How Do You Buy a Home in a Foreign Country?

a street with buildings and wires

For many people, their dream is to save up enough money to move to a foreign country and leave behind the cares of the U.S. There are a lot of great reasons to live abroad, with the chief among them being the opportunity to see the world, but there’s much to consider as well.

Moving to another country is far different from moving across town or even moving across the U.S. You will have to come up with a plan and stick with it for your move to go as smoothly as possible. Continue reading to get some tips to help you prepare for buying a home in a foreign country.

Get to know the housing market in the country you’re interested in.

When you decide you want to buy a home in a foreign country, after you know which country, your first task is to learn as much as you can about the housing market in that country. You may find that many countries don’t even allow foreigners to own property, so be sure to look for that in potential destinations.

Since there’s only so much you can learn from reading reports about it, it’s critical for you to find a real estate agent who can show you around and give you an idea of what to expect in your home shopping journey. You may think if you can survive the housing market in New York, you can make it anywhere, but it’s still best to lean on the expertise of someone from that country. Also, there are websites like that allows you to buy and sell land in other countries without even being there.

It’s also imperative to check the foreign exchange rate of the country you’re interested in buying a home in. Your dollar may stretch further or not as far depending on what country you choose, and that could have a huge effect on your purchasing power.

Consider the cost of living.

It’s one thing to buy an investment property in a foreign country, but moving there is a totally different ball game. The main concerns people have are cultural and language barriers, but there can be significant differences in the cost of living.

One of the great things about many foreign countries is they have democratized their electrical industries. That means there are certain countries where you can actually choose between competing utility providers to get the best deal. If you notice your bill is too high or your service is subpar, you have the freedom to take your business to a different energy provider to get a new plan with a more reliable electricity supply and energy rates.

The ability to compare electricity rates and choose your energy provider is definitely a plus for people planning to move to a foreign country to open a small business. You have to worry about the cost of living and the cost of doing business, so the lower the electricity rates you can find for your home and small business, the better. When energy companies compete to provide the lowest electricity rates, homeowners and small business owners win.

Translate all the paperwork before you sign it.

You don’t want to get so swept up in the excitement of becoming a homeowner in a foreign country that you forget you’re a foreigner. It’s critical that you get all paperwork translated to your native language before you sign it. If you sign an agreement you can’t read, you could end up signing papers with predatory contract terms.

You should also reach out to the U.S. Embassy in that country as well. They may not be able to do everything for you, but the embassy could be a great help to you while you’re adjusting to your new home.

There are plenty of advantages and exciting things to anticipate about buying a home in a foreign country. The key is to educate yourself on the market, prepare for the cost of living, and only sign agreements you fully understand. And remember, reach out to a reputable real estate agent in the area.