Do I need to immigrate to the US to invest?

3 Replies

Hello people

The topic sums it up, I want to get into the RE market in the US. I have a 10 year tourist visa. I want to buy some properties, rent them out, renovate and flip some of them. But the thing is I dont see myself living in the USA on a permanent basis so I dont want to apply for a greencard or a work permit. I'll only come for short stints, like twice or three times every year.

So basically I have 3 questions.

1. Can I invest without having a work permit or greencard?

2. How do I handle the tax stuff? Can I do it without holding a Permanent Residence status?

3. I have cash, but for some deals I might want to take out a mortgage, how will the banks lend to me without knowing my credit score? Since I've never lived in the US before I dont have a credit score.

Thanks for the answers!

@Halukcan Baser

I do not have a green card or work visa and I have previously purchased property in the US.

1. Of course you can. All standard sales contracts will require you to declare if you are / are not a US resident.

2. The tax stuff is where it can be complicated. You should get in touch with an American  tax accountant to be fully informed. You will need to get a SSN (social security number) or an ITIN (tax number). If you derive income from your property/ies then you will have to submit a tax return every year. Also, look into FIRPTA if you're looking at flipping. FIRPTA is essentially a tax of 10% on the sale price of any home you sell. There are ways to get an exemption certificate but you should realize that 10% of the sale price of any house you sell will be held in escrow by the buyer until (if) you get your waiver. If you don't get your waiver, your buyer is required to pay this over to the IRS. If you get the waiver (in my case it took 6 months to get) you'll get your 10% back. Again, meet with a CPA that is knowledgeable on these things the next time you are in the US and learn as much as you can by researching online.

3. From what you say, there will be 2 reasons why it is difficult for you to get a mortgage. First, you don't have a credit score. But, secondly, also because you don't have tax returns from previous years. Most banks will ask you for at least two years of filed taxes to verify your income and also to ensure that you are current on your taxes. Look online at the requirements that various banks have in this regard. Another option is to apply for a mortgage in your own country to purchase property in the USA but many banks would not take this kind of risk and it may even be illegal in some instances. You'll have to research the possibilities and maybe speak to your bank in your country to find out if this is at all possible.

I hope this is helpful.

You can invest without being in the U.S. I have worked with several investors who live abroad.

Getting a residential mortgage is unlikely.  

Would recommend speaking with a CPA about the tax questions.

You do not need a work permit or a green card to buy property in the US, it will be tough to get a mortgage without either but I'm sure the IRS will welcome the extra revenue from an alien filing taxes.

Your biggest problem IMHO is that you are not guaranteed entry at the borders and the activities you say you want to engage in when you come are almost certainly  not permitted on a visitors visa because I think they will be deemed as working. 

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