I am in the process of buying a house, and as far as I can tell, I would be allowed to buy it under my name (I am not an ROC ID holder)
However, the cost of doing this is prohibitive. My wife (who is an ROC ID holder) will get far better terms than I could get from any bank. This is why we decided to put it in her name - and probably why most newlyweds do as well.
Let me share with you my own experience [this is code for: now I’m going to ramble. You’ve been warned ]
In addition to the buyer and seller, there is someone called a “Land Scribe” (代書). In our case, when we met the Seller for the first time, in the room were a whole bunch of people: The Seller, The Seller’s Own Land Scribe, the broker who is serving the Seller, The Land Scribe, my broker who told us about the house, my wife’s friend who knows an awful lot about buying real estate, my wife and I
The Land Scribe handles all the paperwork - filing stuff with the government and making sure that all the contracts are agreed to. He does this by literally reading the terms of sale out to everyone. Then we can argue or suggest changes. To seal the deal, the Buyer and Seller give their chops and ID cards and it is the Land Scribe who has the fun job of chopping the contract.
Why did the Seller in my story need her own Land Scribe? I guess she’s really paranoid. And this fellow did pipe up an objection or two.
Apparently, anyone can become a Land Scribe - kind of like Notary Publics back home, I think. Many realtors here have at least one colleague who is a registered Land Scribe. I just recently learned that my brother-in-law is a Land Scribe! I asked my wife why we didn’t ask him to come along, but she just shrugged the shrug that said, “too many people already in the room lah, stop nagging me!”
The day when we met the Seller was a little surreal for me. I can barely speak Chinese, so everything rushes by me in a blur. Except that this blur takes about two hours… I still can’t believe that Land Scribe read the entire contract to us :snore:
After we chopped everything and handed over our first payment - only a portion the deposit - the Seller’s team left and in walked in a couple of bankers prospecting to lend us a mortgage.
Part of our contract with the Seller was that we would have to get a mortgage within 40 days (sounds very biblical to me). I suppose this means that we are supposed to pony up the money within this period of time, but I’m not so sure. I think they really mean mortgage.
This was one sticky point that the Seller’s Land Scribe had a problem with. After we make our third and final payment on the deposit, the transaction Land Scribe specified 10 days for the mortgage to be tranfered to the Seller. The Seller’s side cried foul. They wanted it shorter.
My wife’s friend rolled her eyes. She explained to us that we (the Buyer) really don’t have any control of the timing of mortgage payment. After we choose a bank that will lend us the money, it is up to the our Mortgage Bank and the Seller to duke it out. During that time, the bank does its own assessments, and even the Buyer cannot ask it to speed along its process. I suppose we could make some noise, but we shouldn’t expect this to really help.
One more part in my ramble: there are a number of fees that must be taken cared of in the entire process. This is why Land Scribes are useful - it is their headache, and they get paid several thousand bucks to push the paper around.