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UK citizen looking for good place to buy in the USA!


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Thanks very much all, sounds exactly the same as house buying in the UK!

 

Lambert thank you for the issue you raised but i've had a quick look into it and absolutely no legal barriers to buying a house or US land for cash. As a cash buyer i would just go through the same legal process as a US citizen.

 

Abitbroken renting it out would be great but my mom wants to live there the 6 months im not there and i'll live at hers.

 

Shes 66 now and only just left the UK for the first time as she was TERRIFIED of flying but now shes done it once she wants to go the USA! I think she regrets not seeing the world.

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Well that's slightly disappointing. I can indeed spend 6 months of the year there but in 2x3 month periods. Canadians only can do 1x6 month stay.

 

If I want to do a single 6 month stay I have to apply for a visa every year. Is the US really strict on this? I have no criminal record /cautions etc. Am financially sound. Bachelor degree educated etc.

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Absolutely best advice Lambert.

 

"The best advice I could give is to find a real estate agent that specializes in this.

 

Someone that knows the legalities and process for buying property in the foreign country, as well as, the stipulations that apply to you as a foreign buyer."

 

OP, get professional advice on the matter to avoid any pitfalls.

 

You could also check with the U.S. Consulate in London as to requirements.

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lol....I've lived both in FL and currently in Texas.

 

The thing with Texas is that it's huge and there is a great variation from one side of the state to another when it comes to weather, nature and landscapes, housing prices, lifestyle, culture and so on. You really need to travel around and see for yourself what's what and what appeals to you. Real estate prices keep rising and rising statewide though, but still you can buy a very nice house well within your budget.

 

Regarding negotiating, best advice is work with a good realtor and let them advise you. Don't be afraid to fire one who is too passive or unwilling to advocate for you. Whether or how much or when you should negotiate depends on the market and as someone else pointed out, you may need to offer more or less than the asking price to get what you want. There are also house inspections - don't buy without it. A house inspection can be useful not only for making sure you aren't buying a pretty looking wreck, but also give you some ammo to negotiate the price down based on whatever issues are found. Of course, if none are found and you've bid high, you will be on the hook. So never offer more than what you are actually willing to pay for that house regardless of the market situation in that area.

 

I'd urge you to stay away from condos and high HOA fees communities as it's burning $$$ in a trashcan and creates a lot of headaches and politics to deal with. Whatever increase in property values, you'll waste and lose paying HOA fees. Unfortunately, FL is pretty much dominated by HOA's and it's hard to find a property without that headache, still look for one with minimal fees and rules. Even if you think that you won't need to rent the property because your mom will be there when you aren't, consider that the situation can change and it would be smart to be make sure that if there is an HOA, renting is permitted. Some HOA's either restrict so you'd be on a waiting list or do not allow it at all. All things to think about and have your realtor get information for you before you buy. In Texas, HOA's aren't popular, at least not where I live.

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Thanks Dancing Fool! Will book myself 3 months in Texas sometime in 2021 i think. Spend a month in 3 different areas and try and get a feel for it.

 

 

Yeah regarding the condos/aptms etc i want a house,not something on a lease where i never own it outright. We call them leaseholds here in the UK, pay a large sum to live in a property for 100 years but then its handed back to the landowners family to do to do the next generations fo buyers. Not for me. I want to own the house AND the land it's own too.

 

Thanks for the heads regaring right to rent out, here in the UK we don't have that. If you own the house outright without a mortgage you can do what you want.

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Thanks Dancing Fool! Will book myself 3 months in Texas sometime in 2021 i think. Spend a month in 3 different areas and try and get a feel for it.

 

 

Yeah regarding the condos/aptms etc i want a house,not something on a lease where i never own it outright. We call them leaseholds here in the UK, pay a large sum to live in a property for 100 years but then its handed back to the landowners family to do to do the next generations fo buyers. Not for me. I want to own the house AND the land it's own too.

 

Thanks for the heads regaring right to rent out, here in the UK we don't have that. If you own the house outright without a mortgage you can do what you want.

 

Ah, so leaseholds are different from HOA's. I think they do land leaseholds like that in Hawaii - you own the house, but have only a leasehold on the land...don't quote me though as I don't know if I'm recalling this correctly and if they still do this.

 

HOA stands for home owner association. It's a different sort of an animal. You do own the property outright. However, the HOA can have a big say so in the deed restrictions along the lines of property maintenance. It is either run by other residents who live in that community (think crazy politics as there are actual elections to management positions you'll need to vote for and will be mostly run by retired middling and meddling bureaucrats on a power trip they've always craved but never had in life - fun times and I'm speaking from years of experience) or it is outsourced to management companies - slightly more sane, but not by much.

 

Now it can be as simple as the HOA is minimal and only collects $100/year for common road maintenance within the community and nothing else OR it can be crazy levels of micromanagement where you have to apply to cut down a tree, some idiot will come measure the height of your grass (not joking), you'll get fined for keeping your car out for too long in the driveway, rental restrictions, and on, and on. HOA's can be applicable to both houses and condos. So do read very very carefully what the HOA can and cannot do if you are looking at a house in an HOA development.

 

If you do buy in Florida, it will be hard to get away from them, so your big clue is price. Typically least troublesome HOA's are really cheap. The higher the monthly costs, the more headaches you are buying with that. Condo's can be as high as $1,500/mo in fees. If you ever hit a financial snag and can't pay those fees, the HOA's can foreclose on your property and take it away from you just a like a mortgage company....even if you owe them just $50.00.

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HOA's sound crazy!! If its my house and land how can they have a say? Something i'll have to get to grips with hahah!

 

I've seen some HOA prices at 260 for example in the porpery listing, is thta $260 a month or a year??

 

 

Something like this in Gainesville would be fine for me

 

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1433-NE-14th-Ter_Gainesville_FL_32601_M64084-96752

 

 

In HOA payments it says 'customise' does that mean no HOA payments?

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HOA's sound crazy!! If its my house and land how can they have a say? Something i'll have to get to grips with hahah!

 

I've seen some HOA prices at 260 for example in the porpery listing, is thta $260 a month or a year??

 

 

Something like this in Gainesville would be fine for me

 

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1433-NE-14th-Ter_Gainesville_FL_32601_M64084-96752

 

 

In HOA payments it says 'customise' does that mean no HOA payments?

 

Yeah, they are!

 

Usually it means per month unless indicated otherwise. If you click on "read more" under Property Details, it will usually tell you some few details about the HOA and if it's monthly, quarterly, or yearly. If you are looking at $260 under "Monthly Payment" breakdown, then yeah it is per month.

 

If it says customize, it does mean there is no HOA.

 

Always double check with realtor though in case of data errors.

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My HOA had a rule that you would be fined if the light that lights up the numbers of your address on the front of your house went out. Also, we had until 6 pm on trash day to pull in our trash barrels. And no leaving them outside, they had to be in the garage.

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I'm sorry but this sounds insane!! How did these HOAs come about and get such power?! Is it governmental?

 

No I don't think so. I lived in a coop apartment for many years and that also can have fairly strict rules including when it comes to subleasing your unit.

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No, HOAs aren't governmental, but it's possible that local governments require developers to implement them as a condition for building, just like they require developers to run lines for electric, sewer, and water to a site. HOAs are extremely common where I live (New Jersey), but I wouldn't recommend that you buy something here anyway. It's too expensive. A tiny little cape cod down the street from me recently sold for almost $900K. That's insane.

 

When I was growing up, we lived for some time in a community with an HOA, but we owned our own lot (it wasn't condominium property) and the road was public, which meant that the township took care of snow removal. So our HOA fees were very, very low. The condos down the road paid a lot more than we did because they had to hire a landscaper to take care of the property and also someone to plow their parking lots and do general maintenance.

 

That neighborhood is currently facing a pretty steep HOA assessment because some of those buildings were built on poor soil and the foundations are failing--that's something that nobody saw coming. Yet another drawback of the HOA is the possibility of corruption: I know of at least one case where the people who ran the HOA stole the HOA money and let the neighborhood go to crap.

 

Most of the time, HOAs aren't such a nightmare. They run quietly in the background and help keep the neighborhood looking nice for everybody. But it's definitely something to consider when buying a home. Whenever I see what I consider to be a reasonable price for something, I have learned to check for HOA fees. Around here, they can start at $500-$600 per month. Combined with taxes, that can easily drive the cost up to $12,000 more per year.

 

I'd definitely stick to the south. Less taxes, cheaper land, and the HOA cost (if any) is much more reasonable than in the north.

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Wow thats really eye opening but you know what it did make me think and there is actually a village about 5 miles from where i live and if you buy there you do have rules about keeping your garden and front fo house clean and we all think thats insane but they cannot fine you or take your hom etc and no payments made to them.

 

In the UK we have COUNCIL TAX which is paid monthly and that goes purely to your local elected area council, not the central government. They then take care of police/fire/NHS/roads etc from this budget but if you get behind they cantr claim your house just take you court to sue, i would say that is the UK version of HOA. The price yoyu pay depends on value of the house. It goes from 1$.5k a year to $4.5k a year. Everyone has to pay this even if you are a renter.

 

Thanks again, seems i will end up in the south. Looking at Gainesville (know it, friends there, love it) Then i'm going to spend a month in some towns in Texas and Las Vegas and make a decision from there.

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Yes, HOA sounds a lot like Counsil Tax. An HOA can't take your house, either. If they levy a fine on you and you don't pay it, they have to sue you. And a lot of times, they are toothless. Like, one lady up the block from us violated the bylaws by installing a non-conforming type of walkway.... I don't think anything ever happened to her. Maybe she paid a fine, and maybe there was some grumbling among the more sanctimonious neighbors, but she never had to tear it up.

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I also take the weather into consideration along with diversity (important to me, not important to others). I don't want to deal with tornadoes or hurricanes or shoveling snow, so that leaves out the Gulf coast, Florida (and yikes, the HUGE bugs and insects lol!) the northeast and the east coast. I actually prefer the west coast and western US, although I don't like most parts of Arizona although Northern Arizona and Sedona are excellent. I also like cultural diversity. I rejected a work transfer because I researched the city and there was only ONE "Mexican" restaurant (they used ketchup rather than salsa on everything, what???) and no Asian, Indian or Mediterranean style restaurants. And the population was 93 percent White. I would not fit in!

 

Also, I don't like to have to pay a lot more for everything. Where I'm living now is not exactly ideal but I no longer wanted to be isolated from my family. I am a fan of Vegas (obviously lol!) because of the low cost of living, no state income tax, cultural diversity and entertainment options. Yes, it gets hot. Very hot. But all places have AC and you learn to not go grocery shopping or running when it's the middle of the afternoon and 112 outside. It is nice to be able to go out at night and not need a sweater or jacket because it's in the 80s or 90s. And the spring and fall are nice.

 

I don't know enough about the south, midwest or east coast to be able to advise. But others have given their opinion so hopefully you have some good options to think over.

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I rejected a work transfer because I researched the city and there was only ONE "Mexican" restaurant (they used ketchup rather than salsa on everything, what???) and no Asian, Indian or Mediterranean style restaurants.!

 

That's one really nice thing that I take for granted, having grown up in this metropolitan area: cultural/ethnic/religious diversity and (my favorite) great food! As much as I grow weary of the rat race, I know I will really miss these things if I move out of the area.

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I definitely notice the bugs and insects in Florida when im there every October! Assuming its worse in the summer? Whats the bugs like in Vegas and Texas?

 

I'm from a very multi cultural area, in fact im a white minority but the food thing doesnt bother me. I'm not a 'foodie' at all. I wish i could enjoy food ubt i never do really.

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That's one really nice thing that I take for granted, having grown up in this metropolitan area: cultural/ethnic/religious diversity and (my favorite) great food! As much as I grow weary of the rat race, I know I will really miss these things if I move out of the area.

 

I grew up in an area that was extremely diverse like this and now live in a relatively diverse area - it is one reason I do not want to live in a suburb. I have a friend who grew up where I did and left after 25 years. Now for 25 years she's lived in a very non-diverse suburb and the comments she makes sometimes while not all out racist are so insular/bubble/narrow minded I cannot believe it.

 

Also what I love about a diverse vibrant area is you can see theater or visual art that is diverse because those exhibits/shows are drawn to diverse areas where they will have a good following/audience.

 

OP consider how important this is to you.

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I definitely notice the bugs and insects in Florida when im there every October! Assuming its worse in the summer? Whats the bugs like in Vegas and Texas?

 

I'm from a very multi cultural area, in fact im a white minority but the food thing doesnt bother me. I'm not a 'foodie' at all. I wish i could enjoy food ubt i never do really.

 

Vegas, being a desert town, does have scorpions and snakes. However, I had one of those sonic/electronic/whatever plug in thingies that creates some kind of noise that scares off critters. I never, not once, had any kind of critter inside my house. And it had no effect on my cat.

 

Early in the mornings I would see rabbits everywhere. Cute little guys hopping around. I also would see red foxes and a few times I saw roadrunners. Nothing harmful. And bonus from being in a hot, dry climate...no snails and no skunks! I find snails icky. Oh, and in the sparsely populated areas there are burros and wild horses. Some of the wild horses were not wild at all! If you approached near where they were drinking water they'd either ignore you or calmly look at you then continue drinking their water.

 

Side note, lots of people have no idea there's a ski resort on Mt. Charleston just about 30 minutes from Vegas and really nice mountain cabins up there to use during the spring and summer. It's at least 20 degrees cooler up there, so it's a nice escape when it's super hot in the city. Close to Utah too for some awesome scenery in Zion National Park. The Virgin River Gorge is absolutely amazing and only about an hour from the city.

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Scorpions and snakes? How deadly we talking here haha! All we have in the UK are Wasps haha.

 

I would like to live somewhere fairly diverse. I will take into account. Most cities these days are multi cultural even if the smaller burbs are not.

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It's part of desert living, just like coastal Florida has large bugs and insects and alligators. But as I mentioned, not once did I ever have any of those critters inside my house.

 

Another benefit is other than the hot weather there are very few extreme weather events. No tornadoes, no hurricanes, earthquakes (if they happen at all) are from a great distance and therefore are hardly even discernable and very little snow. Like, one inch of snow every few years.

 

Like any other place it has its good points and bad points. One thing I really liked was being able to go out to eat any time of the day or night. And not just fast food or Denny's, but top restaurants.

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