Why Buy in USA?
Some people dream of moving to America because of its warm, easygoing people and the more relaxed life style. Either that or, for the working person, it is perceived as the land of opportunity, the land where wishes and ambitions are fulfilled. Entrepreneurial business people find plenty of opportunities in the States, and what many Brits also find so appealing about moving to the USA is that there are few language barriers or major cultural differences. This makes an enormous difference business-wise or for people thinking of moving with children as schooling will not be a major upheaval for them.
America is a massive country, especially when compared to the UK. To put it into perspective, the States are more than twice the size of the entire European Union. There are fifty states; forty- eight of them are in one large land mass located between Canada and Mexico and the other two, Alaska and Hawaii, are separate. Alaska is at the North West corner of Canada, and Hawaii is a series of islands located in the south Pacific.
The diversity is enormous, ranging from the snowy wilds of Alaska to the deserts of Nevada, from the fast-paced mega-city that is New York to the up-market, picturesque charm of Westport, Connecticut, only a journey away.
California and Sunny Florida are the preferred choices for a warmer, more outdoors type lifestyle, an important requirement for many potential UK emigrants. If it's space you're after then the Lone Star state of Texas may be the place for you, while Houston is considered one of the major centre's of technology, energy, manufacturing and aeronautics; it also boasts the headquarters of more Fortune 500 companies than any city apart from New York.
America has something for everyone, especially those who are willing to work hard at making the great American Dream happen for them.
Getting Started - is it possible for you to buy in USA?
There are no restrictions to foreigners buying property anywhere in the USA. However, taxes and general buying requirements do differ across the country, from State to State and it is essential to seek out the services of a professional lawyer in the State you are looking in order to understand local procedure.
Be aware that although there is no language barrier, this is still a foreign country and it is important to understand the rules and visa requirements, including restrictions on time spent in the country as a foreigner well in advance of looking for your property.
To find out more on how to get started on your American property buying journey, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's USA Property Buying Guide.
Finance - how much does it cost to buy a property in USA?
The costs involved in purchasing a property in the USA vary according to individual factors involved in the purchase agreement, the type of loan, and Federal and State laws which differ from State to State. As a general rule of thumb you should allow 3-6% of the cost of the property for all fees applicable. These costs consist of all searches, administration in dealing with the down payment for the property, fees involved in setting up any loan, inspection fee, mortgage insurance, title insurance, stamp duty and survey. The costs of your estate agent - or realtor in the USA - are paid for by the seller.
Finding a property USA - where should you start?
Search for property in the USA with Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk - the best place to search for property in the USA and part of Rightmove.co.uk, the UK's number one property website. From the razzle-dazzle of the city that never sleeps and the sun kissed beaches of Florida to the heaving beaches of Miami and the lights of Las Vegas; the USA is a continent with something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a villa in Florida or an apartment in New York, there is a great range of property in the USA and Rightmoveoverseas.co.uk is the best place to find the very latest property in the USA.
To find out more on how to finance and find a property in the States, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's USA Property Buying Guide.
Legalities - what is process of buying a property in America?
Before you start to look for a property or select a realtor (estate agent) to assist you in your purchase, it is wise to consider your finances and have any mortgage you may have applied for ready in principle. You may consider either a UK mortgage or search for one from a US mortgage broker. UK mortgage companies will generally fund up to 70% of the purchase price. Requirements vary from State to State in the USA regarding mortgage applications so it is wise to consult a mortgage broker at the outset. This will not only assist you in knowing how much you can afford to spend on your property, it will aid your credibility with both agents and sellers when it comes to the point of making a serious offer. Most USA mortgage companies will ask for a down payment of 20% for non-US nationals and you will need to provide proof of income and identity and details of your bank account and credit cards.
Next you must consider visa and residency requirements. You are permitted to stay for 90 days anywhere in the USA under the Visa Waiver Program or you can apply for B-2 Tourist Visa which will entitle you to stay in the country for up to 6 months. It may be possible, once you enter the US, to apply for an "extension of stay". If you are planning to move permanently to the USA you will need to change your status to "permanent resident" (Green Card). This will require the services of an immigration lawyer. Note that simply owning a property in the USA does not affect any of the above.
Buying a home overseas is one of the most significant purchases you will make. It is wise to invest in the services of a US qualified lawyer to ease the whole process including your property purchase, visa status, tax status etc.
When you put an offer in for a property you accept it in the condition it is in at the time and you will not be able to bring up any defects after the deal is closed. It is therefore vital to make certain that you are aware and happy with the state of the property before the sale is closed. You may wish to have a survey or "Inspection Report" carried out on the property before buying it as this will enable you to negotiate with the seller if there are any defects you feel should be dealt with prior to your buying the property.
Once the first contract is signed, a closing date will be earmarked. This is the date on which all the obligations of the contract need to be finalised and will generally be approximately 30 days from the signing of the contract for sale or first contract.
Between the signing of the first contract and the closing of the sale, title insurance should be obtained to protect you should any situation arise in which the title may be "clouded". This means that another person may have an interest in the property which may not have been disclosed such as a previous lender having a partial claim on the title. Title insurance protects you, the buyer, from any expenses or loss you may experience as a result of such a defect or "cloud".
Expert advice is essential before buying a property in the USA. Understanding the home buying process and your tax and visa status is key to pursuing a stress free and successful purchase of property.
Settling into the USA - how can you make friends?
As long as you make an effort to get out of the house, making friends in America is easy. You can join a club, go to the gym, attend classes, get involved in a sport or pick from one of the thousands of hobbies that Americans participate in. One of the strangest sports (or shall I say hobbies?) I've come across is Frisbee Golf!
And if you're not the sporting type, you can enter almost any bar, pub or coffee shop and you'll find someone that's open for a good conversation. Americans, by nature, are kind, welcoming and eager to grow their friend base. All you need to do is get out there and start making contacts!
To find out more on legalities, moving and settling into your new home in USA, request a copy of The Overseas Guides Company's USA Property Buying Guide.