You want to have as much documentation available to your lender regarding your assets (in particular, source of downpayemt), your residency (Fannie Mae does allow non-US citizens), employer history (will need to be verified) and income. Hope this helps!
Additionally, you'll find that the housing market in Canada is less prone to market swings than in the U.S. due to the stability in the Canadian financial markets and conservative government lending guidelines. If you compare the U.S. housing market to Canada's, you'll find (especially in recent years) much bigger gains AND losses in home values here in the U.S. Foreclosures are also different, and short sales in Canada are non-existent.
Best of Luck!
Welcome - I am also from Canada and moved to California many years ago. The actual process of buying a home here is very similar to Canada. The larger issues you will need to consider are the foreign ownership related issues from both a tax and residency perspective. If you are a Canadian citizen without any type of US residency, I believe your maximum stay cannot exceed 6 months. If you decide to look at Laguna Beach real estate it would be great to meet you and potentially work with you. Good luck with your relocation!
Broker - Ventana Coastal Properties
Well Welcome to Southern California! I am sure you will love it here.
There are many different communities and there is really no set rules here. Many areas have what we call CCR's which stands for Covenants, Conditions adn Restrictions. And all are a bit different. Basically they are designed to keep the area in tip top shape. They do limit what you can do in the area and to your home. May people find them too strict and choose an area without CCR's.
First thing you should do is find a local Realtor who can show you the various areas and you can ask questions of!
Best of luck to you,
Connie Thompson Bramble
Prudential CA Realty