Buying property overseas

International Home ownership 101


Whether you need to move overseas for work-related reasons or want to purchase a home as a long-term vacation spot, buying property overseas comes with more hurdles when compared to purchasing a home in the U.S. If you want to be prepared for international home ownership, there are several factors that you should take into account when searching for the right home.

Cost of Living

If you want to purchase a home in a foreign country and believe that you’re going to live in the home, it’s important to understand that the cost of living will likely differ considerably when compared to living in the U.S. There are many foreign countries where the cost of living is lower than the U.S., which can be very beneficial if you’re able to maintain a similar salary.

On the other hand, living nearby major cities like London or Paris may cause your expenses to increase from what you’re used to. When calculating the cost of living in the city you’re thinking of moving to, make sure that you take expenses like medical care, transportation, and food into account. By comparing the cost of living in your destination city to the cost of living for the place you currently live in, you should be able to effectively budget and plan ahead.


Another major consideration that you should keep in mind involves the taxes that you will be expected to pay. The tax rules in many foreign countries are stricter than the ones in the U.S. For instance, you might be required to pay a certain amount of taxes upon purchasing a home in another country. The same is true if you eventually sell this property. Residents in the U.S. must also pay property taxes throughout the year. The majority of foreign countries will require similar tax payments at different intervals of the year. Before you decide to purchase a home overseas, make sure that you’re aware of what your tax liability will be.

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Ownership Laws

Many countries place restrictions on the ability for non-citizens to purchase and own properties, which you should be aware of before you attempt to buy a home. The guidelines that these countries have could require you to register directly with the government or apply for a residence permit before you are allowed to purchase a home. If you’re unsure of whether or not special ownership laws apply to you, it’s highly recommended that you get in touch with a real estate lawyer before beginning the buying process.


Financing is a very difficult aspect of buying a home overseas. To obtain a mortgage with a foreign bank, you will likely need to provide a substantial down payment of at least 15 percent. Your mortgage loan will also come with a high interest rate. It’s possible to pay for the home with cash if you have enough on hand. If you want to know how to send money that will assist you in paying for your mortgage, there are several reputable services that allow money to be transferred overseas via the internet. Be sure to double check your options with your bank before purchasing a house.

While buying property overseas is typically a lengthy and time-consuming process, understanding what this process entails should make it easier for you to navigate the issues that usually arise.

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