Buying real estate in another country can be tricky. The roles of the professionals you will deal with are likely different from what you are used to. Tax laws and financing rules are probably different. If you are from somewhere other than the U.S. and you are interested in buying real estate here, read on to get started. Then email me to figure out the specifics.
Continue reading to learn how to buy property in the U.S. if you are from another country.
1. Keep track of currency fluctuations.
And when your buying power in your local currency increases, make your move.
2. Put Your Money into a U.S. bank account early.
Don't wait till you have found a property and are ready to make an offer to move your money into a United States bank account. If you are not sure where to start to open a U.S. bank account, I am happy to point you in the right direction.
3. Move money between countries wisely.
The best way to move currency between companies is via wire transfer. Avoid using a bank for the wire transfer; instead, use a company like Wise. It's safe and easy to use. If wire transfer is not an option, the next best option is to use a check. Avoid bringing large amounts of cash or using ATMs.
It is also a good idea to know how much money you are allowed to transfer at one time. Some countries, like China, limit the amount each person is allowed to transfer to a foreign bank account.
4. Understand that roles of real estate agents, notaries, and others may differ from what you are used to.
The roles of real estate agents, notary publics, title companies and escrow officers, and other professionals within the real estate business may be different from the roles they play in your home country.
Where many countries have a notary who handles most of the transaction, here the notary's roles are broken down into two different entities - the escrow officer who researches the validity of the deed and handles the closing ceremony (among other duties) and the real estate lawyer who handles the legal paperwork.
In many countries, the listing agent sells only their own listings; in the United States, buyers find real estate with the assistance of a buyer's agent, who has access to every listing in their local Multiple Listing Service. If you have specific questions about my role in the buying process, email me!
5. Hire a reputable local CPA.
Chances are you do not understand all the tax laws regarding income earned and property taxes in the United States. I know I don't! That's why you need a Certified Public Accountant (or a tax attorney) to help you navigate U.S. tax laws.
6. Be prepared to move quickly.
Get your finances in order. Find a property or properties (with my help, of course!) that meet your criteria and make your offer(s). Respond quickly to communications. And don't waste time throughout the process. Be decisive.
If you are considering buying residential property in the United States, whether you are moving here or are looking for investment property, I would love to assist you!
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Carolyn Barnes, Your REALTOR® & Katy Expert