"Now is a great time to buy U.S. Real Estate." -- The SRQ Duo
How US Real Estate Works
- Foreign buyers represent and important segment of the real estate market in Sarasota Florida. According to the National Association of Realtors between 2012 and 2013 foreign real estate buyers purchased over $68 billion in U.S residential real estate accounting for more than 6% of total home sales. This guide will help you as a foreign buyer get started in everything related to purchasing a property in the United States. It is recommended that you consult with The SRQ Duo, accountants, attorneys and mortgage brokers as your personal situation might require specific guidance. If you need a recommendation The SRQ Duo will be happy to refer you to a professional within their trusted network. How real estate is purchased in the United States varies from State to State. This guide covers real estate transactions in general and how they are carried out in the state of Florida.
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In the United States Real Estate Information is shared by agents and brokers within different companies or brokerages using a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The SRQ Duo uses the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service (MFRMLS). Almost all real estate listings are posted to the MLS within 24 hours of coming up for sale. This is done to ensure that all current listings are available for all agents to share with their clients. In the “Property Search” tab of this website you can find up to date listing information and properties for sale that are listed by all Real Estate agencies in the area without having to go from company to company to see what properties might be available for sale. In most other countries there is no collaboration among agents and to find properties available for sale you would have to go from agent to agent to see their book of available listings.
- Brokerage Fees and Commissions. In most countries it is typical to pay a fee to have an exclusive agent searching available properties for you. In the Unites States the commission is always paid by the seller of the property and then divided equally between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Therefore you as a buyer won’t have to pay anything out of your pocket to enlist the services of an exclusive buyer’s agent to represent you in the purchase. Therefore it is highly advisable to work with an experienced agent, such as The SRQ Duo, who will protect your interests and not those of the seller in a transaction.
- Broker and Agent Education Requirements. Another major difference within US real estate practices and those abroad is that agents and brokers need to have a license and meet educational guidelines to operate. Many other countries do not require any licensing for an individual to operate as a real estate agent or broker.
Getting Ready to Buy a Property
- Personal Identification And Visa Requirements. To purchase a home in the United States you do not need to be a US citizen or permanent resident (green card holder). To do so, you have to prove who you are typically by presenting a copy of your passports and immigration VISA (if applicable). Buying real estate in the United States does not grant you a special immigration status allowing you to stay longer than your designated VISA permits. For information on investment VISAs we recommend you contact an immigration attorney specializing on the subject matter. You can contact The SRQ Duo if you need a reference and they will be happy to provide one. To purchase real estate in the United States a foreign citizen must obtain a Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN). This is a number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to foreign nationals. To obtain an ITIN, a non-U.S. citizen must complete, sign and deliver an IRS Form W-7 to the IRS with supporting documentation to prove the identity of the applicant.
- Determining The Type Of Property And How The Property Will Be Used. Before you start searching for a property it is important to determine what type of property you want and the type of use the property will have. A house will require more maintenance than a condominium but a house is usually priced lower (per square foot) than condominiums. Conversely, condominiums typically have Home Owner Association (HOA) costs (for the use of the pool, general maintenance, security, fitness center, etc.) that might not have. Costs associated with home ownership are covered later in this guide. Some things to consider before starting your property search are:
- Will this be a vacation home?
- Will this property will be used to generate rental income?
- Will this property be purchased for a short term while kids are studying in the United States?
- Is this an investment for the long run and the main objective is capital appreciation?
The SRQ Duo specializes in helping international clients buy and sell real estate in Sarasota. We personally travel the world developing trusted relationships and meeting with potential clients. Sarasota real estate transactions are best done IN Sarasota, but with the advent of remote services such as DocuSign and video teleconferencing, clients have an increasing ability to handle the majority of effort at a distance. The SRQ Duo still believes in meeting face-to-face. If you’re a serious client, and you are unable to travel to Florida, we will come to you. This difference is extraordinary in the industry and unheard of with the larger chain “luxury” agencies that claim an international network simply because they are affiliated with other offices. The truth is that they don’t travel, they don’t understand cultural nuances, and they don’t appreciate the real estate needs and lifestyle desires of people from around the world. If a kick-off meeting in person isn’t possible, The SRQ Duo will do an in-depth analysis of your wants and needs over the phone or through video conferencing if possible.
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