Real Estate FAQ
What are the tax implications or foreigners owning U.S. property?
Many and varied! There are income tax implications if the property is to be rented, capital gains tax consideration when the home is sold and possibly estate tax issues. This is a common real estate faq and it is important to consider these BEFORE you purchase a property, and to take the appropriate professional advice on how the property should be titled – your name, a limited company, cross-border trust etc. The approach will vary, depending upon your citizenship and personal circumstances. We will be happy to refer you to a professional who specialized in international taxation.
As a Foreign Buyer, why should I work with a Realtor?
In your home country, you may be accustomed to working with several real estate agents to be sure you see all properties that are available in the market. Here in Florida, you have the benefit of a computerized Multiple Listing System (MLS), which contains details of almost all properties available in a specific market; you can be accessed by the Glenn Bradley Group and can usually answer most of your real estate faq. This allows you to build a relationship with us and feel comfortable, knowing that you have access to all properties in the MLS, as well as know that we have the ability to navigate you through all the issues you have as a foreign buyer. Some services we provide include negotiating the best possible terms for your purchase, protecting your interest in the contract, and introducing you to and coordinating with other professionals who will be needed for a successful transaction. Our compensation comes from the sellers of the property, so these services are normally offered to you at no charge.
Will I get a better deal if I work directly with the listing agent?
This is a common misconception. Remember, the listing agent represents the seller or the property. The seller pays the listing agent a commission, which is shared with the agent who brings the buyer. The seller pays the same commission, whether there is one agent involved or two. Having us represent you in the negotiations will ensure you are provided with impartial advice and objective analysis of the property and its price, condition, location, etc.
What about buying new construction? Is it better to work directly with the builder?
When working with a salesperson in a new construction environment, be aware that they are employed by the builder to sell homes. It is not their job to educate consumers objectively on the area or the pros and cons of their particular development. The idea that a buyer will get a better price from the builder if the builder does not pay a Realtor commission is a myth. Many builder pay Realtor commissions from a separate marketing budget, so they are not factors in discounting a property. As a Realtor, we know how much each property sold for in a particular development and would not bring buyers to a builder if two-tier pricing was in place. A typical builder makes more than 80% of their sales from Realtor introductions and they will not jeopardize such a significant source of business.
Do Foreign Nationals pay more in Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance?
No. Property taxes are influenced by whether the home you buy is your primary residence or not. A second homeowner from New Jersey or Ohio pays the same taxes as one from Canada, the U.K. or any other part of the world. The cost of homeowners insurance is based on the risk associated with the location, occupancy and condition of the subject property. It bears no relation to the nationality of its owner.
How can I protect myself against fluctuations in the currency exchange rate?
There are a number of ways you can accomplish this, and we’ll be happy to introduce you to a specialist in the foreign exchange market. They can offer you better exchange rates than most commercial banks, and a number of tools that will allow you to time your exchange to maximum benefit. They will also allow you to fix and exchange rate now and into the future to help pay running costs, condo fees, etc.
What are the pros and cons of new construction versus re-sale?
There are varying options on which purchase is better, as the value lays within the buyers objectives. Here are a few of the more common considerations:
Amenities – Buyers have more opportunity to choose a color palette and select materials to their preference, such as ceramic tile instead of carpet and better-quality appliances. New homes tend to be more energy-efficient and more likely to meet code standards. An older home will reflect mature landscaping and is often located in an established community with historic charm. Many new subdivision offer neighborhood clubhouses, swimming pools, playgrounds, bike and jogging trails and picnic venues for residents. Older homes don’t although many have better access to urban shopping venues and restaurants because they reflect prior self-containing city planning philosophies.
Energy efficiency – Advantage: new construction. New-home designers can use new building materials such as Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in hew homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances.
Landscaping – Mature trees, robust shrubs, gardens, rose bushes and perennially well-watered lawns are some of the rewards of an older home while most new homes are apt to feature younger smaller trees, fewer walkways and sparse vegetation. Landscaping is an expensive proposition today for the cost-conscious home builder.
Location – Often older homes are in areas closer to town and in established neighborhoods. However newer subdivision can provide newer schools and recreational areas.
Maintenance – The charm of an older home often goes hand in hand with increased maintenance, especially if the previous owners were not attentive to upkeep. Building materials may be harder to replace or match in an expansion or remodeling. A new home generally comes with at least a one year warranty for the repair of some problems that may develop as it settles into its foundation. Buy know what your warranty covers. Extended warranties are available should your property be out of warranty. New Construction homes often employ more efficient innovative uses of square footage and property.
Price – New construction homes may cost more than re-sale homes due to the increasing labor and material costs. There is often more negotiating room with re-sales as well.
How do I estimate my Property Taxes?
Florida has some of the lowest property tax rates in the USA, in fact Collier County, which includes Naples and Marco Island, has the lowest in the state of Florida. How does the local County government assess the value of my home and assign a property tax rate? Please click here to see information on Property Assessment.