can foreing national ( non u.s. citizen) buy property in united staes?

can foreing national ( non u.s. citizen) buy property in united staes?

Asked on May 28, 2009 under Real Estate Law


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can.  Foreign real estate investment in the United States is open to everyone.  As long as you can afford to buy the property or at least comply with the mortgage requirements and payments, you can secure for yourself a pretty good property.  Regardless of what kind of real estate you are interested in, there are all sorts of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that you have to deal with.

As far as  tax consequences, you would need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which you will use with all your tax transactions.  Your investment in real estates can be treated as a portfolio investment and will be accounted for as an investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income.  This is typically taxed at 30% on gross revenues.  This tax though does not apply though to all foreign investors.  Tax rates would vary depending on the tax personality the foreign investor opted for; for instance, a corporation would be taxed differently than an individual.  Other things that you should take note of are availability and requirements of tax refunds and state tax laws on real estate properties as they may differ from federal laws.

Another important thing to remember when you're buying real estate is good financing.  You should take your time to carefully consider all your financing options.  Foreign investors can email in their queries to various lending institutions.  It is a good idea to make sure that you've had their terms and rates on paper because they tend to change these terms and charge you with a lot of junk. 

If you are considering buying a property in the United States, you should secure the services of a real estate attorney.  You could check online and look for a lawyer working within the state where you are considering purchasing a property.  If you need assistance with this, you can refer to .  A real estate lawyer would review the sales contract, check on the title and other documents relating to the property, as well as look over your mortgage documents and make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses involved in the purchase.  They can also help with tax questions or at least recommend an accountant who can.  Putting it simply, a real estate lawyer will be your watchdog.  They would guide you through the whole process of purchasing a real estate in the United States in order to make sure that you will be legally protected.

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