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Buy Condos and other Property in South Florida as a Foreign National

Florida has a global reputation for offering some of the world’s finest weather, fishing and nightlife. No wonder that people from all over are looking for space in the local condos. We frequently work with clients who come from out of the country, and our experience can make your property purchase simple and relaxing.

Seven Steps to Foreign Property Ownership in Florida

Remember: purchasing property in the United States does grant additional stay rights or change your visa status.

Step One: Finding Property in Florida

In the United States, realtors are the licensed professionals who help clients find, appraise and negotiate the sale or purchase of properties. Unlicensed persons are not permitted to offer services as realtors in Florida, and those who do may be in violation of the law. The law is particularly complicated when property transfers are involved, so only work with licensed realtors like those at The Luxury Team.

Unlike some countries in the world, US listings are often shared across large networks of real estate agencies, and you’ll be able to find a great number of listings without speaking to multiple agencies.

Your realtor will assist you with all parts of the purchase including by assisting you in finding properties that meet your needs and standards. Our focus is new construction condos, and we have helped many foreign clients find their place in these in-demand communities.

Step Two: Make sure your needs for the property comply with Florida law

Florida and its many communities apply zoning and property laws that must be respected. Zoning laws restrict different types of activity (such as homes and industry) to different areas. There may be restrictions on how you can use your property, and these restrictions may be very different from the ones that apply in your country.

Restrictions that may apply include landscaping restrictions, noise regulations, lighting regulations and more. Some buildings cannot be raised above a certain height, or in some cases, modified at all.

Make sure that you discuss your plans for your property with your real estate agent. Your agent will be able to verify that you can use your property the way you’d like, before you make an investment.

Step Three: Visit property personally or arrange inspections

We can arrange your property purchase remotely, but we highly recommend that you visit any property you want to purchase in person before any contracts are signed. Even if you schedule all the proper inspections to guarantee the integrity of the property, you can’t be sure of the suitability until you’ve seen it in person.

Step Four: Finalize all costs

Negotiation is expected in the United States, and that expectation is built into the listed price. To get the best price for your property, you’ll need to make a competitive offer. Your realtor will be able to help you develop an offer that is based on the latest property research.

There are many expenses built into property transfers that go beyond the cost of the property itself. Realtors are typically paid by the sellers at a percentage of the amount paid for the property. There are additional costs to sellers however. Taxes, transfer costs, and professional fees may be part of the expense of buying your home.

Speak to your realtor to determine the true cost of any property, so that you can plan your budget effectively.

Step Five: Carefully review the contract and consult with your realtor

Speak to your realtor, and possibly a lawyer before you sign any contracts. Property contracts are strongly enforced in the United States, and it’s unlikely you will be able to act on any regrets after closing has been completed.

Property ownership can come with obligations, and these obligations will be spelled out in the contract. Conditions and assurances may include things like:

Surveying results
· Termite inspection history
· Repair history
· Proof of title
· Expenses
· Inspection repair and maintenance records
· Risk of loss

Make sure that you understand everything laid out in the contract, and speak to your realtor if you have any questions at all. The contract also contains the closing date, after which the deal will be complete.

Step Six: Arrange Escrow or Financing

It is possible to arrange financing in the US even if you are not a citizen or permanent resident. Realtors in the US typically assist with this step, too. Finding a mortgage will not be difficult if you have the means, but nonresident aliens typically have to make down payments on their mortgage plans as large as 30%.

Choosing a lender to finance your property grants them certain rights. You may not be able to sell the property without their consent, and additional restrictions on your use may also apply. Your realtor can help you understand any parts of U.S. mortgage law you don’t understand.

Step Seven: Closing

Closing is a very busy step that involves the finalization of all agreements. You’ll want your realtor available to confirm every detail as the final documents are signed. As soon as closing is complete, the property becomes yours.

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