Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Economic News

Real Estate for Foreign Nationals

Euros coming our way

Let’s Make It Happen!

I guess I asked for it, but now I am stumped. Back in December I wrote about multi-cultural blogging and going into untapped blogging territory by writing in a different language.

Bottom line is that we need more resources for Foreign Nationals that are buying real estate in the US. Just today I was contacted by and Italian gentleman and an Argentine lady who read a couple of my posts in Spanish, they are ready to invest in real estate in the U.S. and want financing options.

We know banks are being more difficult with Foreign Nationals and are requesting 30% down payments as a minimum and sometimes even denying loans with 35-40% down. Rick and I deal with many local mortgage professionals here in Miami and cannot find anyone that specializes in foreign national loans (or at least knows about a lot about them)- talk about an opportunity here!!

I even spoke to Brian Brady who suggested I ask for help on my blog and join the NAHREP, which I did. Now here’s the problem: I am spoiled, I have gotten to know people on the Internet and gotten a good feel on how they do business by the way the interact on-line. I feel really uncomfortable going into a on-line list of professionals to choose someone to work with.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

So here’s the deal – if you work Foreign National loans, go ahead and leave your information on this post. We even hear that The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC Centura Bank) is issuing loans to purchase US properties. We want to be able to help those non-cash buying clients that are coming our way (although it would be nice to only work with cash buyers…..imagine?) – I can only hope that this turns into a great brainstorming session.

Tell us about the specific requirements for the specific programs (i.e. passport, US bank account, Federal ID number, US Company…….etc.) What we should warn foreign nationals ahead of time – what they should expect and how long the process will take.

Written By

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. Ricardo Bueno

    April 3, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    I trust the information I sent you has given you a good start!

    I’ll dissect some of the bullet points and place them here with a blog post to follow 🙂

  2. ines

    April 4, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Thanks Ricardo! Just so you know, it’s a matter of knowing who has the resources and who can address our clients’ needs on the spot.

    Most of the Foreign Nationals we are helping are those that don’t live here and don’t work here – the true Foreigners who want to buy a vacation place or buy real estate as an investment. They have no US papers or documentation…….I’m sure those are more difficult loans.

    My last experience with a Foreign National Closing (that wasn’t cash) was a gentleman from Venezuela closing on a beachfront unit in Miami Beach for $875,000. He put down $250,000 for a down payment and the loan was done by Countrywide. The actual closing was a nightmare because they delayed the closing and expected him to stay in the country one more week – at the time, I was allowed a power of attorney to close for him, but that cannot happen here in Florida in many instances anymore.

    How to offer a clear and concise closing date (since they are traveling from outside the country) – give good service and know the requirements ahead of time so the transaction goes smoothly…..that’s the question of the century.

  3. Bob

    April 4, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Sometimes you can get decent financing for foreign nationals if they have brokerage accounts with any of the large players that have a US presence. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, etc.

  4. ines

    April 4, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Bob – the ones we have done with local brokerage accounts are a piece of cake.

    By the response on this you can tell how difficult it is – and to think that 3 out of 5 sales in Miami are foreign nationals… would figure someone would specialize

  5. Brian Requarth

    April 4, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Ines, you touch on a really important topic of international investors/buyers. With the Euro at an all time high and a weak dollar against currencies in Latin America the US is “on sale” for many. Naturally buyers go to the Internet. We are currently working on a 12 page report detailing everything needed to buy or finance property in the United States. The report is in Spanish. We may have it translated in English as well. It will go online with a pdf version for download the middle of next week. I will post a link or a few highlights of the report if you are interested.

  6. Ines

    April 4, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Brian, please include the links – that’s exactly what I was hoping for when I wrote this.

    But even with great reports and information to give our Foreign National customers I still think it’s even more important for a live contact to be able to give them.

    Latin Americans as well as Europeans will ask you for a specific person to help them, they don’t want to do the research nor take the chance.

  7. Brian Requarth

    April 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    I definitely agree. That is one of the reasons why we created We are starting to pick up visitors from all over Latin America and Spain (obviously because the site is in Spanish). I know you were in contact with Fabio from our office and we will be sure to contact you as soon as we are launching our next phase. It is important for those buyers to be helped by people that understand their culture and their needs.

  8. Brian Requarth

    April 4, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    One more thing. I saw that at the Inman Connect conference there is a session on this topic. That should be interesting.

  9. Brian Brady

    April 4, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Good topic, Ines. I hope the NAHREP membership is fruitful. I’ve belonged since 11/2006:

    Why doesn’t someone specialize in Foreign National loans? Good point. I’m closimg 3 loans, this month, for Canadians. Often, agents with Spanish-speaking clients eschew me for a Spanish-speaking loan originator. I have a solution for you, Ines…

    …do the loans yourself. I generally hate the conflict of interest that arises when an agent acts as an originator but, in this case, it make complete sense for your buyers.

    HUD says you can be compensated if you perform 6 of the 13 origination functions- you’re already performing 4 of them (in your duties an a real estate agent). We can set you up with an online loan application (for one of them) and the disclosures can be presented to your clientswhen you fill out the offer papaerwork (about 5-6 pieces of paper).

    Oh…if it sounds like we’re “recruiting you”, we are. You’d be a natural at it

  10. Ines

    April 4, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Brian R – can’t wait to see your new platform – you are definitelly going into untapped territory

    Brian B- you are hilarious …. Now you want me to be a loan originator? Rick actually has a mortgage license (got it for the knowledge for our clients – but don’t want the conflict)
    we could certainly translate when necessary, and the loans do not need to be local.

    Ricardo is providing some great info – you need to open up doors for those loans and mail the paperwork to a local title company or attorney.

  11. Benn Rosales

    April 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Ines, I think you should take Brian up on it. Conflict is only conflict if you’re not absolutely upfront with your client. Have a 3rd party verify all transactions and document the verification. It is an extra step, but could be handled in a simple disclosure form the buyer recieves. Hell, rebate the fee as an incentive? Heck, I even have access to an automated LO in spanish and english I can hook you up with that loads right into your site that is handled online. Brian can simply log in and download the electronic disclosures… e a s y.

  12. Dan Green

    April 5, 2008 at 11:54 am

    What makes it harder, Ines, is that many of the banks and brokers that advertise “Foreign National Mortgages” on their Web sites are defunct. You can waste a lot of time doing research, chasing money where there’s really no money available to be chased.

    I work with a lot of Foreign Nationals in the Chicago market and have come to prefer private money sources for my clients that don’t have social security numbers or a real reason to be in the U.S. other than to own property here.

    Remember: all that the banks have in mortgage transaction is collateral (i.e. equity). If that equity is slipping away with the market, it makes the loan more risky. Florida gets a lot of bad press (and so does Arizona, Nevada, and California) — it’s no surprise that your clients may need 40% down or more. It may also be why Chicago is drawing such strong Foreign National attention.

    Call me anytime — I’m happy to talk to you at length about this kind of stuff. It’s one of my favorite markets in which to work.

  13. Maureen Francis

    April 5, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    America is slow to respond to other cultures. I have a couple of clients here who speak very little English. We don’t have a lot of Realtors who specialize in luxury homes in Metro Detroit who speak Spanish, so they stick with me, even though I don’t speak Spanish. One of the clients brings in someone from Chicago and the other flew in someone from Miami to help while we go out looking at homes. Fortunately, they don’t need mortgages, but if they did, that could have been another potential stumbling block.

  14. ines

    April 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Benn – The problem with doing my own originating is an issue of time and expertise. Talk about being a Jack of all trades and master of none (and the time issue is also there)……I just want someone good to handle them (but I will not discard the idea, if it’s my only way out). The automated LO sounds pretty awesome…..I will have to see what you are talking about.

    Dan – that’s EXACTLY what we’ve encountered……chasing the money is not fun and can take a long time when some of these clients are ready to go immediately. It’s a matter of working with someone that knows where to get the funding and what direction to take depending on the client’s situation.

    Maureen – what’s happening to us is that we are getting tons of calls from South America and Europe and although we are ready to address their real estate needs, we are short on the loan side. First it was about speaking Spanish, now it’s about offering a complete package. Mortgage professionals ready to attack these loans no matter the country, price range nor buyer’s particular situation.

  15. Bill Lublin

    April 5, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Ines – I hate to disagree with Benn and Brian B but I agree with you that it is a conflict – as the loan originator you are driven to the best loan from the perspective of the lender and as the buyer’s agent you are driven to the best loan for the borrower- and sometimes the two conflict. While I understand Brian’s point, and I’m sure that Rick would do the best job possible, I don’t see why this isn’t a conflict just because the language is not English – we have the same problem in our firm . We have a real diverse agent population and a diverse buyer population, and sometimes the buyer just wants a loan officer with a shared language – So our mortgage company is trying to hire people with diverse backgrounds to help meet the challenge- and while I understand that there is some issue here also because we own both entities, each entity stands and falls on the strengths of its own merits services and products-

  16. ines

    April 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Bill – I totally see what you are saying, and in my case, I would always look out for the best interest of my client – I think “conflict of interest” is something that we, as REALTORS are always associated with. A big percentage of the public think that we work for our best interest and no one else’s, throw in mortgages as well, and now we’ll have a nice conflict soup to share all around. Now throwing back loan originating fees back at the client may be a great incentive….for those foreign nationals that don’t speak the language.

  17. Bob

    April 5, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Bill, does your firm engage in dual agency? That is a far bigger conflict than originating loans. With Brian’s option, it’s more about knowledge, time and integrity than a conflict of interest.

    Brian, i have people who would be interested in your online loan app.

  18. Bill Lublin

    April 5, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Actually in Pennsylvania we have what is called designated agency. The client employs a specific agent in the company rather then each seller being represented by the entire company. That way (in Pennsylvania at least) a listing agent in Company A and a Selling agent in Company B owe their agency obligations to the client who employs them and not to any client represented by the entire compant. When an agent is the designated agent of the seller, and he is working with a buyer, then our state agency laws allow for disclosed dual agency and spell out the responsibilities of the agent to each party. But I have to tell you I still feel that’s a minefield, no matter how careful you are. It isn’t a conflict of interest though since the agent’s obligations are in accord with the client’s interests if the client has decided that they wish to have the disclosed dual agency relationship – (the only potential conflict there is between the two clients – not the client and the agent) But that is a really small part of our business – most transactions involve more then one agent, and when they do not, more frequently the buyer client working with a listing agent will either agree to be unrepresented or wish to obtain another agent – if they don’t like either of those options, the disclosed dual agency (again in our state) does detail the obligations of the agent and explains where the conflicts between the interests of the buyer and seller might be

  19. Brian Brady

    April 7, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Listen to Benn.

  20. Brian Brady

    April 7, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    “I even have access to an automated LO in spanish and english I can hook you up with that loads right into your site that is handled online. Brian can simply log in and download the electronic disclosures… e a s y.”

    It would take me 72 hours to have what Benn points out, for you, Ines

  21. Benn Rosales

    April 7, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    For the record, we do not origionate loans, but we offer a complete package to consumers- From app to finish as a protection to control who and how many people work their file. If they want to redistribute their file, they can simply point/click/done in a matter of a second. The beauty is they only ever fill out one application no matter how many lenders review their file because our lo is the same docs all lenders work from- no more half assed mini apps (although that is an option in the LO)

    The other reason we offer this service is for the exact reason you need one is because finding a spanish application on a moments notice was a pain in the rear- filling it out by hand was also a pain. Doing it online in their language assures they’re understanding the questions. From that point we take the extra step throughout the process with Spanish speaking agents, lender, appraiser, inspector, and yes- title.

    How much time does this all take me per transaction? None. =] I understand your fears, they’re valid, but if you change your mind, just ping me.

  22. ines

    April 8, 2008 at 7:28 am

    I don’t want to have this application available to everyone (or should I) because I don’t have the time to coordinate the loan aspect of the deal – but I will do it for our foreign nationals – any suggestions how to discriminate this process – Benn? Brian?

  23. West Toronto realtor

    April 15, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Good point Ines. I have dealt with a same problem. I am working as a West Toronto realtor and I had some customers from Eastern Europe but EU member country. I found same problem with a brokers and banks here in Canada. They have offered 30% downpayment but even this was not enough for all the banks. I will follow your blog and I would be really glad if you will share also another information here.

  24. Brian Requarth

    April 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Hi Ines, I have been a little late in getting this link up Things have been pretty hectic. The guide is written specifically for foreign buyers (native Spanish speakers). It outlines the process. Obviously it doesn’t solve the question posed here in this post as far as financing, but part of my goal with is to build a community of professionals that can serve those foreign nationals (primarily Spanish speaking) wanting to invest in the US. There is such a huge amount of interest in buying real estate in the US. I have included an interesting article about cross border real estate investment

    Any feedback on the guide would be greatly appreciated.

  25. ines

    April 16, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Jill (west toronto realtor) – I will certainly keep you informed of my progress and hope it helps you.

    Brian – your viva real link takes you to a “pagina no encontrada” – thanks for sharing that businessweek article. Now my take on building a community – because of social networks, I have gotten acostumed to dealing with people and other professionals and getting a real feel for the way they conduct business. With that in mind, picking a name from a list within a network lik viva real or even the NAREP, becomes difficult for me.

    I know handpicking individuals that contribute in the blogosphere and in different social networks is not an easy task, but it’s definitely one that would create a more sound network. (granted, the consumer may not have the same problem, and ultimately you are creating a portal for the consumer)

  26. Brian Requarth

    April 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Ines, thanks for the feedback. For some reason there is a period at the end of the link. Here is the actual link
    I think I understand what you mean. Social networks have enabled you to have a better idea of who the person is and how they operate their business (more transparency about their business standard) which helps you decide who you want to do business with. I agree that picking a name of some random professional from a list is ineffective. We are hand picking professionals to contribute to the network as well as opening it up to the public. We have a twofold approach to make the network really sound. 1) Giving real estate practitioners a bilingual platform to share their knowledge about their business and their local market. 2) In collaboration with NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals) we will be implementing their Code of Trust
    This means that those certified professionals (that take an exam and uphold a high standard of practice) will be designated as “trusted advisors”. will highlight those professionals subscribing to the Code and consumers will have a way to report unethical behavior directly to NAHREP to maintain control and high standards.
    As everyone knows, part of this mortgage mess has to do with people acting unethically or taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. A few bad apples are all it really takes. The Spanish speaking community became a large target for predatory lending due to their gap in understanding and language barriers. According to Fannie Mae 1/3-1/2 of Latinos receiving a subprime mortgage actually qualified for prime. So a major goal of our project is to connect home buyers with people that not only speak their language, but also are doing the right thing. People like YOU;).
    Anyways, this comment is turning into a post. I got a little carried away. I hope I am not too off topic.

  27. Ines

    May 13, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Brian – just this weekend I was thinking about this last statement of yours. A Latin couple dealing with a real estate agent and mortgage broker that were a bit shady – she found us and has thanked me about 10 times and we have not even made a deal. It’s about hooking up the right people and informing the public. Thanks for all you are doing.

  28. John Brock-Edgar

    July 23, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Foreign Nationals…are the lenders nuts?? they are closing the door after the horse has bolted. The lending problems today were caused 2-3 years ago with poor lending practices. The property prices have gone down massively and the people buying today are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Backing out of the market now just compounds the problem as it takes forever to shift the inventory, especially as FN’s have never had a better time to buy (low property prices and a weak dollar…double whammy!). We need lenders who are brave enough to want to start making money again, not clam up trying to cover the losses which happened as a result of lending practices 2-3 yrs ago. By the way I have a FN (UK) client who has had an offer accepted at $190k on a property in Colorado, wants to borrow $135k and is absolutely clean. I had it AIP yesterday, but the lender advised me today they are withdrawing from the market place…another one bites the dust! anybody got any ideas…if so please email me at

  29. Ines

    July 24, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    John – this is the right place to find answers, that’s for sure! there was a presentation in my office last week from a bank that does FN Loans and they are asking 30% down and the loan will be an adjustable rate mortgage. You can also go to International Banks and make the transition easier. As much as I agree with you that FN’s are not the problem but a big part of the solution, I don’t blame banks for having strict rules to protect their investment.;
    good luck with that deal

  30. Amber Anderson

    August 11, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Its nice to see there are others out there getting frustrated with the lack of financing available to foreign nationals. I’ve spent the last 10 months researching this topic and luckily we have found solutions. Depending on the state, there are still lenders that are providing many financing options to foreign nationals. I actually speak quite often about the benefits of investing in the US as an international buyer, as it couldn’t be a better time. We had to create most of the forms and guidelines ourselves. Please email me if you are a realtor who needs financing for your clients at, id be more than happy to help. I can tell you lenders are starting to loosen up again. YEAH! finally!

  31. ines

    August 11, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks for your response – it’s funny how it takes research and hooking up with the right people (God I love social networking) – it really is not that tough, once all the paperwork is in place and information is provided. Good to know there are helpful people out there with the right resources.

  32. Amber Anderson

    August 15, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    To Continue, We have 25% down programs back on the marketplace. We have a 3 year adjustable starting at 4.5% ranging up to 5 year fixed terms. It has been a challenge keeping with in the conventional arena and not having to depend upon hard money lenders. We are on the west coast and most foriegn national lenders prefer to lend in Florida. With values on the decline, we are seeing a lot more foreign investing in California, Nevada, and Arizona. For Arizona, we have a 30 year fixed that is around 6.5%, which a lot of our canadian clients have been taking advantage of. This program is only available for second homes. FIABCI is a great organization to network with other professionals working with international clients. Their website is
    Hope this helps. 🙂


    September 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    We can do FN in Compass Bank foot print we will do up to 75% LTV for single Family homes. Must have at least 25% Down.


  34. ines

    September 8, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you for the info John – where is Compass Bank based out of?

  35. Ray P

    September 25, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I have a family member (foreign national from the Philippines), looking for financing on a condo in Chicago.

    Who can help me here?

    please email me at with a little about yourself and I’ll tell you more information at that point.

  36. ines

    September 26, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Ray, take a look at the comments above – there are a few good suggestions.

  37. Moni Mai

    October 1, 2008 at 9:04 am

    guyz, is there a guide for foreign buyers outlining the process in English too ? It will really help us. we are in India and considering owning residential property in mid-west.

  38. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 1, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Moni – thanks for commenting – the foreign National Loan market is at a stand still right now. I actually contacted 5 different brokers this week that were doing Foreign National Loans and they are in the process of finding out more information. Sorry not to be of help right now, but check back at a later date. Maybe someone will have good news for us.

  39. Moni Mai

    October 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks Ines.

    but can you tell me if there is any particular procedure that Foreign National not living in US has to go through to buy a property ? Like can I just come there on a visit and buy or do I need to set up something like a LLC and buy it through that etc… I have cash to make the purchase actually.


  40. Amber Anderson

    October 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    There is still financing available. Some general information on Foreign National Mortgages: Must have a valid passport, must have a US bank account, 10% to 30% downpayments (depending on the property), 3 year to 30 year fixed terms available and no US credit required. Please feel free to visit my website at for more information or contact me directly. You do have options and dont need to liquidate your cash.

  41. ines

    October 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Moni – the best bet for a foreign national to come invest in the US is to meet with an attorney specializing in International Business Law. They will help you prepare a plan of what best fits your needs. We have many foreign investors and they all do it differently – some by setting Florida Corporations, others LLC’s – it’s important for you to know the tax implications as a foreigner in the US.

    Amber – thanks for the information – it’s what I was aiming at when I wrote this post.

  42. Joseph M

    December 9, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Ines, there used to be many more options for Foreign National financing, Chase had an aggressive program when I originated for them but have since stopped the program. BBVA bought Compass Bank in September of last year to be their U.S. presence. They operate in 37 different countries and have a good handle on what is involved with working with international clients. They do not finance in the Miami area yet but they do originate in Central Florida and North Florida. We started a local international council in the West Central Florida region because of the amount of International business we should see in 2009.

    RBC is still doing foreign national loans in your area to my knowledge. If Compass buys another bank that puts them in South Florida too I will let you know but if you find another source please update the site as I get contacted frequently by people looking for Foreign National loans in South Florida.

  43. Mark Young

    January 2, 2009 at 8:50 am

    We do Foreign Nationals up to 75%,30 to 45 day close times. Rates are 5.125% for a 5 year arm. No prepay. We can even do non warrantable condo’s on a case by case basis. Florida only.

  44. Cesar Pimentel

    February 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Do you guys work with brokers? I have a great deal of loans to do for foreign nationals but have not found the resources to close this loans. Can you help me out with some info on this?

  45. Rick C

    March 20, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I have received a condo project that has just C/O ed…They have 50% pre-sold with
    30% escrowed on each client…The majoriy are UK clients…The sources I have here in Florida are predators in my humble opinion.
    Is there a reliable lender left I can build a relationship with?…Any advice or help would be appreciated.
    would like any assistance you may have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.




Housing News

Originally published in 2008, this visual tribute to 9/11 and stories told by professionals about their experience, remains a touching piece of history as...

Business Marketing

In case you missed all the fun, last week I hosted a virtual real estate discussion in the Redhead Lounge. This second installment includes...

Economic News

Much of my time is spent focused on reading and listening to Dr. Mark Dotzour, Chief Economist for the Texas Real Estate Center, the...

Opinion Editorials

Gas got your tounge? In these times when everything from apples to zucchini is going up, and you need a small loan to fill...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.