Buying Property Overseas
Things to consider when closing a real estate deal in another country.
This can mean two things a) you are buying a property in another country than you live in or b) you are closing on a property at home while you are in another country. I’m going to talk about the latter, specifically, buying a house in the U.S. while you are on vacation, living abroad, sailing around the world, or whatever your nomad dream is.
As many of you know, I manage my real estate brokerage and my investing business remotely. But somehow I had never closed a property purchase from overseas until this week. There are a few key things I learned which will hopefully make things easier for you.
- Over communicate often. Even after myself and my attorney pointed out to the lender that I was overseas several times, he still failed to plan for it. The nomad lifestyle confuses people who always assume you are “coming home” at some point. The result was closing was delayed for two weeks while we sorted out the logistics.
- Be near a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. I didn’t know that in order for a notarized signature to count, it had to be done on US soil, which means an embassy. Not all locations offer notary services, you will likely to need to schedule an appointment in advance, and allow room for error. I wasn’t told I needed to bring my entire loan package, not just the signature pages. With 30 minutes until closing time I literally ran across town and back to print everything.
- Confirm all lender and title requirements. The key to this is signing your documents well in advance of the actual closing date. In my case the lender said they could fund the loan with a scan of the docs, but the title company required the originals to be delivered before closing. Luckily I was able to Fedex them overnight.
In general, any time you are closing a deal whether at home or away, be available, because there will be last minute glitches. Save the backcountry hike or the remote island vacation (both of which I did during this process) until everything is signed and sealed. Your stress levels will be much more manageable!