Buying property in the USA

Hi,

can a foreigner buy property in the USA?

If so, is it complicated? What is the process of purchasing a property in the USA?

Any tips for buying property, such as a check-list of items to verify ?

Thanks in advance for participating!

Christine

Absolutely foreigners are permitted to buy property in the United States!  It may require a few additional steps in the process but it's not difficult to do.  What I recommend is that you work with a realtor in the geographic area in which you wish to buy who is educated in the process.  I am trained as a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), have a Transnational Referral Certification (TRN), and work for a company here in Florida that belongs to the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.  I can help you if you wish to buy in Northeast Florida (beautiful beaches, great weather!) or I can put you in touch with a qualified realtor anywhere in the world.  Just sent me an email and I will be happy to help you any way I can.  In the US, it doesn't typically cost buyers to work with a realtor.  The costs a buyer would incur have to do with getting a mortgage (unless you're paying cash) and the closing documentation required at the time of purchase.  And - the realtors I would refer you to help people buying properties in all price ranges - from small to large.  Prices remain low and inventories are substantial, so now is a smart time to buy.

By the way, it isn't a complicated process if you're led by someone knowledgeable.  As far as a checklist, there are variables involved depending on where you buy, the type of house you buy, if you need a mortgage, etc.  Again, I'll be happy to walk anyone through the process or otherwise help in any way I can.

Nancy

Hi Nancy!

Thanks for your help ;)

Armand

Hello!

First and foremost, when working with a Real Estate Agent, I would follow the list:

1. Hire Real Estate Agent - does not get paid till the day of closing on property
2. Set you up with a mortgage company for pre-approval process.  Any outstanding issues, I would refer you to a Real Estate Attorney to be part of the process.  The attorney will look over the issues and address how to resolve the issues
3. Once approved by mortgage company and attorney give us the go-ahead to move forward and start looking for a property.

Hopefully this helps!

Jeffrey Johnson

Hi Christine:
I have now lived in USA for close to 30 years.
In answer to your question, it is very easy to buy property in the US for foreigners. All you need is cash. Since the buyer would be a non-resident, I doubt if any bank here would provide a loan.
In summary, this is probably the best time to buy property in the US, since the housing market is at its lowest level in over a decade.
Hope this helps...........Saleem

Foreign residents can buy and own USA property directly, but many investors prefer to own through a holding company, an LLC (limited liability company) usually set up in a tax friendly state like Texas, Delaware, or Nevada. In order to own property and collect rents or proceeds from sales, foreigners need to obtain a US Tax ID number and set up a bank account - both of which are easy once you have your LLC. Further, an LLC provides liability cover along iwth asset protection, and generally is considered the best for tax efficiency. The LLC is a very simple holding company with you as the owner and title to all property is purchased in this name.

Having American property in a holding company also allows you to easily sell, pass through inheritance, or bequeath your portfolio (or part) without having to transfer the actual property title, likely avoiding taxes and fees.  It also avoids probate complications in the event of the demise of the owner.  You really should not consider buying real estate in the USA without forming an LLC; it is simple and something that can be accomplished in a few days.

[Moderated]

Hi Christine

I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information. Here please find the basic answers to your questions:

Christine: Can a foreigner buy property in the USA?
Paola: YES, you can.

Christine: If so, is it complicated? What is the process of purchasing a property in the USA?

Paola: Here is the basic process that I like to explain with a decision tree.

First Question: Are you buying with cash or do you need to finance?

Cash: If you are buying with cash, you need to be able to transfer the money from your country to USA through a banking institution.

Finance: If you need to finance, you will need a mortgage broker who will explain you the options that you might have based on your purchasing capacity and status (immigration status).

Second Question: Purpose of the purchase, is it for you or as an investment property.

Personal use: If the property is for you, you need to identify where do you want to live (LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION) Explore culture, weather, and things that are a MUST for you, like beach access, rural vs urban, etc.

Investment: If you are looking for an investment property, you need to look for something that can give you a high ROI (Return on your Investment). Low purchase price, low taxes and maintenance and high rent.

Once you decide the purpose of your purchase, you can start looking online for properties that you like, find a local agents next to those listings and contact them directly with your questions.

Christine: Any tips for buying property, such as a check-list of items to verify?

Paola:
-    Find a local real estate agent.
-    Start a relationship with the agent and clearly explain what you are looking for and the method of payment. Indicate if you are planning to visit the properties or if you are doing everything from your country.  Once your local agent knows what you are looking for, he or she will email you options based on your needs and from there you will start the “hunt”.

Let’s say that you liked a property and that you want to move forward with the transaction.

1) You will make a formal offer with the purchase price and terms (your agent will do that for you).

2) Once your offer is accepted, the timeline to close the transaction starts, and you will be under contract. The date when both parties accept the offer is called Effective Date.

3) Usually during the next 3 days, you will need to deposit your escrow money. The escrow money is cash money that will be deposit in an escrow account (usually the account of your title company). This escrow money will be credited at the end and is use as a way to show good faith from both buyer and seller. Buyer, because this money shows that you are a serious buyer, and seller because they will remove the property from the market until the transaction it's done.

4) Inspection Time: Usually 10 to 15 days from the Effective Date. During this time you are supposed to check the physical aspects of the property and also you can back off from the transaction without any penalties. 

If something appears on the report like a damaged roof, you can either ask for a credit, get the seller to repair the damage or leave the transaction without any penalties.

5) Once you are OK with the inspection report and the time for inspections has ended, your title company will look for the legal portion of the property, they will check for ownership, and good standing of the property with the city. The seller should give you the property clean and free of any liens or open/expired permits.

4) If you are buying a condo or a property inside a gated community, you need to apply with the association and get accepted.

5) If you are buying cash you are pretty much done, and you are good to close. If you are financing, your bank will request an 6) appraisal to verify the value of the property based on the market price and determine if they will give you the money, if everything goes well, the bank will fund the loan and you will close the deal.

I know! A lot of information, but I hope if was clear enough for you to make a decision.

***


Good Luck!

Moderated by Priscilla 2 months ago
Reason : no free ads here please
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Anyone can buy and own property in the United States, regardless of citizenship. There are no laws or restrictions on a person of any foreign nationality who can own or buy a home in the U.S.

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