Recently, I assisted some Canadian clients purchase a vacation home in the U.S. .We were met with many challenges. There were issues with financing, escrow, tax challenges as well as border issues.
The very most important issue related to purchasing a home in the U.S. is doing your research. Get familiar with the areas that you are most interested in. Interview some agents, after all, the agent you choose will be spending a lot of time with you. Look for someone who is patient, honest and understands that the border can be a difficult obstacle. Often appointments for 12 PM can become 2 PM. This will require high end communication by the agent with other agents and sellers to make appointments work. If you have done some research and the Realtor(r) has sent you some properties then all that is left is to go look at them.
A common misconseption is " Don't worry about the price we can always offer less." Offerring below market value can be tricky. Depending on the status of the sale and the sellers situation. A lower price may not be approved simply because they can't or even if it is approved it may take months for a complete approval in the case the home is bank owned or in a short sale status. The Realtor(r) will know the status of the home and should have had a conversation with the selling agent on the subject.
Once there is an agreement on purchase of a home there are inspections that need to be done and an escrow service to
handle the closing paperwork and documents. The escrow service is licensed to work simular to an attorney in Canada to close the sale and record all documents. Chances are the Realtor(r) already works with an excellent escrow company but be sure they have worked with Canadians.
Financing can be tricky. There are U.S. lenders that can work with Canadians but some Canadians will need to find financing with Canadian lenders. It is good to ask plenty of questions. Give yourself plenty of time to close the transaction. A normal interval to close is 30 to 45 days but allow at least 60 because of these challenges.
Finally, I must mention that there are tax implications related to purchasing a home and leasing out the home for rental income. The best course of action is enlist the services of a tax advisor. Find one that is familiar with U.S. and Canadian tax codes. When speaking with the Tax advisor consider topics on income tax, rental income, capital gains and estate planning.
My name is Chris Leon I am a Realtor(r) and Washington State Real Estate Broker feel free to contact me here or you can
find more info about me at www.chrisleonhomes.com or at one of my blogs: http://52weeksinthenooksackvalley.com or http://chrisleon.tumblr.com/. If you have any questions concerning buying a home or selling a home in Whatcom county or near Bellingham, please call me at 360-296-2204. If you need any help with 'for sale by owner' and 'short sale homes' please give me a call.