Transferring money into Argentina to buy a flat


Feb 18, 2020
Hi everyone, I hope you're all doing fine in this relatively tough time. So essentially I'm in the process of buying a flat in BA, and I'm having a bit of trouble understanding how the money is actually transferred to the owner. Some of the estate agents (and friends) have told me that many Argentines prefer cash, but obviously for foreigners it's pretty difficult for us to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, whether in USD or in pesos.

None of the owners of the flats that I've been looking at have overseas bank accounts, so I would either need to bring suitcases full of cash or transfer the money somehow to their arg. bank accounts. Am I correct in understanding that all wire transfers into Argentina are converted to pesos at the official rate? I have a Banco ciudad account but I'm pretty sure it's a basic free one so iirc there's a monthly transfer/withdrawal limit. I am not from the US, and Western Union does not allow me to transfer money from the account in my home country to my arg. bank account (only cash pickup).

Interestingly enough, one estate agent told me that I could pay in pesos if I wanted at the blue rate of $8x, which is far lower than the WU rate at the moment!

In short, what are your experiences with getting large sums of money into the country, whether through wire transfer or in cash? Thanks a lot for your help in advance!

PS. for those that are interested, I'm deciding between 3 flats and the owners of all of them have offered to knock 10-20% off the original listed price without me even asking, YMMV.
Three years ago, Argentine banks could receive money from the US as long as it was transferred between identically titled accounts. Make sure that your USA account and your Argentine are under the EXACT same name, down to the middle initial if any. If not, you could open a new USA account titled just like your Argentine one.

This regulation may have changed since then. Better go to a reliable accountant here, and ask for advice on the subject. Nothing having to do with banks is easy here.

Best of luck....!
Hmmm... interesting. Just FYI i'm not from the US but I think my bank (citibank) routes all international transfers through US citibank anyway. I'll ask them as well as banco ciudad about the limits, although I'm pretty sure I won't get a definite answer lol.
The Real Estate agent that is eager to make a commission should have the best answer..!
Hold your horses and will get better prices..
You should be able to transfer money from an overseas account to a bank in Argentina, even if its not your bank, but you will pay a percentage fee, and, yes, it will be at the official rate. You need an escribano, not an "estate agent". Find an escribano and they will help you thru this. The legal way is to do a transfer, it used to have to be within 24 hours of closing, but that may or may not still be true. Then, there are cuevas who will transfer money for you as well- not 100% "legal", but done all the time. You transfer money to an account in the US or europe, and then the cash, in pesos, gets delivered to you in BA. Both of these are common enough, a good escribano will be familiar with them. Closing takes place either at a bank, or sometimes at a place like a special room your escribano books in the Collegio de Escribanos. Actual cash, either in dollars or pesos or a weird combination of both (but most perfer real US 100 dollar bills) will be run thru counting machines multiple times, many papers signed, as well as signing in gigantic leatherbound ledgers. I just did this in December, but we actually privately transfered some money, and carried some in, but 12 years ago did a direct transfer from Charles Schwab to Banco Piano- had an account a Schwab, but Piano just hosted the closing. Its complicated, and you cant rely on the estate agent- they have a much smaller role here than lawyers and escribanos do.
Thanks for the advice about the escribano! I'd heard about them before but I had no idea they could help with transferring money in from overseas. You said you transferred some money in December - did you do this via a cueva or do you know if there's a way where you end up getting USD cash in Argentina directly (thus avoiding getting hit by the official peso rate)? Understandably I'm a bit skeptical about using a cueva for such a large sum of money haha.
I believe this is the best time to buy real estate in Argentina for the reason that the US dollar will go down in value in a few months due to rapidly rising inflation in the USA due to the coronavirus and the 6 trillion bailout . Now is the time to use your dollars or any fiat currency to buy something physical ie . properties , physical gold , land , etc etc .

if you can get a good deal here go for it !
Everytime I've used a cueva here to transfer money from US to buy a property, and it's been about five years since the last time, I picked up dollars here, not pesos.
Everytime I've used a cueva here to transfer money from US to buy a property, and it's been about five years since the last time, I picked up dollars here, not pesos.

Huh, so I assume you transfer USD to their US/EU account and they give you USD cash here in person? Could you give a rough estimate of how much they charged in fees so I know if I'm getting ripped off? Thanks!