Our Neighbors To The North
Casa Grande is an increasingly popular destination as both a winter residence and a full-time retirement spot among buyers from Canada. In fact, the mild weather, variety of things to do, excellent home prices and selection of gated and Active Adult communities has made Casa Grande #13 in the entire country for retirees! If you are considering buying a home here as a foreign or out of state resident, please rest assured that your Yost Realty Buyer’s Specialist is very familiar with your concerns and requirements and is able to make your experience as smooth and successful as possible!
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BUYING AT HOME AND IN ARIZONA
Many foreign buyers notice some changes between how a transaction proceeds in Arizona vs. at home.
- You will probably find the basic process – reviewing listings, viewing properties, the Realtor/ client relationship – to be very similar to back home.
- Unlike the basic one or two page document you may be used to, in Arizona the initial offer to purchase is a comprehensive document of at least 9 pages, covering terms, financing, escrow, disclosures and contingencies. Additional addenda may also be included if necessary.
- If your offer is accepted, the seller will sign and return it, or they may add their own counter on an additional form, which becomes part of the contract – this can continue until both parties achieve a meeting of the minds and a fully ratified (signed) contract is produced, with the initial offer and any counters signed by buyer and seller.
- Prior to this point, either party can withdraw from negotiations and walk away.
- After the contract is ratified, earnest money holds the property during the transaction process (escrow) and the amount is specified in the initial offer. It must be deposited (usually as check or through a wire) with the Title Company immediately on receipt of a fully ratified contract.
- Since many of the homes here are selling as foreclosures, it is worth being prepared for the transaction in that case to be slightly different again. Not only do banks require their own lengthy paperwork, there is also a strong chance of more than one offer on the same home, in which case buyers are usually invited to make their ‘highest and best’ bid.
- A full price offer does not compel the seller to accept.
- Although all buyers and sellers are welcome to involve their lawyer, in Arizona it’s customary for Realtors to draw up contracts and handle negotiations with no involvement from lawyers.
- The Escrow (or Title) Company then carries out the terms as outlined in the contract, performs a title check (looking for liens) and, once they are satisfied that the seller can convey ‘marketable title’, they will issue title insurance, normally paid for by the seller. Effectively, the Title Company handles the transference of ownership, draws up a settlement statement outlining costs and funds due to either party on closing, and finally records the buyer’s new ownership at the County Recorder’s office. Title fees are usually around $300.
CANADIAN FINANCING IS BACK
Canadian financing is now becoming more readily available for our neighbors to the north. We can refer you to lenders that can originate the loan and have it underwritten by their lending partner that specializes in Canadian transactions. The paperwork needed is minimal and far less than needed on your standard Conventional Loan applications. Here is a brief overview of what the loan entails and please give us call with any questions and we would be happy to assist.
a).The loan payments are based on 15-year amortization with 7-year balloon
b).Interest rates remain in the higher 4% range
c).50% down payment required
(Lines of Credit are also available for refinances)
a). Last 3 years of Federal Tax Returns with all schedules
b).1003 application as standard with Conventional Financing.
If you are buying a home as a foreign resident, you need to be aware of possible tax implications in the US. The Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) may affect you when you sell your US property, and you should discuss this with a tax advisor who is familiar in this area.
When you find the home you wish to buy, you will need to make arrangements for your funds to be available to close. This is normally required a few days before scheduled Close of Escrow (closing of the transaction) and most people simply elect to wire funds directly to the Title Company, who will provide you wiring directions in advance. Other options include using a cashier’s check or opening a US Bank account (you do not normally require a Social Security Number), which may be useful if you plan to spend a significant amount of time here. Or, you may be able to work with a local branch of your home bank.
ACTIVE ADULT COMMUNITIES
Casa Grande and the surrounding areas boast several excellent Active Adult communities, offering a range of community features, from golf, to sports, gyms, swimming pools, dining, crafts and more. Many of these communities are gated, and several offer ‘lock and leave’ low maintenance accommodation. Speak to your Buyer's Specialist for information on the differences between the various communities and to be kept up to date on the best deals.
If you will be away from your property for part of the year you may need to consider some basic maintenance while you are gone. Depending on where you buy--weeding, flushing toilets, keeping the front of the home free of papers and debris, repairs and pest control are all things to think about. Your Realtor can put you in touch with people who perform these functions for a small fee in your absence.