The purpose of this fact sheet and suggested voluntary guidelines is to increase real estate professionals’ awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the potential money laundering risks surrounding real estate and enable them to identify practical measures to mitigate the risks.
NAR Work Group Develops Recommendation
As Washington, D.C. lawmakers consider easing restrictions on foreign investment in U.S. commercial property governed by the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), NAR convened a work group of member experts to study the issue and make recommendations. (The special work group included representatives from the Federal Taxation Committee, Commercial Committee and the Global Businesses & Alliance Committee.)
When it comes to mortgage financing on U.S. properties, domestic buyers have one distinct advantage over global ones: their credit history is easily accessible. Not so with foreign borrowers. Verifying an overseas credit standing can be the make-or-break hurdle to getting a loan and closing a transaction.
If you have worked with global buyers of U.S. properties, at some point you’ve probably been asked about financing. During and after the recession, mortgage programs were limited to non-existent. Recently, however, the tide has turned and credit to foreign buyers has loosened. In fact, some institutions view lending to foreign nationals as a growth market. Depending on your buyer’s resources, there may be several products that meet their needs and circumstances.
In recent years, cash has dominated U.S. real estate purchases by foreign nationals. According to NAR’s 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, agents reported that 63 percent of their international transactions were conducted without financing.
Is that because foreign buyers prefer a cash purchase, or do they feel locked out of the U.S. mortgage market? If the latter, agents may be able to help more global buyers reach the closing table by identifying lenders ready and willing to meet their buyers’ needs.
On August 15, 2014,The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a Request for Input on its Strategic Plan for 2015-2019