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Foreign Investors: What Do They Need to Know Before Investing in the US
There are no citizenship requirements for buying real estate in the US. Foreigners who are non-citizens can even apply for a mortgage in the US. However, foreign property owners may face complex tax laws compared to US citizens.There are no citizenship requirements for buying real estate in the US. Foreigners who are non-citizens can even apply for a mortgage in the US. However, foreign property owners may face complex tax laws compared to US citizens. There are also certain factors to consider before buying real estate, such as a visa and other requirements. Here’s what foreign investors need to know before investing in property in the US:
Basic Requirements for Buying Property in the US
The following are basic requirements you’ll need to buy property in the US.
* Valid foreign passport
* US visa
* Social Security number or ITIN
* Bank statements
* Financial documents from your foreign bank
* Evidence of reserves
* Tax return
If you’re only visiting the US to buy property but have no intention of staying long-term, you must hold a B-1 or B-2 visa. The B-1 is for business visits, while a B-2 is for tourism. As a B visa holder, you can stay in the US for up to 6 months at a time, which is generally enough time for you to make any major real estate decisions. However, to secure this visa, you must be able to prove that you have reserves or sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay.
Mortgages for Non-Resident Foreign Buyers In 2021, 61% of foreign buyers made all-cash purchases for property. As a foreign national buyer, you certainly have the option to pay all cash. However, you can also obtain a US mortgage without a US credit history. There are US mortgage lenders that specialize in foreign national mortgage loans. To obtain pre-approval, you’ll need to provide additional requirements that demonstrate your ability to make payments on the property, including evidence of assets or savings that can help you make a down payment.
Because you don’t have a US credit history, the US lender will also likely use an International Credit Report. The credit report will provide data that mortgage lenders would typically need to assess creditworthiness. It will reveal your credit history in your home country, property ownership, and property tax. The lender will also investigate public records to identify if there are any liens, judgments, or foreclosures in your name for property inside and outside the US.
Taxes for Foreign Property Owners
The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) may apply to your property purchase. The tax law will impose a US income tax on you should you eventually decide to sell the property or receive income from it. In general, income from US property owned by a foreign national is taxed at a 30% rate. However, there are tax treaties that exist with several foreign countries. And if the treaty applies to you, you might enjoy a reduced tax rate. Additionally, some states may require an additional holdback from a foreign investor when they do sell a property in the United States.
Because of the complexities of investing in real estate in the US as a foreigner, it’s best to work with a reputable real estate company.