The Help Desk

Your tough questions. MONEY's smart answers.
Presented by

Should I invest in real estate overseas?

May 11, 2013: 6:30 AM ET

What are the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investments overseas? —DANIEL L., New York City

Direct investment in foreign property, be it a mall or a second home, is a risky proposition. Sure, you could nab greater gains than in the U.S., should you be smart, knowledgeable, and lucky. But noncitizens can face extra expenses and red tape, and back in the U.S., you're subject to complex investment rules, warns Rapid City, S.D., real estate broker and financial planner Rick Kahler. A safer bet is a fund with global real estate holdings. Try SPDR DJ International Real Estate (RWX), a MONEY 70 ETF; it returned 39% in 2012, compared with 18% for U.S. REITs, though five-year results lagged. Keep foreign holdings at half or less of your real estate allocation, which itself should be at most 8% of your portfolio, says Miami planner Jorge Padilla.

—Lauren Gensler

Got a question for the Help Desk? Send it to

Posted in: Investing, Real Estate, Taxes
Join the Conversation
Help Desk

Got a question about your money? We want to hear it! Each week we're answering your questions on CNN, Headline News and

Your email or phone number won't be published; we'll use it to get in touch if we need more information about your question.
Help Desk Video
  • NEXT
    Not enough money in America's 401(k)s
    Despite the surging stock market bringing balances to record highs, the average Fidelity 401(k) account has less than $100,000 in it. That's just not enough. Play
  • NEXT
    Explaining Obama's myRA
    President Obama unveiled a new savings plan for retirement accounts, aimed at encouraging people to start building their nest egg. But how exactly does it work? Play
  • NEXT
    Tricks on how to save in your 20s
    Saving for your retirement in your 20s doesn't have to be a financial burden. Prioritizing your expenses is usually the first step in building a nest egg. Play
  • BACK
    Don't get fooled by Black Friday sales
    Here are some of the tricks that retailers use to make you think you're getting a deal. Keep an eye out for them while shopping this Black Friday. Play
Best Tips
Some of the nation's leading business owners, investors, and thinkers share their thoughts on rebuilding your wealth. More
These strategies can help you manage the challenges -- both emotional and financial -- of helping an aging parent from afar. More
You don't need to be fanatical to get to 780. Those in the know say these moves matter most. More
Featured Newsletters

Tips for saving and spending smarter.

Search This Column
View all entries from this: Week, Month
Help Desk
More help for your career, your investments and your budget.
Powered by VIP.