Can Foreigners Buy Property in the USA? 2024

Yes, foreigners can buy property in the USA regardless of citizenship, immigration, or residency status. There is no additional taxes or restrictions on foreigners purchasing US real estate and they have the same homeownership right as a US person. Follow our detailed guide to learn the process and understand how foreigners can buy house in the USA.

Can foreigners buy property in the USA

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Making informed real estate decisions starts with having the right knowledge. At HomeAbroad, we offer US mortgage products for foreign nationals & investors and have a network of 500+ expert HomeAbroad real estate agents to provide the expertise you need. Our content is written by licensed mortgage experts and seasoned real estate agents who share insights from their experience, helping thousands like you. Our strict editorial process ensures you receive reliable and accurate information.
Key Takeaways:

➡️ Foreign nationals can buy property in the US regardless of their citizenship, immigration, or residency status.

➡️ Expats on different visa programs can buy a home in the US even if they do not hold a green card.

➡️ Foreign investors can purchase real estate in the US from their home countries without a tourist or any other visa and can even close on the property remotely in an US embassy.

➡️ Buying US real estate does not grant immigration status. It does not even give you the right to live or work in the USA.

Foreign nationals spent $53.3 billion on residential properties in the USA from April 2022 to March 2023, accounting for 84,600 existing home purchases. (Source: National Association of Realtors).  

This shows that buying property in the US is not only feasible but also a popular choice for many foreigners. 

It’s normal to have doubts, and I understand that purchasing a home in another country can be daunting. I’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to make this process easier for you.

It’s designed to simplify every step, making buying property in the US more manageable than buying in your own country. 

Let’s embark on this journey together and make your dream a reality. 

Can a foreigner buy property in the USA? 

Yes, a foreigner can buy a house in the US without any restrictions. There are no citizenship requirements for real estate ownership; a non-citizen can buy a home in the US and have the same homeownership rights as US citizens.  

Expats on H1B, L1 or any other visa don’t need to wait for their green cards, and foreign investors don’t need to establish US residency to buy US real estate.  

Here is an overview of foreign residential real estate transaction in the US.

Foreign residential real estate purchases in the US 2023 Statistics

The above numbers prove the feasibility and popularity of buying US real estate for foreigners.

However, despite the simple process, we know how overwhelming buying a home in another country can feel due to unfamiliarity with the local market, mortgage options, and the buying process. 

HomeAbroad is a dedicated platform for foreign nationals buying US real estate.

We offer expertise and support through our specialized real estate agents, as well as US foreign national mortgage programs for foreign nationals without a US credit history.

We’re here to help you purchase your perfect home with confidence. 

Not sure you can invest in the US as a foreign investor? Let’s find out.

Can Non-Citizens Purchase Investment Property in the US?

Yes, non-citizens can buy investment property in the USA without any restrictions or visa requirements.

According to a NAR report, non-US citizens with permanent residences outside the US purchased more real estate than those living in the US on various visas.

These foreign nationals invested $29.9 billion in real estate, making up 53% of the total residential real estate purchases by foreign buyers. 

 This highlights the strong investment appeal of the US real estate market due to: 

  • High rental yields averaging 8% 
  • Annual property appreciation of 4.8% 
  • No restrictions or additional taxes 
  • More affordable property prices compared to global metro cities 
  • No stamp duty

Excited to purchase real estate in the US? Wondering what it takes? Here you go. 

Required Documents for Foreigners to Buy Property in the US

The exact document requirements for buying US real estate may vary based on your residency status. In general, you will need following documents to get started with your home search: 

  • Valid passport / Government-issued ID 
  • Proof of funds, if buying in cash 
  • Pre-approval letter from a Mortgage broker, if financing your property 

However, if are financing your US real estate, you must provide income and other relevant documents according to your loan program when the underwriter reviews your loan file for approval.

Refer to our foreign national mortgage guide to know the available financing options and their requirements. 

How can Foreigners Buy Property in the USA? 

Since we’ve established that non-citizens can buy real estate in the US and learned about the required documents, let’s move on to the next step and see how you can proceed to buy real estate in the US as an expat or foreign investor. Step-by-step guide to purchasing a home in the US as a foreign national:

Step 1 – Decide the Location:

When buying a primary residence or an investment property in the USA, decide where you want to live or invest. If you are in the US on a work or student visa, look for a place near your work or school.

In case you are a foreign investor, research the growth potential and rental market to finalize a location according to your investment goals. 

Step 2 – Work with an Internationally Minded Real Estate Agent

Finding the right property and buying it as a foreign national could be challenging, but having a professional on your side can make things much easier.  

HomeAbroad’s real estate agent platform has agents with international expertise and extensive experience in helping foreign nationals buy US real estate.

Our specialized agents have CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist) designation, which makes them expert in facilitating foreign real estate transactions in the US. 

Here are things that a HomeAbroad agent can do for you. 

HomeAbroad real estate agent features

Step 3 – Get a Pre-Approval Letter from HomeAbroad

Planning your financing early can help you budget better and avoid delays when buying property.

If you’re concerned about lacking a US credit history, HomeAbroad offers specialized foreign national mortgage programs for newcomers and foreign investors without a US credit history.

HomeAbroad mortgage CTA

A pre-approval letter for mortgage financing from HomeAbroad is free of cost and lets your agent and seller know that you’re a serious buyer who can afford the house up to the purchase price mentioned in your Pre-approval letter. 

For expats with established credit histories, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are working with a mortgage company that understands visa holders and expats.

Access very competitive loan terms for visa holders with US credit history.  

Get started today to begin your US real estate buying journey. 

We are most reliable when it comes to helping foreigners buy their dream property in the USA and Yu Li is here to vouch for us. See what she has to say: 

As someone new to the US, navigating the housing market was overwhelming. HomeAbroad connected me with a fantastic agent who understood my needs. They even helped me secure financing despite not having a US credit history! Their concierge service took care of everything else, letting me focus on finding the perfect place. HomeAbroad made buying a home in America a dream – highly recommend! 

Yu Li - Purchased a primary home in Miami, Florida 

Step 4 – Search for a Suitable Property: 

Talk to your HomeAbroad agent about your preferences and budget. Our agent will help you find suitable properties and answer all your questions.

With extensive local market knowledge and an understanding of cultural preferences, they will find you the best property possible suited to your specific situation.  

Your HomeAbroad agent will also arrange open house visits to assist you in making a decision. If you’re an investor unable to visit the US, our agent will provide photos, videos, and virtual tours to help you make an informed choice. 

Step 5 – Make an Offer:

Once you’ve found the property you want, it’s time to make an offer to the seller. Your HomeAbroad agent will analyze the market to prepare a favorable yet competitive offer.

Having a mortgage preapproval by this time will strengthen your position and demonstrate your sincere intent to the seller.

Step 6 – Sign the Purchase Contract:

When you find a home, and the seller accepts your offer, you’ll sign a purchase contract. This official document includes the purchase price, closing details, and any conditions negotiated by your agent.

To show your commitment, you’ll need to make an Earnest Money Deposit of about 1%- 3% of the purchase price.

This deposit will be held in a third-party account handled by a Title company, also known as an escrow account, until the deal is finalized, ensuring a secure transaction. 

Step 7 – Get a Title Report: 

Before sealing the deal, ensure your property is free of any legal issues. Your HomeAbroad agent will assist you in working with a title agent to handle this.

This process involves verifying past ownership, legal claims, and any potential issues that could affect your rights as the new owner. Think of it as a background check on the home.  

Step 8 – Schedule a Home Inspection: 

After the legal check, it’s crucial to conduct a home inspection. Your HomeAbroad agent will assist you in arranging for a qualified home inspector to examine the property thoroughly.

This inspection ensures that the home is structurally sound and free of significant problems. If any issues are found, you can renegotiate with the seller to have them fixed or adjust the price accordingly.

In case of major issues with the property, you can also back out from the sale without losing your earnest money deposit.  

Step 9 – Closing

Once all checks come back clean and you have the mortgage approval, it’s time to take ownership of your property.

On closing day, your HomeAbroad agent will guide you through the final steps. This includes coordinating with the title company, escrow officer, and mortgage officer to ensure all necessary documents are prepared and signed. Here is a checklist for you to be well-prepared for the day.

Mortgage closing checklist

Don’t worry, you are not alone!

Your agent will help you complete all the paperwork and take ownership of the property. 

Congratulations, you’ve done it! 

If you are a non-resident investor, you can also close the transaction from your home country through Embassy or Consulate Services, Apostille Certification, and Power of Attorney (POA).

Talk to a HomeAbroad Loan Officer to learn more about these options and the exact steps involved. 

What are the necessary documents for a foreigner to purchase a property in the US?

When purchasing property in cash, it’s essential to provide proof identity and funds to show you have the necessary liquid assets to cover the purchase price and any associated tax obligations. 

On the other hand, if you opt for financing, the required documentation will vary based on your chosen loan program. This often includes demonstrating your ability to repay the loan. 

For a detailed breakdown of the documents needed to secure a mortgage without a US credit history, refer to this foreign national mortgage guide. 

Next, let’s understand the tax implications of buying a house in the US as a foreign national.

Tax Obligations for Foreigners Buying US Real Estate

Once you have learned about the various steps involved in purchasing a property in the US as a non-US resident, you must grasp the tax implications. 

Tax implications for foreign real estate buyers are the same as those for US citizens, with the same tax rates. There are no additional implications; foreigners are even eligible for the same deductions as US citizens. 

TaxProperty TaxIncome Tax
Primary ResidenceYesNo
Investment PropertyYesYes
Vacation HomeYesYes, if generating income

If you are a foreign investor concerned about paying double taxes on your US real estate income in both the US and your home country, rest assured that the USA has tax treaties with many countries to prevent double taxation.

Additionally, foreign buyers are eligible for all the deductions available to US citizens, which can help reduce your tax liabilities.

You are all set to start your US real estate journey now!

Start Your Home Buying Journey in the USA Today

Are you hesitant about buying a home in the USA due to uncertainties about visa renewals and investing in another country?

It’s natural to have doubts, but foreign nationals can own property from their home country and enjoy a steadily appreciating asset in the world’s most robust economy. 

Many people like you are taking advantage of this opportunity, and you shouldn’t miss out. 

HomeAbroad is dedicated to democratizing US real estate for everyone.

We offer specialized foreign national mortgage programs, real estate agents with international expertise, concierge services, and a technology-enabled platform to streamline the entire process for you. 

Start your US real estate journey with HomeAbroad.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can you buy a house in the US with foreign income?

    Yes, you can! There are no restrictions on the source of your funds for purchasing property in the USA. Whether your income comes from within the US or abroad, you can use it to buy a house.

  2. Can you purchase a house in the USA without a green card?

    Yes, you don’t need a green card or specific visa to buy property in the US. Your foreign citizenship and immigration status do not prevent you from owning real estate.

  3. Can I get a green card or residency if I buy property in the USA? 

    Unfortunately, buying property in the USA alone won’t directly qualify you for a green card or residency. There are specific investment visa programs (EB-5), but more than buying a house is typically needed. 

  4. Can foreigners buy land in the USA? 

    Yes, foreigners can buy US land like a house. There are no legal barriers to this. 

  5. What do you mean by FIRPTA? 

    Under FIRTPA (Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act), when a non-resident foreigner sells US real estate, a portion of the sale proceeds (usually 10%-15%) must be withheld by the buyer at closing and remitted to the IRS. This isn’t an additional tax but a prepayment towards any potential capital gains tax liability. Foreign buyers will be entitled to a refund based on the actual capital gain tax rate (same as US citizens) when they file their tax returns. 

About the author:
Michele Lawrie, a seasoned real estate professional licensed in New York and Florida, serves as the Chief Real Estate Officer at HomeAbroad. With over 15 years of experience and specialized certifications from the NAR (National Association of Realtors), Michele is a trusted expert for foreign nationals buying US real estate.

"Democratizing US real estate for the world with our tailored offerings."

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