Canadians Buying Real Estate in the US

October 26, 2011

By Margaret Hennessey
Park Georgia Realtor

Arizona, Here We Come!

So, finally you decide to downsize. You’ve made the right decisions and have paid off most, if not all of your mortgage. Moreover, you got the right Realtor ® to represent you, who made sure that you got the highest price for your property. Now, a nice surprise awaits, usually in the form of a lump sum of cash. Hmm? What to do?

Options for Snowbirds

The options are many and after all it’s your hard earned return from home ownership. Many who are fully retired (although I’m not entirely sure what that means any more) may decide to buy that RV and travel, usually down south in search of winter sunshine.

Others, who certainly want to enjoy that sunny climate, but don’t find the idea of an RV park too appealing, are considering another option. As one of my clients recently said “as soon as I buy that RV and drive it off the lot, I’ve lost money”. Fair point. However, to some the joy of living amongst others in an RV park for a period still is appealing.

Buying Property in the US

The saying is “that it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good” certainly applies to the current US housing market and why it is having such appeal for Canadian “boomers”. Prices of select property is so low in places that it seems almost (but not quite) too good to be true.

Some examples of recent client purchases in the US, include a group of factory workers who each “chipped in” $10,000 and bought a townhouse in Las Vegas. They take it in turn to enjoy the fun of Vegas and have a place they can share amongst themselves all year round. However, depending on your viewpoint, I personally would prefer some of the amazing hotel deals being offered there, as opposed to actually owning in Vegas. Never the less, it works for that group.

Moreover, when the housing market returns (and it always does), they will certainly have a substantial investment.

Another example and one I think more relevant to our age group is what two of my other clients did. When Frank & Sharon sold their place (and of course I as their realtor made sure they got more than they ever expected), they downsized to an apartment. On looking at the left over capital from the sale, they were excited and surprised to know that they had a great deal of money to do with whatever they chose.

Both Frank and Sharon love the sunshine (as Gerry and I do) and in particular, always enjoyed their visits to Arizona. So, I linked them up with a Realtor down there who specialized in looking after the needs of Canadian clients and off they went.

Within a very short time they had found a townhouse that they loved but with a bonus. The bonus being that it also offered the services of a management company that would rent out the property for them when they weren’t using it. They paid $95,000 for this gorgeous property and when not using it collect $950 each month in rent.

As they said to me, it was a “win win” all around. They got more than they thought for their house and now had the freedom of a lovely apartment. They could also enjoy their new home in Arizona and collect a rental income too.

This is a trend I see happening more and more. The concerns about ownership in the US is being alleviated by competent US Realtors® choosing to service the Canadian market. In fact an upcoming program provided through the Real Estate Board, is designed to provide Realtors® like myself, with the latest up to date information on clients buying down south.

If you would like more information on this very viable option, let me know.

Margaret HennesseyAbout the Author: Margaret Hennessey is a 25 year award winning real estate agent who sells property in Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge. She specializes in the housing needs of baby boomers. Many of clients are long-term clients who now need advice on their post retirement moves.

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