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How to Buy a House and Real Estate in the US

How to Buy a House and Real Estate in the US


Things to Know About Buying a House and Real Estate in the U.S.

1. Foreigners can buy a house and real estate in the U.S.

You do not have to be a permanent resident in the United States to buy a house and real estate in America. You can also take out a mortgage even though you don't live in the US. Moreover, lender institutions can provide loans of up to 50% of the sales price of a house and real estate to foreigners. However, some basic conditions need to be met. Perhaps, having a deposit account in a private bank in the U.S. might be the most important condition. However, it is not enough to have a deposit account, you should also have at least $ 100,000 in this deposit to buy a house and real estate in the U.S.

Besides, banks often prefer face-to-face interviews with the clients and make it compulsory. Because banks want to know the resources of the assets that customers provided.

Thus, it is clear that the USA is a country with extremely flexible conditions. As we discussed in previous blogs, you can obtain a green card with the EB-5 Investor Program. E-1 Visa or E-2 Investor Visa is the other visa types to invest in the U.S. (For the differences between E-1 and E-2, click here). You may also apply for a trademark or a patent for a product you sell in the U.S. Similarly, as a foreigner, you can easily buy a house and real estate, or property even if you don't have a residence permits.

2. Mortgage Tax Rates Vary by State

Please keep in mind that there is a possibility that you will be able to pay extra tax for the mortgage you use in the US for a house or real estate. However, mortgage tax rates vary by state. For example; it varies between 1.8% and 1.92% of the loan in New York, while 1.1%. in Florida. So, if you get $ 100,000 mortgage for a house or real estate in New York, the amount of tax you'll have to pay will be between $ 1,800 and $ 1,200, the same amount being $ 1,100 if you are in Florida. 

How to Buy a House and Real Estate in the U.S.

3. You Don't Need a Realtor to Buy a House and Real Estate in the U.S.

There is no obligation to work with a real estate agent to buy a house and real estate in the U.S. However, if you prefer to work with, there is no need to worry about the commission to be paid to the real estate agent. Because the seller is responsible to pay the commission. He or she pays the listing agent about 5% of the sales price as a commission. But the listing realtor shares the commission with the buyer’s agent if s/he has one.

There is no mandatory rule determining how the commission should be divided between two realtors, and the fee does not always have to be split evenly. In a nutshell, when you decide to buy a house and real estate in America, you don't have to pay them even if you prefer to work with a real estate agent. The only thing you keep in mind is that your contracted agent should contact the listing agent.

4. Don't Forget to Pay the Annual Tax on You’re a House and Real Estate

Some foreigners who buy a house and real estate in the U.S. may think that they are exempt from this tax because they are not US citizens. However, homeowners in America are required to pay property tax regardless of the owners’ home-country. These taxes are collected by state or local governments and vary by state. Each state determines which local authority can assign property tax, and each of the 50 states has its own criteria. Therefore, these amounts may vary from state to state. For more information about this tax, visit the US Government website and the US Treasury Department.

If you are using mortgage loans, you don't have to worry about tax tracking, because annual property taxes are usually included in the monthly payment in the financed transactions.

However, if you are making house and property payments in cash, instead of taking out a mortgage, do not forget to pay property taxes monthly or annually. 

How to Buy a House and Real Estate in the U.S.

5. You May Have to Pay an Extra Fee for Some Houses and Properties

When buying a house and real estate in the U.S., foreigners should not ignore the fact that different rules apply in different countries. Therefore, when buying a condominium or co-op apartment, remember that you are likely to pay more than the agreed sales price.

An important point:

If you are buying a house and real estate in the US through an off-shore company (only in cash), you may have to disclose your identity in certain situations. In recent years, an order has been made to combat money laundering. This order aims to prevent abuse of people who will buy a house and real estate in the U.S. by hiding their assets or identity.

With this order, US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network obliges to disclose the person who will by a house and real estate in the U.S. through an off-shore company (only in cash), when it exceeds the certain limits in some states.

 Stay tuned for more information about US visas, investment in the US, merchant and investor visas, trademark registration and patents, buying a house and real estate in the U.S.

 You can follow up web site, social media accounts, and blogs in Turkish and English to get updated information and news about these topics.

You can also visit our office directly, e-mail us or phone.

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Practice Areas of John Onal & Associates PC

  • Business Law-Ticaret Hukuku
  • Real Estate Law-Gayrimenkul Hukuku
  • Immigration-Göçmenlik Hukuku
  • Intellectual Property-Fikri Mülkiyet Hukuku


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