Whether you have just sold an investment property in China or a unit you bought while working in the UK, the whole process can be saturated with hidden costs. Once the sale closes you’re going to have a big chunk of money that you need to get transferred back to the US and for that, there are a few options.
Transferring money after the sale of a property is no small undertaking. Given the size of the transfer, the exchange rate you get on it is extremely important to the overall cost.
The 3 Most Common Ways to Transfer Money Back to USA
#1 Get a Check
If at all possible avoid this option, unless you have a bank account in the country of sale which will make things slightly easier. Return to the US with a check in a foreign currency and you’re asking for trouble (and fees). Few banks will even perform this service and the ones that will transfer the money and credit your account will likely charge you a laundry list of fees (and there will be a considerable wait period too).
#2 Send the money back to your US bank account
Once the proceeds of your sale have been deposited into your account you can then transfer that cash bank to your US based account.
Seth invests in real estate abroad as a side business. He recently sold an apartment he owned in Shanghai. Once this was completed he deposited the money in his Bank of China account and once there he transferred it to his Chase account. Seth paid close to 1% interest on this transfer, making the transaction cost a few thousand dollars. He made a lot of money on the sale so wasn’t too worried about this.
Most state banks in China — such as Bank of China or Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) — offer international money transfer and foreign currency exchange services. What you’ll be facing in terms of fees is a bank commission (usually around 1%) + telegraph fee (usually $20 to $40) + commission charged by your bank (if any).
#3 Use a money transfer company
If you don’t have time to shop around and find the best deal you can simply go with a company specializing in money transfers such as TransferWise or CurrencyFair. These companies are very dependable and in many cases are quite affordable.
Sometimes you will even find lower rates than major banks — our Currency Shop experts have lots of information about the best way to deal with your international money transfers that don’t involve a bank transfer or a check conversion.