Getting a loan for buying an apartment -- and more

I know there’s been some chatter on Forumosa re. buying property as a foreigner here in Taiwan, but it seems a bit disjointed, if not outdated, so let’s start again, if you please.

Does anyone have experience with buying a place here, and if so, getting a loan from a local bank? Do you have to be married to a Taiwanese? In my case, I do have a PARC card, but not a Taiwan ID, which is what most local banks seem to demand, thus far.

And how about having a contractor or someone like that thoroughly check out a place to make sure it’s structurally sound, before buying? Has anyone done that?

Please feel free to shed some light on this, and related topics, if you know anything. Thanks. :rainbow:

I’m tracking this similar case with a friend of mine who’s going through the buy process now. As far as we know with respect to home purchase, the following is true:

  1. Foreigners cannot own real property.
  2. Real property will be in the Taiwanese spouse’s name (wife in his case).
  3. Bank loans will be determined by the combined income and assets of the husband and wife. Do not know if you can get a loan solely as a foreigner to buy property. But it appears not as the Taiwan ID is required and/or a Taiwan guarantor who has one.

As always, confirm with the transacting parties every step of the way. Being Taiwan, rules change frequently and often without notice :eh:

Yes they can.

[quote=“Bu Lai En”][quote]1. Foreigners cannot own real property.
[/quote]
Yes they can.[/quote]
I would appreciate it if you don’t quote out of context. I specifically and carefully noted that with respect to home purchases, they cannot. The home purchase transaction my friend is doing does not allow him to own that property. YMMV as this is Taiwan.

As for other types of real property, I have no comment.

So you’re saying foreigners cannot buy houses?

That’s simply not true.

Check here:

land.taipei.gov.tw/05_englis … ces/01.htm

Your friend has got the wrong information.

Brian

I also know foreign residents here that own their own houses, in their own names.

Foreigners can own their own property. My unmarried friend bought his own place just a month ago on a loan from a local bank. He didn’t even have a permanent ARC.

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 :wink:]

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. :unamused:

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.

What great feedback! I really appreciate it…

Meanwhile, in my own research process, I’ve discovered that, for people from the U.S., whether or not they can own a home here largely depends on which STATE they’re from. It’s a reciprocation thing. Being a Californian – where tons of Taiwanese live – I am, indeed, able to purchase a home here under my own name.

As far as bank loans go, apparently some banks here will grant foreigners loans (i.e., HSBC and Far Eastern Int’l Bank), and some won’t (i.e., Fubon Bank).

What I’d like to do, but haven’t yet figured out how, is to get a construction-type person over to the place of interest to check out the soundness of the structure, including the walls, plumbing, flooring, etc. Does anybody know about that? Otherwise, there could be some hidden problems that I won’t relish discovering later…

Keep the details and discoveries coming! :sunglasses:

What is the normal amount for the down payment? I’ve heard 10% but am wondering if banks offer loans with no down payment, assuming you have full documentation that you’re doing okay financially now and have been for some time.

Wife and I bought our house a year ago, and we had to put down 20% on our mortgage from Chinatrust. That’s high, but we got a 2.78% variable rate, which is AFAIK unheard of in the States or Europe.

Your interest rate is so low probably because you have a first time homeowner government subsidized interest rate.

While we can’t get such a low rate in the US, we do have the benefit of 15 and 30 year fixed rate mortgages which takes a lot of the uncertainty out of home buying.

How many years do you get here? Ten? Fifteen?

Twenty seems to be the norm, but you can do it for less.

CK

Is it standard pratice to get the apartment/house inspected beore you buy it? I mean you do not want to buy a lemon?
If yes are they professinal people who provide this service?

[quote=“TNT”]Is it standard pratice to get the apartment/house inspected beore you buy it? I mean you do not want to buy a lemon?
If yes are they professinal people who provide this service?[/quote]

Get it inspected by all means and buy it. It seems prices can only trend up here in a market that has been held back for a long time.

But, be assured it is a lemon by western building standards.

There is no provision for damp coursing so rising damp will be competing with what ever paint has been thrown at the walls.

The walls may crack because there is absolutely no provision for expansion joints anywhere.

Windows and internal living areas will be set out with Feng Shui in mind only and exclude views and comfortable functional living areas.

Provision for extra services to be run later in oversize service ducts. Of course not!

Insulation? No.

Good quality windows and doors that exclude draft. Possibly, I have yet to see them.

Waterproof roofing? Not likely.

Quality foundations? Maybe.

Thats about all I can think of right now. If anybody can claim higher standards here then I will be happy to know about them.

a 15-25% deposit is standard. You can mortgage the full amount but you will need a guarantor/co-signer. Of course, this person will also be subject to all the usual credit checks. Far Eastern Bank allows you to do this. HSBC needs a guarantor no matter what. Fubon, Taipei Bank don’t lend mortgage loans to foreigners. Still calling other banks.

My wife and I are starting to look into buying an apartment within the next year or so.

In regards to the first time buyers’ rate, does this rate fixed for the life of the loan, fluctuate with the current rates, but with the subsidized discount, or after a certain amount of time, say 5 years, does the interest go up to the current market rates at that time.

[quote=“cw.jc”]My wife and I are starting to look into buying an apartment within the next year or so.

In regards to the first time buyers’ rate, does this rate fixed for the life of the loan, fluctuate with the current rates, but with the subsidized discount, or after a certain amount of time, say 5 years, does the interest go up to the current market rates at that time.[/quote]

What happened to the original place your inlaws were going to secure for you?

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … ht=#171238

[quote=“cw.jc”]My wife and I are starting to look into buying an apartment within the next year or so.

In regards to the first time buyers’ rate, does this rate fixed for the life of the loan, fluctuate with the current rates, but with the subsidized discount, or after a certain amount of time, say 5 years, does the interest go up to the current market rates at that time.[/quote]

cw.jc, yes the subsidised rate is for the life of the loan, but there is an upper ceiling to the value of the subsidised loan, it used to be 2 million, not sure what it is now though. It is also a fluctuating rate, though in the last four years of ours, it aint fluctuated much, and has only ever gone downwards.

Word of warning to everyone though, if you decide to reterm the loan at a later point in time, make sure that the value of the loan does not change, otherwise you will lose you tax deductible benefit on the interest, and actually have it cost you more in the long run.