are a citizen. When you sell your American home, you will be subject to capital gains tax.


Foreign nationals in the U.S. may seek financing to purchase homes. However, there is a good chance that you will end up paying a higher-than-usual interest rate. You will also need to make a substantial deposit that may be as high as 40% of the sale price. So, if you are looking at a home that costs $100,000, expect to make a deposit of up to $40,000.

Paying for the House

If you want to pay for your home purchase ahead of time using your local currency, currency exchange rates require your attention. While your local bank might give you the ability to make an overseas money transfer, there is a good chance it will provide less-than-desirable exchange rates. Comparing leading FinTech money transfer companies might lead to noticeable savings, and some of your options include WorldFirst, TransferWise, and OFX.


Buying a home, especially overseas, may be tricky, and using the services of professionals might be in your best interest. A real estate agent, for example, may assist in the search and also guide you through aspects such as local laws and required paperwork. If you plan to buy a home that has been around for a while, using the services of a certified home inspector would also be well advised.

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