Ideally one buys in cash, with a LOC secured by a house in Canada, to get a decent price. Then one refinances with a US mortgage at perhaps 50-65% LTV in the US, using a mortgage broker familiar with Canadians and the state the asset is located in. Expect poor service and high fees for small loans, say under $60,000 due to small margins for mortgage brokers and banks. As such a Canadian LOC at prime, prime plus 1/2 or prime plus one is often the cheapest and fastest way.
Here is another avenue - RBC have a US office in Georgia to deal with US purchases. I do my home banking with them so this was a natural for me. Two years ago they offered 60%LTV, if I am not mistaken (I'm not at home right now and don't have a copy of the correspondences with me). Phoenix was 10% lower LTV as they considered it a "declining market".
I haven't read the forum rules, not sure about posting names and contact info here, but can supply if interested.
BMO Harris has financed some of our U.S. rental investments however they also had a limit of 50% LTV and 1 per client. Sometimes possible to do 2 using another HELOC type product they have. Limits and specifications change rapidly however, hopefully more liberal as market continues to improve.
I was able to purchase a property last month in Arizona last month with Arizona Bank and Trust at 75% LTV. Rates were slightly higher for Canadians, but not ridiculous. Max of one per client, and only for a secondary home. Also, the property must be located in the state of Arizona.
Here is a bit of my experience with this and advice I gave another REIN member in Canada to get them financing for US properties:
Given you are a Canadian living in Canada it's easiest to use a gateway program through one of the big banks. I know BMO, TD, ING and RBC all have US affiliate banks that do US mortgages. Unfortunately if you talk to the person at the branch level they are often have no idea what available and just say they can not finance in the US. This is partially true, as a Canadian bank will not finance a US property. But they CAN finance a US property through their US affiliate.
What is your current bank? I`ve been working with BMO and ING myself and if you wanted contacts there I can introduce you to. But like all the banks they will want you to have investments there (like an RRSP) before they will let you do the gateway program.
Rates in this program are not as good as Canada, but still decent ` about 3.5% when you finance this as a `2[sup]nd[/sup] home`. If you finance at an investment property it`s about a percent higher.