With Lake Havasu being a premier destination location for winter "Snowbirds", we get buyers from all over the country, including our Canadian neighbors to the North.
I have put together some Frequently Asked Questions about the real estate buying and selling process that will help you understand the basics of a real estate transaction here in Lake Havasu as it pertains to my Canadian friends.
I hope this helps! Feel free to call or text me at 928-846-6474 or send me an email
What kind of restrictions are there for Canadian buyers purchasing real estate in Lake Havasu City?
To the best of my knowledge, there are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying Lake Havasu real estate, or any U.S. property. However, there are a few key differences related to capital gains tax withholding when a foreign national sells real estate in the U.S. » See the IRS FIRPTA Withholding page
I need a loan! Can U.S. lenders provide financing for Canadian buyers?
You do not need any US credit history or US income to qualify, and you do not need to have a US residence or mailing address. However, you will want to contact a lender who can give you the current guidelines. Also be sure and use a lender who has experience in lending to foreign nationals and is licenced to do business in AZ.
If you would like a recommendation from me, just call or text me at 928-846-6474 or send me an email
What are the fees associated with Buying real estate in Lake Havasu City?
Arizona does not have a real estate transfer tax.
Your biggest cost will be closing costs and will likely be the fees you pay to your lender. Those fees will vary from lender to lender and from one loan program to another. However, when the exchange rate was good, most Canadians were paying cash so, in that case, they are paying no loan fees at all and will only be paying typical escrow fees.
As a buyer, you will typically also pay for: a home inspection, a termite inspection, an appraisal and title insurance (if you are obtaining a loan), an escrow fee, a county recording fee, various smaller fees (like Fed-Ex or mobile notary), and if the home has a Homeowners Association (HOA), additional HOA fees.
Also, at closing you will pay for some future expenses in advance. These “pre-paids” may include property taxes and homeowners insurance.
Attorneys are not typically involved in Arizona residential real estate transactions so that is a expense you will not have to pay in Lake Havasu City.
All real estate commision are typically paid by the seller, so any Lake Havasu home buyers do NOT have to pay their real estate agent.
Even though all commissions are paid by the seller, Arizona law dictates your real estate agent is your “fiduciary” and is obligated to represent you and your best interests, not the best interests of the seller.
What about property taxes in Lake Havasu City?
Additionally, Arizona does not have a two-tier property tax system like California and Florida where new homeowners pay more in property taxes than other homeowners. A new Canadian homeowner will pay the same property tax rate in Arizona as their American neighbors right next door.
Arizona does not have a system where part-time residents pay more in property taxes like they do in Florida.
Although Lake Havasu doesn't have many, but if you are going to buy in a HOA, be aware of homeowner association (HOA) fees as they can vary. Always make sure to get a copy of the HOA CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) during the inspection period.
Will Canadians buyers have to pay capital gains tax when they sell their Lake Havasu real estate?
Yes, foreign nationals, including Canadians will be subject to U.S. capital gains taxes on real estate sales.
Because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can not easily go after foreign nationals to collect this capital gains tax, there are special U.S. tax “withholding” requirements when foreign nationals sell real estate.
The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) imposes U.S. tax on income and gains from real estate owned by “nonresident aliens” at the same graduated rates applicable to U.S. persons.
Typically, when a nonresident alien sells U.S. real estate, 15% of the purchase price will be “withheld” for potential taxes.
The seller may in fact owe no taxes… or the seller may in fact owe more than the 15% withheld.
The seller will want to file a U.S. income tax return at the end of the year so any overpayment to the IRS will eventually be returned to the nonresident alien seller.
Also, many homes that are sold for less than $300,000 are not subject to this 15% withholding, although the seller is still obligated to pay the full amount of any capital gains tax due.
Buyers should always contact a qualified tax expert or for details.
Will Canadians have to pay tax on rental income generated from Lake Havasu City investment property?
In short, yes, the IRS will tax income from real estate owned by nonresident aliens at the same graduated rates applicable to U.S. persons. However, this is a more complex issue with a lot of variables. For a complete understanding, always seek the counsel of a qualified CPA or tax professional.
Although a very basic overview, I hope this has helped! If you have any questions about the real estate process in Lake Havasu, feel free to give me a call or text at 928-846-6474 or send me an email.
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