Many travelers, particularly those who frequently visit other countries, prefer to rent vacation properties for the best comfort, relaxation, and convenience. They can also save money on rental and food expenses if they choose a home rental.
However, international trips can quickly become costly due to accommodation expenses. Hence, some foreign travelers wonder if it's possible to purchase a second home in America that they can use for holidays or as a second income source for rentals.
The good news for international travelers who love renting vacation homes is that the US allows non-citizens, non-residents, and non-green card holders to acquire properties legally in the country. Foreign nationals can also get a mortgage on a property to help with home financing.
Vacation rentals are popular in the United States, with revenues in this real estate segment projected to reach $18.63 billion by the end of 2022. Because of the high earning potential, more property owners transform their second homes into rentals. Some also put these up for sale to take advantage of the market prices, especially for properties in popular locations.
Among the top five real estate spots in the Sun Belt, Tampa ranked first, according to a 2022 report by Zillow. The list included Raleigh, Jacksonville, Charlotte, and San Antonio, areas in the Southwest to Southeast regions of the United States known for their warm, sunny climates.
If you're an international traveler who wants to buy a Tampa Bay vacation property, you can have a second home or a rental property in the region. Continue reading this article to learn how.
1. Consult A Real Estate Agency
If you live outside of the US, then you may require the assistance of a real estate agency. You can save time and effort doing so, while it can also help you make the most out of your investment.
Real estate agents can also guide you regarding your purchasing options as a foreign investor. For instance, if you purchase the property directly, you'll need to understand the taxes it entails. You can also consult if other options are viable, including holding the property in a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a corporation.
Hence, you'll need to consult a real estate agent who can help you find the best homes for sale in Tampa Bay and make a wise investment decision.
2. Explore Different Neighborhoods
You'll need to explore different neighborhoods before buying a vacation property in Tampa Bay. This metro area has more than 400 square miles, divided into various communities, each with a unique personality and charm.
You can enjoy the diversity of cultures, activities, and natural resources available in each area. However, you'll also need to select one that best matches your needs and preferences.
Tampa Bay has three major cities: Tampa City, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. Below are some of the most popular neighborhoods in these cities:
* Hyde Park: an upscale community in Tampa City with a diverse selection of attractions, restaurants, and shops
* Downtown St. Petersburg: the hub of the central business district. This busy area is filled with skyscrapers, art centers, parks, and other recreational centers.
* Clearwater Point: a waterfront community located several minutes away from Clearwater beach.
It's also wise to consider the proximity of sought-after beaches in Tampa Bay when selecting your investment property. Some of the most popular beaches in this location include Clearwater and St. Pete beaches. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is also home to islands with idyllic scenery, such as Anna Maria Island and Anclote Keys.
3. Prepare A Budget
For non-citizens, financing the purchase is one of the significant challenges in acquiring a US-based property. While foreign nationals can apply for a mortgage, getting approval for a housing loan may be challenging, especially without sufficient proof of income or credit history documents.
Furthermore, having other financing options readily available gives you a competitive edge as the housing market in Tampa moves faster than in most locations. Homes within this region get sold within the first two months of being put on sale.
As timing is essential, you'll have better chances of getting the best deals on your dream vacation home if you have a prepared budget for your purchase.
As of January 2020, the median listing price for a home in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is at $279,450. Meanwhile, $175,000 is sufficient to purchase a modest home with one to five bedrooms or a condominium unit in a secure neighborhood.
4. Prepare The Documents
Some foreign real estate investors find it helpful to consult a lawyer with background and expertise in real estate and immigration before purchasing a property in the US. Legal consultation can help you prepare the requirements for property acquisition.
Here are some of the documents commonly required from foreign nationals acquiring a real estate property in the US:
- Credit reports from country of origin
- Proof of identity, including passport, driver's license, professional license, and others
- Proof of address and residence status
- Proof of income
There's no need for foreign nationals to present their Social Security number, Green Card, and Visa to purchase a property. Foreign credit reports are also accepted. However, a certified translator must translate documents written in a foreign language to be considered valid and permissible.
International travelers can legally acquire a vacation property in Tampa Bay. Hiring US lawyers is advisable to help you learn and comply with real estate and immigration requirements. They can also guide you with document preparation, insurance application, and other matters relevant to your real estate investment.
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