How to Get a Loan for Overseas Property
Posted by Frank Gogol
America is a great country and you enjoy working here. But, you are thinking about buying land back in your home country. Whether this is to eventually retire there or just to diversify your investment portfolio, buying land in a foreign country can be tricky. Plus, you want to make sure you make the right financing decision.
Below we’ll walk you through the process of buying property abroad and how to get a loan for an overseas property.
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Why It’s a Great Idea to Invest in Property Overseas
Buying a property definitely classifies as an investment. You are about to invest money into something that has the potential for growth. Every additional amount you spend on property infrastructure will also increase its market value. Here are a couple of reasons why it’s a great idea to invest in property overseas.
Earn Income Abroad
Buying property in another country is a great way to diversify your investment portfolio. Owning and renting a property out in another currency can help to lower the risk profile of your current investments.
Benefit from Owning a Property Abroad
Owning a property outside of the U.S. makes it easier for you to get financial services abroad. You’ll have greater access to credit in that country, as you own something of value in that country. It can also serve as some form of security when you apply for any other form of financial services.
Retire Outside the U.S.
Having property in another country means you’ll have the wonderful opportunity of retiring outside of the U.S. Taking your dollars to retire in a cheaper country can give you an easier retirement budget as some countries have lower average living costs when compared to America.
Some Considerations Before Buying Land in Another Country
Buying property overseas is a great idea. But, here are a few things you still should consider before you commit to buying property overseas.
The Cost of Living
Ideally, you want to buy property in a country where the cost of living is lower than where you currently are in the U.S. Do some research into the cost of living in the area you are considering. Make sure the cost of living won’t weigh you down. You want to choose a good place to invest in.
There are countries with tricky property ownership laws. Make sure about your eligibility to own land in the country of your desired property investment. Gain the right to own land in that country before you set your heart on a property.
Just like in the U.S. some countries have specific taxes on properties. Take these expenses into account when you are planning the purchase and maintenance of your new property. You don’t want to buy a property just to lose it a few years down the line because of poor tax planning.
Financing property overseas can be tricky. Getting a mortgage in the foreign country means you’ll need a very big down payment and you’ll probably also be paying super high interest rates. You might also be required to get a new life insurance policy so your new mortgage is secured in case something happens to you. There are easier ways to finance your new property. Consider getting a loan in the U.S. We take a look at how to get a loan for overseas property below.
Your Exit Strategy
It’s important to have a good, flexible exit strategy once you are ready to move into your house abroad. It may take you a while to get all your things in order before you can leave the U.S. Streamline your plans and give yourself enough time. You may want to sell off different assets in the U.S. before you can make the move to your new home.
Loans for Overseas Property
At this point, you have probably heard of all the benefits of purchasing and investing in property overseas – but at the same time, you have one problem. How are you supposed to come up with the funds? Even on a big paycheck, you may still not be able to pay for that property on your own. Thankfully, we have loans for overseas property to help us in that regard – and depending on where we are making a purchase from, we may obtain financing using the following methods:
Use Your Retirement Accounts
Tapping into your retirement accounts might not be something you want to do, as you do not want to feel like you are missing money during your retirement days. However, in some cases, this might be the only solution. If you have funds in a 401(k) plan or in a private retirement account, you may use that cash to buy property overseas.
Bear in mind that there is a specific set of rules when it comes to tapping into a retirement account with the purpose of buying property overseas. The limit to a 401(k) loan is set at $50,000 and also at 50% of your account balance. This means that if your balance is lower than $100,000, then you will not be able to get the entire amount.
You may also have to pay some withdrawal penalties when you are withdrawing that money – so make sure that you read the fine print. In most cases, these penalties occur if you decide to withdraw more than $10,000 from your retirement account.
Borrowing on Home Equity
A very popular way to obtain financing for overseas property is to borrow from your home equity. Also referred to as Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), this kind of financing comes with a couple of advantages.
First things first, the interest rate for a HELOC is generally lower than any other loan you might find overseas. Generally speaking, these loans have an interest rate as low as 2% for the intro period, followed by a fixed average 4.5% interest rate for the rest of the loan.
Furthermore, if you go for HELOC, you automatically become a cash buyer – at least in the eyes of the overseas seller. You may reap the advantages of any cash discounts that may put you in a better position to negotiate a better price.
Plus, since a HELOC is nothing more and nothing less than a line of credit, then you don’t have to use all of it – unless you actually need it. This is a good option if you have to make progress payments as the property is being constructed.
Some sellers may be willing to provide financing for some of the properties that you are planning to purchase. The terms will differ from one seller to another – and basically, it will be on whatever you and the seller come to an agreement on. Most of the time, the usual term for these loans is 5 years – but you may negotiate with them to provide a more convenient term for your purposes.
Generally speaking, the longer a particular property has been up for sale, the easier it will be for you to negotiate the property. However, as is the case with financing from the banks, you should not expect the seller to give you the deed until you have finished with the payments for the loan.
Sometimes, there may be no other financing options available – in which case, you will have to be creative with the way in which you obtain a loan. In this situation, developers are increasingly providing loans for foreign buyers that have no other options for obtaining financing. This is actually a general practice in Mexico, Brazil, Nicaragua, Belize, and Panama, to mention a few.
For instance, a Mexican developer may offer what he refers to as a “5-5-5” loan. This means a $5,000 down payment and $500 every month over the course of five years, interest-free, with a balloon payment once the loan is done with.
This kind of financing usually occurs when the developer is only starting to sell. Once the development begins to sell well, then the more attractive financing terms no longer seem to be on the table.
International Home Loans
International loans are generally the classics that you can go for. Simply put, you will be receiving a loan as a non-resident (in the U.S., for example) – a loan that will allow you to pay off the overseas property.
These loans may be given by banks if they are available in your country (foreign property buyers are not always eligible for loans in some countries), or you may go for alternative loans that specifically cater for foreign buyers. These loans will certainly hold a higher interest rate and a higher average APR – but the good news is that they will only require your ID and proof of income. They are very convenient, no matter if you are a U.S. citizen or a visa holder.
How to Buy Property Overseas
Keen to go ahead and invest in property abroad? Let’s take a look at how you can go about it.
Identify Areas to Invest In
Do the research and speak to friends and family. Make an informed decision about the areas you are considering. You can ask local professionals to help you out. You don’t want to encounter any unwanted surprises down the road.
Look at the Long-Term Real Estate Trends
Property in the same country can have different trends. It’s all about location. There are numerous factors that affect property value. Research the area and the types of properties similar to the one you are interested in. The history of an area can give good indications of the potential for growth of the property you are interested in.
Research the Market Forecasts
Economists and financial experts will be of great help here. See what is expected of the country and area you would like to invest in. You want to buy properties in places that has a potential for growth.
Research the Legal Matters
Owning land in a different country has a legal side to it. It can come with a lot of red tape. Research the necessary processes or documentation required for you to own land. Also, make sure you’ll be able to gain visas or residency in the country of your new investment should you want to go visit.
Ask For Professional Help
When buying property in a different country, it is essential to get expert help. Real estate agents exist for this very reason. They want to help you make the best decision as fast as possible. International real estate agents have great insight and advice about the places you are interested in. They often have people on the ground where you might be thinking of investing who can give you localized advice and information.
Once you’ve got all the steps down and you are ready to buy, you’ll need to finance your new property. You can use a personal loan to do just that!
How to Use a Personal Loan to Buy Property Overseas
Let’s take a look at how to get a loan for an overseas property.
1. Determine Your Need
Plan your needs. Draw up a budget to see exactly how much funds you’ll need to purchase and maintain your new investment.
2. Apply for a Loan
There are many lenders out there who offer personal loans. Some lenders might be more tailored to your specific needs and borrowing profile. So shop around and do your research. Find a loan for which you’ll be eligible.
Once you’ve found one or two lenders who can work, you can do a pre-approval or full application to see what they offer you. Just keep in mind a full application means the lender will do a credit check and too many credit checks can knock your credit score.
3. Receive Your Offer
Loan offers will come in as you complete the application processes and lenders confirm whether you are eligible. Complete any follow-up calls and accept the offer you deem as the best. It is a good idea to compare your loan offers properly to make sure you select the best one.
Once you’ve accepted an offer, the funds will be disbursed to your account. How long it takes for the money to reflect in your account will depend on which lender you choose. With some, it can be as quick as 2-3 business days. With others, it can be a week or even longer.
4. Buy the Land and Repay Your Loan
Once you’ve received the money you can go ahead and buy the property. When all that is done, the only thing left to do is to repay your loan for an overseas property. Some lenders have autopay options you can set up over the internet. With autopay, your monthly repayment will automatically be deducted from your account each month. This ensures you don’t miss any payments.
5 Great Countries to Buy Overseas Investment Property
As an overseas home buyer, there are several countries where you might benefit from an investment property. In most cases, the profits come from the rent – and if the average monthly rent is higher than in your home country, then you as the landlord should be able to benefit even more from this.
That being said, you also need to consider the rental income tax and the average rental yield. For the purpose of this guide, we will calculate our data as follows:
- Average rent every month for a 1,292 sq. ft. property/house
- Average rental yield, or the sum that the owner may expect as a return on his/her investments – before the maintenance fees, taxes, and other costs kick in. This is calculated as a percentage
- Rental income tax rate, with the assumption that the monthly rent of your property is $1,500
With that said and made clear, here are just a few countries where you can make some good money as an overseas property owner. All you have to do is opt for the right loans for overseas property, and buy a good home in a well-situated area.
The Philippines has nowadays become the home of many expats who wish to retire overseas, and whose desire is to live in a place with a better climate. It is a place fit for those that are tired of the chaotic pace of their own country, and wish to move somewhere where there is a more relaxed lifestyle.
As an overseas property buyer, you could certainly benefit from this flow of people looking for homes. Plus, since the monthly rent is $2,422, along with a 6.12% rental yield and a 4.06% effective tax income, you could certainly gain a lot of income by simply buying property here.
The United Arab Emirates
Thanks to the high living standards and great geographical position, more and more people are moving into the United Arab Emirates. The stability and security are very good, and the country also features a fairly good infrastructure.
With so many people looking for rent here, it would be a shame not to invest in property in this country. The average monthly rent is $3,070, with a rental yield of 5.19% – but considering that the effective rental income tax is 5%, this place is a landlord’s dream.
Indonesia is a very beautiful place. Packed with beaches and a surprising amount of job opportunities, more and more people are moving there to start a life. However, since it is fairly expensive to buy a home there, more and more people are opting for rent.
This is good for the overseas property investor. With an average monthly rent of $2,486, a 20% effective income tax, and a rental yield of 8.61%, investing in a home in Indonesia is quite convenient.
Canada – the land where everyone is polite, winters are beautiful, and summers have a cool air about them. More and more people are moving to Canada, drawn by the opportunities that it brings – and considering the beauties of this country, we can’t really say that we blame them for wanting to live there.
The monthly rent in Canada is $3,740 – which is pretty convenient for you if you are renting from overseas. Plus, with a 3.98% rental yield and a 25% effective rental income tax, you could say that a lot of that money will end up in your pockets.
Investing in a home in Turkey can be a good option for you if you are a person living in the United States. Since the monthly income is very good, people looked for work there more and more often over the past few years. Plus, the fact that Turkey in itself is a very beautiful country certainly helps its cause.
The monthly rent there is quite good if you are a landlord – no matter if you purchased from the U.S. or from anywhere else. At around $1,128 every month, you can expect to reap quite a fair number of benefits. Moreover, with a 3.62% rental yield and a 21.94% effective rental income tax, you will gain quite a lot of income by simply buying property in Turkey and renting it off to other people.
5 Tips for Buying Land in Another Country
Now that we have shown you how to get a loan for an overseas property, here are the last few things to consider.
1. Make Two New Friends
Firstly, hire a local attorney to help you with the legal matters of your new investment. Then secondly, get an international real estate agent to help you with the actual purchasing of the property.
2. Buy the Product, Not the Promise
Make sure you don’t buy into someone’s promise. You need to separate the crafty sales tactics from the actual product you are buying. You need to buy something that will enhance your life and wealth. Doing proper research on the property you are considering will help you separate the product from the promise.
3. Manage Your Cash Flow Expectations
Do the research. Inspect the property. This will help you to expect any extra expenses or necessary investments that will be required. This may include things like plumbing or other maintenance expenses.
4. Get to Know the Neighbors
Before buying a property, it’s important to understand the community and area you are buying in to. These factors have a big impact on whether your property value will grow as expected. So if possible, meet and greet the neighbors next door and ask them a few questions. They might have some valuable insights.
5. Comply with Your Current Laws
Make sure you comply with all the current laws and regulations like FACTA disclosures. You don’t want any surprise visits from your current tax authorities. Adhere to the laws and tax regulations both in the U.S. and the country you are buying in.
Don’t miss the opportunity to invest in property overseas. You are now equipped to invest in overseas property and how to get a loan for an international property. So start turning your dreams into action. Buy property overseas today!