Selling land from abroad without a real estate license

Sorry I have another question,I hope there is not a limit to the number of questions we can ask!
We are based in Europe and want to sell US land to non resident foreigners as well as US citizens. Question is if we introduce a buyer to a seller and then charge a commission to the buyer,would we still need to have a real estate license for each state we sell in? If it is all done remotely and the transaction occurs outside the US would that get around that problem? The other possibility is that we buy the land and then sell it which would get around the license problem but then would we need to register for tax with the IRS? This is kind of connected to my previous question about taxes. Sorry these are slightly tricky questions maybe better suited to a lawyer but I thought I would try here first in case anyone can help. Just trying to work our business strategy out and see what we can and cannot do legally.

Thanks again in advance,this is an awesome website!


@petra123 I’m not a lawyer, and getting advice from a legal professional, especially one familiar with real estate laws in the US and international business, would be the best move. But here’s my take…

Real Estate License Requirement: In the US, the rules around needing a real estate license are pretty clear. If you’re engaging in activities like selling real estate or representing buyers or sellers in these transactions, most states require you to have a license. This is to ensure that all parties are protected by having a knowledgeable and accountable professional involved. If you’re just introducing a buyer to a seller and not acting as a real estate agent in the transaction, it might be a gray area, but often, if you’re receiving a commission for the transaction, that’s where states could consider you to be acting as a real estate agent, thus requiring a license.

Remote Transactions: Doing it all remotely and outside the US doesn’t necessarily get around licensing requirements. Real estate laws focus on the location of the property, not where the transaction is completed. So, if the property is in the US, US real estate laws and regulations apply, regardless of where the buyer, seller, or intermediary is based or where the transaction is finalized.

Buying and Selling Land Directly: If you choose to buy the land and then sell it, you’re right that this would likely bypass the need for a real estate license since you’re acting as the owner rather than an agent. However, owning and selling property in the US will indeed introduce tax considerations.

IRS and Taxes: Yes, if you go the route of buying and selling land directly, you’ll need to deal with the IRS for tax purposes. This would involve not just the income from the sale of the land but also any potential capital gains taxes. You’d need to register with the IRS and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and you’d be subject to US tax laws regarding any profit made from the sales.

Regarding your tax questions, you might want to hit up James Baker & Associates. I’ve never worked with them, but I hear he’s a CPA that deals specifically with people buying and selling US real estate from outside the US (he was mentioned in episode 164 of Seth’s podcast).

Good luck!

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Hey Charlotte,

Thank you soooo much for taking the time to write such a comprehensive reply,it really is appreciated. Everything you said pretty much confirmed what I suspected would be the case so not surprised in the least I did listen to the episode with the Italian naval guy but don’t recall mention of James Baker,will listen to that one again! Anyway that is absolutely golden information and you are a superstar! Have a great day.:grin: Petra