Guide for International Buyers
Purchasing a home is always an important financial decision for anyone, and often involves a complex and lengthy process that can have its share of stressful moments. If you’re an international buyer, plunging into an unfamiliar market can be daunting at best, but if you plan accordingly and work with experts, buying a home can be a worry-free experience.
Preparing to Buy
For those interested in buying property in the United States, it’s recommended to determine first what you will need the property for – pwill it be a long-term residence, vacation home, or an investment? Take some time to also learn how the American real estate market works, as it’s important to note that each state will have different rules regarding the purchase of property.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent
Foreign buyers should work with qualified professionals that can assist them with the purchasing process, particularly someone who has the training and experience to deal with overseas buyers.
You willalso want to seek the services of a real estate lawyer to help with any legal issues or questions you may have regarding taxes, sales contracts, and other documents relating to your purchase.
Looking for your Home
You can start your search for the home you want by looking through various online property listings. Keep in mind that in the United States, real estate listing information is shared by agents through multiple listing services (MLS), which buyers can access in turn by using real estate sites.
In general, foreigners can purchase just about all kinds of properties, from single-family homes and condominiums to duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes. Usually not allowed for international buyer purchase are housing cooperatives, also known as “co-ops.”
Qualified foreign buyers can obtain financing for properties, typically with a 30-40% down payment. Most banks have different requirements, such as having a specific amount like $100,000 on deposit or loan limits of $1 million and more. It’s recommended to deal with major banks that have global operations, as they will be familiar with credit in other countries and even guide you in the U.S. buying process.
International buyers do not need to be present in the U.S. at the closing of the transaction. Instead, they can provide a representative with a “Power of Attorney” that authorizes the representative to close the deal on their behalf.