As a world traveler, you may revisit a country area again and again for its beauty, culture, people or lifestyle and decide you’d like to buy a second residence there.
For your first step, The Philadelphia Inquirer recommends hiring a property lawyer in the country where you want to buy, as well as having a lawyer stateside to advise you. Some overseas countries don’t allow noncitizens to purchase real estate, while others allow it, but they may have visa restrictions on when you can enter the country.
Most U.S. banks won’t lend money for foreign home buying, and some places either don’t have mortgage lending available, or they impose higher interest rates or require hefty down payments of 30% to 50% of the property’s value, according to Investopedia.com. Transaction costs may be higher than stateside, including property transfer fees or stamp duties that can add 10% or more to the sales price, as well as other fees.
If you qualify for an overseas loan, you may be required to carry life insurance with the lender as a beneficiary. Ironically, the interest you pay on your foreign home’s mortgage may be tax-deductible in the U.S., if the principal is $750,000 or less. In 2025, the ceiling is scheduled to rise to $1 million. Check with your tax advisor for more specifics before committing to the loan; the actual amount available for deduction can depend on individual factors.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is expanding its services across the globe, and currently has offices in Canada, Mexico, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Greece, Dubai, Bahamas and India. Contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional for a referral to an overseas affiliate.