Transferring Money US to Brazil to Buy Apartment

Hello all,

I recently moved to SP and am in the process of finding an apartment to buy (a vista). Given the recent weakness in the Real, I would like to start bringing money from the US despite being at least a month away from actually purchasing an apartment. I called my bank (Bradesco) and was told a nightmare scenario about having to leave the money for months with the Brazilian Central Bank. Can anyone who has recently been in a similar situation comment on how long the process took? Also, did your bank to bank transfer bring competitive rates (today's commercial rate is 4,33--how close to that would you imagine paying?)? I am concerned that the money will in fact be held for months while the exchange rate moves against me, and I am unable to realize the purchase for the target price (in USD). Thank you for any help!

Cafe 1992
My husband and I bought our apartment "à vista" In May 2018, less than two years ago, and had no nightmare scenarios at all; in fact, the transaction was super easy.  Here's how we did it.

We made sure that we had a personal relationship with the management staff at Banco do Brasil, where we bank -- the back office people, not just the tellers.  This is a high-touch society, and nothing beats face-to-face contact.  I was already making a regular monthly funds transfer from my US account to my BB account for living expenses, so I had established a record with the Federal Police and the Central Bank as someone who makes regular, legit transfers, and the office staff knew my husband and me as good customers who were easy to deal with.

When we picked out an apartment and agreed on a price with the seller, we sat down with one of the assistant managers at the bank, told her how much we were going to transfer and when we wanted to close, and asked how long it would take to process the transfer when the time came.  She took down all of the information that would have to be communicated to the Federal Police and the Central Bank (I assume that this communication took place in the background), and she told me that it would be the same as my usual transfers, about two days at that time (the bank has improved its processes, and it's even faster now.).

On Monday, May 14, we and our attorney met with the seller, and confirmed that the paperwork was all in order.  That day, I requested that my US bank transfer the entire purchase price, plus some extra for taxes and fees, and for the renovations we had planned, and swung by Banco do Brasil to tell them that the funds were on the way.  We agreed to come to the bank on Wednesday the 16th with the seller to complete the transaction.

We and the seller met with our banker on Wednesday morning, she went into the BB system and released the funds, and immediately transferred the purchase price from my account to the seller's BB account.  We thanked the banker, then we and the seller went to the cartório and completed the purchase.  Completing the tax registration with the municipality took a few days more, but the time between initiating the transfer and passing papers was two days.

The banks are required by the Central Bank to use market exchange rates;  in my experience, they're close to what you'll see quoted in WSJ or FT, not quite as good as TransferWise, but reasonable.  You'll need to pay IOF, the tax on financial transactions, which at that time was 0.38%.  There was also a bank fee for delivering wire, R$275 in this case.  Any further questions, feel free to ask.  Good luck!

I too bought an condo, but I went via wiring direct to my attorney and real estate company. They took care of any fees and taxes, since I was new and did not know the system.

Texanbrazil :

I too bought an condo, but I went via wiring direct to my attorney and real estate company. They took care of any fees and taxes, since I was new and did not know the system.

I would wire direct to the seller´s account with a contract clause stipulating that the sale is contingent upon receipt of the sale amount to his account. That would avoid problems with US regulators on bank account overseas reporting over 10,000USD (even exceeding for only one day). You can also request your bank to send it in reais to avoid their in-house casa de cambio which is generally poorer in rate. The IOF probably will be paid through the seller´s account. You will pay transfer fees of the condo.

robal

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