How To Buy Real Estate in the United States? Tips and Tricks

Posted On Tuesday, 14 September 2021 20:18

Buying an apartment or a house in the US is the dream of many residents of different countries. US real estate is viewed as a safe investment. Moreover, the country attracts immigrants. This post will let you know how to find a suitable property, things you need to know before making a transaction, the possibility to take out a mortgage, as well as how much you will need to pay in addition to the price of the property.

You can draw up a deal for both an individual and a legal entity. Market professionals recommend the second way, thanks to which it is possible to protect real estate from inheritance and gift taxes, as well as limit the owner's liability in case of an accident. It is best to consult with a tax attorney before making a decision.

What Types of Real Estate Can You Buy in the US?

Buyers can become owners of both residential and commercial real estate in the United States. No special permission is required to purchase a property. The biggest challenge that one may face is the need to work with legal documentation. You can either turn to professional attorneys or writing services to assist you with your docs.

What Rights Does a Foreigner Get After Buying Real Estate in the US?

The purchase of real estate is not a sufficient basis for obtaining a residence permit in the United States. Nevertheless, under certain conditions, it will help to obtain a business visa.

So, an EB5 visa can be obtained when buying an investment object worth $1.8 million (under certain conditions, the amount is halved). This can be, for example, an apartment building, a shopping center, or a hotel. At the same time, it is necessary to provide at least ten people with permanent work, and the business must be break-even.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Foreigner in Case They Buy a House in the US

Any property owner in the United States, regardless of citizenship and residence permit, must pay annual property and utility taxes. Tax arrears can lead to fines and refusal to issue a visa or extend a residence permit.

How to Search for Real Estate in the USA

The purchase procedure should start with a preliminary selection of the object. You can search for real estate in the United States on local popular portals. The main ones include:

  • Zillow
  • Trulia
  • Redfin
  • ZipRealty


On most websites, you can sort ads by parameters that are important to you, save your favorite options, and subscribe to updates. You can also leave a request for the selection of an option according to your requirements - realtors will send you the best possible choices.

Types of Real Estate in the US

The following housing options can be found on the American market:

  • Private house (single-family house)
  • Condominium (condo or apartment in a building)
  • Townhouse
  • Cooperative (co-op)


A private house, as a rule, is owned by the family, while other types of real estate involve the neighborhood of several owners. In this case, the owner's association takes over the management of the property. American associations have more rights than those from Eastern Europe, for instance, and they can significantly affect the lives of homeowners.

In the simplest case, they determine the number of regular payments and the utility bills that will be covered at their expense (garbage collection, security, cleaning, etc.). However, the association often also decides whether home keepers can have dogs, cats, and other pets in their homes, and the number, weight, and species of these animals can be determined. In addition, the association can set the rules for renting out housing and even decide who can and who cannot become the owner or live in the house.

A cooperative is a special form of ownership that involves joint ownership of the real estate. Each co-owner in a cooperative does not buy a separate apartment but receives a certain share in the common property corresponding to the value of the entire apartment.

Buying a home that belongs to an association has its own nuances. In particular, you must first apply to join the association and pay the fee. In addition, it will be more difficult to obtain a loan to buy housing from a cooperative, as the approval of the cooperative will be required. This will limit your options for both the purchase and the subsequent sale (since the potential buyer will also need to get approval).

How to Look for a Realtor in the United States

In the United States, the participation of a realtor is fully optional yet recommended. A realtor will represent you all the way, from starting your search to getting the keys to your new home. Here's what they do for their clients:

  • Help find a suitable living option and determine the real market value;
  • Bargain with the seller to get a better price;
  • Assist in preparing all documents, selecting a lawyer, technical inspector, and other specialists required in the purchase process.

Who Else Is Involved in the Real Estate Purchase?

In addition to hiring a realtor, you may need the services of a mortgage broker, lawyer, accountant, and even translator.

A mortgage broker will select the best conditions for a bank loan for you. The lawyer will deal with drafting contracts, registering real estate, and obtaining a certificate of real estate ownership. They are also responsible for the legal purity of the transaction.

You will need an accountant if you plan to rent out a property. In this case, you will need to fill out a tax return annually, and it is better to entrust this to a specialist. Also, at the purchase stage, you will probably need to contact a tax advisor.

Off We Go: An Example of Calculating the Additional Costs of Buying Real Estate in the United States

New apartment in Miami with an area of ​​100 sq. m. The price of the object is $300 thousand.

  • Home Inspection Fee - $400
  • Mortgage Application Fees - $300
  • Title insurance - $1500
  • Property appraisal fee - $350
  • Maintaining an account for mortgage payments - $40
  • Payment to a mortgage broker for checking the buyer's solvency - $800
  • Loan issuance fee - $2700
  • Prepaid Interest - $461
  • Object insurance - $1500
  • Lawyer's fee - up to $1500
  • Title company fee for checking the purity of the transaction - $200
  • Property tax - $550


The total cost of the property, including additional costs: $310 301

So, non-US citizens can buy property in this country more or less hassle-free. It’s just important to find a good attorney, understand the local laws, and estimate the expenses.

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