The pandemic has brought numerous changes to the real estate markets throughout North America. The interest in purchasing property outside of major cities is an ongoing trend. It seems like spacious homes in verdant settings are the preferred option, over tiny apartments in bustling city areas. Not long ago, the Upstate New York region was regarded as a dream retirement destination for many. But in the past couple of years, its prominence as a hot real estate market has grown significantly. Many New Yorkers looking to settle away from the concrete jungle have found their dream homes here. However, purchasers from across the border are not immune to the allure of the area either. In continuation, we will share a few great tips for foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate. So, take the lead and tackle your property hunt with ease.

Essential info for foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate

Despite the recent events and their impact that we still feel on the economy, the New York City property market has remained an enticing and safe option for buyers. However, the area north of the Big Apple has lately found itself in the limelight, with buyers gobbling up single-family homes more than any other property type available. The location should be one of the top considerations when buying a house, and Upstate NY has all it takes to be regarded as a great option. 

The good news for foreigners with no residency status in the US is that there are no restrictions on owning property in the country. In fact, a big chunk of the real estate in New York belongs to foreign nationals and corporations. But, the type of property you intend to buy in Upstate New York may come along with requirements for presenting a tax return report. Thus, so-called Co-ops and special types of housing are with somewhat limited access to foreign buyers. Anyway, there are other types of property available that are very popular among non-residents.  

Capitol complex in Albany, NY.

Residential property types in Upstate New York 

Co-op is short for Cooperative Housing Corporations that own an entire building. As a buyer of an apartment, you become a partner in the corporation, along with your neighbors. Foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate should know that as a non-resident this is not the best option. While it is not entirely impossible, it is not easy nor lucrative either. 

First of all, most co-ops only approve buyers with employment in NY, US income tax, and excellent credit history within the country. Besides, co-ops regulate the use of your apartment, which comes with restrictions on renting, renovations, and even having guests. All this makes co-ops less attractive for investors and foreign buyers. 

This type of property is somewhat synonymous with the Big Apple. However, as a foreigner looking to purchase property in Upstate NY, it is essential to note that coops are not exclusive to the concrete jungle only. It is good to know the differences between property types, and finding a good real estate agent will be of great help.

Condo buildings are regular real estate much like townhouses. These have no restrictions and special requirements like coops. You don’t need board approval to buy or sell a unit in a condo building, and you own a real estate title for your apartment.

Townhouses and single-family homes are also excellent property purchasing options in Upstate NY for foreign buyers and the most sought-after residential property types. Most of them have air rights, which allows you to build higher. Nevertheless, as you may expect, the price tags of these are much steeper than those of a condo for instance.

Most popular areas north of the Big Apple

Upstate New York is a region marked with beautiful, diverse scenery. The land is of various uses and the rural landscape is abundant. However, spacious family homes are the most popular real estate among local and foreign buyers.

According to the reports, the demand for residential property in Kingston in Hudson Valley exceeds the supply. With its relative proximity to NYC residents can easily commute daily in less than an hour. Another hot spot for residential property buyers in Orange County. The area is ideal for anyone looking to enjoy great outdoor activities, calm surroundings, and excellent quality of air. And Orange County has to offer experts that will move you here with ease. Again, the great accessibility to NYC from here makes this county with a seat in Goshen a popular place for foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate, as well as for residential relocations.

An aerial view of Middleburgh, Upstate NY.

How to prepare for property purchase 

Before you take the plunge and venture into the Upstate NY real estate market, make a point to prepare well. This will ensure your best first-time home buying experience in the state. Hence, determine your budget so that you know exactly how much you can afford to spend. In New York, it is a requirement to have a lawyer that will protect your interests during the transaction, so find a good one. Non-residents purchasing real estate in Upstate NY should do thorough research on tax liability as well. This varies for residents and foreigners, and whether you buy the property as a home or an investment. The down payment required is usually 10%. Hence, as part of your preparations, make sure you have all you need, and if possible, consider opening a US bank account. With this sorted, your purchasing process will go much more smoothly.

Mortgage for non-residents in the US

Financing is an instrumental part of any successful property transaction. Unless your wallet is sufficiently thick to pay in cash, you will need to consider what other options you have. In the US, most banks have special programs for financing foreigners interested in buying property in the country. For a loan of up to $1 million, you will be able to get up to 75%. To qualify, you will need to provide the following:

  • Valid US visa or a copy of your passport
  • 4 credit references from major financial institutions, such as your local bank or an insurance company
  • Confirmation for mortgage or rent payment in the past 12 months
  • Confirmation of employment
  • A bank certificate of sufficient funds for the closing costs

The interest rate will vary between different banks. To ensure you go through the entire process with no issues, choose the best real estate agent you can find. They will be your best source of reliable local information and will play a vital role in your property purchasing venture in Upstate NY.

A man in a suit with a calculator and a model house.

Get ready to move to your new home

With the support of the right team of professionals, foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate will not run into serious difficulties on the way. If you prepare well before you start your homebuying journey, everything will go relatively quickly. And once you close the deal on your property purchase, it is time to organize your move to your new home. Apart from the standard logistics, ensure the movers you are hiring can handle delicate pieces of art as well. This is an important point to take note of, as not all movers have the capacity to transfer valuable pieces adequately. Surely, you would like to adorn your new abode with your precious pieces, so hire a mover that will help you transfer them.

The conclusion for foreigners buying Upstate NY real estate

In the aforementioned points, we share some valuable tips on how to tackle your house hunting in Upstate NY. The region is increasingly popular among those looking to purchase their own home and investors alike. Regardless of your objectives, buying Upstate NY real estate as a foreigner will be much easier with this information and the invaluable help of a good real estate agent.

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