Buying Residential Property in the U.S. as a Foreign Buyer

For decades, foreign buyers from everywhere from Russia to Turkey to Argentina have been choosing Florida as their go-to investment destination. In the past 5-10 years, the building boom in Miami has continued to attract them and is only creating more and more opportunities for profitable investments. Brazilians and Argentinians flock to Brickell City Centre, Russians have been loving Sunny Isles and the Chinese are buying up properties in the new Paramount Worldcenter downtown. But for many prospective buyers, there are still a lot of questions and speculations floating around about how the process really goes and exactly how do you secure property in the magic city as a foreign national? Many international buyers find it challenging to navigate the complex process of buying residential property in the U.S. as a foreign buyer while they are still living overseas – even more so if they’re in seeking financing for the property.

Here are a few of the basic that outline the process, to help demystify the requirements and steps to buying residential property in Miami as a foreign buyer:

Find a Real Estate Agent and a Mortgage Lender Experienced in Foreign Loans and a

“A lot of the first time buyers are under all kinds of wrong impressions,” says Mauricio Ordoñez, one of the principals at Q Kapital mortgage lending firm in Miami, Florida, “Some foreign buyers think that if they don’t have a visa, they don’t qualify; or that they can only buy in cash. Because our team specialized in foreign loans, we can set the record straight about all these misconceptions.”

Foreign buyers should begin their process by finding the right professionals to help. Finding a real estate agent that knows the lay of the land when it comes to buying residential property in the U.S. for an international buyer is important since the requirements and the processes tend to be very specific. Referrals are a great way of finding the right agents to work with – the national Association of Realtors lists out agents that work specifically with international buyers on their website. They are listed as “international property specialists” and typically travel often to promote their services. Many times, if the buyer resides in the country of origin during the property buying process, they’ll be communicating with their realtor remotely, which means they’ll need a trusted professional to take on the task.

Finding a mortgage lender that is experienced in foreign loans and specializes in this time of financing is just as essential as securing a real estate agent that is well versed in foreign property buying. Securing a loan for an international buyer isn’t the same as it is for a domestic buyer; lenders like to know who they’re borrowing from and can often be very guarded about which borrowers they lend to.

Securing a Mortgage for Property in Miami as a Foreign Buyer

Buying property with cash is common practice, whether it’s for investment strategy or a way to expedite things; however it’s not the only way an international investor can purchase property in the U.S. Foreign Nationals are also entitled to financing when looking to buy property in Miami or the U.S. Recently, mortgage rates have become increasingly affordable and competitive and terms have become longer, allowing international buyers to maintain liquidity and freedom while securing their asset. While lenders that offer home loans to foreign buyers are few and far between, many new development projects are establishing relationships with lenders who do offer this type of financing so they can ensure their units will be available to international buyers.

Requirements to Securing a Mortgage as a Foreign Buyer

Expect to pay around 30 – 40% of the value of the property as a downpayment.

Be prepared to show documentation of income via bank statements, reference letters from banks and credit institutions, asset documentation, copies of passports, multiple forms of identification and other personal information.

The more transparency in the information provided, the higher the chance of securing the loan and the faster you can get approved.