Buying A House In The USA

Thinking of making a property purchase in the USA, our article below gives you an overview of some of the things to be aware of.


If you're planning to buy a house or apartment in the USA, there are a few things to consider. Holiday apartments or condominiums for sale for example are often located in gated communities that can have quite restrictive clauses that determine what residents are permitted to do during their occupancy and what not.

Mortgages / Finance

There are also differences in obtaining a mortgage to the way European lenders handle property loans. Styles, sizes and prices also vary hugely across the USA, where a house can cost as little as US $80,000 or several million dollars for the same size of property, just because it happens to be in New York City, Los Angeles or Washington D.C.

Your reason for purchase

Houses in the US are purchased for a myriad of reasons: you are looking for a holiday, retirement or relocation home. This will in part determine what budget you will devote for a US house purchase. If you need a mortgage, the realtor or real estate agent you use will typically put you in touch with a lender, or you may arrange a mortgage with your own lender back home. US lenders will do a pre-approval, not a pre- qualification, and there is a difference to how that works in Europe.

Determining your budget

Once you have determined your overall US house purchase budget, and how much you can afford to devote to a down payment, mortgage pre-approval cost, ongoing home ownership expenses such as maintenance for example and insurance, utility bills and local taxes, the next step is to decide what type of lifestyle you'd like to enjoy in your new neighbourhood. Beach life preferred? California, Hawaii and Florida seem ideal – but these US states come with very different price tags in terms of real estate.

Skiing in winter, hiking in summer and plenty of lakes around for water sports? The State of New York has far more to offer to outdoor enthusiasts than Central Park in the Big Apple! Whichever realtor or buyer agent you appoint for buying a house in the USA, they will negotiate the US home purchase on your behalf in accordance with your instructions and wishes, once you've found the right neighbourhood and ideal US property for sale. As US states vary hugely in climate, legislation, demographics, language even, there's quite a bit of research required before choosing a location.

The buying process in brief

Once your offer has been accepted, you need to order a home inspection, purchase home-owner's insurance and prepare for closing, meaning your mortgage and down payment must be in place. The realtor you appoint will close the deal for you, solving any last minute problems on your behalf to smooth the completion process. You will be sent pre-closing documents that explain all transaction costs, and then you can proceed to the scheduled closing.

Indicative US House Prices (2017)

One can buy a 3-bedroomed detached house in Orlando, Orange County, Florida for USD $320,000, but a similar sized property located in Kihei, Maui County, Hawaii will cost ca. USD $2,999,000, even though both properties might be within a gated golf community or near tourist attractions. By the same token, a modest 3-bedroomed apartment West 77th Street in New York City will cost easily USD $ 10,350,000, while a Florida condominium for sale might be less than US $200,000.

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