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How to Send Money to Buy a Property in Brazil

Sending money to Brazil is way more complex than most foreign citizens expect. Brazil has a history of extreme regulation of monies entering and leaving the country. While banks specializing in currency exchange have processes in place to make easier such remittances, commercial banks such as Bradesco and Itau may take weeks to release funds until clients have provided all the documents required and the currency exchange departments in such banks have taken their time to review the documents.

Paying the Seller

In terms of how to send money when buying real estate in Brazil, there are two main approaches:

1. Send the money directly to the seller

Sending the payment directly by wiretransfer to the seller may be the preferred approach for sending a smaller downpayment (e.g.: 10% of the total price) or if you must send the totality of the payment to the seller in case you are seeking to obtain a permanent residency in Brazil based on a real estate acquisition application. We usually don't like to have our clients paying large amounts to the seller through wiretransfer since most sellers will require payment previous to the transfer of title/registration. Sending full payment to sellers before the closing will put you in a very fragile position since a seller may not necessarily attend the closing later on (e.g.: death of seller between payment and closing date, a seller who decides not to sell the property as contracted, or a fraudulent seller)

2. Use a power of attorney to have a lawyer delivering a payment by check at closing

Through a power of attorney you can have a lawyer (or another third party) representing you at the closing. A valid POA would entitle you to transfer the closing funds to the POA holder (instead of the seller). The POA holder can then use your funds to obtain a certified check at the bank and use this certified check for payment during the closing. The advantage of this approach is that the seller won't get your money until the moment that they sign the transfer of title.

3.  Open a bank account in Brazil

Opening a bank account in Brazil would allow you to follow an approach similar to the #2 above without the need of a POA holder. By opening a bank account in Brazil you would be able to transfer your funds from abroad to your bank account in Brazil. You would then issue a certified check at the Brazilian bank and attend the closing in person with your certified check in hand. You would hand the check to the seller only after the seller signs the transfer of title at closing. The downsides of this approach would be the multiple trips required to Brazil (open the bank account, attend closing, etc.)

Banks in Brazil

Regular banks in Brazil usually take much longer to process a wiretransfer from abroad than a specializing bank. Banks specializing in currency exchange can review documents quicker and get a wiretransfer released in a few days while regular banks may take up to three weeks in asking and reviewing all sorts of documents from both buyer and seller. The fact that the seller will usually try to process the wiretransfer at their usual local branches in Brazil will cause more trouble since local branches have little to zero experience with international wiretransfers. We usually assist our clients by using our own bankers to expedite the remittance process. Our bankers have been handling our transactions for many years. In addition to assigning high priority to our clients' transactions, our bankers have fewer requirements than a regular Brazilian bank.

Become a Pro in Brazil Real Estate!

To learn all about purchasing real estate in Brazil, check our How to Buy Properties in Brazil guide.

Learn about the advantages of buying real estate in Brazil in our Why Buying Real Estate in Brazil guide. Find opportunities and decide where to buy using our Know Where to Buy Real Estate in Brazil guide.

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