Scenic canal and colorful houses in Burano island near Venice, Italy

Houses in Burano island near Venice, Italy.

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If you’re thinking of buying property overseas, you’re no doubt excited by the idea of putting down roots in another part of the world – whether it’s relocating to start a new life, or finding a holiday home to escape the constant heat. 

This big life change can be exhilarating but at the same time, there are complexities and expenses that can spoil the experience. Thus, to counter potential issues, here are six things you can do to save money and time when buying property overseas.

There are easier ways to getting the keys to your overseas property.

1) Do your research

While you are encouraged to check out various factors before beginning the process (such as local schools, crime rate, transport and commute to work), there are other factors to consider:

  • Land titles & building permits 
  • The laws around land ownership in the respective country
  • Leaseholds
  • Legal arrangements through spouses and marriage
  • Recent changes to the country’s regulation
  • Property taxes and stamp duties

Make sure you’re up-to-date on these before you begin any process. Local government websites are usually helpful information sources.

2) Plan for post-purchase payments

When purchasing property overseas, it helps to strategise future mortgage and general upkeep payments. To facilitate this, set up a regular transfer plan with WorldFirst Foreign Exchange to secure your exchange rates and minimise currency risks.

3) Lock in rates

If you’re ready to purchase now, but have yet to find your dream property, you can lock in your rate with a forward contract. This is essentially an agreement to sell the commodity at a predetermined price and date up to six months in the future, for a fee. It’s commonly used by people who want to hedge their currency risks if they are anticipating a large foreign transaction, especially for currencies that are less stable.

The great thing about this is that you’ll know exactly how much you’ll get when you’re ready to transfer and know how much you need to save.

4) Avoid hidden fees

It saves to shop around when it comes to international transfers. Many banks are likely to hit you with a transfer fee, whereas WorldFirst does not apply charges to personal international transfers.

In addition, once you’ve secured your new home, setting up regular payments will ensure you’re keeping up to speed with your overseas financial commitments, minus the hassle (and the fine for accidentally missing a payment). 

5) Leave some things to the professionals

Contracts and legal jargon can be difficult enough to understand when they’re in your native tongue; now imagine going through all that but in a different language!

The country you’re looking to invest in will, more than likely, have a main language other than English. Do yourself a favour and invest in a reputable translator to help break down this barrier, rather than attempting to translate important documents through Google.

In addition, hire an estate agent based in your designated country. Not only are they well-versed in the local laws and market, but they are normally obliged by law to inform you of any potential problems regarding the purchase – something you wouldn’t necessarily get buying directly from the seller.

Be sure to employ an independent lawyer too, rather than one recommended by the agent. This will ensure that the person taking care of the really complicated stuff has your interests (and yours alone) at heart.

6) Get started today

If you’re ready to begin the process of purchasing property overseas, WorldFirst is ready to assist with the transfer of your funds.

Unlike the banks, WorldFirst provides you with a knowledgeable and dedicated currency specialist, who will personally guide you through the transfer process, helping you to make the most of your money and save it for your dream property.

Get in touch with a WorldFirst currency specialist today on +65 6805 4380, or visit us at


The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent the position taken by PropertyGuru, and its employees. Information provided in this publication is general in nature and does not constitute professional financial advice. PropertyGuru will endeavour to update its publication and website as needed. However, information can change without notice, and we do not guarantee the accuracy of information in the publication or on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any particular time.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial or investment decision. Before making any decision, we recommend you consult a financial planner or your bank to take into account your particular financial situation and individual needs. PropertyGuru does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this publication or on its website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, PropertyGuru and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission in this publication or on its website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.