Foreign buyers are taking advantage of the high inventory, weak currency (US dollar) and the appeal of owning a home in the USA. Statistics show that the sales from foreigners who are buying homes in the country is up from $66.4 billion to $82.5 billion in 2012. These statistics come from the records of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) who are keeping tabs on the international home buying activities in the country.
In Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, more than half of their real estate activities can be attributed to buyers from other nations. They are taking advantage of the foreclosed or short sale homes of debt ridden Americans. It certainly supports the industry through this tough times – bringing in money from the outside and sustaining our struggling yet steadily recovering economy. These foreign buyers are benefitting from the high valued properties they are acquiring at low prices. Not only that, they have successfully protected their money from their own economies by investing in another.
If you are an aspiring foreigner home buyer, here are the things that you need to know.
Choose the Right Agent
Do not just look for any real estate agent. Get one that had a previous client just like you. With the huge contribution of foreign buyers in the real estate market, you can expect that a lot of real estate companies have dealt with international home buyers. But regardless of that, choose one that has the most experience.
The best way to do this is to get a referral. The Guldi Group is more than happy to assist you for any real estate concern. Even if it is in an area that we do not cater to, we can help you get in touch with reliable agents there.
It also helps to look at authority websites like that of the NAR. They have listed agents who specialize in assisting foreign nationalities in getting a good home in the US. There is a special certificate known as the “international property specialist” that you may want to check out. If the agent you are communicating with has this certificate, they are best in assisting foreign buyers like you. They usually travel abroad to meet up with clients or promote their business so you can also check out the local real estate community in your area for referrals.
Ask For Referrals (Professional Network)
When you find a good real estate agent, they usually have a network of lawyers, accountants and mortgage lending companies whom they can vouch for. Get in touch with them because you may need their professional help in the future. Despite their referral, feel free to conduct your own due diligence to see if you really want to work with them.
Apply for a Mortgage
Most of the foreign nationalities who have bought properties in the US usually pay in cash to avoid complicated processes. However, not all foreign buyers do this. You can apply for a mortgage loan if you do not have the cash to pay the property in full. You can take advantage of the low interest rates in mortgages just like the rest of the Americans recovering and buying new homes. It is true that the lending companies offering loans to foreigners are limited, but they do exist.
Be Prepared for the Requirements
To get a mortgage approval, you are expected to pay 30% of the home price as down payment. That is bigger than the 20% that is usual for Americans but considering the risk of you being far from the jurisdiction of the lender, it is understandable. As foreign buyers, an account with the local bank is required – this is where you will deposit the down payment.
Apart from that, the lender will ask for proof of sufficient income, reference letters from banks and credit companies, bank statements and proof of identity. A visa is not necessary but it will depend on the nationality of the buyer. A copy of the passport will also have to be submitted.
Do Your Research
Lastly, you need to research on the insurance and property rates before finalizing on the home that you will purchase. Make sure that everything is in order before you close a sale. Property taxes often come as a shock to foreign buyers so best to get the surprise out of the way as soon as possible.
If you are a foreigner wanting to own a home in the US, get in touch with the Guldi Group. We have agents on standby to help you acquire a high value property in the best communities in the country. Just give us a call and we will be happy to be of assistance.