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How to Buy a Home in the U.S. if You’re Not a U.S. Citizen

AUGUST 1, 2016 . INVEST IN US REAL ESTATE, BUY A US PROPERTY, US INVESTMENT MORTGAGE


If you're from Hong Kong, Singapore, China or even India, the prices of Real Estate have increased beyond the point to where you can maintain a positive yield. That isn't the case in the US. Not all all. However, no one ever said that buying a home in the U.S. as a non-U.S. citizen or foreigner isn't going be tricky, at least on the surface. If you’re wondering whether a non-citizen can buy real estate in the U.S., the short answer is yes, though it’s easiest if you’re paying cash. If you’re seeking financing to purchase real estate in the U.S. as a non-citizen, getting a mortgage is the challenging part which is why Global Mortgage Group ONLY specialises in these types of mortgages.

Buying a House as a Non-U.S. Citizen

Anyone may buy and own property in the United States, regardless of citizenship. Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Indonesia, and other countries in the region focus primarily on the US when it comes to investing in real estate and as there are no laws or restrictions that prevent any individual of any foreign citizenship from purchasing or owning property in the U.S., it is the perfect place to invest for the future.

Besides investment Real Estate, many foreign nationals /non US citizens purchase vacation homes in the United States. There are many wealthy foreign investors who purchase investment property such as multi-unit apartments or condos, single family homes, and even business properties such as shopping malls.

Getting a Mortgage as a Non-U.S. Citizen

Purchasing a house in the U.S. as a foreign citizen is simple if you plan to pay in cash (or having all the money saved to buy the home in one lump sum). If you’re not in the financial position to be able to purchase a home with cash or you find leverage is a better option for you, you’ll need to obtain a mortgage loan to purchase property. This is where the process becomes tricky. Fortunately the Global Mortgage Group's primary focus is on the U.S. market, and it's only focus are these types of mortgages.

Most U.S.-based mortgage lenders look at a borrower’s U.S. credit history to determine their eligibility for a mortgage loan. As a non-U.S. citizen, you don’t have a U.S. credit report, making it difficult for lenders to analyze the risk of loaning you money to purchase a home. That means your lender will elevate your risk factor as a borrower. This doesn't have to be the case. Nor do you have to stay up late at night in Asia calling lenders, brokers and banks trying to find someone that will understand your situation. It may take you longer to find a lender who is willing to work with you, and it may take longer to get approval for your mortgage loan. You might also pay a higher interest rate.

We understand the complexity of analyzing risk, calculating foreign income and alternative sources of acceptable credit verification. We do it all day, every day. It's not difficult if you know the terrain, and in most cases we can find a U.S. mortgage loan for every client.

Implications for Selling a U.S.-based Property as a Foreigner

Eventually, you might decide to sell your U.S.-based property. Before you purchase property in the U.S., it’s good to be aware of the rules and requirements should you decide to sell your property in the future. The IRS requires that buyers of property from foreign citizens withhold 15% of the amount realized on the disposition. If the buyer does not withhold this amount, they may be responsible for additional taxes. The rules surrounding this are somewhat complex but are outlined in the IRS FIRPTA publication, and more information can be found in the International Tax Gap Series.

You should work with an agent you trust, who won't push you beyond what you're comfortable offering or rush you into making a bad decision. Although we do not sell Real Estate ourselves, our network within the Real Estate world especially within the U.S. is not only strong, but also vetted. We are happy to point you in the direction of agents we have worked with in the past.

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