How a Foreign National Can Buy Real Estate in America

Opportunities for real estate investment for foreigners is wide and varied in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what currency you’d be using to purchase a property, you have a property waiting for you.

There are generally three kinds of real estate investment available to foreigners. These investments include the commercial estate investment and residential property investment. Residential properties are further classified into single family properties, apartments or condominiums and recreational properties. Regardless of what kind of real estate you are interested in, there are all sorts of tax ramifications, financing options and legal requirements that you have to deal with.

Why Should You Invest in the U.S. Real Estate Market?

You’ve probably heard of the increasing number of foreign real estate investments in the United States. This is not surprising. With the troubles that the real estate investment market is facing in the United States, greater opportunities in real estate investment were opened to foreign investors.

With the dollar’s value in its all time low, foreign investors are finding real estate bargains all over the United States. There are no shortages of deals in this market. More and more distressed properties are being sold everywhere and foreigners are pouring in millions buying these foreclosed or distressed properties. The United States real estate has become a fairly attractive long-term investment for foreign investors.

In November of 2006, the National Association of Realtors released a report entitled “Foreign Investments in U.S Real Estate: Current Trends and Historical Perspective”. The report showed that there has been a steady increase in foreign real estate investment in the United States. This is especially after the euro and the loonie became stronger in the face of the continuous devaluation of the US dollar. Prime bargains were opened to foreigners. Many foreigners have now looked into the possibility of retiring or settling in the United States.

If you’re a foreigner, you would find a lot of reasons why you should invest in the United States real estate market. Aside from the fact that the floating exchange rate has given you a lot of leverage over the bargaining table, the financial market is a pretty good reason why you should invest in the US real estate.

The financial market in the United States in relation to the real estate market is quite liberal and the restrictions against foreign investors are pretty reasonable. This is ideal for foreign companies that are seeking to invest in the real estate market in the United States in order to avoid tariff restrictions and are considering setting up an office or a company in the United States.

Furthermore, despite the devaluation of the US dollar and the wide foreclosures of a lot of property, the real estate market remains to be stable, though slightly shaky, due to foreign investors’ capital appreciation. Domestic real estate buyers may not necessarily share the same opinion, but the market has remained to be strong for foreign real estate buyers. This may be largely credited to the fact that there is minimal risk for them.

Why are Foreign Real Estate Investments Safe and Profitable?

There are a lot of investments you can make, but the safest you can make right now is investing your money in real properties. This is another good reason aside from the fact that you can make a pretty nifty profit, if you like, particularly now with the widespread property foreclosures and seemingly continuous US dollar devaluation. This is especially true if you are going to use the euro or the loonie when making your investment.

But why is US real estate investment safe for foreigners?

It is undeniable that stock investments are not a safe avenue at this point. The recession has not only affected the US economy; the same recession has greatly affected worldwide stock investments. Stocks values are dropping. It is also a fact that even without the current economic situation, stock values fluctuates.

On the other hand, real estate investments are pretty stable if you would compare it to stock investments – or even bond or mutual fund investments. With real estate investment, you’d be putting your money in an investment that would grow in value as years go by.

What are the Benefits of Foreign Real Estate Investment?

US state government supports foreign investments and along this line has formulated various tax breaks to encourage foreign investment on real estate. Many of these tax breaks are not available in many countries. In fact, most countries would frown at foreigners owning real properties within their territory.

Foreign real estate investment in the United States is open to everyone. As long as you can afford to buy the property or at least comply with the mortgage requirements and payments, you can secure for yourself a pretty good property in the United States. Again, with the current economic situation of the United States, this is the perfect chance for you to make an investment.

Another great benefit that you can take advantage of is the availability of mortgage financing. Lenders have opened their doors to foreign investors who are looking into purchasing a property. So, you don’t have to actually deplete your bank account. You can actually secure a mortgage loan and gradually pay it off.

I’m Canadian, What Are My Financing Options?

There is a steady increasing rate of Canadian real estate investors in the United States; and accordingly, the government has made certain that they have attractive financing options available to them.

If you’re Canadian – or if you’re a foreigner – you’d find a lot of reasons why you should buy a piece of real property in the United States. For Canadians, the parity of the currencies or the apparent devaluation of the US dollar is a pretty good reason itself. But how do you finance your purchase?

There are various financing options available to you depending on which state you are in. In Arizona, for instance, you’d get favorable financing terms if you are purchasing a property for recreational purposes, that is, you do not derive any income or benefit from your purchase or ownership. You will be required, however, to sign up a disclosure agreement and give a 30% down payment for your loan. To qualify though for a loan, you may be required to show availability of liquid reserves for a period of three to six months. You may also be required to present a minimum of 3-month bank statement.

If you are purchasing a property for investment, you’d probably meet stricter terms. Requirements may be more stringent. For instance, you could be required to give a down payment of more than 30% and you may be required to show one year worth of liquidity reserves.

Regardless of your reasons, if you feel like you can fulfill the requirements of a financing loan, you can then proceed to actually applying for a mortgage loan. Also, keeping yourself updated with the financing terms flux may be a wise idea.

Understanding the Tax Ramifications of Real Estate Investment

The first foreigner to have ever bought a real estate property in the United States was Peter Minuit. This opened the doors to foreign real estate investors. After a couple of centuries later, foreign real estate investment has grown into huge proportions, accounting for billion-of-dollar worth of industry.

The low risk attached to US real estate market, the availability of countless properties, and the steady market liquidity attract foreign investors in droves. The initial snag, however, is the process of understanding the legal ramifications of foreign real estate investment.

What you have to understand is that foreign investment in the United States can take a lot of forms. A foreigner has various options. He can acquire direct interest. He can acquire an interest in the real estate through a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company. The latter is the typical structure used by foreign investors.

Limited partnership or Limited Liability Company offers financial protection or indirect asset protection, especially in cases of bankruptcy, law suits and taxes. Foreign investors are generally taxed on the property as if they hold the property in direct interest.

Ideally, you should secure the services of a real estate accountant to help you out with the tax ramifications, but it would help if you, at least, know the basics before you actually talk to an accountant.

There are tax consequences that you have to deal with when you buy a real estate in the United States. You would need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number which you will use with all your tax transactions. Your investment in real estates can be treated as a portfolio investment and will be accounted for as an investment income which can either be fixed or a periodic income. This is typically taxed at 30% on gross revenues. This tax though does not apply though to all foreign investors. Tax rates would vary depending on the tax personality the foreign investor opted for. For instance, a corporation would be taxed differently.

Other things that you should take note of are availability and requirements of tax refunds and state tax laws on real estate properties as they may differ from federal laws, among other things.

By knowing all these things, you may save yourself from a lot of hassles when you finally approach a real estate accountant. You’d be in same wavelength when you finally get down to talking business. It is, however, very important that you secure the services of an accountant. You’d have an easier time dealing with the taxes ramifications. You’d also have assistance ensuring that you comply with all the accounting aspect of your investment. This is especially true if you are purchasing a real property for investment purposes.

Do You Need to Secure the Service of a Real Estate Lawyer?

If you are considering buying a property in the United States, you need to secure the services of a real estate attorney – someone who could help you with the legal issues concerning your purchase. It is tempting to forego securing the service of a lawyer to save money, but this could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Make sure that you have an experienced and trustworthy lawyer to help you out. Make sure that you have thoroughly checked out his credentials, profile, history of successful cases handled by him, and other factors that would influence your decision. You could check online and look for a lawyer working within the state where you are considering purchasing a property.

Functions of a Real Estate Lawyer

There is no actual distinctive function for a lawyer in a real estate case. However, you would really need the assistance of a lawyer for various tasks. A real estate lawyer would review the sales contract for you. He would also check on the title and other documents relating to the property. A lawyer would also review your mortgage contract and make the necessary adjustments or corrections. You could also get him to review with you the legal and tax issues concerning the purchase. A real estate attorney could also make the necessary adjustments relating to various expenses and costs involved in the purchase. He would assess your eligibility for tax refunds and draft the documents and statements relating to this.

Putting it simply, a real estate lawyer will be your watchdog. He would guide you through the whole process of purchasing a real estate in the United States in order to make sure that you will be legally protected. You will have a capable and trustworthy liaison to help you out with the contract. He will also face legal disputes if any arise.

Tips on How to Invest in Real Estate Successfully

Now, if you’ve fully bought into the idea of real estate investing in the United States, you might just want to know how to go about investing in real estate successfully. If you want to be successful in this venture, the first thing that you have to avoid is overanalyzing. Of course, it is a good idea to carefully think through your actions but it is a bad idea to overanalyze your investment to nonexistence. You might lose a great opportunity.

Before you purchase the property though, it might be wise to check the property value. If it sits well with you and you can reasonably afford the property, go ahead and make the purchase.

If you are considering the property for a quick flip, make sure that the property is in perfect condition and in good area. This is to ensure that you could double or actually triple your return of investment. If you can inspect the property yourself, do so. If not, a good and trustworthy agent can help you with this task.

Another important thing to remember when you’re buying real estate is good financing. You should take your time to carefully consider all your financing options. Foreign investors can email in their queries to various lending institutions. It is a good idea to make sure that you’ve had their terms and rates on paper because they tend to change these terms and charge you with a lot of junk. Your real estate agent can help you with reviewing the escrow charges.

The bottom line, however, is that it is very important that you do your homework before you actually buy a real property. Investing in real properties in the United States can be profitable especially during these times. In fact, it may be the wisest and most perfect investment you can make right now.

Social Media Platform Review

Unless you are an incredibly well-connected Solopreneur who is making a killing and maybe even turning business away, social media will play a role in your branding and marketing strategies. Each platform has its cohort of devoted users and will be a good fit for some businesses, but maybe less so for others.

The platforms are free of charge, aside from the time it costs to keep your content up-to-date. No matter how responsive to social media marketing your venture is, time will not allow most Solopreneurs and business owners to maintain a presence on all platforms, unless social media management is outsourced. If the ROI positively impacts sales revenues, then the investment will be worthwhile. Let’s take a look at Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Facebook

The most popular social media platform has 2.19 billion users (Statista, 1Q 2018) around the world. There are somewhat more female users than male and the bulk of the age demographic is 18-44 years. Forbes Magazine data indicates that 47% of Americans report that Facebook is their primary influencer when it comes to making purchases.

Facebook often delivers excellent ROI for B2C enterprises (somewhat less for B2B). In-store events and promotions, speaking engagements, your workshops and other events can be announced to Facebook Friends. Content provided in text, photos, or video can be uploaded. You can create groups and build communities, or post a customer survey. Share behind-the-scenes information about your business and what it takes to do what you do and in the process, you’ll engage customers, strengthen your brand and build relationships.

Does that sound like too much work and too much sharing? Then create a Fan Page and limit your presence to basic info and a good call to action. Be aware that your presentation of text, photos and other content should be relaxed and welcoming, to create a personal feel (but remember that business is the context).

Instagram

You’ll find 1 billion users (Statista, June 2018) from around the world and 80% are outside of the U.S. 95 million posts are shared daily, with many accessed on a mobile device. Approximately 59% of U.S. users are 18-29 years. As of 1Q 2018, there are 300 million daily Instagram Stories users and 30% of users have purchased a product.

Visual storytelling, behind-the-scenes photo montages, social selling, brand awareness, engaging with customers and creating relationships are good uses of Instagram. If you are in public relations or special event/conference planning, then you will find worthwhile B2B use, otherwise it’s B2C as far as I can tell.

Photo sharing, brief video trailers and concise text postings that include a hashtag # to better distribute your content are ideal content. Add a link to your profile bio. Decide if you want a public or members-only account. Links cannot be shared.

LinkedIn

Considered the gold standard B2B social media platform, LinkedIn has 500 million members globally (Statista, January 2018). Business ventures large and small, Solopreneurs, corporate and nonprofit leaders, physicians and dentists, any employee who harbors professional aspirations and most college students maintain a profile page. Recruiters use LinkedIn to identify potential candidates for job openings. LinkedIn ProFinder helps Solpreneurs find project work.

LinkedIn is an excellent platform on which to build a community of professional colleagues through your connections and share with them your professional story, successes, highlights and other updates that support your personal brand. My B2B blog posts to my LinkedIn page and my connections receive notice of its arrival. Your connections will also share their stories and there is great opportunity to be in touch and nurture relationships.

Professional portfolios, videos, white papers, newsletters, blogs, infographics, SlideShare presentations and podcasts can be featured on your profile page to add depth to your brand story. Links to articles or studies that might interest your connections can be posted. Recommendations and endorsements let others verify your professional bona fides and you can return the favor.

In the Groups section, you’ll engage with colleagues within your industry, or with alumni of your school. Topics of interest are explored through posted questions and group members can respond and in the process get to know one another and possibly, forge relationships that lead to doing business.

Thanks for reading,

Kim

The Great Crash Ahead by Harry S Dent, Jr With Rodney Johnson – Book Review

Synopsis of Content: Harry Dent has been confounding the “experts” for twenty years by predicting economic and financial trends and markets based largely on demographic data and economic cycles.

This is his fifth book in a series that has predicted economic trends. If Harry Dent is right yet again everyone should be reading this book! Dent’s thesis is relatively simple enough: he submits that demographic trends drive economic cycles that have been predictable for several centuries and that these cycles drive the economy regardless of much else that is going on.

This fifth book traces that giant “baby boom” generation – 92 million people in the US born between 1946 and 1964 who have had the greatest impact on our economy and society in the past half century. He explains how this large demographic changes demand for goods and services as they pass through different phases from the explosion of school construction in the 1960s to educate them to through the strong economy of the 1990s and early 2000s when they were at the peak of their consumptive period.

The Great Crash Ahead now predicts an economic depression from 2008-2018 or longer due to the aging of this demographic and its reduced demand for goods and services. Combined with misguided government and financial policies this cycle built a giant “bubble” for real estate and credit during the first decade of the 21st century. This period from 2001-2007 was seen as a good time with easy credit and easy access to home ownership.

All bubbles in the economy are self-correcting. Dent describes how the correction in this credit and housing bubble combined with the steady reduction in spending by the largest group of Americans is working to create the worst financial depression since the 1930s. He weaves through this the over extension of credit both to the government and the private sector and how it cannot be quickly repaired. This then inevitably leads to failures of the financial markets and significant price deflation for the next decade. Dent does not limit himself to the US. He explains how similar bubbles and demographic trends led to the depressed Japanese economy for the past 20 years and will lead to similar problems in Europe and China.

Dent bases much of this on an 80 year cycle of boom and bust that his research shows has repeated itself many times over the past several hundred years. Now 80 years after the great depression we are again in the “winter” of this cycle which will last ten to fifteen years before a new spring will lead to a slow recovery in the 2020s.

It is difficult to ignore Dent’s theory. In the late 1980s he predicted the demise of the Japanese economy when most economists and pundits were bullish on Japan. Likewise in the 1990s when many were predicting difficult times for the US economy Dent was predicting the boom of the 1990s and early 2000s. The book traces the failure of government to correct this cycle because it simply cannot do so. It examines the huge private and government debt which must be paid off or written down to restore the economy. His macro predictions have been spot on so far, making it foolish to ignore what he says now. If he is wrong it will be the first time in his three decades of predictions and if he is right we are in for some tough times.

At the end of the book Dent gives advice for how we can use this information to protect assets, invest wisely in this “new” world. He teaches how to forget the way of doing things that we learned over the past half century and learn how to adapt to a new economy.

To be sure Dent has his critics. A quick Google of his name and books shows a number of highly critical articles arguing that Dent assumes too much, that his analysis while technically impressive overlooks other factors that will influence the economy beyond his demographic predictions and some who offer complex Elliott wave analysis suggesting that Dent has it wrong.

At the same time he has some impressive supporters. David Bach, John Thomas, Kim and Charles Githler, and a long list of others endorse his book. I cannot say for sure whether Dent is right or the critics are – but if he is right, he bears consideration. Again, while some of the details of his predictions may not have always panned out perfectly one cannot overlook or dismiss the general accuracy of his predictions to date.

Usefulness: It must be noted that any predictions of future economic trends and behaviors are inherently fraught with risk. However if Dent’s predictions in this book are as accurate as his past analysis this will prove very useful to anyone saving for retirement, investing, running a business or choosing a career.

Readability/Writing Quality: Dent writes clearly and well. The book is full of rather complex economic and demographic analysis. It is not an easy book to read but well worth the effort to understand.

Notes on Author: Harry Dent is an author and head of the HS Dent Financial Advisor Network. He publishes a regular financial newsletter. He is author of The Great Boom Ahead, The Roaring 2000s Investor, The Next Great Bubble Boom and The Great Depression Ahead.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. The economy is driven primarily by demographic trends which in turn drive economic cycles. External activities including wars, natural disasters and government actions have a minimal effect on these trends. Understanding these cycles and trends is critical to plan for the future and protect investments.

2. In the later part of the first decade of this century we have entered a winter phase of a very large 80 year demographic and economic cycle. Nothing the government does will change this. This winter cycle will lead to large debt restructuring, market corrections and deflation. The period between 2008-2018 will look much like 1930-1940.

3. Understanding this mega trend and its inevitable consequences is essential to investing wisely over the next decade to protect current assets and exploit the winter economy.

Publication Information: The Great Crash Ahead by Harry S. Dent, Jr. with Rodney Johnson Copyright 2011 by H.S. Dent Publishing Published by Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster

Who Is Reading What Books?

Have you ever gone into someone’s home or office and looked upon their library to see what kind of books are on the shelf? You can tell much about a person by what books they read. You can also tell a lot about a person by how they dress, how they eat, who they associate with, what they do for a living, etc. Without deliberately trying to find out information, we learn more about people just by observing. In essence, that is how we get to know someone, or get to know someone better. That is also how people are drawn to one another as friends, business associates, etc. When you discover what books they read, that is when you find out what they are thinking.

When I look upon someone’s book collection, I can tell if they like to read the same kind of books I read. Maybe they have read the same book. I think, more than anything else, that I can tell more about a person just by seeing what books they read. If there is someone I want to learn from, I will try to find out what books they are reading. I would love to have seen the library of Thomas Edison, Napoleon Hill, and Donald Trump, just to name a few. Sometimes, the best books we read were books that were recommended by someone. I would love to find out what books everyone on the Forbes 400 has read in the past year. Or I would like to know what books others in my industry are reading.

If you want to be successful at something, look at others who are successful, and do what they are doing. It sounds simple, but here is another way to look at it. Find out what books they are reading, and you will learn what is in their head, what they are thinking about. If you want to learn how to invest, find out what the Wall Street pros are reading. If you want to learn how to invest in real estate, find out what real estate investors are reading. If you want to be inspired to start a business, find out what other business people read. You can even read biographies of people in similar businesses or industries. You will find that successful people in any calling are usually reading biographies, self-help books, and anything else that would inspire motivate and educate.

If someone is looking to lose weight or just get in shape, they would ask people at the gym what books they would recommend. My personal favorite is Live Young Forever by Jack LaLanne. I think a great conversation would be among sports fans discussing some of the best books they have read. I would love to be in that conversation with my pen and pad ready. How great would it be to have Magic Johnson’s top ten recommended books? You would get a double bonus there, since he was an all-star basketball player, as well as a great businessman. With all of this in mind, here is a new conversation starter? “Read any good books lately.”

Send Out Cards Review – Is Send Out Cards Real Or Hype?

Send Out Cards established by Kody Bateman in 2004 in Salt Lake City Utah has grown from a $800,000/year business to one turning over $70 million in 2009.

While this growth is staggering, we need to ask “Is Send Out Cards a scam?” or are customers and distributors getting involved in a real deal?

In this Send Out Cards review we are going to look at what the company does, what support and training are given to distributors, the quality of their products, costs to get involved and what flaws are evident in the business. At the end you’ll be able to make up your mind if you want to get involved either as a customer or a distributor.

Kody Bateman started the business after the passing of his brother when he realised that acting on a prompting by sending a card is difficult for most people. When a prompting enters their head it often passes just as quick because usually a person doesn’t have a card handy at home or they get put off the fact of having to go to a shop, park their car, find a card, write their message, then go to the post office, wait in a queue to buy a stamp and finally post their card. Most people say “I’ll do that tomorrow” but unfortunately that day never comes and their heartfelt thought is not expressed to their potential recipient.

Send Out Cards offers customers or distributors a virtual store service which can be operated from anywhere in the world whereby they can choose a card from over 10,000 selections, create a personal message in their own hand writing, upload a photograph, select a recipient and click send on their computer.

The Send Out Cards team then prints their card, puts a stamp on it and posts it for them. Printing occurs in Utah and Australia. Distributors and customers can take advantage of the company’s campaign manager feature which allows people to create cards, select recipients and have those cards sent at a future date.

Such a service sounds appealing but is the final product quality? The GSM card quality is the same used by all the major card manufacturers but as opposed to the ‘off the shelf’ cards offered by Hallmark cards and American Greeting cards, Send Out Cards products can be personalised with you own message. You can even add photographs to give your card a more personal touch. By uploading your own hand writing you can save time when ‘writing’ cards in mass.

With over 8 billion cards being sent annually in the USA alone, there is a lot of competition. Hallmark cards and American Greeting cards dominate the market with physical greeting cards. Blue Mountain cards and 123 Greeting cards offer an ecard service that is also popular. Send Out Cards takes the pluses of these companies by providing an online service that produces a physical, quality card just by clicking send on your computer.

Card costs vary but generally range from $3 to $6 for a quality card. As a distributor or wholesale customer of Send out Cards, your cards cost just 62 cents. The company also includes your first 100 cards with these packages when you start.

Getting started with Send Out Cards can be as little as $9.80 as a Retail Customer. This will allow you to ‘put your toe in the water’ and trial the company. You don’t get all the features with this product and your cards will cost you $2 each. The Retail Customer account does give you 10 cards included in the package.

Preferred Customers can acquire a pack for $31 per month. Card costs are now reduced to 31 cents for each unit. Typically a card will cost 62 cents without personal photos.

But if you are in small business such as real estate, financial services, mortgage lending, medical, health or beauty, then this Preferred Customer package is your best deal. Cost per card is now 62 cents and includes all the features. For those wanting to start a Send Out Cards business then you need to acquire the Entrepreneur package at $295. This pack includes all the same benefits of the wholesale package but includes a distributor kit allowing you to conduct a business.

Now up to this point you maybe thinking that Send Out Cards looks like a great service or business. But what flaws are there?

Well you need to be organised to some extent with this service. Send Out Cards still relies on the postal services of a country. There in lies some issues. Postal services can be unreliable for being late and are often subject to having strikes. The message here is send your cards early. You should budget for approx 5 days including printing time and postal time.

Humans are also involved in the process which can ultimately lead to problems. Mistakes can be made but with Send out Cards they are compensated by the company if they are at fault.

Computers at times also have glitches and with an increasing print run, sometimes these glitches occur more frequently. However based on the larger broader picture such glitches are very minor.

So is Send Out Cards the real deal? Well you be the judge. Before you get involved in any service as a customer or distributor make sure you do your own due diligence.

With businesses trying to figure out how to stay in contact with their customers in an economical manner or people just wanting to send a heartfelt message quickly, the 8 billion card market is certainly growing.