Real Estate Tips for People Moving Overseas

Real Estate Tips for People Moving Overseas 05/01/18

More people move overseas in today’s shrinking world compared to even a couple of decades ago, reasons for which remain as varied as before. According to the Office for National Statistics, around 588,000 individuals immigrated to the UK during 2016/2017, and around 342,000 moved out of the country during the same time frame. Shifting base to a new country is no easy task, even if you’ve spent time there in the past, and one of the most challenging aspects is buying a home.

Check Local Regulations

If you’re moving to the UK, you are legally allowed to purchase a property, either to serve as your residence or as an investment. Outside of the UK, though, you may have to deal with distinctly different regulations. For instance, a foreign national in India may purchase property in the country only if he or she qualifies as ‘person resident in India’. The United States, on the other hand, lets foreign nationals purchase property with very few restrictions.

Determine Tax Implications

Buying a home comes with taxes in some form, and these tend to vary from one country to another. If you purchase a home in the UK after relocating here from the U.S., you may benefit through private residence relief upon selling the property. This way you get to avoid paying capital gains tax. Bear in mind, though, that if the selling price exceeds $250,000 and if you’re an American taxpayer, you will need to pay capital gains tax. You may also need to pay property tax annually depending on the country of your residence.

Real Estate Agent Fees

Whether or not you need to pay real estate agent fees depends on the country in which you wish to purchase a home. For example, home buyers in the UK pay no estate agent fees, and sellers typically end up paying 0.75% to 3.5% of the selling price. Using the services of an estate agent to buy a home in the U.S. comes with no fees too. If you plan to buy a home in Germany, expect to pay around 2% to 6% of the home’s value as fees. In India, it may vary from 1% to 2%.

Getting Financed

Can you get a loan to buy a home in a foreign land? This aspect depends on the country you’re moving to as well. Foreign nationals in the UK and the U.S. may qualify for home loans, but you’ll have a hard time finding banks that cater to this segment. In addition, expect to pay up to 40% of the home’s value as deposit.

Paying for the Home

When buying a home in a foreign land, paying for a purchase or making a deposit toward a home loan in a foreign currency is not uncommon. Since these are usually large value transfers, it is important that you select the right service provider. While banks provide high levels of security, several leading FinTech money transfer companies fare equally well on this parameter. In addition, they tend to offer noticeably better exchange rates while charging little to no fees. Some of your options includeCurrencies Direct, TransferWise, WorldFirst, OFX, and TorFX.


When you’re moving abroad, various aspects require your attention, no doubt. While getting your belongings tothe new country quickly is important, it is also vital that you have a place to move all the stuff into once it gets there. Make sure you do your groundwork well, and if you feel overwhelmed by the process consider seeking the services of a professional.