How to Buy a House With Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency is the newest way to buy and sell, even when it comes to real estate property.

Related To:

You've seen it on the news, the interwebs and some of your friends may have even invested in it. But what is bitcoin exactly? Long answer short, it's a cryptocurrency which does away with a central bank and uses encryption techniques to regulate funds. No third party is involved, so buyers and sellers can make transactions directly.

894333758

894333758

White house on a background of a green fir branch and coin Bitcoin

Photo by: SomeMeans

SomeMeans

How Does It Work?

Bitcoin is an internet-based, decentralized payment system. Each user has an anonymous address, and you can trace every bitcoin's transaction history. It uses blockchain technology, a database that co-exists in several locations and is shared by the community. "This structure makes it incredibly resilient because there is no central point of failure that can be attacked," says Chris Merrett, bitcoin consultant at Meritorious Consulting. "If certain nodes of the network are attacked successfully, the other nodes in the network can adapt similarly to the human immune system adapting to a new virus."

How Is It Taxed?

Taxes depends on the country. "In the U.S., the IRS stated they consider it property, and every transaction needs to be calculated as a capital gains tax," says Jake Bryan, bitcoin consultant. "There are services out there to simplify the process — I recommend Node40’s blockchain accounting tax service.

How Do You Purchase?

You only need one thing — for two parties to agree on the transaction. "I recently paid for my doctor's visit in bitcoin because my physician is also a bitcoin investor," says Jake. Enthusiasts are purchasing a wide variety of items with their bitcoins, from pizzas to real estate.

The first real estate transaction was a single-family home in Austin, Texas. The seller wanted the bitcoins converted to dollars, so they used BitPay, a global bitcoin payment service provider, to complete the transaction. Bitcoin's value fluctuates every day, so the risk is on the buyer's side since the seller agreed to a fixed dollar amount.

"The pros of buying real estate with bitcoin is that once everything is signed, the transaction completion time takes 10 minutes to a day depending on network congestion," says Jake. "Think about that for a second — no need for the banking system. You can pay for the house, the realtor and anyone else at the same time."

However, make sure you trust the second party if you're thinking of buying into real estate. "If you want to reverse the transaction due to any litigation, then you need both parties to be compliant," says Jake. "Bitcoin transactions are not reversible."

You can't buy a house with a mortgage payment — yet. Ethereum, a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin, is one built on making smart contracts. "I envision having open-sourced mortgage contracts that parties would interface rather than using the traditional contract," says Jake. "Smart contracts are self-enforcing mediums, so no third party is necessary once the mortgage contract is cryptographically signed."

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Buy a Co-Op

5 steps to owning a cooperative housing residence

How to Buy in New Construction

Five steps to owning a newly-built home.

A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette

Master these dos and don'ts of house hunting.

The Buyer's Field Guide to the Open House

Arm yourself with these expert tips and advice when braving the Sunday open house. Learn more on HGTV.com.

How to Take Title When Buying With Friends

When buying a house with a friend, it's important to choose a joint tenancy title that protects you from the unforeseen. Here are your best options.

How Technology Is Changing the Way You Buy a House

The "for sale" sign of the future could be here sooner than you think.

How to Sell a Haunted House

And you think you've been having a tough time selling your home ...

Should We Buy a House Together?

Is it important to be married before buying a house together? Here, one couple's story.

How to Find an Eco-Friendly House

Use these tips to find an existing eco-friendly home for sale or to build a green home from scratch.

If You Can't Buy My House, Rent to Own It

Trying to sell your home? You might consider lease-optioning.

On TV

Tiny House Hunters

6:30am | 5:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Good Bones

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10:30pm | 9:30c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Good Bones

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1:30am | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.