Foreign National Commercial Mortgage Loan Basics

As US dollar is becoming stronger and commercial real estate values are rising by the day, foreign buyers can have a real incentive for buying an investment property-whether it is commercial or residential. Persuading foreign investors to speculate in US economy has different incentives as well.

Some facts that are worth reading

As per National Association of REALTORS®, foreign buyers, until March 2014, invested in excess of $99.2 billion US residential real estate. These figures continue to soar with time. So every international buyer who can afford to invest in US properties and who look forward to living abroad should invest in the country’s real estate investment market.

When problem hits foreign real estate investors

Options for an international real estate buyer to pick from can be significantly limited as they will generally have to provide a:

  • U.S Federal Tax Identification Number
  • U.S Bank Account
  • State Certified Corporation, LLC, LP, or any active company
  • Proof of residence

And if a foreigner is incapable to furnish any of these docs, then the person will doubtlessly be ineligible to get a traditional mortgage and other similar financing options. Foreign buyers, however, can pay in cash-but as interest rates are low across the United States, it is preferred for buyers to finance their investments. And that is when a foreign national loan can be of great help to any foreign realty investor.

Understanding foreign national commercial mortgage loans

Foreign national commercial mortgage loans are available to every non-US citizen who are look forward to investing in any domestic property. However, any foreign national will not find this mortgage in traditional banks. And even the terms and conditions or requirements of this specific loan will vary from one lender to another.

Generally, foreign national mortgage lenders offer this loan type at down payments that start anywhere around 30 percent of the buying price. However, the down payment can even go as high as 40 percent-that depends on the size of the loan that any foreigner may apply for.

Apart from large down payments, this loan is similar to a traditional loan. The process of securing this loan is just like the one followed to get a domestic loan. For building a borrower profile, lenders will need:

  • Their passports
  • A Tax Identification Number given by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Asset proof that is verified by any global financial institution
  • A Letter of Professional Reference From An Accountant and or Banker

Foreign borrowers will generally have to pay a higher interest rate than the ones given by US residents. But borrowers may get a commercial mortgage with an annual interest rate as low as five percent because of larger down payments and historically low interest rates.

Buying Property in Messinia – Why Investors Interest is Growing

Messinia – An Investment Hotspot

Messinia is the latest area to become of interest to investors and developers in Greece. Messinia is located on the southwest of the Peloponnese which hosts some of the most significant and impressive ancient sites in Greece. The climate is usually mild and green in the winter and it’s not too hot in the summer. Messinia has and abundances of outstanding natural beauty and more than 100km of coastline, with some of the best and cleanest beaches in the whole of Greece.

Messinia offers many larger parcels of development land and there are many investment opportunities to be found. Particular attention is focusing on the areas of Finikounda, Methoni and Pylos.

Why the Interest in Messinia?

Interest has increased largely because the Government is actively encouraging investment in Greece with new laws aiming to stimulate local revenue. Messinia is one of the largest areas to benefit from these plans.

The private sector has also shown a great deal of interest in Messinia and have been buying large parcel of land for the development of holiday rental units. It is estimated that over the next 3 year Finikounda alone will have accommodation for over 2000 tourists. So it’s easy to understand the current interest in Messinia.

* Golf Tourism Developments in Messinia:

Petros Doukas, Deputy Minister of National Economy and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Finance and Minister of Tourism are keen to see more golf opportunities. Messinia has benefited directly from their campaign and planning consent has been given for 7 new golf courses in the area. The courses will all be within half-an-hours drive of each other. There will be 2 championship18 hole golf courses at Pylos and Romanou as well as 5 other smaller 9 hole golf courses nearby. Construction of the Championship courses is already under way and they are due to open in the spring 2008. This will bring an international cliental all year around. Studies have shown that more than 200,000 visitors to Greece annually are potential golf tourists. It is easy to understand the current interest to develop this high-end attraction in one of the world’s most attractive climates.

* New Road Plans for Messinia:

In addition and in accordance with the government’s guidelines for the ‘Good Road Plan’ a new motorway is under construction from Tropoli to Kalamata and is nearly completed. This will increase accessibility from Athens, directing traffic to the Messinia area and the commercial port of kalamata. Currently the drive from Athens takes 3.5 hour, but the new motorway will reduce this time to less than 3 hours. Another new major road is planned between Kalamata and Methoni further opening up the area.

* New Marine Planned for Velika:

Kalamata currently has one of the largest and best yachting marines in the whole of Greece. Many people choose to moor their yachts here over the winter. This has two effects for Messinia. Firstly, these people often buy houses to reside in during the winter. Secondly, Kalamata marine has more business then it can deal with. Hence, there is a new marine and luxury housing development planned for Velika which is situated between Kalamata and Petalidi.

* The City of Kalamata:

Kalamata has its own airport approximately 6km from the town providing direct access for visitors to Messinia. Also there are regular trains and express bus directly to Athens and connections for Athens Airport. The city of Kalamata is the main city for the southern Peloponnese. It has all the modern facilities that you would expect to find such as hospitals, doctors, schools, banks, theatres, cinemas, gymnasiums, sport facilities, hotels, restaurants, bars, all main shops, etc.

All in all, Messinia is set to be the next big boom area and is already a favourite with foreigners buying holiday homes and second homes. Hence the property prices in this area are increasing rapidly.

Who’s Buying Property in Messinia

Each year thousands of foreigners are choosing Greece as the destination to purchase property for permanent homes or as second homes for their holidays. These people are mostly British, Germans and Americans although there are increasing numbers of other foreigners appearing such as Canadians, Dutch, Czechoslovakians, Austrians, etc. Despite property prices in the Kalamata area rising by 30 per cent last year, which is above the national average of 10-15 per cent. Foreigners are still snapping up property for sales. Most of the foreigners who are looking for property for sale have visited Greece previously as tourist holidaying on the Peloponnese peninsular. A large number of pensioners have settled and brought homes to live in permanently. However, we are increasingly seeing younger couples or those with young families purchasing property, settling down and making a new live for themselves.

Government Fact and Figures for Messinia

According to the Greek National Land Registry, there are some 1,750 properties and estates in Messinia that are owned by foreigners. There are already many British people with holiday homes on the Mani peninsular where the government is now discouraging further development. However, there are relatively few that have ventured as far as the Messinian peninsular, thus the government is actively encouraging new developments here to stimulate foreign investors and home buyers.

Government Incentives

The government is allowing large parcels of agricultural land to be turned over to tourism making them a desirable long term investment. House may be built on such plots and rented for 7 years providing a substantial rental income. After which they can be sold off individually to regain capital. Then a further income maybe obtained from facility management.

Other Investment and Development Opportunities

* Large Plot of Land: Large parcels of large land are being turned over for development of complete villages. Finikounda alone is expected to have over 2000 beds for tourists within the next three years. Tourist developments will include houses and facilities such as shops, restaurants, bars, pools, Thalasso Therapy Centres, tennis clubs etc. They wil be sold on and provide holiday or second homes for the increasing number of foreigners looking for property in the Messinia area. Finikounda, Methoni and Pylos are proving to be a favourite holiday home hotspot for foreign buyers.

*Hotels: Another investment opportunity is to purchase a plot of land which would allow a permit for a hotel. With 4 new international golf courses opening in the area this is a potential goldmine.

Messinia an Investment Goldmine

Now is the perfect time for business people to consider Greece as an investment location. Investment properties are readily available in Messinia. They are to be found in the most superb locations with outstanding and unobstructed views that must be seen to be believed. The Government is actively encouraging economic growth in Messinia through new legislation. It’s also increasing local infrastructure and allowing new developments to stimulate revenue and jobs in the area. Investors can get in at the ground level and tap into the already proven foreign buyers market which is heading for a huge boom period. This translates into unprecedented opportunities that will pay off handsomely.

The Prices Of Aspen Real Estate Are Not Extraordinary Anymore

Aspen real estate has always had a treasured place on the upper tears of the price ladder. But what enables us to judge if real estate is pricey or affordable. There are two different ways to measure this: Real estate might look cheap or expensive compared to the budget you have for buying a property and it might look reasonably or excessively priced compared to other luxury real estate in other resorts like Deer Valley or Utah.

The first case is to do with your personal finances. Your budget is setting the tone. If you have $300,000 to spend on a condo then Aspen or Snowmass will definitely look expensive. On the other hand if you budget is $3 million then comparing Aspen properties to other luxury ski destinations will show you that prices are on par or lower than its competition.

Aspen condos in the central core of town range from about $1,300 to $1,900 per square foot depending on all the usual criteria like location or state of upkeep. Prices in Vail, Colorado are about the same for Lionshead and Vail Village developments. International real estate prices, for example in Dublin, have far outpaced Aspen. For international buyers Aspen can feel like a bargain.

The weak US Dollar is doing its share to make US properties look attractive for buyers from the Euro zone or British citizens.

Aspen and Snowmass with its few thousand single-family homes and 5,000 condos between them are on par with standard Manhattan Real Estate. This is not comparing Aspen to the Fifth Avenue co-ops that demand prices of up to $6,000 per square foot. Manhattan with its millions of dwellings is priced similar to a luxury resorts like Aspen and Snowmass. This should ensure that real estate in Aspen will do well in the future.

Buying a Property in Romania – Real Estate Law in Romania

If you are looking to buy a holiday or second home or invest in Romania, Transylvania or at the Black Sea and you are a foreign citizen/investor, there are few aspects you should know about the procedure an the costs for the acquisition of Romanian land or Romanian houses.

After 2012, foreign citizens EU citizens (non-Romanian) may purchase a home or apartment in Romania may freely buy and sell any Romanian property, without restrictions. Along with the sell price for the property, buying real estate in Romania has other costs associated with it.

If you have chosen to collaborate with a Romanian real estate agent/ broker you can expect to have an additional commission of approximately 2-4% of the price of the property. The local tax will be 2-4% of the price of the property. The signing of a contract must be witnessed by a public notary who submits it for certification by the Land Registry in charge of real estate records. The fees for the Romanian public notary is about 0.5-1% of the purchase price. You will also have to pay fees to the Land Registry (“Cartea Funciara”) to register the Transfer Deed. The Romanian Land Registry Fee for a purchase of a property will vary from 1-3% according to the length of time that the seller had owned the property and the property’s value.

The Romanian law on property states that Citizens of EU member states, legal persons incorporated in the EU member states and stateless people domiciled in an EU member state can purchase land in Romania only if the land is used for secondary residences or for secondary headquarters after a 5 (five) years term from the accession of Romania to the EU (starting with January 1st, 2012); only for the agricultural land and forest land 7 (seven) years term from the accession of Romania to the EU ( starting with January 1st, 2014).

But for the Citizens, legal persons and stateless people not from a EU member state, the Romanian legal system establishes that they can purchase land in Romania, under the conditions of international treaties between Romania and the states of origin on these persons, under a reciprocity basis.

In our point of view, a prudent investor will hire a Romanian lawyer/ a Romanian Law Office, who will liaise closely with the notary on the verification of the title, obtaining the Land Registry excerpt and the drafting of the agreement for the transfer of ownership of the real estate. This means that the Romanian lawyer will be solely acting for and is responsible to his or her client, whereas the notary will not have the same degree of responsibility to the purchaser.

Under Romanian law there are three basic rights to land and buildings such as right of ownership; usage rights as lease, usufruct, superficies; concession right. The principle of contractual liberty represents the key core of the property law in Romania.

Sometimes, an investor/purchaser can opt for closing a pre-sale agreement, by which the seller undertakes to transfer ownership to the buyer at a certain date in exchange for an agreed consideration. The content of the pre-sale contract will stipulate all commercial and legal conditions for the transfer of ownership, as conditions precedent to the final transfer of ownership. The closing of such pre-contract for purchase does not means the transfer over the property, but the stipulate binding obligations for the parties, in regard to, as example, damages or penalties set out in them, if the seller refuses to sign the final notarized deed of transfer at the agreed deadline.

The closing of the pre-sale agreement is to protect the investor/buyer from any possible purchase to other buyers and to matters regarding the fixed price and duration of a future purchase. In our point of view, it is a must that the pre-sale agreement to be concluded at a Public Notary and clearly stipulate the sale price and other clauses regarding duration of future purchase. In this case, it can be enforced in court on the buyer’s request as a deed to transfer ownership.

A sale agreement signed in Romania, according to the Romanian legislation will mandatory stipulate: obligations of the parties for the fulfillment of the sale contract, delivery and quality conditions of goods and/or services, terms, payment methods and payment guarantees, payment instruments and price insurance, contractual risk, as well as method of solving eventual litigations arising from the contract. Other required elements include the full name and identification details of the parties (for legal entities) and name of the person signing the contract (representing a legal entity).

Our team of romanian lawyers offer a wide variety of legal services in the real estate law

Buying the India Story

Even until the turn of the millennium, NRI investment in Indian real estate was a trickle. Some promoters would appoint a part-time local representative in cities with large Indian populations. The more enterprising ones would occasionally participate in an exhibition where there would more questions than answers. For the 20 million Indians spread across the world, India, as a real estate investment destination, was far away. You bought property there if you had to. And prayed that your money and property would be safe.

In the last half a dozen years there has been a sea change in perception. What was a trickle is now a steady stream. No major housing project can afford to ignore the NRI market and many earmark exclusive NRI blocks in their building plans. Indians abroad want to buy into their home country not only for parents and annual holidays but purely for investment. They have recognised that while, in much of the world, real estate may be slowing, in India it is growing by leaps and bounds. “You don’t have to sell India any more,” says Aloke Banerjee, Chief Operating Officer of Axiom Estates, the largest international provider of India property services. “You have to go with deals.” “A huge amount of interest has developed,” adds Rajesh Goenka, Managing Director, who spearheaded the company’s original thrust among the UK Indians. “Five years ago the first news was trickling in that Indian real estate is worth investing. Today the brand image of India — and of real estate developers in India — has changed.”

The nature of buyers and the motivation to buy also varies from country to country. In the UK, which Goenka describes as the toughest market, most buyers are second or third generation Indians, who look upon India as just another investment destination and favour international attractions like Goa. The USA has a higher proportion of first generation expatriates, who are open to the idea of returning to India or have parents living here. The traditional metros, Bangalore and Hyderabad are their preferred destinations. Indians in the Gulf usually plan to return and therefore seek property in their hometown, often in the smaller cities. Predominantly, however, NRIs look for a return on investment with more affluent individuals seeking to invest in commercial space where rental incomes are usually over 10% and offset the interest cost.

There have been many factors fuelling NRI demand. The India story now merits regular articles in mainline newspapers such as The Times, Wall Street Journal or New York Times, encouraging everyone to seek a piece of the action. The easing of repatriation rules has made it simpler to encash returns on investment. Developers have become more professional. Banks are more willing to lend. In recent months the strengthening rupee and weakening US real estate market have made India even more attractive. The most important reason perhaps is that the Indian real estate boom is seen as being led by genuine end-user demand and hence sustainable in the long run, making the investment safe.

The marketing of real estate is also getting more organised, facilitating the buying process. While earlier, developers would seek to do their own marketing, today they rely mainly on companies like Axiom Estates, which is headquartered in London and has offices in New York, Fremont and Dubai as well as associates in a number of other cities. NRIs too depend on the professional advice and transaction management to ensure a good investment. “My experience is that Indians abroad are extremely tech-savvy,” says Aloke Banerjee. “They research a lot on the net. But then comes analysis paralysis, so they need someone to guide them. This is where Axiom Estates comes in. Although we generate a lot of enquiries through our website, we are not a virtual office or portal but have brick and mortar presence in their country. We have people to hold their hand and take them through the whole value chain. This includes purchase, property management, letting, furnishing, mortgage and, in some cases, resale of the property.”

Apart from services, Axiom offers the NRI buyer a plethora of property options. The company has tied up with close to 100 Category 1 developers and can offer buyers pan Indian property as well as choice within individual cities. At any point of time, a buyer will have over 300 projects to select from. Moreover, large investors also get the opportunity of pre-booking deals i.e. property offers at a price that is normally only available to the local community. High net worth individuals also have opportunities for block booking or project development through Axiom for higher returns on investment. Many realty investors also seek the company’s portfolio management services, where the investment is spread across several properties and cities, ensuring an optimum mix of safety and return.

To market the properties Axiom uses various techniques including extensive data base management to fit need and availability. The company organises property shows in USA, Canada, UK and now in the Gulf, in association with developers. These are publicized through local TV campaigns and articles in newspapers for several weeks. Hard copy property catalogues are mailed to prospective buyers well in advance. At the shows there are question-and-answer sessions with developers, seminars with experts, and sharing of quotes and articles. Associations with Citibank in the USA and SBI and HSBC in the UK further add credibility and confidence. As a result, Axiom’s shows attract far higher footfalls as compared to road shows by individual developers, with several thousand visitors being the norm.

Currently the NRI market accounts for about 20% of the Indian realty sector, which Banerjee describes as the tip of the iceberg. Inhibiting factors are mainly legal, particularly when it comes to land, as titles are not always clear and there is no title insurance. When buying built-up property, the documentation is usually one-sided, loading the legal dice in favour of the promoters. Delays in construction and quality of service remain issues of concern with many developers. If India were to catch up with developed countries on matters of title, transparency, service and contract integrity, the floodgates would open up. There is a lot of money waiting at the wings.

Understanding Fideicomisos and Why They Are Required to Buy Beach Front Or Border Property in Mexico

A Little History

The people that wrote the Mexican Constitution were vehemently against foreigners owning property in Mexico.

They knew that foreign real estate investors and home buyers, coming mainly from the United States were deeply inclined toward purchasing property on the Mexican side of the US/Mexico border, as well as vacation homes and property in beautiful coastlines and on islands throughout the country.

The Birth of the Restricted Zone

Therefore, they came up with a plan and decided to make it unlawful for a foreigner to own a piece of property within 100 kilometers of the Mexican border or within 50 kilometers of any coastline. And they put it in writing within their constitution so that it would be very difficult to overturn by later generations.

But Mexicans are not dumb people! They knew that there was lot’s of money to be made if they could only sell their properties to the people who were willing to pay the most. Thus, lobby efforts started in order to change the law or find ways to allow foreigners to buy and own property within what became known as the “Restricted Zone.”

The Rise of The Fideicomisos Loophole

In order to attract foreign investments a later Mexican government created what is currently known as fideicomisos. This is basically a legal loophole permitting foreigners to buy property within the restricted zone through the use of a real estate trust fund which is managed by a Mexican bank. The bank legally owns the property but it is fully controlled by the foreign investor whom has full authority and power over anything dealing with the property and reaps all of it’s gains and losses as well as being able to sell it at any point without restrictions.

In order to qualify as a fideicomiso, a Mexican bank or corporate legal entity must first get a permit from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign affairs which allows it to set up a real estate trust fund. Before the purchase is complete, the buyer should also apply for a permit to buy Mexican Real Estate through the same Ministry of Foreign affairs.

These permits are issued in accordance to what is known as the Calvo Clause which requires the foreign national to waive any rights he/she may have had to pursue legal action using his birth country’s laws or any other non-Mexican laws or treaties and can only pursue legal action within Mexico, using only the Mexican Court system.


Foreign nationals can buy property within Mexico’s Restricted Zone by Using Fideicomisos.

A fideicomiso is basically a trust agreement between a Mexican bank and a foreign home / property buyer which allows the bank to act on behalf of the buyer. The bank, acting as a trustee goes ahead and buys the property and holds the legal title. The buyer retains full rights of ownership because the trustee is under the obligation to follow every instruction issued by the buyer.

A Guide For Canadians: 4 Key Elements When Investing In Arizona Real Estate

The real estate industry is governed by local, state, and Federal laws and therefore varies not only from state to state, but also country to country with each having its slight differences. The following is meant as a quick reference guide for Canadians (currently buying in Arizona more than in other group) considering the Arizona market.

The number of Canadians investing in Arizona real estate continues to trend upward. And, it is extremely important for these investors to understand the key elements of finding the right property. Even though the housing market in Arizona for Canadians is particularly favorable, the property buying process is important to understand as it may differ slightly from the process north of the border. It is now more important than ever, especially since the market is so saturated with property, to know how to buy to get into a profitable investment property as oppose to a money pit.

The 4 key elements of finding the right property in Arizona are:

1. Method of Acquiring the Property

2. Property Use

3. Location

4. Finding the Right Real Estate Company

These four key elements are not new concepts and have been practiced for as long as people have been buying property. The challenging part is being able to combine the knowledge of the market with understanding of which method should be used acquire the property. This article will provide a clearer picture into the how, what, and where of finding the right property in Arizona for Canadians taking a step forward and investing outside their home country.

The first key element is to determine which method will be used to acquire the property. Financing or cash? With the recent tightening of the US credit markets, the ability for Canadians to obtain financing to purchase US real estate has limited the number of banks offering the specific program needed. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2010 Profile of International Home Buying Activity Report, 34% of potential international purchasers were unable to complete a transaction due to financing problems. Typically, the more conventional options require large down payments and are limited to certain transaction types. There are some non-conventional options that allow for more lenient guidelines; however, the trade off is higher interest rates.

Although it is more challenging to obtain financing in Arizona for Canadians looking to purchase, there are options available. Another method used more commonly among Canadian buyers is cash. According to that same report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 55% of international purchasers paid cash. The majority of Canadian buyers use cash because it provides flexibility and since it is difficult to obtain financing. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method; however, it is important to pick the one that best fits the investment objective.

Once the decision has been made on how to acquire the property, the second element of finding the right property is to determine the best use for the property. There are really only two main options; second home or investment. According to the previously mentioned report by the NAR, 22% of all international buyers purchase their property as a vacation home for family and friends compared with 14% that use it as an investment. The numbers in Arizona specifically, trend a little higher toward the investment side… Closer to 20%. The use of the property will determine what type of property to acquire. Would you be looking to use their property as a vacation home or an investment home that is all about cash flow.

Its very important for Canadians to remember… How the property is going to be used sets the stage for what a Canadian’s strategy is when it comes to buying because the few programs available for Canadian borrowers may stipulate that the purchase is a second home and not an investment. Largely, Canadians who are buying with cash are drawing money from either their Canadian home equity or Canadian line of credit.

Once the use of the property is decided, the third element is determining the best location. The reason that the use of the property is so important when looking at location is that some areas of Arizona cater more towards vacation homes and recreation whereas other areas are more advantageous for investment properties and may not be where a family would want to spend its days. The popular vacation destinations are in resort-like areas, typically close to one of the many Arizona golf courses. These obviously tend to sell for more, since the areas are more desirable. A few examples of these locations are North Scottsdale or Fountain Hills. If one is looking for investment properties, then prime locations are lower priced homes with a high rent demand. These are typically located closer to the city. Examples are Tempe (near Arizona State University) or North Phoenix. A good real estate broker or agent can provide you with zip code maps which demonstrate rents or sales for a particular area based on zip code alone. A zip code is the same a postal code north of the border. And, Canadians looking to purchase should really develop a good working relationship with an agent on the ground in Arizona prior to buying or even visiting so that time and money is not wasted for either party.

The final element is finding the right real estate company. You will want one with experience working with Canadian buyers. Again, the market in Arizona is different. Look at what could happen if the right company is not chosen. Mis-representation, lack of market knowledge leading to buying a property in the wrong location, paying too much for a property, not identifying what property type that best meets the buyers needs from a mortgage or tax basis… the list goes on and on. But the biggest danger for Canadians is the belief that the real estate market in Arizona is similar to what they are accustomed to north of the border. It isn’t.

So, how is someone unfamiliar with the Arizona market supposed to find the right real estate company? There are several ways to locate real estate companies operating in Arizona. One good way is to speak to your local real estate agent in Canada. They may work with a larger agency that has branch offices throughout North America or have other buyers who have purchased property in Arizona. This is a great way to get feedback on the buyer’s personal experiences with these companies. Also, make sure that any company you work with has a good rating with the Better Business Bureau and Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR). Do the homework. It is much easier to do a little work upfront rather than deal with a potential issue later.

6 Things to Consider Before You Buy Commercial Property

Choosing to buy commercial property in the UK is a big decision; here are a few helpful tips to make sure that you do not make a costly mistake.

1. Choose Specialized Commercial Estate Agents

Anyone seriously ready to buy commercial real estate in the UK must make sure that a specialist estate agent is chosen. It is inadvisable to go to agents that are one-stop-shops for real estate, selling residential, commercial and even international property. You will get a much better level of service and wealth of experienced from a long established estate agent who specializes solely in offering commercial property to buy.

2. How Many Commercial Property Listings are in Your Part of the UK?

Do your research; find out what the best locations to buy commercial properties are. Often you will find that certain areas will have a high density of commercial real estate for sale, be wary of such pockets lest you find yourself buying a ticket aboard a sinking ship. Although it may cost you more money at times, make it your mission to find an area where companies such as your own have a proven track record of doing well.

3. Always Perform a Thorough Inspection before you Buy Commercial Real Estate

In order to make sure that you do not make a mistake in your commercial real estate deals, you must make sure that you do a thorough inspection of the office for sale or lease. Many people feel that a thorough inspection is not necessary as they are not going to be living there, this could not be further from the truth, as this is a business premises inspection it is just as prudent to thoroughly examine as a residential property.

4. Are you Buying Commercial Property in a Rural or Urban Setting?

The type of development where you are purchasing commercial real estate is very important, for instance if you are in a rural setting then you will be looking for very different features than if you were looking for a ware house for sale in an urban setting. Another thing to consider if you are in a rural setting is the cost, you can expect to pay lot less to be in a less developed area but if you are in a more developed district, especially a retail shop for sale or lease inside the city center you can expect to pay a premium.

5. Will you be buying this Commercial Property to Let Out?

It is also important to consider whether you are to buy commercial property in the UK for your company to actually move into, or whether you are going to rent it out to someone else. If your goal is to own the commercial property to let, then don’t get hung up on want you would like to see when buying commercial real estate, rather find out what the widest possible market is looking for in a commercial property for lease and acquire something that fits that description.

How House Buyers Benefit by Researching Properties for Sale Online

If you are about to look for a property for sale, doing your property research online can place you in a position of strength in the house buying process. As with most technical products and large purchases, extensive online research can be done on properties for sale before any decision is made. The appeal of online browsing grows daily, strengthened by anonymity, ease and social factors that come into play when researching online.

No house buying questions are too silly
Information on buying a property is abundant online. For first time buyers this can be a huge benefit so that you can find out how to approach the purchase of a house before making one of the largest purchases of a lifetime. The average house price in South Africa is currently around R800,000 in FNB and ooba price indices so doing thorough research is essential before making any decisions.

In addition, there are personal questions around affordability and transfer costs that can be worked out online, avoiding possible disappointment and wasted time if the house price is out of means.

No uninvited real estate agents calling you
Property buyers can browse houses for sale in the comfort of their own homes without being pestered by real estate agents, keen to find buyers matching their houses for sale. Most house buyers check out photos and property descriptions before deciding which agent to choose. And you can decide on your own terms which agents would be appropriate for the area and properties you are interested in.

Online property research is part of the screening process
Property portals with decent search engines allow house buyers to sift through masses of listings to arrive at those that are most suitable. This research helps to narrow the search and get a sense of what you can get for your money and saves time and hassle of driving from one property to the next.

What do others think of the property?
The decision to buy a property is certainly not done in isolation. Potential buyers will get advice and support from their friends in their social networks throughout the house buying process.

Some online property search portals already show the properties that are most popular and it is perhaps a matter of time before property pages are rated on a 'like' system or how close they are to friends in the house buyer's social network.

The International Mortgage Market for Chinese Buyers

Chinese property investors are becoming a major force in the international property market. Their top destinations are Canada, Australia, the USA, Singapore and the UK. Currently a third of all new build Central London property is sold to Chinese investors.

Property investments are made for varying reasons, but everyone who invests wants to see a return on their investment. Some Chinese wish to simply invest their money in a property as a cash transaction. However an important factor in investing is the degree to which an investment sum can be leveraged by taking out mortgage finance. Put simply, if you can borrow 50% of the purchase price, you can buy twice the property.

So who will lend to Chinese property investors? Before answering this, it is important to realise that Chinese investors are no different to anyone else making cross border property investments. There are limited lenders for this type of transaction and many obstacles to overcome. I shall attempt to explain some of the things to be aware of with this type of finance and give some ideas on what can be available.

Lenders willing to provide finance to foreign investors fall into three main categories. Firstly International Offshore Banks, who specialise in this type of transaction. They will lend in many countries usually from a base in an offshore territory. Secondly, local banks that have it within their own lending policy to lend to non-nationals. Thirdly banks with an international presence, who are used to dealing with people from different countries.

Of these three types of lender, the International Offshore Bank will have a higher degree of specialism, as this type of transaction is what they do. The local bank will generally have a lesser degree of specialism, as they tend to work with their local populations for the most part. The banks with an international presence may or may not be helpful depending on which bank is chosen.

So how does a Chinese property investor go about getting finance? I would say the most important thing is to get independent advice from an overseas mortgage broker who specialises in this type of transaction.

A good mortgage broker will be able to guide you through the obstacles that you will be greeted with and find you to the correct lender. But what are these obstacles?

Well the first is that the majority of banks outside China will not lend to Chinese people, your broker will find the ones that do.

Different banks have different lending policies, some will only lend on certain properties, some will only lend to people of a certain net worth, some will only lend on property being used for certain purposes. It is important to go to the right lender and your broker will direct you to the correct one.

You will need to be able to provide a good level of deposit for your property purchase, many lenders will not go above 50% loan against value, although some will lend more in certain circumstances.

This is why we always recommend a good, detailed conversation with a broker, as early in the buying process as possible. You will be guided towards the correct banks and told exactly how much you can borrow and what usage the lender will allow on the property. Of course a good conversation is important and whilst Chinese investors are most often highly educated, it is a simple fact that not everybody speaks the same language. There are however translation services available, indeed one of my professional introducers in Singapore has offered to translate for his clients whenever the need arises.

What can go wrong in the application process? Well, the lender may not like the property you are looking to buy, we came across this two weeks ago with a refurbished tower block in the UK, luckily we asked the lender what they thought of the building before our Chinese client incurred any costs.

You will need to provide proof of various things to the lender; these include ID, Address, Income, Contract, and Source of Deposit funds. A problem we have come across many times is that these documents are often written in a client’s native language. Most banks in London will struggle to read a document in Mandarin, for this reason certified translations may be required.

A final thing to make sure of, is whether there are any visa restrictions on you buying in certain countries.

Terms and conditions vary widely between different banks and also depending upon which country you are buying in. As an example, in the UK a Chinese buyer could get up to 80% on properties under £150,000.00 but only 70% on a property over £1,000,000.00. Interest rates vary from as little as 2.8% to well over 6%, depending on the loan to value and property use. There are fixed rates and variable rates on offer, sometimes an investor will be given a choice, but sometimes it will be a matter of, take what you are offered.

The costs of getting the loan will again vary between countries and lenders. If you include, arrangement fees, brokers fees and valuations, you will probably be looking at between 3 and 4.5% of the loan amount to set up the mortgage. Bear in mind that you will also have solicitor’s costs and taxes on top of these.

Historically Chinese property buyers have had a relatively negative attitude (compared to countries like the UK) towards taking out loans on property. With many properties now being bought as investments rather than as own residences, the attitude is moving towards the loan as being a “cost of business”.

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