Buying in the US, part 5. From here, things started to get rocky. It was about Monday, my plane was scheduled to fly out out early Friday, the property I owned still wasn’t insured, and no bank I spoke to would deal with me if I didn’t have a social security number. You need the SS# for just about everything there – I even saw a video game in a pub that required you to enter your SS# and promised dire consequences if you used someone else’s. Many banks wouldn’t lend against investment properties at all. Others wouldn’t lend to an LLC. Others wouldn’t lend to foreign corporations. I reminded myself of the Jan Somers story of the people who tried bank after bank, to find the right one. I was a bit depressed, however – I certainly hadn’t found anyone on the net who was willing to lend. To complicate matters, I was told that I had a chance on 2-4 unit buildings, but 5 unit buildings were right out, and did I know that they had extra regulatory requirements and extra taxes? Insurance brokers were just as bad. They would agree, quote a good price and then ring up and say that they didn’t do investment properties/properties owned by corporations/properties owned by foreigners/whatever. In short, if it was mine, they wouldn’t touch it. I was getting a little desperate, especially regarding the insurance. I mentioned it to my attorney who put me onto her sister, an insurance broker. Bingo! I got my existing property covered and the others won’t be a problem. She couldn’t help with the 5-unit, or at least that was going to prove a problem. The insurance was expensive, but letting $100,000 of house (or $19,000 of income) burn to the ground uninsured would have been more so. That took pretty much a day and a half and meanwhile I was frantically running around setting up check accounts for the LLC, a bank account in my name, and other matters. I couldn’t actually set up the company account (remember my LLC was not ‘in good standing’?) therefore couldn’t trade in NY therefore couldn’t have a bank account until all the papers (which would arrive after I had left) were approved. In the end I agreed with the banker that the attorney would contact him with the papers when they arrived, and that the account would then be set up. I signed powers of attorney for my lawyer to close all the contracts for me and to handle just about everything else. I had a long discussion with the accountant about strategy, depreciation, structures and the rest. I arranged with the attorney that I would send her a big swag of money which she would put into her trust account and cut checks for the properties and the inspector as required. I couldn't find out what the $A/$us rate was at that stage and I was sweating that particular equation. I finally got onto a broker who would be able to finance me at 4.5% for 65% LVR (although not on the 5 unit and probably not on the 4 unit I already owned.) He would have financed a purchase to 80%, but refinances where you are pulling cash out are treated rather differently – this was consistent with what I’d researched on the net so I was disappointed, but not surprised. And the cash offers had really reduced the prices I was paying. Still the figures were looking pretty good, although the 5 unit was looking dicier all the time. Friday came, and there I was at the airport. I owned one property in the US, I had agreed to buy 8 more (total commitment US$363,500), I had finance in train, I had insurance settled and I was ready to go home. I phoned the lawyer, the realtor, the accountant and the PM and left messages for all of them. End of Part 5 The next parts, which have a lot more of the warts will have to wait for me to regain my notebook, which is being typed up for me (and for the IRS, in case they ever come calling). I'm now open to questions, and don't mind getting ahead of the story. Don't expect a razor sharp recollection of any figures which for the moment are still only in the notebook. I can't emphasise enough how disorienting an experience this was.