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United States of America (USA) - Property Options and Types

There are a number of types of properties in the USA available to purchase, although foreigners who are not citizens are generally prohibited from the purchase of co-op properties.

Property Types

The most common types of property purchased by foreigners are condominiums (favoured by retired people), townhouses or apartments. A condo is just like owning an ordinary property and the rules are more or less the same. The owner holds the title deeds and pays a service charge for the upkeep of the communal areas such as a swimming pool and the communal hallways. You will be liable for property taxes to the state you’re buying in and your tax advisor will guide you on the amounts you have to pay.

A condop is similar to a co-op but with condominium rules in place. As there are prohibitions in place on foreigners purchasing co-ops this is an alternative option for those who like the idea of a co-op. This option involves a lease holder agreement and the lease is in place for a period of 99 years. There are some issues with sub-letting, however; a real estate agent will assist you with the rules if you buy a condop.

Townhouses are simple home ownership with very few restrictions on the purchase or use of the property. You are free to do what you like with a townhouse and you can rent the house out just like any other property owner.

There are timeshare options to purchase as an investment if you want to visit other areas of the country at set times throughout a 12-month period. This is shared ownership and usually in a syndicate. Timeshare purchase has a different set of rules in terms of tax as there is usually no income from a timeshare home. It is purely a holiday home and you can exchange weeks with other members of the syndicate.

In warmer climates such as Florida, villas are free-standing properties usually within their own grounds and these are a popular choice for retired people who are looking to bring family out for annual holidays. These properties are generally spacious and come with gardens and swimming pools.

The type of property you purchase will depend on many factors such as family requirements, space, whether you want to live in a city or you prefer a more suburban region, and whether you have small children moving with you to the US. Apartments are a good option for single professional people and these are a common purchase in major cities where apartments are widely available. The further away from the city centre your apartment is, the cheaper the price will be. Rural properties will be cheaper as there are fewer services available and you could well end up with more space for your money than a city-centre apartment. It is a matter of personal choice and what your needs are at the time of purchase.

Whatever your choice you will need the advice of a financial advisor, you will need to have the funds ready to buy and you will need to ensure your visa status is current and legal if you intend to reside in the property.

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