Foreign Land Buyers: How to Buy Land in the United States

1. Are there any restrictions on non-U.S. citizens buying land in the U.S. from GovernmentAuction.com?
2. Do I have to pay taxes on land I buy from GovernmentAuction.com?
3. When I buy land in the U.S. from GovermentAuction.com, do I have to pay for it all at once or can I finance it?
4. Do you run a credit check for financing?
5. Who pays the property taxes while I am paying for my land?
6. What about currency exchange?
7. What are the wire transfer instructions?
8. Can I use a credit card?
9. Who owns the land?
10. How is title to the land transferred to me?
11. Who holds the title while I am paying for my land?
12. What happens if I want to sell the land I buy from GovernmentAuction.com?

1. Are there any restrictions on non-U.S. citizens buying land in the U.S. from GovernmentAuction.com?

There are NO restrictions that would prevent foreigners from buying land from us in the U.S. You only need proof of residency in your country and valid identification such as a visa.

2. Do I have to pay taxes on land I buy from GovernmentAuction.com?

Yes, foreigners who purchase land in the United States must pay U.S. property taxes. Taxes will vary by state, county and city. Local taxes are levied to pay for education, public safety and other services. The annual taxes due for your property is indicated on the property listing page, usually $25-$250 USD for raw land. You may want to hire a real estate attorney to guide you through the U.S. tax system.

3. When I buy land in the U.S. from GovermentAuction.com, do I have to pay for it all at once or can I finance it?

You can buy land from us outright for a single payment, or we can provide you with financing. Purchasing land outright with a credit card or wire transfer is the easiest way to buy land from GovernmentAuction.com. With this type of purchase, you are responsible for paying any annual taxes when they come due each year.

Any and all information we have about a property is listed on the item’s description on our website, including the APN number, which is used as the property identifier. We cannot provide any additional information other than what is listed on our website. If you call the county assessor’s office for the county in which the land is located, you can give them the APN, and obtain any specific details you need to evaluate your buying and bidding decision.

4. If I want to finance land, are you going to check my credit?

No. We do not run a credit check for financing.

5. Who pays the property taxes while I am paying for my land?

If you finance your land purchase and pay in monthly installments, GovernmentAuction.com will pay the taxes and add their cost to your monthly bill as a pass-through expense.

6. What about currency exchange?

All land is sold and denominated in U.S. dollars. When you become a buyer and you go to your bank to wire the money, they should be able to do the exchange conversion for you. If you pay by credit card, your card company does the exchange conversion for you, and it will show up on your monthly statement.

7. What are the wire transfer instructions?

Bank-to-bank wire transfer is considered the safest international payment method. International buyers should wire your money transfers to the following institution:

Wachovia Bank
225 Water Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

ABA: 063000021
SWIFT Code: PNBPUS33

GovernmentAuction.com
Account#2000043755954

Wachovia processes international wire transfers Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. Requests submitted after 2:30 p.m. ET may not be processed until the following business day.

Please note, Wachovia may charge a fee for receiving wire transfers from an international bank. For more information, you may contact them at 1-800-922-4684.

8. Can I use a credit card?

Yes, paying with a credit card is the easiest and preferred method of paying for the land you buy from GovernmentAuction.com. You can use a credit card to buy land from us in one single payment, or we can finance your sale and you can use a credit card to make your monthly payments. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards.

If we finance your sale, enrolling in Auto Pay is the easiest way to make your monthly payments. When you give us your credit card information, you will automatically be enrolled in Auto Pay, which means that your monthly payment will automatically be charged to the account on file.

With Auto Pay, you don’t have to remember any payment due dates, you don’t have to worry about late payment charges and you don’t have to put a check in the mail.

9. Who owns the land?

All of the U.S. land sold by GovernmentAuction.com is guaranteed free and clear title. This means that no one else owns the land or has any rights to use it or claim it.

10. How is title to the land transferred to me?

If you purchase outright with one lump sum payment for your land, you will receive your land warranty deed, property tax bill, conveyance tax certificate, plat map, and instructions on filing your deed with the local county.

If you purchase with financing, you will receive the standard agreement of sale and specifics on your monthly installment payment. Once the property is paid off, you will receive the deed and free and clear title. Learn more about the transfer of ownership here >>

11. Who holds the title while I am paying for my land?

If GovernmentAuction.com finances your purchase, you will pay for the land through monthly payments and we will hold the title until you have paid in full.

12. What happens if I want to sell the land I buy from GovernmentAuction.com?

As a foreigner, if you sell any land you bought in the United States, the sale is subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (FIRPTA) income tax withholding.

To ensure that taxes on the sale of the land are collected from foreign taxpayers, FIRPTA requires those who buy land from non-U.S citizens to withhold 10% of the sales price. As the seller, you may apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to reduce this 10% to the amount of tax estimated to be due. The IRS routinely and quickly approves such applications from sellers.

You may want to hire a real estate attorney to help you better understand FIRPTA and how you can decrease the 10% tax withholding.

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