Finding a U.S. Home is Easier Than You Think
Congrats on making the decision to start looking for a home in the U.S.! Whether you plan to buy a vacation getaway, investment property or permanent residence, we can help make the experience easier from start to finish
What would you like to do next?
Search for a U.S. Home
See what’s on the market right now. Our listings are updated every 15 minutes, so once your dream home hits the market, you’ll find it fast!
Find a Real Estate Agent
Receive up to $6,500 when you sign up for RBC U.S. HomePlus™ Advantage and use a participating agent who specializes in helping Canadians buy property in the U.S.
Shop with Confidence
Get pre-approved for a mortgage to know how big you can dream — and show you’re a serious buyer.
Save from the Start by Financing Your U.S. Home
When you finance vs. paying all cash, your initial costs are limited to a down payment and closing costs. This preserves your Canadian equity and assets — and saves you thousands of dollars in one-time, upfront foreign exchange costs.
Cash Needed at Closing
If you finance...
(For 20% down payment and 2.5% closing costs, when converting your CAD to USD.)
If you pay cash...
(For the full purchase price, when converting your CAD to USD.)
A Few More Things to Consider as You Look for a New Home
While it’s not the most exciting thing to think about, understanding U.S. tax and immigration rules may help you avoid expensive tax consequences and other headaches.
- U.S. immigration rules state that the magic number of days you can spend in the U.S. without being considered a U.S. resident is 182 days. If you go over that limit, you could risk losing your Canadian residency.
- U.S. tax rules are a bit more complicated than U.S. immigration rules because they take into account the amount of time spent in the U.S. over the past three years. The Substantial Presence Test can help you determine if you’re spending too many days in the U.S., which could lead to you being considered a U.S. resident and having to pay taxes.
Having a vacation home down south means you’ll always have a place to go when you need a break from the cold weather. But did you know that renting out your U.S. home when you’re not there could help you pay for it?
- Both short- and long-term rentals can help you earn money — whether you’re gone for a few days or a few months.
- You can typically charge more for short-term stays, especially if there are big events happening in the area.
- A long-term rental is a great idea if you are a few years away from retirement but already bought a home — you can rent it out in the months you’re gone to help offset the costs of owning it.
Keep in mind that you may also encounter a few costs if you’re earning rental income — like the cost of hiring a property manager or having the place cleaned in between renters. Luckily, some of these can be claimed as expenses on your taxes.
Here are a few things to know if you’re planning to buy a U.S. home as an investment:
- If you’re financing, you’ll have a higher down payment, typically 25% of the home’s purchase price vs. the traditional 20%. Keep the following in mind, however — if you plan to use the property yourself, even for a small amount of time, RBC Bank does not consider it to be an investment property for financing purposes.
- If your property is generating income, you’ll have to report the income on your taxes. The good news is you may also be able to claim expenses on your U.S. tax return, including the cost of flights down to check on the property or any repairs you make.
If you’re planning to live in the U.S. full-time, there are many things you’ll need to do to prepare. Here are just a few:
- Speak with a tax advisor well ahead of your move to make a plan to reduce or defer your Canadian tax obligations, like the departure tax.
- Decide whether to sell or keep your Canadian home. Once again, it’s important to talk to a financial advisor or tax professional about how this decision could affect your finances.
- Find a place to live in the U.S.! Your Canadian credit history can help you qualify for a U.S. mortgage, which could save you significant amounts of money (think five or six figures) if you buy a home. RBC Bank has cross-border mortgage experts and a home-buying program to walk you through the process and help you find the perfect place.
- Get a U.S. bank account and U.S. credit card to make the process of moving and paying U.S. bills easier, as well as help you save on things like foreign transaction fees.
Get Your Free Guide to Buying a U.S. Home
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