If you are going to buy a house in a foreign country you will need to have lots of funds in that country’s currency. This is how we converted enough Canadian to U.S. funds.
First we looked on line to determine what the current exchange rates were to move funds from Canadian to US dollars.
Then we checked with our Canadian bank to determine what their exchange rate really was.
It appeared that our Canadian banks added a significant premium to the dollars involved with currency exchange and using a bank to convert funds from Canadian to US meant that the real cost increased by 3 to 5%.
We looked for alternatives.
Ideally speaking had we had enough time to do so we would simply have acquired a certain portion of US funds every week for a long period of time and that would average of the exchange to give us an overall better rate.
But when you go to purchase a home in the United States you often do not have the luxury of time and may need to convert a significant amount of funds immediately.
Once again using on line searching we found the websites of a number of companies that specialize in converting Canadian to US funds. There are many of these companies which you can easily find if you use a browser to search for “currency exchange.
You’ll need a U.S. bank account
Once you have decided where your Snowbird destination is and where you would like to buy a home it will be necessary to open a bank account there.
The bank that we use in Sebring Florida provided us a “golden age” plan for those of us that are in the senior world and there was absolutely no cost for the account, for checks, for a debit card, or to use their services.
Once the US bank account is opened you now have the bank destination to transfer your funds to.
When we had selected the currency exchange company we used initially we transferred only a small amount of funds both to ensure that we knew how to do it properly and to ensure that those funds arrived in our US bank satisfactorily.
We paid the currency exchange company from our Canadian bank in Canadian funds, they converted the Canadian funds to US funds, and then they deposited those US funds in our US bank account in Florida.
We wanted to be absolutely sure we had the process down pat so once again we transferred a small amount of funds. The transfer was, again, flawless.
We understand – not normally being in the business of sending lots of money across and international border – that here are rules and regulations about how much money you can transfer across a border. In simple terms, we believe that you are not able to transfer more than $10,000 at a time. In order to accommodate those rules, we transferred amounts of funds that were close to $10,000 but not reaching that threshold, resulting in the need to transfer a number of payments rather than just one large one, meeting the financial travel requirements and ensuring that we risked limited amounts each time rather than the whole shebang. We are, after all, cautious Canadians.
The company we used charged a per transaction fee of $15. That was our total cost per transaction. They gave us very competitive exchange rates in accord with the internationally published exchange rates on the internet, and those rates were 3-5% less than the banks would have charged us. The company did not mark up the exchange rate at all and there were no other costs to us per transaction but that $15 per.
Once we had our Canadian dollars exchanged and safely nestled in our US bank account we were able then to negotiate with the vendor for our property.
When you embark on this process we certainly suggest that you do a search for the company you wish to use and look for reviews about them. We did so for the company used by us and found only glowing reports.
Good luck with your exchange process.