Image Source: 401(K) 2012 US mortgage lending is going through major changes. High loan-to-value loans are being granted and credit score requirements appear to be easing. However, that's only part of the story. US-based lenders and banks are still scared and cautious as new restrictions levied on many of the largest financial institutions could tighten lending even further. Some of these institutions are flat out being prevented from increasing the size of their loan pools. Yet the American real estate market appears to seem incredibly ripe for investing. Here are some of the best leverage and financing options: Financing at Home Many foreign investors eyeing the American real estate market may find it easier and more efficient to secure financial leverage in their home country. For example, Canadian investors may find is faster and less stressful to tap equity in existing properties in Canada. This can be done through refinancing or obtaining lines of credit and given the current low rate environment and competition amongst lenders, the terms may be even better at home, for now. International Mortgage Brokers There are a variety of international mortgage brokers and financiers that also provide an alternative solution. They leverage the capital of European and other foreign banks, and make it easy for Canadian investors to navigate the differences in purchasing and financing properties overseas. US Based Financing While main street banks in the US may not be the easiest route for financing, that doesn't mean that there aren't attractive options. New commercial real estate lenders are actually favoring loaning to investors over regular homebuyers and they are rolling out new and more aggressive loan programs each quarter. These lenders are bullish on the American real estate market, the direction it is going and want to have their money working in it. Retirement Accounts Many investors may find their retirement savings are best put into real estate for maximum safety and performance. Leveraging various vehicles can provide investors with this, as well as the tax benefits of retirement savings accounts. Partner Up Many Canadian and American real estate investors may realize that they don't actually need to borrow at all. By partnering up with others investors or by participating in partnerships, one can leverage their capital and generate consistent income and equity appreciation, and often on better terms.