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.
Bonnie Scribner, REALTOR, QSC
Century 21 Discovery