A Buyers' Guide To Property In USA

When buying property in USA, you will need to be aware of many factors that will affect your purchase. This section gives you a general overview the USA buying process.

There are no restrictions to foreigners owning property anywhere in the USA, but it would be unwise to assume that, because it is an English speaking country the buying process is the same as in the UK. Taxes and requirements vary from state to state and it is essential to seek out the services of local professionals who understand the procedure.

Agreement of Sale

Once you have found the property of your dreams, you will make an offer and an agreement of sale will be drawn up. This commits both the seller and the buyer to the sale, but subject to certain conditions such as the buyer obtaining a mortgage and the seller ensuring that the title to the property is “clean”. The buyer should be aware that the commitment to certain dates is binding. It is important adhere to dates and conditions set out in the agreement, otherwise the seller might take the opportunity to pull out of the sale, particularly if a better offer comes up.


The costs involved will vary according to factors involved in the purchase agreement and the type of loan the purchaser has applied for. A good rule of thumb is to allow between 3 and 5% of the cost of the property. Many of the costs involved with the loan application will have been paid for in advance. Typically the costs required on closing are the down payment, fees involved in setting up the loan (application fee, credit report, etc.), inspection fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance and stamp duty.

Title Insurance

Title insurance protects the buyer of real estate in the case where a situation arises in which the title to a property is clouded. This is when a person or entity has an interest in the property that was not found or disclosed at the time of sale. For example a lender may have a lien on a property that was not discovered for some reason. The title insurance protects the purchaser from any expenses or loss that may occur as a result of this defect in the title.


Taxes in the USA will vary according to where you live and whether you are considered resident or non-resident for tax purposes. Local taxes are levied to cover education and other services. USA income taxes and capital gains taxes are fairly low, but inheritance tax needs good planning. It is essential to employ a professional to guide you through the tax system.


In the USA this is called an Inspection Report and is an essential to have before buying a property especially as the buyer buys a property in the condition it is in at the time of sale. There can be no complaints or compensation for defects once the purchase is closed between buyer and seller. Apart from looking at the structure of the property an inspection should also be carried out for termite infestation and radon. Do not expect the seller to make all the repairs you demand, make sure that this is included in the sales agreement before you sign.


If you possess property in your own country and would like to borrow against this in an equity release plan, we can introduce you to an independent financial advisor who will help you raise the necessary finance.

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