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Foreign investor seeking advice

I am a foreign investor looking to buy US property as an investment and would like to help on where to start. Some background - my budget is around US$200k and would likely pay cash for it. Seattle is a city I'm familiar with, so this is where I plan to start looking. 

These are some queries I have and would appreciate it if anyone could shed some light
1. I'm thinking of incorporating a company, would it be preferable if it is a US LLC or an LLC incorporated in my home country?
2. How long does the whole process take? I would likely to be able to stay for only 7-10 days and I know the closing process takes much longer. How would it work for foreign investors?
3. How can I manage the property from afar? If I mandated a firm to manage my property how much would it cost?
4. Would it be easier to buy a condo rather than a house? Are there restrictions against foreign corporations buying condos? 

Many thanks
  • January 02 2012 - Seattle
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Answers (7)

Many real estate investors set up their LLC in Nevada. If you do a little research on why you will be convinced to do the same.

If your budget allows you should buy multi-unit buildings as opposed to single families. This will allow for a much greater and safer return on your investment.

Property management is also a must have! Make sure to carefully choose the company though. Property management fees are generally around 10% of monthly rent plus some sort of fee for every time a tenant is placed. 

Best of Luck!
  • January 22 2012
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Profile picture for patlordagent
You quite a lot to do and the quickest way is to go to a real estate company that has a relationship with a good attorney/cpa. It should have an onsite property management company. Then the powers that be will easily handle everything! Good luck!
  • January 10 2012
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Profile picture for Pascal2in1
I would like to get an investor to buy a house in my area, Michigan. very nice foreclosure houses with way higher appraisal values and sell it to us under land contract terms.Michigan has very low real estate listings right now and good to buy housing. We can put up to 10% down. Typically looking for a good nice house and have very high income, so monthly payments will be a breeze! Me and my husband have very high incomes monthly! 
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  • January 08 2012
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Foreign Investor,

I am a broker in Salisbury NC.  We are located just north of Charlotte.
I work with many investors and can give references.

With 200,000 as an investment I'm sure you want the most for youer return. I currently have multifamily units ( not on the market ) at a price that will allow you money for the repairsa needed but to also buy more units.

We handle everything. I can have the attorney lined up to put the LLC in place. Locate and secure the deal. We also provide the property management for our investors.

Having an LLC in NC would be most beneficial for many reasons which I will be glad to talk to you about. Most investors get 8 to 10 % return on their money. My deals produce 12 to 18%.


Let me know if I can be of assistance.[E-mail deleted by Zillow moderator. Please review our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
  • January 05 2012
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As Marco mentioned below, you don't need to physically be here (e.g. Seattle) to close as the paperwork can be handled electronically.  Though, some documents will need to be notarized through a U.S. notary, which will likely require a visit to the U.S. Embassy in your country.

Cash transactions generally take less time to close, though the extra time to notarize the documents may add a couple of days depending on how accessible the embassy is to you.   Though, if you're contemplating a short sale property, the process will take much longer.  About 25% of Seattle's condo inventory are short sales.

It would likely be best to have a local property management company manage the property for you.  Generally, they charge around 10% of the rent as a fee, but that'll vary by company.

Condos are not necessarily easier to purchase, there are additional elements involved.  Though, they would be less involved in terms of maintenance and may be easier to rent than a single family, particularly in Seattle.  Demographically, we have a high number of single person households and a low vacancy rate.  Also, at a $200,000 price point, most of the available properties in the Seattle area will be condos.
  • January 03 2012
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1. Either LLC will work.  You may want to ask your tax adviser about the tax implications of each to help you decide.

2. You dont neem to come tot the US to close escrow on your property.  Most of our clients close their home country.  The closing process can take 2-3 weeks from start to finish, but the actual "close" is a matter of signing documents and funding your purchase.

3. You should never manage your own property, especially from afar. You use a professional property manager to handle every aspect of your asset.

4. Condo's are not really easier because they have additional components and paperwork like a home owners association.

We work with a LOT of foreign national investors who purchase our turnkey investment properties located throughout the U.S.

Feel free to contact us with any other questions, or for more information.

Marco Santarelli
.
  • January 03 2012
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I recently sold a home to a man in Singapore.  He took title in his own name but explored the possibility of getting a US LLC but decided he didn't need it.  The whole process shouldn't take more than 30 days from the time youhave an accepted contract to when you close if you are a cash buyer.  The only thing that could hold up the transaction is if the seller needs more time to move out...thenit generally is only a few more weeks.  If the property is empty, you may be able to close in 2-3 weeks.  The title company would send the documents to you and you may have to go to the US Embassy to get them notarized.

To manage the property, you would need a property management company.  Hopefully your Realtor would be able to recommend one or two.  The good ones aren't cheap and I would hesitate to quote you a price or range.

If you are looking to get appreciation from this investment, I think a single family home would gain more value over time than a condo. It may be more maintenance but a good property management company should be able to handle the maintenance. Another thing to consider, condos usually have a pretty high HOA that would detract from your ROI.

If you haveany more questions, you can click on my name and get contact info for me.  Feel free to contact me.
  • January 03 2012
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