Foreign National Guide to Buying Real Estate in Florida

Foreign Buyers Florida Real EstateIf you live in another country and are looking to purchase a property in the Orlando area, we are happy to assist you with your purchase. Hiring a licensed Florida real estate agent that has experience working with Non U.S. Residents, will ensure that your home purchase is conducted as smoothly as possible. Our team is well versed in representing foreign nationals with their Orlando home purchase and we are happy to answer any questions you have, while locating you the perfect Central Florida home or estate.

I am not a United States Resident. Can I purchase a property in the United States?

Yes, foreign nationals are able to purchase property in the State of Florida, the same way U.S. citizens are able to. There are no special Visa requirements needed to purchase a new home in Florida.

What is the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and how does it work?

Throughout many countries around the world, a real estate agent (estate agent) may have only limited access to only a select number of listings. Here in the United States, Realtors® use the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which provides each agent access to all available properties currently on the market. This allows you as a potential buyer, to select the agent of your choice to represent you with your real estate transaction. By selecting the licensed real estate agent of your choice, you are then able to develop a relationship with your chosen agent. Best of all, as a buyer, the fees for your real estate agent are at no cost to you, as all agent commission is paid by the seller in the home sale transaction.

RealtyInOrlando.com provides users unlimited, free access to the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service, (MLS) listings. Please feel free to search available homes for sale in the Central Florida region, including the local areas of Windermere, Dr. Phillips, Winter Garden, Celebration, and Winter Park. Registration on our site provides you with the ability to save your favorite properties, schedule email updates on home searches, as well as viewing the status of each individual property. Browse available Central Florida homes for sale now with our convenient and user-friendly MLS Home Search tool.

I am in the market to purchase a new construction home. Do I require the services of a real estate agent, or should I purchase directly through the builder?

Although it is not necessary to have a real estate agent when purchasing a new construction home for sale, there are many benefits by utilizing the service of a licensed real estate agent. Most importantly, when buying a new construction home from a builder, the real estate agent commissions and service fees are FREE to the buyer!!!

The agent on staff at the home builders site is employed by the builder and therefore has the best interest of the builder in mind. By choosing your own real estate agent, you bring experienced representation to the table, evening the playing field by having an agent with your best interests in mind throughout the home buying and price negotiation process.

Knowledge of the local area market trends is just as important when buying a new construction home. Your real estate agent will have the ability to advise you with pertinent local market conditions, as well as provide you with many industry factors that may affect your new home purchase - Be Informed!

As a foreign national buying a new home, you most likely not be here during the building process. Your real estate agent should keep you updated during the construction progress of your home. Our team will keep you up to date and informed throughout the entire building process. Jeffrey Funk and his team will also assist you with home inspections.

Am I taxed differently as a Foreign National?

A common misconception is that Foreign Nationals are taxed differently than U.S. Citizens. Foreign nationals are taxes exactly the same as U.S. Citizens. In the State of Florida, homeowners receive a $50,000 “homestead exemption” on their PRIMARY residence. Vacation homes and investment properties are NOT eligible for the Florida Homestead exemption, and are taxed the same for both Foreign Nationals and U.S. Residents.

Will I receive any special Visa or Immigration status for owning a property in the United States?

Purchasing a property in Florida has no effect on immigration status or Visa eligibility of a foreign national. Most foreign nationals are able to obtain a Visa in order to stay for a period of 90 days at a time. Information on visa eligibility can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/visit/visitor.html

What is an ITIN number and do I need one?

As a Foreign National, you will be required to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) once you have purchased a property in the United States. An ITIN number is a U.S. tax processing number for foreign nationals used by the federal government who are not eligible for a Social Security number. Additional information on how to obtain an ITIN number can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Individual-Taxpayer-Identification-Number-(ITIN)

Do I need an attorney to purchase a home in Florida?

An Attorney is not necessary to purchase a home in the state of Florida. Florida is a “Title State” which means a title company will perform all of the necessary items in order to transfer the property to the new owner. The Title company will also perform a “title search” insure that the property is free and clear of any leins and incumbrances on the subject property. A title insurance policy should always be issued to the Buyer at the Sellers cost for any items that may have been missed during the title search process. An exception to this rule is with new construction homes, in which the buyer typically pays for the title insurance policy. 

Am I able to finance my Florida home as a foreign national?

Yes, financing is available for Non U.S. Residents. Although financing requirements and rates do change you can expect a minimum requirement of 30 - 40% down payment with a minimum sales price of $300,000. Be sure to contact an experienced foreign national mortgage broker. 

Feel Free to contact us regarding any questions you may have when purchasing real estate, investment properties, and vacation homes in the Orlando area.