If you’re curious about whether or not you can buy property in the United States as a non-US citizen, the short answer is yes, you absolutely can. However, there are still some things you should know before you fork over the cash and make a commitment.
1. Your Own Country May Have Restrictions on Buying Property in Other Countries
Your own country may not allow its citizens to own property abroad. Each country is different and has different reasons for allowing or forbidding real estate transactions in other countries. Speak with an appropriate government official in your own country before you begin negotiations in the United States.
2. Owning Real Estate Does Not Guarantee or Establish Citizenship
If you are capitalizing on a favorable exchange rate, and just plan on using the property as a summer home or investment opportunity, then you don’t need to worry about citizenship status. However, if you are simply seeking US citizenship and hoping a real estate purchase will better your chances, then hold onto your money. The US government does not place preference on real estate owners versus non-real estate owners.
3. Taxes Can Be Complicated
It is also important to understand US taxes before you begin purchasing real estate as a non-US citizen. If and when you choose to sell, you may be required to withhold 10-15% to ensure tax payment to the IRS. Furthermore, if you die, you may also be subject to an estate tax. This is something to consider when it comes to your family members’ future prosperity and investment opportunities.
4. Understand Before You Buy
Simply put, you have to do your homework. Talk with government officials in your native country and choose a real estate agent that is knowledgeable on real estate laws so you can maximize your investment benefits.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Altisource Online Auction, Inc., Altisource® or any Altisource affiliate. The foregoing content is not intended to constitute, and in fact does not constitute, financial, investment, tax or legal advice by the author, Altisource Online Auction, Inc., Altisource or any Altisource affiliate.