Picture by Kamal H (flickr)
The property market in America is still declining, but our neighbor towards the North is growing by leaps and bounds, and it does not seem to be slowing down soon. The figures in the Real Property Association of Canada reports are showing another strong month, exceeding last month and climbing. Perhaps the fantastic growth potential is why many Americans are thinking about buying land in Canada. It has much to offer and is a great escape if you enjoy wonderful weather all year around. Many Americans have gone just for a visit, but the gorgeous scenery convinced them to stay.
If you are considering buying property in Canada, you may want to consider becoming a resident if you are going to be living there for a significat portion of the year. If you choose to keep your home in America, you may want to become a dual citizen. Check the Canadian Consular and Embassy for more information on dual citizenship. Obtaining a Canadian driver’s license and buying a vehicle is easily accomplished.
Most of the Canadian Provinces have no restrictions on where you can purchase land, but sometimes there are limitations on the amount that a non-resident may buy. For example, on the island of Prince Edward, non-resident buyers must go through the Regulatory and Appeals Commission when applying for more than five acres, or for property that is more than 165 feet from the shore (source). In Manitoba you can’t own farmland unless you plan to physically live on the property within a two year period. In Saskatchewan non-residents cannot have more than ten acres (source), and in Alberta they can have up to two plots, but not exceed twenty total acres (source).
Finding the perfect plot is not as difficult as one might imagine; and worth the effort involved. Here are some things that are quite useful to know before starting the process.
Here are the basics:
Of course, you must find the perfect location that is best for you and your family. Ase mentioned above, there may be rules that apply to Americans as far as how much property they can own, so it is important to talk to a knowledgeable Realtor who is familiar with foreign regulations. Have a list ready and search online. Make sure they can answer any questions or concerns you may have. When you feel like you’ve decided on the best place, find a trusted lender and apply for the mortgage.
Register at the Canadian title’s office. You will have to go through a Canadian mortgage company to process the application, as you will not be able to go through your American bank. This may prove rather difficult, but can be accomplished with a little patience and effort on your part.
After you have decided on the perfect place, make your offer. You may have to put about 35% down, larger than most American down payments, but sometimes a lender in the U.S. can help you partly with the transaction. Make sure you have discussed everything with the Realtor, including the annual taxes. Finally, sign the contract and enjoy everything that Canada has to offer.