Are you moving to the USA? You will have to find a roof?! Temporary or permanent accommodation, house or apartment, rental or purchase… these are some of the questions to ask yourself. In the United States, the real estate market works a little differently from ours and the role of the real estate agency is central. How do you rent an apartment? Is it better to buy a property? What are the prices ?

Many solutions but few rental offers

In the United States, more than one in two Americans rents their home, and the Covid crisis, leading to a 15% rebound in prices, has only accentuated this trend. It is therefore not always easy to find a rental when moving to the USA, because the properties remain on the market for a short time.

On the other hand, you have a choice of the type of rental: apartment, house, condominium (well in residence)… In the city center, singles and couples favor shared accommodation or a finished basement for a better surface/price ratio, because rents are high. Rentals are often furnished, and when they are not, they have at least a fully equipped kitchen and some basic necessities.

The lease is for one year renewable. The homeowner is responsible for home insurance. You are free to take out insurance or not for your belongings. In general, you will be asked for 2 months’ rent in advance plus 1 month’s deposit. Be careful, rents are not capped for furnished apartments, and prices are soaring?. The most expensive cities? San Francisco ($3600 for one bedroom), New York ($3000) and Boston ($2500)?.

Buying USA real estate: a very different process

When moving to the USA, you may want to buy, especially if you are moving abroad for the long term or want to invest. Prices are up to 30% lower than in other places but borrowing rates should reach 5% this year?. The coastal cities are the most expensive, but real estate is affordable in the central states.

In the United States, exclusive properties (rental included) do not exist: no need to go around the agencies! Almost all transactions are carried out through a realtor who manages all the formalities. He organizes the inspection of the property, and in the event of damage, he negotiates the price or withdraws for you from the seller. Once the selling price has been agreed, you sign the sales contract (closing) in the presence of your lawyer. Your agent’s commission will be paid by the seller.

It is not uncommon to pay cash in the USA, as goods sell quickly at the asking price. In the event of a loan, you will therefore have to provide a pre-approval, a document certifying that the bank undertakes to lend you, and pay a deposit of 10%. The purchase process is fast: 4 to 6 weeks

The specifics of the real estate market in the United States

You can start your steps to rent or buy a property before you move to the United States by using the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) platform or other websites.

However, we advise you to visit the neighborhood you like at least once because there are strong disparities from one street to another (public services, security). Also evaluate your travel times, they are substantial in large cities. In short, the location is crucial, so take your time: it is better to take temporary accommodation while waiting for an agent to find you a rare pearl! ?