Monday, May 30, 2011

Canadians love their U.S. properties


For the fourth consecutive year, Canadians led the pack of foreign buyers sweeping up properties in the U.S. Twenty-three percent of foreign buyers were Canadian, with the next-highest group coming from China (9%).

It's easy to understand why Canadians are deciding now is the time to purchase properties south of the border. More than 45% of those properties purchased by all foreign buyers in 2010 had price tags under $200,000. For a vacation property, that's not a price to sneeze at!

If you're thinking about becoming a U.S. property owner, here are a few things to consider:

1. Cash is King.

Very few, if any, U.S. lenders are offering mortgages to foreign buyers right now, so if you're thinking about buying a property, you're best to buy with cash. If you don't have $200,000 in cash on hand, many buyers are opting to take out a line of credit on their Canadian property and using the money to buy a U.S. home flat out.

2. What are others saying?

If you can, talk to as many people you know who have recently purchased a U.S. property. Find out where they purchased the property, what their experience was like, and what tips they have to offer.

3. Avoid buying in a ghost town.

While a super-low price tag may be tempting, make sure it's not the only factor guiding your property-buying decision. Where you buy is equally as important and a ghost town or ghost building, ridden with foreclosures, is likely not where you want to be. Aside from further reducing property values, foreclosed homes are not contributing to local maintenance (or HOA) fees, which means the amenities and maintenance services your building is supposed to offer may not be kept up to snuff.

4. Buy with the long term in mind.

Nobody knows when the bottom of the U.S. housing bust will occur or how long it will last. So it's best to purchase U.S. properties with the long term in mind, rather than the mindset of turning a quick profit.

-courtesy of Axiom Mortgage Partners

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