1. Are you eligible to buy property in the US?
The United States has always encouraged foreign investment in property. In truth, there are very few differences between the way a non-national is treated as a homebuyer – and indeed a homeowner – compared to US citizens. The main difference will usually centre on how much time you can stay in the country as a non-US national.
2. Why do you want to buy an American property?
Are you looking for a holiday home? A property with investment potential? Somewhere you want to live in or retire to? If you’re after investment returns, you will need to research carefully which areas have the property markets that do well for investment – holiday rentals, student accommodation, and so on. Look at those areas and property types that have performed consistently and offered good returns in the past. Check out whether there are any events happening that could lead to increased demand for property, such as sporting events (the Olympics, football tournaments – English or American football, for that matter!), big festivals, or even specific developments like a new harbor or shopping centre complex.
It will come as no real surprise to learn that the vast majority of overseas property purchasers in the United States do tend to focus on homes in the tourist hotspots of Florida, California and, to a lesser extent, Texas and New York.
3. Can you stay in the US?
While the United States has long been a popular country for overseas property hunters, particularly British citizens, and those from the majority of countries, may only visit the US for business or pleasure without a visa for up to 90 days per year. Therefore, if you would like to spend more time making the most of your property then you must hold a B-2 visa. This visa entitles the holder to stay for up to six months (the maximum amount of time non-residents can stay in the States). Applicants for a B-2 visa must also prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay.
If you are looking to move to the States full-time, then this is a whole other ball game. America’s immigration laws are notoriously complex and time consuming, and anyone hoping for a permanent life across the Pond will need to overcome many barriers in order to do so.
You can find out more information regarding immigration options in our guide to getting set up in the US and check out our partner site www.emigrate2.co.uk for the latest news on US immigration policy and how it could affect you.