Tips and advice for purchasing in the USA
Do your research early
Find out how the buying process works before you even go and have a look at properties. The process of buying in the USA is significantly different to that in the UK so don’t assume that things will work in the same way.
Look into the finances early
Work out your budget. Look at the total cost of buying including legal fees, taxes and so on. Identify how much of a deposit you are likely to need and when that is payable. If you need finance to help fund the property look into this as soon as possible.
Do not try and cut corners to save money
It is likely to cause you a problem in the future. If there is a problem with the property it is better to find out before you buy as solving problems afterwards can be much more expensive. Not obtaining a survey or a valuation or cutting corners with legal fees is very short sighted.
Think about why you are buying and be honest with yourself
A property for personal use is often very different from a property that you would rent out, which in turn is often very different from a retirement property.
If you are buying for an investment do your research and be realistic about the amount of income that you can get from the property
Do not believe the sales hype in relation to number of weeks rental or money per week – carry out your own investigations into the true figures.
Think about visas
If you are looking to spend significant amounts of time in the USA or intend to live there then take advice on the Visa situation before you go too far down the line as what you are trying to achieve may not be possible.
Think about zoning restrictions
In some areas you may not be allowed to rent out the property for short term lets so take advice on this if you are considering renting out your property.
Think about the exit strategy when you buy
If you are likely to want to sell the property in the future then think about who is going to want to buy your property from you and how marketable it is likely to be. Just because you like it doesn’t mean that other people will.
Take advice on who should own the property before you buy
Taking some advice on tax when you buy can mean significant savings later on in terms of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Once you have bought the property some of the options available to you may be lost so take advice on this before you buy.
Use an independent lawyer to help you buy your property
Do not use the lawyer who is acting for the seller, use one who is interested only in protecting your position. Make sure that your lawyer understands both the law in the USA also the law of your home country as there is an interaction between the two jurisdictions in terms of taxes and inheritance. Don’t forgot that in the USA the laws often change between states.