Property Cheat Sheet: US
The US is an appealing destination for UK expats. Our shared language and cultural exchange combined with the wealth of options for locales and lifestyle make it particularly appealing to those who want to move to the Western Hemisphere.
Setting a budget and picking a location should be the first port of call for anyone looking to purchase property overseas. Being as large as it is, America offers a wealth of options to those looking to move there. There are a myriad of cities, each with its own distinct cultures, cuisines and climates to choose from. The bright lights of international hubs like New York and Los Angeles are always good, if expensive, choices if you want to experience the hustle and bustle of these multicultural havens. The vacation hotspots of Florida are always a good choice for older expats, while places like Atlanta, Seattle and New Orleans all have the excellent job opportunities of a city with their own distinct cultural quirks, like Atlanta’s hip-hop history, Seattle’s forward-thinking vibes and New Orleans musical pedigree.
For those who like more quiet locales, there are the famously chill mountain ranges of upstate New York and Oregon, the vast national parks of Colorado and the Great Lakes in the North. There really is something for everyone.
The process of purchasing a property in America is significantly easier if you are able to pay upfront, as having to get a mortgage can complicate things. Most lenders will require a certain credit score and proof you have lived and worked in the US for at least two years. While some lenders will be more accommodating, the process can take a long time and the options available to you may not be as favourable as they are to residents.
The process of purchasing itself is very similar whether you are a citizen or not. In order to purchase a property you will need some kind of proof of identity, whether that be a passport, a visa, Green Card or other document. It’s worth mentioning that without a visa you will only be able to stay in the US for 90 days at a time. As a result, it’s important to make sure you do your research on visas before you attempt to purchase a property.
To begin the process of buying a specific property, you will need to draw up an offer, which is usually done with the help of an estate agent. It’s also common to make a deposit at this stage, a small percentage of the sale fee, in order to show your seriousness and intentions. If you complete the sale, this deposit is credited against the closing costs or down payment. It’s also worth adding appraisal or inspection contingencies into the offer.
At this point, you have secured the property in principle and can get things like inspection and home appraisals done. These are similar to surveys in the UK.
Of course, US property deals will almost always be in Dollars. Currency UK ensure that our clients get the most out of their money when making currency exchanges, especially when dealing with large sums. We can also hold money on account for you prior to your purchase and lock in an exchange rate for you giving you certainty on your property purchase or sale.