Things you should know as a foreign buyer

Things you should know as a foreign buyer 2017-02-23T14:59:39+00:00

Short Sale
A short sale is a possible stage a property can be in prior to foreclosure.
The owner of the property attempts to elicit an offer for the property so they can take it to the bank in the hope that they can negotiate a settlement – hence the reason short sales are priced lower than foreclosures. The short sale process can take many months to years and may be successful less than 50% of the time. We don’t recommended short sales unless you are an investor with a lot of time and patience.

The MLS
Unlike many other countries, the USA employs a system where all real estate professional have access to all available properties.
The MLS is like a big property warehouse all Realtors have access to.
You don’t have to shop different offices in the USA, you just have to find a Realtor you like and trust and they can get you access to any property via the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

Realtor
The difference between a real estate agent or associate and a Realtor is that the Realtor is a member of NAR (National Association of Realtors).
Realtors go through additional training and can take specialized courses in all areas of real estate.
Realtors also promise to work by a higher standard of ethics and are the only real estate professionals that have access to the MLS.

Tax
Property tax for foreign nationals is exactly the same as property tax for US residents.
Property tax in Florida is based on property value as assessed by the county. You can look up a property tax amount yourself by visiting the county Tax Appraisers office and looking at tax records. Here is Osceola
What you might hear is that US residents can claim a homestead exemption on their primary residence which entitles them to a tax break, but since these properties are vacation homes and not used in most cases as a primary residence this would not be a factor.

HOA
Every community has a Home Owners Association. The HOA is generally made up from property owners of the community and they take the responsibility to set the rules to ensure the community and it’s owners adhere to the standards set forth in the covenants (no one wants the house next door to be painted bright pink).

They also set the annual budget for costs for things like common landscaping areas, community pool, clubhouse, security and all costs involved with the running the community. That budget number is divided by the number of properties in the community and everyone pays an equal share.
If you don’t pay your share the HOA can foreclose on your property – so payment is mandatory.

Short Term Rental Zones (STR)
To be able to rent a property out for a period of less than 7 months the area must be zoned by the county for STR. Only a portion of the 4 county area is zoned for STR. Individual communities must also approve STR in the HOA covenants, so it is important that you know the resort is zoned for STR for both the county and the HOA if you intend to put your property in the STR program. Some very popular locations like Providence and Celebration are not for example.
You can read more HERE.

ITIN#
Its extremely important that you have this item resolved most especially while you are in the USA. Uncle Sam will want taxes paid on rentals (which is generally collected from the guest) but you do still need a tax code number. Its much easier to do when you are in the USA.
Read more HERE.

Representation
Most residential real estate transactions are conducted using a “buyers agent” and a sellers or “listing agent”. Each has the best interest of their client during the buying process.
As a buyer you should be represented by a “buyers agent”, the “listing agent” – the agent who is selling the property has the sellers best interests so as the buyer you may not be represented in the negotiation and purchase phase if you do not utilize the services of a buyers agent.
READ MORE HERE.

We cost you $0
In Florida sales commissions are paid by the seller so our knowledge, experience and negotiating skills in vacation home investment property cost you nothing. That’s what we’d call exceptional value!

There are many other things you should know and I’d appreciate the chance to help you become informed.
Please find 20 minutes of your time to give us a call to discuss your thoughts and ideas regarding a great investment vacation home in Florida.

Jerry Barker
Vacation Home Specialist
Tel: 407-286-8170