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Buying International Property: A Guide

Buying International Property: A Guide

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).


Are you a real estate investor? Then you might want to look into other markets outside of your own country and consider buying international property.

Investing in foreign real estate has benefits, such as portfolio diversification and possible income, albeit the process can also be quite tough.

In this article, we will discuss some important points to help guide and prepare you if you’re buying international property.

Before Buying International Property

It is true that buying international property can open up a lot of opportunities for you, but you have to be mindful of several things before you make a move. Below are some important factors you should first note prior to buying international property:


Red tape is not always the only thing implicated in the buying process. The purchase of real estate by foreign nationals may be expressly prohibited or subject to severe restrictions in several nations. Thailand, for instance, prohibits foreign ownership of land. If you’re set on acquiring a property in this Asian country, the only way to achieve this is to establish a firm that has Thai citizens as major owners.

While it’s also challenging for you to buy real estate in Mexico or Greece, there are Grecian areas where doing so is a bit simpler. Overall, you need a legal agent to purchase a property in Greece, and you need a type of bank trust called fideicomiso to acquire real estate in Mexico.

Country Laws

Each nation has its own specific set of laws which you must look into as it will affect your ownership if you intend to own property overseas. They may have an impact on your purchasing decision as well as trigger later property rights disputes. These fiascos can be avoided or reduced by being aware of the local regulations that apply to your real estate.

buying international property  laws
Know the laws of the country you’re buying property from. Image by jcomp on Freepik

Ownership Rights

Due to its adherence to English common law, the US acknowledges the idea of title as well as the slew of rights it bestows. However, a lot of places follow totally different legal systems. Investors must therefore be aware of the rights that landowners in the country they are contemplating have.

Language Hurdles

The language barrier is one of the most fundamental difficulties in buying international property. The signing of contracts and independently navigating through legal documentation will be tough for buyers who aren’t familiar in the local language.

There are several nations where English is widely spoken, like Mexico. It could be possible to find you an American lender unit that will lend to non-Mexican residents, but they’ll probably still give Americans and Canadians priority.

Foreign Exchange

Anyone who has ventured in forex, or foreign currency, is aware of the specific hazards involved. You’ll need to accept such risks if you want to buy internationally. You will specifically need to manage the variations in currency between two economies as you could suffer huge losses with each financial transaction.

Political Scene

There is political risk involved whenever you make an investment in real estate outside of your own nation. The possible loss of assets, income, or property as a result of changes within a nation is essentially what political or geopolitical risk entails. So, if your property is in a turbulent country, you run the danger of suffering harm or losing money.

Buying International Property: Financing

Foreign real estate acquisitions are not financed by American lenders. Additionally, foreign lenders assess mortgage applications from non-citizens according to certain criteria. When non-citizens approach US lenders, they deal with the same issues when trying to purchase real estate there.

People have different things in mind when buying international property. Some people merely desire a second home or a location to rest outside of the nation. Determining your reason/s for buying international property will help you see the options available to you.

Cash Acquisition

Cash allows you to complete the transaction more quickly and may even result in a reduced final cost. Additionally, the loan application process is avoided, which can take much longer abroad. Buyers who pay with cash occasionally receive rewards like as upgrades, discounts, and more.

Cash is most likely the greatest option for already-constructed properties. You could end up paying more money down the road for a structure that is still under construction or is incomplete. It could be difficult to get a refund if the developer has problems like delays or insolvency.

Foreign Lenders

There are many benefits to lending abroad. They have better in-depth understanding of both national mortgage regulations and local laws. They might also open up opportunities for you to take advantage of better deals and interest rates.

However, it could be hazardous for a non-citizen. It’s possible that you’re paying rates that are substantially higher than what is provided to locals, or you could be a victim of fraud.

Restrictions on non-citizens are frequently put in place by foreign lenders. As an illustration, they can want that you provide proof of sponsorship, a certain amount of income, or a valid residence permit.

buying international property loan
Loan for buying international property. Image by dashu83 on Freepik

Developer Loans

You may be more interested in a property before construction. In that case, you may want to consider a developer loan. These loans help you finance the purchase of a home site, lot, or pre-construction property still in development.

The benefit of these loans is that they typically require little paperwork. Furthermore, there are no life insurance requirements or age restrictions. The financing may even come interest-free.

If you are more attractive to pre-selling properties that are still under construction you might want to think about getting a developer loan. With the aid of these loans, you can pay for the acquisition of a house lot, home site, or unfinished property.

The fact that these loans frequently involve little documentation is a plus. There are no age criteria or other restrictions for life insurance, either. It’s also possible that the funding will be interest-free.

Country-Sponsored Schemes

The Golden Visa program is offered in some nations. These were created with the express purpose of enticing foreigners to purchase real estate inside the nation’s borders. They frequently provide advantages, including instant citizenship, to entice potential buyers and citizens of the US.

One of these nations offering a Golden Visa scheme is Spain, which introduced the program in 2013 and just demands an investment of 500,000 euros.

You could also find affiliates and units of American lenders in foreign nations.

Buying International Property: Taxes

The best course of action is to think about any potential tax regulations before buying international property. Taxes are frequently assessed both when you purchase and sell a home. Similar to US property taxes, you can also be required to make recurring tax payments throughout the year.

Ultimately, you must consider how purchasing a home abroad may impact your tax situation before making a decision.

Buying International Property tax
Image by Freepik

Benefits of Buying International Property

The ability to diversify portfolios is the most frequently touted benefit of investing in real estate. Properties abroad are no different, but there are other factors as well, such as enabling you to stretch your funds, earning profit on investments, and having easy access to local adventures.

Making the Most of Your Retirement Funds

If you stay in the US for your retirement, it could mean putting your retirement finances at jeopardy due to the high living costs. Global cost of living data aggregator Numbeo pegged the average cost of living for a family of four in the US at $3,498, excluding rent, per month. Meanwhile, an individual is estimated to shell out $981 a month for living costs, excluding rent.

There are places where you can relocate where the cost of living is lower, and this is where buying international property could come in. Your retirement fund will last longer and the standard of your lifestyle can also be improved if you stay in another territory where the overall costs are cheaper.

Investment Prospects

The possibility for increased profits plus diversification are some of the main incentives for foreign investment. Rising rental rates and declining cost of living are particularly advantageous for investors in emerging nations. You can still take part in an economy that is expanding even if the market in your native nation is now shaky or sluggish.

But it also carries some inherent dangers, just like any investment. Finding financing may be challenging, and the safety of your investment may be lowered by economic risks, foreign regulations, and other factors.

Experiencing Local

Buying an international property can provide access to many exciting and educational opportunities that you might not otherwise know about.

You can also learn more about the local culture of a specific nation that charmed you by buying property there and going on adventures. Living abroad will provide you access to local culture, from seasonal events to calm daily life.

Risks of Buying International Property

You should exercise caution if you are considering buying international property or you might wind up on the receiving end of a scam. Even unethical international brokerages have preyed on foreigners, misrepresenting the property itself. The predicted return on the investment could also be exaggerated.

Working with a trustworthy real estate agent is crucial for this reason, no matter where you are. You can conduct discussions and get around with their assistance. You can partially avoid fraudulent identities or promises by looking into the history of anybody with whom you interact at work.

To safeguard your security, look for brokers affiliated with recognized organizations. You should also get references, conduct a reverse image check of the listing, and confirm the identity of anybody you speak with.

Buying International Property: Final Thoughts

In general, purchasing real estate abroad has a number of potential benefits as well as risks. However, depending on the nation you’re interested in, your experience will differ. Some may be simpler to traverse than others.

If you choose to buy property in a location with a cheap cost of living, moving abroad can help your finances. On the other hand, moving abroad might not be a good idea if you want to purchase a home in a place where basic needs like food, transportation, and medical care are significantly more expensive than they are in your present location.

It’s a good idea to find out more about how the cost of living in those places contrasts to what you’re currently paying when you’re looking at buying international property for residence since it will help you budget and plan ahead.

Are you interested about investments? If so, you can read our articles such as best investment options for Australian expats in 2021, what are the best investment options for Canadian expats in 2021, what are the best investment options for UK expats in 2022, and how to invest in the S&P 500 from outside America.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.



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