Subscribe to receive the latest information on the Arizona real estate market

Will going directly to the seller's agent get me a better deal or will it hurt.

The easy answer is, have your own representation: have your own agent to represent your interests.  Although it's possible to strike a good win-win contract on the property dealing with the listing agent directly, there are too many factors where some party will not be represented as they should be. Realtors are held to a certain standard which includes loyalty, disclosure, confidentiality and accountability. 

The issue is that when the agent works both sides they should have a duty to both parties and that's where there may be a conflict of interest and when that arises, as it often does, the loyalty will be to the seller not the buyer. It is possible to represent both parties fairly, but will you get a better price as a buyer dealing directly with the listing agent? Unlikely! Also, are you familiar with Real Estate laws of Arizona, and how familiar are you with the purchase process, issues around financing, insurance and tax matters related to purchasing property in Arizona. This is another area where a well trained real estate agent representing you is a critical member of your team.

By the way.  This is no different when buying from a private seller, a lender REO, and especially a new home: new home contracts tend to be heavily convoluted and skewed primarily if not completely in the seller's favor.

What are the implications of Renting out a U.S. property?

If you collect rental income from a U.S. property, you need to file a U.S. tax return. If you purchase a property with the intention of renting it out for all or part of the year, make sure it is in a good location with desirable amenities nearby: beaches, golf, ocean, restaurants, hospitals.

How should I hold title to a U.S. property?

Know how to title your property and the implications of each type of ownership: fee simple, joint with its survivorship, joint as tenants in common, etc. Simply buying a place in the U.S. does not mean you need to file for U.S. taxes, only if you rent or sell.

How should I finance a U.S. property?

If possible, secure financing with a U.S. financial institution. They will have better knowledge of U.S. mortgages and provide more options in terms of how long you can lock in for. (We have several lending sources we can put you in touch with.) Alternatively, use your home equity to open a line of credit in Canada and pay cash for the home.

What are the tax rules on owning a U.S. property?

Recent changes to the Canada-U.S. Tax treaty prevent foreign owners from paying taxes twice. The tax treaty, one of the most important documents for the protection of Canadian financial assets in the U.S., overrides domestic Canadian and U.S. rules and can lower your overall tax bill.

What are the options for retirees?

For Canadian who have retired, the U.S. has portfolio opportunities to earn as much interest income tax-free as possible. Also, the costs of living in many U.S. retirement areas are substantially lower than equivalent Canadian areas.

What is the best way to exchange currency?

Exchange large sums at one time and ask for the spot rate rather than accepting the posted rate. Avoid using cash for the exchange. Shop around to at least three different institutions and when possible, use reputable currency brokers rather than banks.

What are the immigration and custom rules?

Know how long you can legally stay in the U.S. as a visitor. If you wish to work in the U.S. or to stay more than six months, get a proper visa. If you stay longer than six months, you will be required to file a U.S. tax return.

What do I need for medical coverage in the U.S.?

Whether you are going to the U.S. for a two-week holiday or a six-month stint, make sure to get good travel insurance. When possible, take high-deductible plans. Prices rise substantially if you stay more than three months. Also, try to fill any prescriptions before you leave Canada.