Frequently Asked Questions
Can I buy Florida investment property as a foreigner?
Fortunately for the global real estate investor eyeing up a piece of Florida real estate, there are no restrictions on foreigners purchasing and owning real estate in the U.S.
However it’s up to the purchaser to determine if their home country puts any restrictions on buying abroad – it’s worth really investigating this as some countries can discourage foreign investment outside their own shores, through punitive taxes on purchasing real estate abroad, or restricting the amount of time residents can spend outside of their home country without losing residency rights.
Many people choose Florida property as an investment, either for split residency for part of the year, as an income-generating rental, or as a future retirement property. In all these scenarios it is very important to check any restrictions that may be in place in your home country whether via taxes, financial, or visas.
It’s worth noting that buying real estate in the USA is one of the safest investment destinations you can choose. All real estate transactions are protected by U.S. contract law, and the use of escrow as a standard protects your money while a transaction is in progress.
Can we get a visa easily once we own real estate in the U.S.?
If you invest between 500,000 and a million dollars in a U.S business enterprise you can get a green card, which means you have the legal right to work and reside in the U.S. as long as you file U.S. income taxes.
For all those without that kind of cash to flash, there are a variety of visas that should suit your purposes. Check all the opportunities which may be available to you with an immigration lawyer, to make sure you’re making the right choice.
If you just use the home as a holiday residence the likelihood is you won’t even need a visa for a short term visit under 90 days. For visits over 90 days there are myriad visa choices available. Please see this article on visas for more information.
Do we have to be in the U.S. to buy real estate?
No. It’s advisable to view your property in person, but if you choose not to, your agent can act on your behalf for this part of the deal. And when it comes to closing, you don’t need to be present, you can either give ‘Power of Attorney’ to a representative who can close the deal for you, or nowadays more and more real estate sales are being closed by mail, with all the documents being signed abroad and mailed back to the U.S.
If you are signing the papers in your own country, you don’t need to give power of attorney, and we have even had cases of lawyers traveling abroad to witness the signature. Please refer to our section on closing in our book for more information More and more people are buying property “sight unseen” relying on virtual internet tours, photography, map programs, and more.
We prefer that our clients have visited the property in question. A client we had recently had his heart set on a particular property which seemed like a great deal. Only when we viewed it together in person was he able to get the full effect of the property’s location, directly in the flight path, loud and in stereo. We do always highly recommend that you visit the property in person.
Will we have to pay tax if we own Florida property?
All Florida property owners pay tax based on the assessed value determined by the local municipality, which is directed by Florida statute. However the benefits of Florida tax laws far outweigh the negatives in our opinion.
There is no sales tax on property purchases, and if you earn money in the state of Florida (for example rental income on an investment property) there is no personal state income tax, which is a huge bonus and incentive for a lot of people choosing to live or buy property here.
Can we get health insurance if we own U.S. real estate?
Again, depending on how long you intend to stay in the U.S., you may qualify to be covered by travel health insurance from your own country. For longer-term visits/split residency there are multiple options at affordable rates.
Can you help me buy a Florida property?
Yes we can. We are experts in our field and have put together a team of Florida real estate agents who lead the field in their particular market.
By joining our free Find a Realtor Program you can have one of our team, who is an expert in your chosen area, send you a hand-picked list of properties based on your criteria for lifestyle, price and location.
Or download our Free Starter Kit to find out all you need to know, and get the first 50 pages of our best-selling book “Your Guide to Florida Property Investment – Owning, Investing & Enjoying the Florida Lifestyle for Global Buyers” absolutely free.