Monthly Archives: March 2015


International Buyers – California.


In the 12 month period ending March 2014, foreign investment in US Real Estate amounted to $92.2 Billion, roughly 7% of the total US home sales market.

The top 5 Countries are; 1. Canada  2. China  3. India  4. Mexico  5. United Kingdom. Canada was top for the number of overall transactions but it is China that is spending more than any other country. California is second only to Florida as the most popular State for foreign Real Estate investment.

Although there are strict rules about taking funds out of China, many International Buyers will use all cash to complete the transaction. Financing (getting a loan / mortgage) has traditionally been difficult for the International Buyer as there is often no employment or credit history. The tide is slowly turning and institutions like East West Bank are now creating specific programs for foreign investors (mainly focusing on the Asian market). Most of the mainstream high street banks will have foreign investor programs that usually require a larger downpayment (40%). It is always best to carry out due diligence and speak to a number of financial institutions prior to getting started. Feel free to ask questions about financing as I have a number of different avenues that offer unique programs for the International Buyer wanting to purchase here in California.

The US in general and California in particular has a huge appeal for International Buyers. A stable economy, a safe haven, opportunity, education and freedom are all reasons why foreign nationals want to be here. I myself moved to the US in 2001. California was always my dream!

A normal domestic transaction in California takes between 30 – 45 days. Cash deals can be completed much quicker (10 days). Inspections and repairs usually get addressed within the first 2 – 3 weeks. Contingencies are then removed after 17 and 21 days. With the introduction of electronic signatures you can now conduct an entire transaction from overseas.

There will be other areas, such as tax strategy, that International investors will want to research as part of the process. I have partnered with a tax professional (see John Wright on my website ‘Partnerships’ page) who will be able to advise in this area.

Please contact me if you are interested in California Real Estate.
+1 949.689.1669


San Francisco


I recommend that if you have Family coming to town you should make them fly into San Francisco (SFO). The simple reason being that it then gives you the opportunity to meet them there and explore what is fast becoming my favorite US city. I’m not sure I could give up the Southern California climate for good as temperatures in SF can get chilly (lows in the 30’s and 40’s) during the Winter months.

We stayed at the Whitcomb Hotel on Market Street close to City Hall and only a 15 minute walk to the famous Union Square. The hotel was old but stylish. Market Street tends to have a few ‘characters’ roaming about but for the most part harmless. The homeless problem is part of visiting SF and it does make you very aware that there are many who are less fortunate.

Picking up the cable car at Powell Street you ride past Union Square and wind your way up and then down to Fisherman’s Wharf via a myriad of steep streets, wonderful views and an eclectic mixture of modern/victorian architecture. Everybody heads to pier 39….and so did we! It’s full of tourists watching big fat Sea Lions sunbath as well as taking photos across the bay to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Restaurants, bars and gift shops complete the scene in this bustling arena. On the way back we stopped at Lombard Street, the famously crooked street with 8 hairpin bends…..lots of photo opportunities in SF.


In subsequent visits I’ve started to explore Pacific Heights, The Presidio and Lands End. The Golden Gate Bridge never too far away. This area is most definitely more serene, compared to Union Square, and you can find some lovely restaurants (Sociale at 3665 Sacramento Street is a favorite) and boutiques.


The Architecture is often stunning right across the city and the Real Estate prices are Manhattan-esque. Go to San Francisco….go often!


Catalina Island


Ever since arriving in Newport Beach I had wanted to visit Santa Catalina Island. It’s one of those things where because it’s right there, just 25 miles off shore, you tend to put it off….constantly. Anyway, late summer 2014 and my old buddy ‘Big Wave’ Dave was in town from Bend, OR. This was the perfect opportunity to make that long awaited trip.

What we had not bargained for was the Annual jazz festival taking place on the same weekend so literally every hotel room in Avalon was booked solid!

Plan B – Day Trip. We would drive down to Dana Point on Saturday morning and get the 7.45am Catalina Express ferry over to Avalon.

The ferry ride takes about 80 minutes from Dana Point harbor and costs around $75 for a return ticket. It’s worth booking online and arriving early as parking can be an issue.

Once docked you stroll around the harbor, past t-shirt shops and touristy stuff, and into the little town of Avalon. The Island was once owned by William Wrigley Jr and he had developed Avalon into a resort island destination. It was more like Bend OR, cloudy and a little chilly when we arrived so decided to find a hole in the wall breakfast joint. Both Dave and I decided to head out of town and we stumbled upon a ‘locals’ hangout called The Sandtrap where we enjoyed a breakfast burrito and yet another cup of coffee.

The clouds cleared and it was turning into a gorgeous California day. Next stop was back into the town to find a golf cart to rent (loads of them about) to tour the Island. We opted for a 4 hour rental which was more than enough. Some wonderful views overlooking the harbor (Dave is considerably shorter than he looks in the photo!).

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We stopped off on the tour to take photos (there is a zip line and various little bars) and headed back into town. Walking around to the famous Avalon Casino, we found a little gem of a spot (Descanso Beach – from town walk towards the Casino and keep going) we had a beer and enjoyed the rest of the late Summer day.

As for the Real Estate in Avalon there was plenty of vacation rentals and time share options plus small/medium type boutique hotels and B&B’s. Up on the hills overlooking the harbor larger homes were being built. It has a very laid back feel but there was definitely a new buzz with upscale restaurants and shops starting to line the main beach area.

If you want to venture beyond Avalon then there are shuttle buses available to take you to campgrounds etc. You can also get hiking and biking permits.

Our ferry home was 7pm but there were earlier options.

“Man in underpants coming through”