Is it possible for non-citizens to buy property in the US?

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Is it possible for non-citizens to buy property in the US?

I am a real estate agent in India. I have few clients who want to purchase a property in USA. Is it possible to buy properties for individuals who are not US citizens? If yes, please prescribe the procedure?

Asked on May 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a non-citizen can purchase US real estate.  However there are a multitude of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that need to be considered.

Property taxes and insurance they should be the same regardless if you are a US citizen or not.  As far as other tax consequences, things are different.  First off, a buyer will need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) which will be used with all tax transactions.  A purchase of real estate can be treated as investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income, both of which are taxable.  This tax however does not apply though to all foreign investors.  Rates would vary depending on the tax entity that the foreign investor opted for; for instance, a corporation would be taxed differently than an individual. 

There are also state taxes on real estate and other like matters which need to be considered.  Another important thing to remember when buying real estate is financing.  In today's economic climate financing can be difficult, especially for a foreign investor. 

Anyone considering buying property in the US, should strongly consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in real estate matters to assist them through the purchase process.  An attorney can review the sales contract, check on the title and related documents, as well as look over mortgage financing documents, if any.  Additionally, they can make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses involved in the purchase and help with tax questions (or at least recommend an accountant who can). 

You can check on-line 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 www.AttorneyPages.com


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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