5 Things You Should Consider When Buying a Property Overseas

Whether you looking to buy an investment house in the USA or a unit in the UK, the whole process can be confusing and costly. This guide will take you through things you should consider along the way.

1. Research

While there is no better research than hitting the pavement, it isn’t always possible. There are a number of websites similar to domain.com.au for each country.

If you are looking in the USA, check out Zillow.com

If you are looking in the London or the UK, check out Rightmove

2. Local help

It really helps to get to know the professional real estate agents, accountants and lawyers in the city you are looking to buy in. It’s impossible to know all ins and outs of buying property in a foreign country. Find local guides you can trust and hit them up for as much information as you can before buying a property house unit.

3. Your rights

A common mistake of Australians buying property abroad is not understanding the property laws of the country they are buying in. This is particularly important in South East Asia. Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, as all have fairly tight ownership laws for foreigners.

Hiring a local legal professional will help you navigate the legal minefield and ensure that your rights are protected.

4. Tax

You need to consider the tax implications of an overseas property well before you buy it. Make sure you talk to your accountant, check the Australian Tax Office website for more information. Even more important are the tax laws of the country you are buying the unit or house. If you earn income from the house, it may be taxable in that country.

Related: Will You Be Taxed on Money You Transfer to Australia?

5. The exchange rate you get really matters

Once you have purchased the property, getting a good exchange rate when you transfer the money for settlement is very important. On a money transfer of $300,000, the difference between a bad exchange rate and the best, could amount to over $10,000.

Compare money transfer exchange rates and fees

The best deal for you

TransferwiseRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$13,987.86Exchange Rate0.7182Transfer Fees$64.16Transfer Time1-2 DaysLearn MoreTotal (AUD)$13,987.86Rate Updated less than 3 mins agoGO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7182 will cost you $13,987.86 which includes a fee of $64.16

About TransferWise

Transparency and an easy online experience are the 2 things that set TransferWise apart from the banks and other money transfer companies. If you prefer to bank online, you'll like TransferWise. Setting up an account and making a transfer is very easy. They are also very clear on the exchange rate and fees you'll pay before you make a transfer. Click here for the full review

Pros

  • Clear and transparent exchange rates fees
  • The online experience is first class
  • Like the banks, they are regulated by ASIC and registered with AFSL
  • Constantly bringing out new innovative products

Cons

  • There are currently a number of global currencies they do not currently support
  • Limited support based in Australia
  • Percentage based fee can add up on very large transfers

More trusted money transfer options

Provider Exchange Rate Transfer Fees Transfer TimeTotal (AUD) Rate Updated less than 3 mins ago
TorFXRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$13,993.67$5.81 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7146 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time2-3 DaysGet discounted rate $13,993.67$5.81 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7146 will cost you $13,993.67 with no fees.

About TorFX

TorFX are particularly good taking care of customers over the phone but using their website isn't the easiest to use. They don't charge a flat fee which is great but it's important to consider their exchange rates. While, they don't offer fantastic rates for small amounts under $2000 , TorFX offer exceptionally good exchange rates for larger transfers to the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe.

Pros

  • No transfer fees
  • Highly competitive exchange rates
  • Secure transfers with authorised
  • Assigned account manager
  • 24 / 7 Assistance
  • Available range of transfer options

Cons

  • Limited exotic currencies available
  • Exchange rates on small transfers aren't great
  • Website experience could be better
XERead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,004.93$17.07 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7140 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time2-3 DaysGet discounted rate $14,004.93$17.07 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7140 will cost you $14,004.93 with no fees.

About XE

XE is a well known and trusted name in the money transfer industry. With over twenty years experience, they now help 33,000 people and 2,000 businesses make transfers each year. Over 60 currencies can be transferred with XE and they pride themselves on the free tools and transparent rates they offer. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • Well known and trusted brand.
  • Very informative website. Extensive information on currency and money transfers.
  • XE App is available on both iOS and Android. It allows you to see the interbank rate for over 100 currencies.
  • XE themselves charge no fees for international money transfers.
  • Offers support for both individuals and businesses when it comes to international money transfers.

Cons

  • Cannot pay via cash or cheque. Must pay via bank transfer, BPay is also accepted in Australia.
  • Maximum transfer amount is $500,000USD.
  • While XE compares more than 100 currencies, there are only 60 that are available for money transfers.
WorldFirstRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,007.74$19.88 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7139 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time2-3 DaysGet discounted rate $14,007.74$19.88 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7139 will cost you $14,007.74 with no fees.

About World First

World First was founded in 2004 in the UK and has grown rapidly with offices now in the U.S., Canada and throughout Asia. They consistently receive strong customer reviews and in a recent study, 98% of their clients said they would use them again.World First have a strong online offering, particular for businesses selling online. They do provide local support as well with offices in Sydney. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • No fees and great exchange rates
  • Safe and secure transfers
  • Regulated by ASIC and registered with AFSL
  • Great for personal and business payments

Cons

  • Does not accept BPAY, credit card, cheque or cash
  • Limited currencies available
HIFXRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,007.74$19.88 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7139 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time2-3 DaysGet discounted rate $14,007.74$19.88 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7139 will cost you $14,007.74 with no fees.

About HiFX

HiFX are one of the biggest money transfer companies in the world. Their parent company Euronet is listed on the NASDAQ and recently acquired Xe.com. They are particularly useful for individuals doing regular transfers overseas. HiFX provide competitive exchange rates no matter how much is being transacted. Their $50 minimum transaction size and flat fee makes them a great option for any international payment. Locally, HiFX have Australian offices in Sydney, Melbourne and are expanding to the remaining capital cities. Click here to read the full review

Pros

  • Fantastic bank - beating exchange rates
  • Low fees for transactions less than $10, 000
  • No fees for transactions of $10, 000 or more
  • High security transfers regulated by ASIC and FMA
  • Fast and easy for personal or business accounts

Cons

  • Only electronic bank transfers accepted
  • Limited exotic currencies
WorldRemitRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,034.15$46.29 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7128 Transfer Fees$3.99 Transfer Time1-2 DaysGet discounted rate $14,034.15$46.29 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7128 will cost you $14,034.15 which includes a fee of $3.99

About WorldRemit

WorldRemit are particularly good for transfers under $10,000 to destinations across Asia, Africa and South America. Sending money online is significantly easier than using companies like Western Union or Moneygram and their exchange rates and fees are clear and transparent. With 2 million users, WorldRemit has a focus on improving access to remittances for the billions people worldwide who don’t have access to banking. Because of this, WorldRemit has a number of ways to both make and receive transfers. They concentrate on servicing individual needs as opposed to businesses. Click here for the full review

Pros

  • They have a great network in Asia and Africa and number of receiving options like cash-pick up or bank transfer.
  • They are clear about their exchange rates and fees
  • No minimum amount

Cons

  • Maximum transfer sizes for every transfer
  • No support for business customers
  • They are not licensed to provide financial advice.
OFXRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,112.33$124.47 more expensive Exchange Rate0.7086 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time1-3 DaysGet discounted rate $14,112.33$124.47 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.7086 will cost you $14,112.33 with no fees.

About OFX

OFX (formally known as Ozforex) is the largest Australian owned money transfer company. It launched in 1998 and grew rapidly until finally listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2013. OFX excels in 2 areas – Online experience and customer service. The company was born online and continues to develop easy, intuitive products. While OFX customers do most of their transactions online, they are backed up with exceptional customer service.

Pros

  • Better exchange rates compared to banks
  • Highly safe and secure transfers
  • 1 - 2 days delivery times for most countries
  • Quick response time
  • Fantastic customer service

Cons

  • Credit cards, cheques and cash are not accepted
  • Transfers to Thailand can take up to 4 days
  • Fees for transfers smaller transfers
ANZRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,442.52$454.66 more expensive Exchange Rate0.6924 Transfer Fees$0.00 Transfer Time1-2 DaysGet discounted rate $14,442.52$454.66 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6924 will cost you $14,442.52 with no fees.
ANZ International Money Transfer is a secure and fast way to transfer money overseas.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers
  • Safe and secure
  • No fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking

Cons

  • $12 fee for transfers under $10 000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates
  • 24 hour hotline not available
Commonwealth BankRead ReviewTotal (AUD)$14,666.16$678.30 more expensive Exchange Rate0.6824 Transfer Fees$12.00 Transfer Time1-2 DaysGet discounted rate $14,666.16$678.30 more expensive GO TO SITE
So, sending USD 10,000 to United States at an exchange rate of 0.6824 will cost you $14,666.16 which includes a fee of $12.00
Commonwealth Bank provides secure and easy transfers to over 200 countries and more than 30 currencies.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers+ Easy transfers
  • Security guarantee covers any losses from unauthorised transactions

Cons

  • $6 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • $12 fee for transfers under $1000 via Internet banking
  • Poor exchange rates