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If you are a non-U.S resident you must have considered buying property in the USA at some point. It is still the world’s largest and most stable economy, the rental yields in some cities in Georgia, Michigan or Maryland are nuts, and overall it seems like one of the most natural places to diversify your investments into.
You can tap into the American real estate market by buying a REIT which is the recommended “no hassle” alternative for those who don’t have a particular interest in managing an asset abroad, but clearly there is a higher upside in actually buying one specific property and renting it.
Buying USA property is a slightly different process than in the UK, but it is very feasible to do so even if you are not an expert. Just look at how international investment in U.S real estate has grown this year.
Below you can find tips on the best way to buy property in the USA:
- Find a dedicated real estate agent in your domicile. If you are going to move to the USA you should be using a U.S-based agent but if you reside anywhere else and plan to continue being there, then it would be smart to find a local agent with particular expertise in USA property.
- As a first-time buyer steer away from particularly problematic areas like rough areas of Detroit, Michigan. Instead, you should aim for popular “evergreen” cities in which renting out the property will be like taking a candy from a child.
- Find something that is fairly easy to maintain. Do not venture into very old homes that could levy more costs than originally expected and may take up a lot of your time and energy managing the process from abroad. You can also use products like home warranties that will take care of that aspect partially, just know that each state has its own companies. You can use lists like this one of the best plans in Arkansas.
- You should use the fact that as an overseas buyer you may be able to get a mortgage in the U.S or in your home country. That means you have more room for research and finding lower cost and better terms mortgages.
- Do not forget that transferring money to buy a house in the USA can be very costly, if currency exchange is involved. Banks can charge serious fees on that. You can use alternative companies like HiFX or Afex.
- A lot of the homes in the USA are sold in a bidding system. As the world’s most capitalist country, you would expect that, right? You may be able to slash down the original price by quite a lot if you underbid and there are no additional bidders to the property and similarly, you can lose your dream home when you agree to the original terms of sale. Keep that into considerations when you are bidding for a home.
The bottom line on USA property as an investment is – go for it, just remember to do your homework and take the risk into consideration. In 2008 the market crashed and people lost their savings and the houses as they were not able to pay the mortgage. It can still happen today – don’t think of real estate as a risk-free investment because it isn’t. If something yields as much as 10% a year, it has a 10% risk level.