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I am planning to buy a house next year, which is likely to cost $500k+. To fund the purchase, I’ve been selling stocks that I’ve acquired or been given by my employer over the course of many years. Everything is split across a few brokerage accounts currently, so I need to transfer it all to one account, then eventually use it to buy a house.

However, I recently realized my account seems to have daily and monthly inbound/outbound limits that would make it impossible to accumulate funds for a large purchase…

Taking Citibank as an example, if I understand correctly their limits are:

  • $100k/month inbound
  • $50k/month outbound

Also CapitalOne checking:

  • $250k limit on cashiers checks
  • $100k limit on “bill pay”

If I look around at other banks, most seem to have limits that look like they would get in the way…

What am I missing?

  • Do I need to call the bank and increase the limits by 5x?
  • Am I expected to write a check for these kinds of transfers? I can’t see any explicit limits in checks.
  • Would a wire transfer still be subject to the limits mentioned above?
  • Do I somehow need to upgrade to some special type of account?
  • Am I expected to split transactions up over weeks or months?
  • Are payments to eg. an Escrow account somehow not subject to these limits?

Ultimately I’d prefer to make these transfers online in the most secure way possible.

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  • So in the case where I’m trying to accumulate all the funds in one place, the “inbound transfer limits” wouldn’t apply to a wire transfer or cashiers check I made to myself?
    – uczrkwon
    Dec 1, 2021 at 1:18
  • Why does the money have to be all in one account? I'm sure the seller will be perfectly happy to take 5 $100K checks instead of 1 $500K one. (And why you'd pay cash when mortgage rates are so low?)
    – jamesqf
    Dec 1, 2021 at 3:34

2 Answers 2

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A key thing to remember: banks have done this before. This sort of transaction is not something a bank will be surprised by and they will have a process for it. When in doubt, ask your bank.

Limits on cashiers' checks are typically flexible; if you need one larger than the limit, you may be asked to do the transaction at a physical bank branch rather than online/phone, or receive approval from a branch manager, or some other process that a smaller check would not require.

Wires are frequently used for mortgages, as well.

The Citibank limits you describe are generally limits on Citibank-initiated transactions. They will not typically apply to a transfer initiated by a different bank; if you do an ACH push from your other institution to Citibank of $1M they are unlikely to reject it, but they may put the funds on hold for a period of time. Again - call your bank well in advance of the transactions and they will be able to advise on their exact steps for all of this.

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so I need to transfer it all to one account

Why? Brokerages are generally capable of electronic transfers and generating paper checks (with sufficient lead time and potentially a handling fee). You have the money, you can make this work to your needs.

Once in planning for closing you can tell your title agent that the schedule of payments will be e.g. $150,000 wired from Broker 1, $300,000 wired from Broker 2 and a $50,000 paper cashiers check from local bank. The title company should have wire or EFT instructions. If any needs to be transferred in escrow a few days ahead so that the transfer is settled and irrevocable before closing, they will work out the timeline, and daily interest in the escrow account should be accounted for at the closing.

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