The United States is pretty open for foreign investors. Foreigners are allowed to own land. So you can buy homes, residential/commercial properties, land, condos, etc. here.
In order to buy a property in the USA you will need :
a. earnest money deposit check (drawn in US$, can be a cashiers check from a UK bank)
b. bank account statement (proof of funds for cash purchase)
c. copy of your passport (I believe for UK nationals there is no need for a visa to go to USA).
Check out http://www.BuyHomeinUS.com
for more information on investing in US properties for foreign nationals.
Then we have to find the property for you. If you wish to buy in San Francisco/Sacramento areas (one of the hottest market in the United States right now), we can help you. We have helped many foreign clients acquire properties here. You can possibly get a loan too, but I would recommend buying it in cash first then refinance. This is because the market is now extremely competitive, there are too many buyers (quite a few of them cash buyers) and not much inventory.
Hope that helps,
Bethany real estate and investments
916 230 5250