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Can real property be sold to someone who is not a U.S. citizen?


Yes.  we have sold homes to so many international buyers in the past several years.  However, foreign buyers should be aware of certain reporting requirements:

(1) Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act requires reporting to the Farm Service Agency of the Secretary of Agriculture within 90 days of a transfer to a foreign person if the land has been used for agriculture, forestry, timber, farming, or ranching, within the last 5 years, is 10 acres or more, and generates $1,000 or more in gross receipts.


(2) The Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Commerce Department requires reporting of foreign ownership of all real property.  There are some exceptions such as for a primary residence.


Furthermore, foreign buyers must acquire a U.S. taxpayer identification number.  Finally, the Office of Foreign Asset Control may be involved if a foreign buyer's name appears on, or is even similar to a name on, a specially designated persons list.                                                                               


Source: California Real Estate, Nov/Dec, 2007, p. 22

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