I live in London and would liked to purchase a home in the USA, what are the rules, what are your taxes etc? is there some sort of tax one has to pay?

Asked by Sharon Bennett-chidi, Burbank, CA Mon Feb 1, 2010

anually for the house?

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Sheryl Thornton’s answer
Sheryl Thorn…, Agent, Calabasas, CA
Fri Oct 12, 2012
Hi there,

There is no sales tax, however there is property tax which is 1.25% of the purchase price. You can pay the property tax twice annually or monthly depending on how much you put down on your new home. I live and work in Calabasas and would love to show you homes. When are you due to arrive?
I have 17 years of experience and the knowledge to make your transaction a smooth one. :-)
I look forward to hearing from you.


Sheryl Thornton
0 votes
Kevin Dibben, , Calabasas, CA
Tue Mar 1, 2011
Hello Sharon,

There is no 'sales' tax on purchasing a home in California. The property tax the agents have been talking about are similar to the Community Charge. Property tax is an annual assessment and it is based entirely upon the purchase price of the home NOT the size of the home or land parcel. We usually calculate it to 1.25% each year of the purchase price, so on a $500,000 home it the annual property tax would be $6,250.

There is no legal issue what-so-ever in your purchase of a home here. The biggest issue for you will be financing. I moved here from Southend-on-Sea (no jokes please!) in 1977. There is a very active British-American Business Council, http://www.BABCLA.org, in LA you might find helpful.

If I can be of any assistance please feel free to contact me.
0 votes
Janey Bishop, Agent, Encino, CA
Thu Aug 19, 2010
There is annual property tax and a transfer tax at the time of purchase. Some areas have special assessments for local improvements but these can be easily identified.

If you are financing you will find that the underwriting process is still very vigorous for all so it will be important to select a loan Officer who is experienced with yoursituation.

It will also be important to pick an agent or team who are well-versed in the locale you will be looking in. If you need guidance on Calabasas I would be happy to help.
0 votes
Elizabeth He…, Agent, Agawam, MA
Thu Feb 11, 2010
There are taxes you must pay when you purchase a home (calledtax stamps which are a certain amount per thousand dollars) and then depending on where the home is there could be annual taxes.

Will the house be a primary residence? Whether it is or not there are some regulations with which you must comply when you are not an American but are buying a home in America.

I'm a member of the International Real Estate Federation and I work with many clients from the U.K. If I can be of any assistance to you please feel free to contact me at elizabeth@elizabethherbert.com
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Andrew Jones, Agent, Venice Beach, CA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Hi Sharon,

You've seen the rates here and how expensive the market can be. In real terms, you're looking at thousands to tens of thousands of extra dollars a year, depending on the assessed value at purchase. This is often an unexpected and unwelcome factor for international buyers.

I'm an agent in both California and Nevada and will be glad to send you listings & information for either of these states. My website lists 1000's of properties for sale in both. Best of luck.
0 votes
Monique and…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Feb 1, 2010
Hello Sharon and Brit,

I can provide you a net sheet depending on the property you are considering. The taxes in LA are fixed and run 1.25-1.50 of the purchase price with slight variances. There are also purchase costs. If you let me know the cost of the property you are considering, I would be happy to give you an estimate. Brokers (myself) costs are usually paid by the seller.

Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
(323) 899-2900
Web Reference:  http://www.thecarrabba.com
0 votes
Dianne Hicks, Agent, Rancho Bernardo, CA
Mon Feb 1, 2010
I just closed on a buyer from the UK last Friday. We did almost everything through the Internet. We passed emails back and forth and he came out to see the homes. We put the offer and he left. We closed in 2 weeks while he was in the UK and I was here. It went very smoothly. Here is a blog about it http://www.trulia.com/blog/dianne_hicks/2010/01/relocation_s…

He is coming out to see me on the 11th. He is passing by the area so he is stopping here. He purchased it to rent for 10 years and then he will move here. So we picked a home he loved but would rent well. I am sure he would be happy to talk with you about his experience should you need him to.

There are property taxes, I think they are less than what you pay. Because he is renting he is going to have to get a tax id due to the fact he will have to report the income.

Let me know if I can assist you with any other questions or help you in any way.

Kindest Regards,
Dianne Hicks
Web Reference:  http://www.di4homes.com
0 votes
Bonnie Scrib…, , Fullerton, CA
Mon Feb 1, 2010
Hi, Sharon. My guess is that you're looking in the Burbank or Calabasas area of California, as those came up associated with your ID and question on Trulia.

As a "foreigner," there is no problem buying and owning property, although the lending is a bit different. The requirement for down payment and loan limits is affected by these rules. I would suggest you look at my website and contact my business associate at Bank of America, as I know she does foreign loans.

Taxes in California are also somewhat different than other parts of the country. Our property taxes are much more stable, and are based on the purchase price of the home and perhaps some other bond taxes, etc., that might affect it.

A random check on a property in Burbank has a tax rate of .011. For a property value of $400,000US, the monthly tax would be $367US/month. In Calabasas, it was .012. That would translate to $400US/month.

I love working with foreign buyers! I work very hard for my clients, and you can check our testimonials on our website.

Please feel free to send me an email. I will be happy to set up a website specifically for you in the areas you are interested in with the features you decide you need, and you will be emailed daily with changes or additions. I can follow-up on the properties you're interested in and give you honest guidance about the homes.

I only chose $400,000US as a random number. Please know that there are homes way below that and way above. There are also different types of sales: Short sales, foreclosures, standard sales, auctions, etc. I'd be happy to explain them all to you.

The loan qualification process will require that you provide documentation of cash available and earnings, plus past performance with debt. We can help you through it.

I am an award-winning agent with an award-winning company. One of the top Century 21 agencies internationally (top 1%).

I hope you are staying warm in London - but I think that might be hard with the weather what it is there this week. I have a friend who lives in the Lakes area of England - it is so beautiful there. I have to say that we here in CA often complain when we have rain and it's 8 or 9 degrees C outside. You just might love California. Our flowers don't know what to do - they seem to bloom all year long.

Please send me a note and I'll respond quickly. Our time is PST, so you can also call. I answer my cellphone in the afternoons and evenings.

Blessings, Bonnie
Bonnie Scribner, REALTOR, QSC
DRE #01447853
Cell: 714.296.0513
Century 21 Discovery
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Mon Feb 1, 2010
We do have property taxes here. They are due either annually is 2x a year depending on location. You may also have school taxes, mello roos, or other assessments on properties depending in location. If they are not paid, you lose the house.

There are also fees imposed when you buy a house by the state or county. Not a lot, but they still hurt to pay.
0 votes
Mary Jo Daly, Agent, Chicago, IL
Mon Feb 1, 2010
If you have the location of the United States in which you are buying it would make it easier to give you a better answer. Are you moving here and will the home be your main residence or are you buying as an investment property. I would love to help you out with finding out all your answers. Please contact me at my web site http://www.maryjodaly.com or my email maryjodaly@ymail.com check out my Trulia profile for more information on myself.
Web Reference:  http://www.maryjodaly.com
0 votes
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