Non-US citizens buying real estate in Texas
Foreign nationals who taking advantage of favorable exchange rates and a buyer’s market to invest in US real estate are finding great values in Texas.
Why do foreign home buyers and real estate investors find south Texas so attractive? Several factors make our real estate appealing to buyers from other countries.
Properties in resort areas hold their value and attract holiday-makers looking for a home to rent for a week in the summer up to several months for “winter Texans” from northern states. Texas's diverse geography has something to suit just about any investor. Want to own a vacation house or condo on the beach? Texas has it. The same is true for waterfront property on lakes and rivers, and homes in golf course communities.
San Antonio's international airport is being expanded, but is still considered one of the best in the US. It is conveniently located near downtown and the suburbs, and about an hour's drive to Canyon Lake or the Guadalupe River, not to mention numerous golf courses. Houston and Dallas are major airline hubs, and the flight time to San Antonio is under an hour.
The United States has one of the most secure property ownership systems in the world. Transparency in ownership and title means that foreign investors purchasing property in Texas can be assured that they are purchasing it from the rightful owner. Their investments are protected by our system of individual property rights.
Transparent, speedy process
Purchasing real estate in Texas is a straightforward, speedy process. (For British citizens, it is comparable to the Scottish system.) All contract documents are standardized, and estate agents, who are licensed by the State of Texas, must use these documents. Buyers’ funds are deposited in an escrow account by third-party title companies. Buyers can inspect the property in a reasonable period of time before choosing to complete the purchase.
One vital step in the process is finding and working with a buyer’s agent, like one of us, whose duty is to represent only the buyer in everything involved with the purchase.
Customarily in the US, the professional fees and commissions on a purchase are paid by the seller or home builder from the proceeds of the sale. A seller will often list a property for sale with one agent, known as the listing agent, but another agent will bring and represent the buyer. The agents usually split the fee 50/50. In essence, the buyer’s agent provides a free service to the buyer.
A buyer’s agent works exclusively for the buyer, and has access to all properties listed on the market for sale. The agent will also handle other issues related to the transaction, such as negotiations, contract fulfillment, inspections, any repairs or decorating agreed in the contract, coordination of financing, and the closing (completion) of the purchase.
The United States offers mortgage options for foreign nationals who want to conserve their cash and take advantage of leverage. Usually a down payment of at least 30% of the purchase price is required. Applying for a mortgage is a straightforward process. Typically, employment is verified by an accountant’s letter or income letter from an employer. Funds are verified in the buyer's account by a credit letter from a bank or two local credit letters from any creditors. Numerous programs are available with various terms and interest rates—a larger down payment would result in a lower rate.
Thanks to current exchange rates and the housing market, Texas real estate is even more affordable than that in other popular states, such as Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and California. In today's market, the British pound is trading at approximately 2 dollars to 1. For a British buyer, any down payment or reserves deposited in a bank would basically be at a 50% discount. A similar situation exists for many other investors whose currency is doing well against the dollar, such as the euro.
Homes in Texas are proven to hold their value over time. Housing prices in Texas’s major markets—Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio—did not appreciate to the sky-high levels of other markets, such as Miami, Las Vegas, or San Diego. This makes south Texas real estate a solid part of any long-term investment portfolio. Waterfront homes on lakes and rivers, and condos in urban areas as well as golf-course communities, are also extremely well priced.
As a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, I am ready to help you find a unique home that suits your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
Contact me today for more information on finding your second home or investment property in south Texas!