You may begin to consider buying a house in China if you plan to live here for a long time. But it will take you some time to know how to become a home owner, and become familiar with the requirements and procedures involved. Below is some basic information and advice for you to prepare for your home purchase plan.
Can I buy a house in China?
According to the regulations on the access and administration of foreign investment in real estate, foreign individuals working or studying in China can purchase a house for personal residential purposes based on their actual need. Meanwhile, house purchases should also conform to the local policies in the cities that have purchase limits.
It should be noted that the specific eligibility for foreign home buyers varies in different cities, and even districts. In Beijing, for example, a foreign purchaser who holds a work or journalist visa, has a job and no existing property across the Chinese mainland can purchase one house as personal residence.
In general, foreign purchasers can only buy commercial residential houses with a land use term of 70 years.
When and where to check my eligibility?
It is recommended that you apply for a preliminary qualification examination after finding your favored house. Submit the application documents to the real estate developer or the agent you have hired and they will help you with the examination at the property administration authority. Materials basically include a valid passport, Chinese notarization of the passport, and other documents in accordance with the local provisions. The contract can be signed after you are proved to be a qualified purchaser.
Can I apply for a mortgage and how to pay for the tax?
You can apply for a mortgage if necessary and you need to provide the notarized contract and other materials required by the bank. Generally, loans in renminbi or foreign currency are both acceptable. Remember to consider the foreign exchange rate if you choose a foreign currency.
Before property registration, you should pay for tax, including deed tax and other types, depending on the property you purchase, local real estate regulations and the specific situation. The tax rate for foreign purchasers is the same as that for the Chinese--for first-time buyers, a 1.5 percent deed tax for property larger than 90 square kilometers and a one percent levy for smaller homes. Detailed taxation rules and procedures can be obtained from your agent and the property administration authority.
How to register for property ownership?
In most cases, expats should apply for official approval from the property project office for security examination proving that the property is permitted for foreign ownership. Ask the real estate developer to handle the procedure if you purchase a newly-built property. For a second-hand house, the identity documents of the seller and the purchaser and property ownership certificate should be provided.
You can go to the registration office after all these things are completed. Required paperwork includes your passport or residence permit, the property purchase contract, tax payment certificate, signed application form and letter of commitment for a house purchase and other materials on request. One important thing to keep in mind: all the documents in any foreign language should be translated into Chinese and notarized. If an agent is entrusted, submit the letter of authorization and the identity certificates of the applicant and the agent.
Note:This guidance is for reference only and property regulations vary in different regions. It is advised to consult a professional agent and the property administration authority on specific home purchase polices.