Three things to know to buy a house abroad in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil


Buying a house in Rio de Janeiro has always be my dream. Nothing could have prevented me to do it. Though when I went through the process, I send through unexpected adventures and discoveries. Legally, physically and on a financial point of view. A quick example, my bank tried to make me pay $12,000 additional fees hidden in the exchange rate when I was transfering the money from abroad. Must read before you buy.

Bureaucracy nightmare

Ever heard about the bureaucracy nightmare in Brazil ?

You will have to provide a ludicrous number of documents to buy an apartment. Even your police folder will be screened. If you come from another country, you will have to translate every document with an official translator (i.e. not cheap).

They went to a point, so far, that they created a new concept which is the “Despachante”, someone who will go through collecting all the needed documentation with the government agencies and respective institutions

If you are sending the money overseas and making a large amount of transfer you will also have to register with the local bank.

After reading this, if you are still willing to go through the bureaucracy to buy it you should be aware of two things:


Not all the cariocas are scammers, most of the one I know are perfectly fine, and the majority is honest. But some can be dishonest when when it’s related to one of these 3 branches : Scamming foreigners, Politics, and Drugs. So please, research the seller ang go through the details.


Always verify what are the risk areas around. Not every favela is dangerous but some people sleep better when there is no risk to receive a bullet by mistake in the middle of the night directly in your apartment. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying you should live at a distance from the poors, or any elitist thing but the risk of gunfire is actually pretty high in some places. If you really care about security, you can also check Monte Carlo, but that won’t be the same life.



The 3 firsts points where the most important, I’ll just give an extra advice about the orientation of the sun. When buying a house in a country as wet as Brazil, the morning sun means mold and the afternoon sun means being toasted. It’s up to you after that. It is true for other cities where it’s humid like Rio De Janeiro, but worth mentioning if you come from a dry country.

Transferring the money abroad to buy the house

Now, if you are not living or paid in Brazil, you will have to pay the apartment from a foreign account. Be aware of the high fees your bank will take to buy your house. You MUST go through a broker to understand what you are in for if you want to save $10,000 to $20,000. Though it’s a burden and you will hate it, the best you could do is to compare in a minute the best brokers you can find depending on which apartment you will buy. I don’t know most of the broker.

Cheers and see you in Brazil!

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