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 passport or visa.

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

Yes, every owner will owe annual property taxes. 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:

Bank Of America
4650 West Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33445

Routing and Wire information is included in each invoice.

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 a 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 AutoPal is the easiest way to make your monthly payments. When you give us your credit card information, you will automatically be enrolled in AutoPal, which means that your monthly payment will automatically be charged to the account on file. You also are provided a link to your account and can access it at any time, 24/7, and you don't have to remember any due dates, 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 owned by us (or one of our land holding companies or our owner), as we are not a third-party marketplace. We guarantee free and clear title or your money back. 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, we will handle all the legal paperwork on your behalf. You will provide us with Vesting Information and we will take care of the rest, which includes recording the sale with the local County Assessor, showing you as the new owner in the public record. Once recorded, we will transfer the Warranty Deed to you the next day. This process typically takes 8-10 weeks, but may take longer depensing on the county and their capacity.

If you purchase with financing, you will receive a DocuSign contract outlining all the terms and conditions of sale, and specifics on your monthly installment payment. Once the property is paid off, we will record the sale with the local County Assessor, showing you as the new owner in the public record. Once recorded, you will receive the free and clear Warranty Deed. Learn more about the transfer of ownership here >>

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

When you purchase from GovernmentAuction.com and make monthly installment payments, we will hold the Title until you have paid in full. We then will record and transfer the Warranty Deed as described in #10, above. There are no prepayment penalties and you can pay off the property at any time.

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

You may sell the property—after being paid in full—and transfer ownership to a party you would designate. If a foreigner, if you sell any land you purchased 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.