Foreign nationals are allowed to enjoy the benefits of owning real estate in Florida. However, it is important to have an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in working with foreign buyers and sellers as there are many factors to consider.
- First, it is not necessary to be present for closing which makes things convenient if travel plans do not allow at the time of purchase or sale.
- Second, there are numerous options for titling the property which need to be considered which have far reaching tax implications upon sale or probate considerations in the unexpected event of death or disability.
- Third, financing is an option, however, guidelines can be stringent. Typically, foreign buyers are required to come up with a minimum of a 30% down payment at the time of purchase as well as 12 months of reserves to be deposited with the lender for mortgage payments, taxes and insurance. Additionally, most lenders require the foreign borrower to designate a Florida resident (typically an attorney) to serve as their registered agent.
- Fourth, a U.S. taxpayer identification number will be required to be obtained in the event the foreign property owner elects to rent the property or in the event they eventually desire to sell the property as the transaction will be governed by F.I.R.P.T.A.