Question Regarding a Canadian Purchasing a Residence in the US -

Hello David,
I noticed your email address on the internet and thought you might be able to assist me.
What I would like to do:
I am a Canadian citizen from Nova Scotia and I work for an Oil Company in Alberta.
I will continue to work in Alberta (or Canada) but I want to purchase a townhouse in Washington County, PA.
I contacted the Royal Bank of Canada regarding obtaining a mortgage for the property in PA and was advised that you cannot obtain a Canadian mortgage on a US property because if there is ever a default they cannot obtain the property. I was advised to obtain a US mortgage.
I contacted a mortgage lender in PA and was advised that I needed a Green Card (which takes 5-7 years and I am not interested in obtaining) to obtain a US mortgage.
 Any advise or anyone you recommend that I contact?
david ingram replies:
Never head of such a thing.
If you have 35% down, you should be able to get a mortgage anywhere in the United States.
I likely have 300 clients who have US mortgages without a green card.
Try another bank, S & L, or a mortgage broker.
Just watch out for 'up front' fees at a mortgage broker's office. 
Unfortunately, there are many out there who will charge you an up front fee and then say they cannot get a mortgage for you and keep the fee.
If you do decide to use a broker, make sure any fee is 100% contingent upon their arranging a mortgage on terms that are satisfactory to you or approved by  your brother or mother or lawyer, etc.  That means they get nothing - not even $50.00 if you do not get a mortgage.
For instance, your agreement might say that the broker is entitled to a fee of $4,000 upon obtaining a mortgage at 6% amortized over 30 years with no changes or interest rate adjustment for thirty years
The massive sub-prime mortgage meltdown in the US at the moment has happened because 100's of thousands of people took out mortgages with low payments that doubled or even tripled two years later.
BEFORE you sign any purchase or mortgage agreement, have it vetted by a lawyer or KNOWLEDGEABLE real estate person with knowledge of local law. 
Strangely enough, I know the area you are buying in.   My sister lives in Wheeling, West Virginia, just across the line, 35 miles to the West on highway 40 (the National PIKE), the first Federally funded highway in the US.  If you go 60 miles southeast on highway 40, you come to historic Fort Necessity, which few Americans remember or know of as part of their history. (my 14 year old son Peter told me about it in 1998).
In the summer of 1754 a battle at Fort Necessity was the opening action of the French and Indian War. This was a clash of British, French and American Indian cultures. George Washington surrendered to the French troops at the Fort which he built out of "Necessity" but was allowed to leave with his troops and most of his arms, surrendering only his swivel guns. He also was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at Fort Duquesne at the age of 23 at the start of this skirmish. In 1759, Wolfe won at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham and by 1763 the war that ended with the removal of French power from North America. Remember that Gorge Washington was a British Officer at this point.  However, the stage was set for the American Revolution.  In 1755 George was made a full Colonel and in 1758, promoted to acting Brigadier General at the age of  26.  12 years later, at the age of 43, George Washington raised the Continental Army at Cambridge Massachusetts and Valley Forge outside of Philadelphia.  Washington Country, your destination was formed in 1791 and named after George.
But it did not stop there. Washington County was the centre of the end of the 1791 Whiskey Rebellion.  In 1794, George Washington, now president of the United States, at the head of a 12,500 member Militia marched into Monongahela and staunched or ended the rebellion with the arrest and imprisonment of a very small number of people.  2 were sentenced to death but Washington pardoned them because one was 'simple' and the other insane.  Two or three of the others did die in prison.  Lots of history in Washington County.
My sister and her husband and three children live in Wheeling West Virginia (30 miles away) and one of my favourite clients of all time, Virginia Harper is buried in Wheeling.  One of my other friends has a mother and sister living in a Hutterite Colony 50 miles south east at Uniontown. 
And, although Scranton PA  is 180 miles closer to New York City than it is to Washington County, I have an 82 Cadillac Eldorado convertible parked outside my house as I write this.  Of course, the Caddy was bought in Scranton.
Good luck on your purchase.  You can do it if you have the cash for the down payment.
On February 11, 2008, David Ingram wrote:

It is very unlikely that blind or unexpected email to me will be answered.  I receive anywhere from 100 to 700  unsolicited emails a day and usually answer anywhere from 2 to 20 if they are not from existing clients.  Existing clients are advised to put their 'name and PAYING CUSTOMER' in the subject line and get answered first.  I also refuse to be a slave to email and do not look at it every day and have never ever looked at it when I am out of town. 
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However, I regularly search for the words"PAYING CUSTOMER" and always answer them first if they did not get spammed out. For the last two weeks, I have just found out that my own email notes to myself have been spammed out and as an example, as I wrote this on Dec 25, 2007 since June 16th, my 'spammed out' box has 47,941 unread messages, my deleted box has 16645 I have actually looked at and deleted and I have actually answered 1234 email questions for clients and strangers without sending a bill.  I have also put aside 847 messages that I am maybe going to try and answer because they look interesting. -e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and  help
Therefore, if an email is not answered in 24 to 48 hours, it is likely lost in space.  You can try and resend it but if important AND YOU TRULY WANT OR NEED AN ANSWER from 'me', you will have to phone to make an appointment.  Gillian Bryan generally accepts appointment requests for me between 10:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday to Friday VANCOUVER (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles) time at (604) 980-0321.  david ingram expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
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Disclaimer:  This question has been answered without detailed information or consultation and is to be regarded only as general comment.   Nothing in this message is or should be construed as advice in any particular circumstances. No contract exists between the reader and the author and any and all non-contractual duties are expressly denied. All readers should obtain formal advice from a competent and appropriately qualified legal practitioner or tax specialist for expert help, assistance, preparation, or consultation  in connection with personal or business affairs such as at If you forward this message, this disclaimer must be included." e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
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Phone consultations are $450 for 15 minutes to 50 minutes (professional hour). Please note that GST is added if product remains in Canada or is to be returned to Canada or a phone consultation is in Canada. ($472.50 with GST if in Canada) expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $900 to $3,000 for a dual country tax return.
$900 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only (but were filing both countries) - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
$1,200 would be the same with one rental
$1,300 would be the same with one business no rental
$1,300 would be the minimum with a move in or out of the country. These are complicated because of the back and forth foreign tax credits. - The IRS says a foreign tax credit takes 1 hour and 53 minutes.
$1,600 would be the minimum with a rental or two in the country you do not live in or a rental and a business and foreign tax credits  no move in or out

$1,700 would be for two people with income from two countries

$3,000 would be all of the above and you moved in and out of the country.
This is just a guideline for US / Canadian returns
We will still prepare Canadian only (lives in Canada, no US connection period) with two or three slips and no capital gains, etc. for $200.00 up.
With a Rental for $400, two or three rentals for $550 to $700 (i.e. $150 per rental) First year Rental - plus $250.
A Business for $400 - Rental and business likely $550 to $700
And an American only (lives in the US with no Canadian income or filing period) with about the same things in the same range with a little bit more if there is a state return.
Moving in or out of the country or part year earnings in the US will ALWAYS be $900 and up.
TDF 90-22.1 forms are $50 for the first and $25.00 each after that when part of a tax return.
8891 forms are generally $50.00 to $100.00 each.
18 RRSPs would be $900.00 - (maybe amalgamate a couple)
Capital gains *sales)  are likely $50.00 for the first and $20.00 each after that.

Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide for seven years at a time will be from $150 to $600.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc. Note that these returns tend to be informational rather than taxable.  In fact, if there are children involved, we usually get refunds of $1,000 per child per year for 3 years.  We have done several catch-ups where the client has recieved as much as $6,000 back for an $1,800 bill and one recently with 6 children is resulting in over $12,000 refund. 

This is a guideline not etched in stone.  If you do your own TDF-90 forms, it is to your advantage. However, if we put them in the first year, the computer carries them forward beautifully.
This from "ask an income trusts tax service and immigration expert" from or or David Ingram deals on a daily basis with expatriate tax returns with multi jurisdictional cross and trans border expatriate problems  for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China, New Zealand, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Georgia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii, Florida, Montana, Morocco, Israel, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Bangkok, Greenland, Iceland, Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, St Vincent, Grenada,, Virgin Islands, US, UK, GB, and any of the 43 states with state tax returns, etc. Rockwall, Dallas, San Antonio Houston, Denmark, Finland, Sweden Norway Bulgaria Croatia Income Tax and Immigration Tips, Income Tax  Immigration Wizard Antarctica Rwanda Guru  Consultant Specialist Section 216(4) 216(1) NR6 NR-6 NR 6 Non-Resident Real Estate tax specialist expert preparer expatriate anti money laundering money seasoning FINTRAC E677 E667 105 106 TDF-90 Reporting $10,000 cross border transactions Grand Cayman Aruba Zimbabwe South Africa Namibia help USA US Income Tax Convention. Advice on bankruptcy  e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and help .

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