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Canadians Should Know these 4 Things When Buying Property in South Florida


Canadian snowbirds have migrated to South Florida and they are buying property; a lot of it! Between the years April 2016 and March 2017, they have doubled their purchases according to a new survey from the U.S. National Associations of Realtors. It doesn’t seem like much of a surprise since U.S real estate is generally less expensive than most parts in Canada. As the snowbirds are rapidly making their purchases in the warmth of South Florida, it’s crucial to have these important facts in mind:

Taxes Virtually Even Out for Canadians

An interest any foreigner buyer has when investing into property is the addition of tax cost they need to pay compared to residential buyers. This is not the case for the Canadian snowbirds! They have the advantage when purchasing property in Florida because the property tax is equal or less than the property tax amount in Canada. Home insurance is another concern foreigners have when investing into South Florida homes because of their occasional annual storms, but Florida offers relatively inexpensive home insurance.This will protect your investments and leave buyers with peace of mind without spending a goldmine.

Snowbird Affiliated Mortgage Lenders are Best

When purchasing U.S. real estate, it is best if done through a mortgage lender to ensure and smooth and less expensive process. There are several differences between the process of Canadian mortgage lending and the U.S mortgage lending that should be recognized. For example, the mortgage lending approval time in Canada is quicker than the process for Canadians purchasing in South Florida; the documentation is a bit complex, and also the closing cost is about 3% of the loan cost. The best way to ensure a smooth process is with a Canadian affiliation rather than an non-affiliated U.S lender. A Canadian affiliated lender could provide transactions with U.S. operations, which can arrange a cheaper rates. Also, a mortgage lender in Miami for Canadians can handle the application quickly to receive an approval as quickly as possible. It is recommended for snowbirds to take this route when investing in South Florida property.

Investing into the Right Property is Key

Don’t worry snowbirds, you’ll find tropical weather in many areas of South Florida, but the question is what exact properties are best to invest in? Florida offers a range of choices, whether the buyers desire to enhance the Miami nightlife or if they desire a peaceful home in Naples. First, a client should consider their reason for investing into the property, whether it is for business, vacation, or personal use. Investors should ensure that the neighborhood they have chosen will benefit them in the long run.  A helpful tip that can help any future foreign buyers is to invest into neighborhoods that are going through development. Before the area fills up with other buyers, it may be possible to land a great deal.

Real Estate Agents have your Best Interest

Thinking you do not need a real estate agent may not give you the best results when investing. The process of international purchases has many differences than residential purchases. When a buyer chooses a real estate agent, it’s recommended that he/she has experience with these purchases. It is recommended for Canadians to develop a dream team for international investments in South Florida; this means an experienced accountant, personal banker, and a real estate agent who understands the American and Canadian lending options. Also, having a mortgage lender for Canadians seeking to buy property in Miami or South Florida is vital.  Also, know your neighborhood is a fundamental rule in real estate, a real estate agent who has knowledge of their local market area can walk you towards your best investment. A mortgage lender who is familiar with the local market will also help make the entire process much smoother.

 

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What Argentinians Should Know Before Buying Property in Miami

argentinians buying property in miami

It’s no surprise that Miami real estate is one of the top investment destinations for international buyers, with Argentina being one of the top Latin American groups buying Miami properties. Many high profile projects are being bought and put in motion by Argentinian nationals – for example, the world renown, 66 story Aston Martin Residences was developed by G&G  Business Developments, a Miami-based firm owned by an Argentinian. The Oceana branded condominiums in Key Biscayne and Bal Harbour were created by an Argentinian art collector. Argentinians have also been quietly launching restaurants and many other businesses in Miami. They are boosting the market with their desire to work, play, and live in Miami’s multicultural environment as well as invest in its development.

While Miami is generally considered to be a “safe” place to invest in due to its relatively stable real estate market, it is important for Argentinians to know these key factors when purchasing Miami property:

Why Invest Abroad?

Other than the world renown, luxurious lifestyle, Miami has advantages over Argentina when it comes to property investment. Due to the country’s weakening peso and an inflation rate of about 25 percent, many expats are desperately moving their money into American real estate. The dollar restriction has caused Argentina’s own real estate market to decline, prompting those with properties to sell in dollars rather than pesos. “There are few profitable investments left in the country”, said Eduardo Blasco, a financial consultant in Buenos Aires. Argentinians are saving and making more money through renting while investing into Miami properties. It is safe to say that Miami is a “safe haven” for this group to make lucrative investments.

The Right Mortgage Lender

Argentinians, like many other foreign buyers from Latin countries, often purchase property with cash – many times because they believe this is the only way to do it. However, working with mortgage lenders has its advantages – it allows the buyers to secure assets while keeping their capital fluid and ready to invest in other opportunities simultaneously.
The key here is to choose the right team that is familiar with your home country’s customs and processes. While there are many great real estate professionals in Miami, When choosing a real estate broker, it is highly advised to pick one who has experience and knowledge with international real estate specifically. Same goes for the morgage lender.

What to Expect

Mortgage lenders for foreigners require a review of the client’s bank history and transactions to ensure they can afford the loan and also be asked to pay a deposit, normally of at least 35% up front. When choosing a mortgage lender, Argentinians should prefer one who not only speaks the same language, but who also has knowledge of Argentina’s economy, customs and processes as well. A mortgage lender in Miami for Argentinians that knows his or her way around the south american market could make the process easier and safer.

Before the Deal Seals

Proper tax planning when purchasing South Florida property is essential to making sure you don’t pay unnecessary taxes or worse, end up with an investment that isn’t as profitable as it could be. It’s important to be aware of the consequences that can result from not planning properly when closing the deal. These consequences can vary, depending on the ownership (individually or through an entity) and how the buyer plans to use their property whether it will be  personal, for vacation, or for business. Expats need to make sure potential tax liability for them as individuals can be reduced and or completely avoided. Buyers should organize their planning with tax professionals in their home country to assure that any U.S. tax planning does not lead to any unexpected tax consequences back in the buyer’s home. It is very important to schedule a talk with a U.S tax professional before closing on the transaction to guarantee the purchase is properly aligned with the buyer’s goal. In many cases, it is difficult to unwind the deal if accidental tax costs occur. It is strongly advised to make proper tax planning a priority when purchasing Miami real estate. One way to purchase properties in the U.S. as a foreign buyer is to form a domestic L.L.C. that is foreign owned so the asset belongs to the buyer’s domestically owned L.L.C, therefore being treated as citizen owned property and being subject to less taxes. This is just one method of many that can help reduce unnecessary costs.

 

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What Colombians Need to Know When Buying Property in Miami


Colombians are making their way to South Florida and closing deals rapidly in Miami. In the last year they have been behind ten percent of all international transactions, leaving Colombians to purchased the third-highest amount of Miami real estate compared to other foreign buyers. From Weston to Aventura, Colombia continues to be a growing community. To make sure Colombians proceed with their investments properly, here are a few tips that they should know:

Why Buy Property as a Foreign National in Miami?

Miami real estate has boomed in the past couple of years, offering high end commercial developments, luxury condominiums with a plethora of amenities, glamorous new environments, and seemingly endless career possibilities. Colombians are jumping at the opportunities in order to enhance their lifestyles. Colombia is also one of the highest tax burden in Latin America, in the past years their hasn’t been much development in the country. Also due to the widespread corruption of elected officials and those in power in Colombia, many citizens are seeking stability and investment opportunities outside of their homeland. South Florida offers that stability and offers many business openings for Colombians searching for a better a life. “I know the cost of living is higher, but obviously, income is higher as well,” says William Otalora as he begins to plan his future to settle in Miami.

The Choice of Getting a Mortgage

Not many international buyers are aware of the advantages of purchasing homes through mortgage lenders, since investing in cash is so common. When opting for financing, it is important to find a mortgage lender who is bilingual and has knowledge of Colombian and American circumstances for an easier process. When making the decision to purchase through a mortgage lender, buyers will be required to provide the following documents:

  • Copy of passport or visa
  • Letter from employer or an accountant that verifies their salary
  • Bank reference letter showing funds available for down payments, closing cost, etc.
  • Utility bill that demonstrates current residency

Any extra paperwork will be noted before the buyer meets for financing. Also, clients may have to pay a down payment for the mortgage, usually a minimum of about 35% or more, subject to vary depending on differing factors. Mortgage lenders can walk international buyers through the best rates and terms; currently, the market is such that experienced lenders can offer lower interest rates and longer terms on housing loans.

Always do Business with a Good Real Estate Agent

Expats can experience their best investment through an real estate agent. Colombians are obsessing over Miami property because of neighborly environments, high ranking schools, a culturally vibrant lifestyle and promising business opportunities. It is advised to work with agents that are native spanish speakers and understand what Colombians prefer. South Florida is finding many Colombians in popular neighborhoods such as; Weston, Pembroke Pines, the Biscayne area, Miami Shores and Aventura. International investing in Miami with a good real estate agent can expose buyers to Miami’s world class retail therapy, the tropical climate, and luxurious multiculturalism.

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How Realtors Can Secure International Clients

How Realtors Can Secure International Clients

How Realtors Can Secure International Clients

How Realtors Can Secure International Clients

For Realtors in Florida & New York, working with international clientele is a great way to level up in their careers. Many foreign buyers looking for properties in the U.S. have plenty of cash at their disposal, ready for a quick close; they are just looking for someone to help them navigate the process. But it can feel a little like jumping into a game of double dutch if your experience has been limited to domestic buyers. International buyers want experienced agents who specialize in dealing with foreign nationals and are familiar with the unique requirements and barriers. Here is how realtors can break into the international market and start attracting foreign buyers as their clients- how realtors can secure international clients

Begin Networking Online

The SEO game takes time and while its important to compete for key search phrases, it’s not going to be your immediate way in. Begin by networking with other international realtors in groups, forums, at events and more. Realtors that are Certified International Property Specialists are typically listed out on realtor databases and sites. Establishing a relationship with firms and agencies in other countries is another great way to position yourself for great international referrals.

Make Your Website Legible in Multiple Languages

Don’t let language barriers turn off a would-be closer to a frustrated lead that decided to take their business elsewhere. With today’s accuracy of Google Translate, there’s no excuse for an outdated website that doesn’t translate your pages into at least 3-5 different languages. Many realtor sites offer easy, 1 click drop down menus with flags that allow international viewers to select the language they want to view your website in.

Hire a Diverse In-House Staff

If you or your team understand the cultural background of the potential client better than the next realtor, they’ll most likely choose you over them. That’s how realtors can secure international clients – or at least, one of the ways. If you have done your research about their customs, specific national requirements that pertain to the home buying process, or even if you can speak some of the language, you’ll have an advantage over the next realtor who didn’t do the extra work to fully understand the client. If your knowledge is limited, hiring assistants or filling your team with people from other countries who speak different languages could give you that extra advantage. If you get a Brazilian prospect and you don’t speak Portuguese – and one of your staff members does, this can be the difference between getting the business or having to watch them choose your competitor.

Establish Relationships with Lenders who Specialize in Financing Foreign Buyers

No man or woman is an island and if all you’ve got to offer is your services, you’re already at a disadvantage. Most good realtors have a whole network of professionals they can refer their clients to when they need a specific step in the home buying process. The lender is a highly important contact and establishing a relationship with the right ones is key; it can be the difference between a smooth, easy financing process or a long, drawn out, discouraging search. Establish a relationship with a lender who specializes in financing foreign buyers so they can help your client navigate the sometimes complicated path to securing a mortgage loan for a residential or commercial property in the U.S.

Once Secured, Stay Engaged and Accessible

Putting your information, trust and capital in the hands of people maybe you’ve never met in person before and who happen to be hours of flight time and maybe oceans away can be nerve-racking. Put yourself in the shoes of the buyer – wouldn’t you like to have the peace of mind that your agent is responsive and won’t dodge your calls or drop off the radar at any moment’s notice? Be extra present and accessible with your international clients. Set up Skype calls, keep a line of communication open via WhatsApp and don’t let more than 24 hours go by (at the most) when communicating via email. The more transparent and responsive you are, the more trusting your foreign buyer will be and the more likely they are to close with you and to refer their contacts to you.

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Guide to Buying Residential Property in the U.S. as a Foreign Buyer

Buying Residential Property in the U.S. as a Foreign Buyer

For decades, foreign buyers from everywhere from Russia to Turkey to Argentina have been choosing Florida as their go-to investment destination. In the past 5-10 years, the building boom in Miami has continued to attract them and is only creating more and more opportunities for profitable investments. Brazilians and Argentinians flock to Brickell City Centre, Russians have been loving Sunny Isles and the Chinese are buying up properties in the new Paramount Worldcenter downtown. But for many prospective buyers, there are still a lot of questions and speculations floating around about how the process really goes and exactly how do you secure property in the magic city as a foreign national? Many international buyers find it challenging to navigate the complex process of buying residential property in the U.S. as a foreign buyer while they are still living overseas – even more so if they’re in seeking financing for the property.

Here are a few of the basic that outline the process, to help demystify the requirements and steps to buying residential property in Miami as a foreign buyer:

Find a Real Estate Agent and a Mortgage Lender Experienced in Foreign Loans and a

“A lot of the first time buyers are under all kinds of wrong impressions,” says Mauricio Ordoñez, one of the principals at Q Kapital mortgage lending firm in Miami, Florida, “Some foreign buyers think that if they don’t have a visa, they don’t qualify; or that they can only buy in cash. Because our team specialized in foreign loans, we can set the record straight about all these misconceptions.”

Foreign buyers should begin their process by finding the right professionals to help. Finding a real estate agent that knows the lay of the land when it comes to buying residential property in the U.S. for an international buyer is important since the requirements and the processes tend to be very specific. Referrals are a great way of finding the right agents to work with – the national Association of Realtors lists out agents that work specifically with international buyers on their website. They are listed as “international property specialists” and typically travel often to promote their services. Many times, if the buyer resides in the country of origin during the property buying process, they’ll be communicating with their realtor remotely, which means they’ll need a trusted professional to take on the task.

Finding a mortgage lender that is experienced in foreign loans and specializes in this time of financing is just as essential as securing a real estate agent that is well versed in foreign property buying. Securing a loan for an international buyer isn’t the same as it is for a domestic buyer; lenders like to know who they’re borrowing from and can often be very guarded about which borrowers they lend to.

Securing a Mortgage for Property in Miami as a Foreign Buyer

Buying property with cash is common practice, whether it’s for investment strategy or a way to expedite things; however it’s not the only way an international investor can purchase property in the U.S. Foreign Nationals are also entitled to financing when looking to buy property in Miami or the U.S. Recently, mortgage rates have become increasingly affordable and competitive and terms have become longer, allowing international buyers to maintain liquidity and freedom while securing their asset. While lenders that offer home loans to foreign buyers are few and far between, many new development projects are establishing relationships with lenders who do offer this type of financing so they can ensure their units will be available to international buyers.

Requirements to Securing a Mortgage as a Foreign Buyer

Expect to pay around 30 – 40% of the value of the property as a downpayment.

Be prepared to show documentation of income via bank statements, reference letters from banks and credit institutions, asset documentation, copies of passports, multiple forms of identification and other personal information.

The more transparency in the information provided, the higher the chance of securing the loan and the faster you can get approved.

 

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3 Exciting Projects Coming to Miami that will Continue to Skyrocket Commercial and Residential Property Investing

paramountworldcenter-commercial and residential property investing in miami

paramountworldcenter

Miami has been leveling up in a big way over the past few years and the world knows it – maybe that’s why there’s been such a boom in commercial and residential property investing. Long anticipated projects have been unveiled one after the other and we’ve seen new buildings go up in what it seems like the blink of an eye, new districts and cultural epicenters develop and the Miami skyline change before our very eyes. The Brightline Train Station had its inaugural run in January 2018 from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale; The Frost Museum opened its doors in May 2017 and Brickell’s new open air mall/designer shops opened in 2016. Miami real estate news seems to be on fire with headlines about new and exciting projects everyday; and none of it is going unnoticed on the international stage. Foreign nationals from every corner of the world are searching for mortgage financing for commercial properties in Miami more than ever. Here are just a few of the most exciting projects underway now.

MiamiCentral

The Metro area of Miami, from the Design District and Wynwood to Brickell and Downtown Miami continues to enjoy the focus and funds of investors and developers in the city. All efforts are pulling together to revamp the areas into vibrant cultural hubs, worthy of even more international popularity.

3 MiamiCentral is one of the biggest upcoming projects underway in the city. This project spans over 6 downtown city blocks and will offer a massive mixed-use urban space. The space will include commercial properties for retail and restaurants including a food hall, residential properties and will be the the Brightline Train Station Miami stop. It is also on track to be the site for the next Tri-Rail stop in Miami. 2 MiamiCentral and 3 MiamiCentral will offer urban mixed-use office spaces. This project is on track to become, as its namesake implies, the heart of central Miami – it’s strategically located near everything from the American Airlines Arena, to the Adrienne Arsht Center, Downtown Miami, Wynwood, Design District, Bayside Marketplace, the Frost Museum and the Perez Art Museum as well as Miami Beach and the Port of Miami.

Brightline announced its Miami to Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach service is scheduled to open in the coming months and the 3 MiamiCentral office building announced its opening in February 2018.

One Thousand Museum

This ultra luxury condominium project has been incredible to watch during its construction. Anyone who passes through Biscayne blvd. near the American Airlines Arena has undoubtedly noticed the unique design of the One Thousand Building, dreamed up and brought to light by the architects Zaha Hadid Architects. Its curved columns are a unique addition that has already made this project stand out from the rest. This building is designed to significantly change the Miami skyline and offer a new luxury residential space with impressive interior and exterior architecture. The amenities are also exceptional, including a heliport and a bank-quality vault. Projects like these are the things that foreign investors look for when they consider their next investments in residential and commercial properties in Miami. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

The Paramount Miami Worldcenter

This project is bringing a new level of amenities to Miami, claiming to have the most amenities in one residential building in the world. Some of the most eyebrow raising offerings will include a full soccer field, a boxing studio, a complete indoor basketball court, a jogging path and golf simulator. The building will have its own skyjack and lounge for onsite nightlife; a roughneck infinity pool, an onsite spa and salon, an entertainment lounge fit for live music and even recording music – and much more. The paramount Miami WorldCenter is, as of late, 45 stories in with construction and 73% sold.  This mega project will also feature an office building and a retail portion. Completion date is still unknown, but the developers announced it being at its halfway point during December 2017.

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4 Tips for Foreign Buyers Seeking Vacation Homes in Miami

Foreign Buyers Seeking Vacation Homes Miami can receive financing for luxury properties like this one

Foreign Buyers Seeking Vacation Homes Miami can receive financing for luxury properties like this one

Miami continues to be a top destination in which non-U.S. residents continue to invest in. Vacationing in Miami for half the year and then renting it out during the other half is a profitable, popular strategy that many international buyers have. Miami’s proximity to the ocean, it’s buzzing nightlife and vibrant culture continue to be magnets for foreign dollars. If you or your client are a foreign buyers seeking vacation homes Miami, looking to buy one or any other residential or even commercial property in Miami, here’s our advice from a team that has decades of experience in the sector.

Get to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)

Around the world, many home buyers only know one way to find properties – and that’s going to to dozens of real estate brokers to find a property. A homebuyer ends up spending countless hours going from broker to broker to see if they happen to have listings that match their budget, location preferences and other criteria. Buying in the U.S. is much more convenient in many ways and in that particular aspect, beats everyone out at efficiency. The MLS is the Multiple Listing Service that allows home buyers to view properties all in one place, regardless of who the realtor is. It’s a collection of real estate listings housed in one database and is widely known and widely used in the real estate industry. It is much more beneficial and efficient for the homebuyer and for the real estate broker. This is the national MLS listing – South Florida can be selected from the list: http://www.mls.com/Search/National.mvc and it is an invaluable tool for foreign buyers seeking vacation homes Miami.

Foreign Buyers Seeking Vacation Homes Miami Can Benefit from Mortgage Financing

The common idea is that foreign nationals  looking to buy properties in the U.S. have no choice but to pay it all in cash because finding financing is nearly impossible. This is not true. Foreign buyers can definitely obtain financing for properties in the U.S. through mortgage lending companies that are familiar with the foreign buying process. The best practice is to find a mortgage lender that specialize in lending to international buyers. Apply with them to see how much financing funds will be available to you or your client. Having about 30% of the purchase price as a downpayment is beneficial for better terms and rates. Once you or your client know how much funding will be available, then you can start looking for properties in your funding range. Financing allows you to keep your assets liquid in case you have any unexpected expenses associated with the purchase or any other scenarios.

The Seller Pays the Brokers, Not the Buyer

It’s common practice in the U.S. for the seller of a property to pay the real estate brokerage fee; those seeking properties typically get the services of a real estate agent for free. For Foreign buyers, it is the most advantageous to find a broker who is local so he or she understands the areas in which they will be finding you properties; and also, a broker who is experienced in dealing with foreign buyers. International property investing has its own set of hoops to jump through. It’s a different process than it is for a citizen or resident, so it’s best to work with a realtor who can guide you through all the necessary steps to do buy residential or commercial properties in Miami properly.

You Don’t Need A Visa to Buy Property in the U.S.

Many foreign buyers think they cannot invest in U.S. properties without first getting a visa of some sort, but the truth is, a visa is not currently required. Again, finding a realtor who is well versed in the foreign buying process can help you along every step of the way. Finding a mortgage lending company who is experienced in the foreign buying process is also key.

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How Mobile Tech is Redefining the Property Buying Process

Person using mobile tech to look at property prices

If you talk to veteran realtors who remember doing business in a smartphone-less world, you’ll learn about some ancient history like when they used to send documents via fax and about old artifacts like flimsy manila folders that housed important documents, all kept inside massive cabinet drawers. They’ll also tell you about the an ancient ritual called a closing in which all parties were required to be present to complete the purchase/sale of a property. Thanks to mobile tech, nothing has been the same. Technology has affected everyone and every industry in different ways, but in the real estate market, it has helped agents overcome some of the biggest hurdles they once faced; it has allowed them to better serve their clients every step of the way. Here are just a few of the ways tech has redefined the property buying process.

Mobile Pre-Approvals and Financing Applications

Smartphones have now brought virtually every capability that once used to require being present somewhere to the fingertips of anyone, anywhere so long as they have access to Wi-Fi. Getting pre-approved and getting final approval for financing on a commercial or residential property used to require an in-person meeting with the client, realtor and bank. Then it required dozens of notarized papers and records being faxed over from one office to another; so if you didn’t have a fax machine available, you could forget about submitting your paperwork in a timely manner. The ease of using email via smartphones has made everything speed up. Also, applications for financing no longer require even a full phone conversation. Apps like mortgage lender The Q Kapital’s mobile app (categorized under finance apps) allow potential buyers to fill out all the required information from their mobile phone from anywhere in the world and get the most important step out of the way: getting pre-approved then getting fully approved for mortgage financing. Mobile mortage financing allows any foreign buyer looking to purchase properties in U.S. cities like Miami and New York to know how much financing will be available to them.

E-signing platforms are widely available now on the app store and Google Play store. They can be used to complete multi-party real estate transactions from a computer or phone easily. They are built to be secure and to fit the format of proper legal signatures so all your paperwork is airtight. Mobile tech has helped make all parties more efficient and helped expedite so many processes that used to take days, even weeks sometimes.

Mobile Tech Facilitates Remote Viewings

Starting the home or commercial property buying process nowadays can be done without leaving your bedroom – or without ever flying into the country where the property is. Of course, it’s always best to fly in at least once before purchasing to get to know your possible new asset in person as well as the surrounding areas. But if you have a great realtor on your side, they can walk you through showings all via skype, facetime or whatever video chatting software you subscribe to. The important thing is to have a great realtor who will be 100% honest; if there are other factors that can’t be picked up through a cell phone screen, such as mildewy smells, humidity or environmental noise, they need to relay that to you before you make a decision on a property. The same can be coordinated for an inspector’s visit to the home if this is part of your process thanks to mobile tech. 

Mobile Tech Facilitates Remote Closings

While closings used to require everyone’s presence to sign documentation in person, it is now the easiest part of the property buying process thanks to mobile apps and the signed, notarized power of attorney a client can give their broker. Even if you’re in Argentina, for example, and purchasing a property in Miami, it can all be done electronically. Finding a financing company that knows the ropes when it comes to purchasing property abroad as an international buyer is key; they will help navigate you through all the red tape and proper protocols to do so properly and in a way that is beneficial to the buyer.

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Why Miami is a Hot Spot for Commercial Investments

While the first thing that pops in people’s minds when they think of purchasing property in Miami is a vacation beach home or a family home, one of the sectors that has become a serious hotspot is commercial real estate. When it comes to buyer-side commercial investments, Florida as a whole is one of the top picks nationwide according to the National Association of Realtors.

Here are some of the reasons commercial property buying has seen such a huge surge in the past years:

Strategic Location & Attractive Lifestyle

One of the lures for Miami on every front and for every industry has always been its strategic location. As the gateway to the caribbean and Latin America, it is a convenient place for South American or international investors to position their property investments and to build international business models with more global reach. Miami’s pro-business economy, resort style living and thriving metropolitan neighborhoods are also a great place to live or to visit as business is being conducted or tended to.

While current activity in the residential property sector is indicative of the high demand for living spaces among international buyers, the trends in industrial real estate such as warehouses and logistics spaces reveal how well the local economy is doing. Traditionally, South Florida’s tried and true cash cow has been commercial properties used for retail shopping plazas, hotels, medical facilities and office spaces. But with online businesses selling goods that require manufacturing, storage and shipping, more and more investors have been on the hunt for locations in which to do this.

Location is important especially for distribution warehouses, which require proximity to the places the company ships to and an airport. Ground and maritime  transportation are just added perks and rarely happen all in one place; Miami happens to have all 3 and allows for proximity to Latin America and the caribbean for companies that want to ship there. And with consumers demanding reduced shipping times ( once acceptable at 7 days or more; now it’s common practice to get goods delivered within 48 hours) the location of your distribution center is of utmost importance.

Subscription based services are another business model that is steadily on the rise, affecting the demand for warehouse properties. The surge of new companies entering the South Florida market and the expansion of established ones like Amazon and Apple have been adding momentum to an e-commerce boom. Local press has been following Amazon’s announcements about their new headquarters closely, building more and more buzz about the possibility of Miami being the next headquarters for the e-commerce behemoth. Now Apple has been added to the conversation as they begin a new bidding war among American cities interested in becoming their next headquarters.

Growing Population

It seems there are more and more people in the city each day; it’s not your imagination. In the past 5 years, the city has seen around 500,000 new residents with a population rate increase of 1.88% in 2016. With more people comes more demand for products which comes with a need for more space in which to house and distribute those products- thus more commercial properties selling. Whether it’s inventories sold online or in traditional retail, the space continues to be in demand and foreign investors will continue to cash in on this demand.

Miami is undoubtedly a sound investment for anyone looking to purchase commercial real estate. That is why financing companies like The Q Kapital, that understand the international property buying processes in the U.S., specifically in Miami, are so important. To help foreign investors get the help needed to secure the investment opportunities this growing burst in development has to offer.

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5 Misconceptions Foreign Buyers Have When Buying Property in Miami

According to NAR or the National Association of Realtors, Florida is the state with the most foreign real estate investors nationwide. Roughly 41% purchase homes, 22% invest in rental property and 21% make double use purchases that serve as rental homes and rental property at different times of the year. While many other countries only allow land sales to citizens from that country, the U.S. is rather unique in that foreign buyers are allotted the same privileges and rights overall as U.S. citizens and residents when buying properties in the U.S. However the structure of the purchases, the way funds are taxed and distributed do tend do differ from the way a U.S. Citizen or resident would handle buying property. The following are just some of the common misconceptions that many foreign buyers have about purchasing property in Miami:

Foreign Buyers Don’t Necessarily Need Cash to Buy Properties in the U.S. as a Foreign Buyer

It’s one of the most common ideas everyone has about foreign buyers- the idea that they can only buy properties in the U.S. buy having the full purchase price available in cash. First of all, it’s important to note that cash transactions for real estate above $1M in Miami-Dade County and above $3M in Manhattan, New York are required to be reported to the federal government as a means to prevent money laundering. Above these amounts, the transactions lose the privilege of confidentiality.

While buying with cash is one way to purchase property for foreign buyers, it isn’t the only way. The truth is, foreign buyers are eligible, just like U.S. citizens and residents, to obtain mortgage financing on both residential and commercial properties in the U.S.

The minimum you can put down on a property is 3.5% with an FHA loan- however having 20%-30% is recommended. Foreign buyers typically are asked to come up with higher down payments; around 40% or more. Still, financing can have its benefits, allowing international buyers to free up their investment capital, keeping it liquid and moving while securing a valuable asset at the same time.

It’s Best to Buy Property in the U.S. as a Corporation, not as an Individual

As mentioned earlier, foreign buyers are welcome to obtain financing for their properties – they are not required to pay it all in cash. However the trick to obtaining financing for a foreign buyer lies in the structure of the transaction. Buying property as an individual is possible but comes with hefty taxes from the U.S. government when it comes time to selling the property – about 45% of an individual’s gross estate located in the U.S. that exceeds $60,000. The structure with which a buyer purchases property affects the taxes they are subject to in a big way. Most experts advise foreign buyers not to buy as individuals to limit the liability, minimize taxes and to keep confidentiality. With careful planning, a foreigner can purchase U.S. property through a domestic L.L.C., corporation or different corporate entities – that are owned by a foreign corporation or trust – this method of buying can render the buyer exempt from the U.S. estate tax and certain risks for the family.

It’s important to remember that foreign nationals are subject to FIRPTA- Foreign Investors Real Property  Tax Act. This law says that the sale, transfer, gift or exchange of U.S. property by a foreign national will be subject to a 10% withholding tax on the gross purchase price of the property at closing. It was enacted to ensure that capital gains taxes are paid by international buyers. There are some exemptions available that a buyer’s legal team or financing team can help them use (if they qualify) to avoid the tax. Mortgage lenders and financing companies for foreign buyers seeking properties in Miami, New York or the rest of the U.S. can help an international buyers navigate the right deal. 

The Seller Actually Pays the Real Estate Agent, NOT the Buyer

In the U.S., the seller of a property is normally under contract with their listing agent or selling agent to pay them a commission of the sale. If a buyer comes to them with their realtor and the sale is made, the listing agent then shares their commission with the buyer’s realtor – the amount is up to their negotiations. In some instances, the buyer’s agent may require payment or reimbursement for services rendered, rarely exceeding the amount of $300. Closing costs, however, are to be paid by the buyer.

The Buyer Doesn’t Necessarily need to be Present at Closing

Years ago, a closing meant everyone was required to be in the room together, signing documents and executing the transfer of title and ownership documents from the seller to the buyer. Nowadays, however, power of attorney allows representatives, typically agents, from both parties to perform the closing procedures remotely, without either party needing to be present; that’s neither the buyer nor the seller. If a mortgage loan is involved in the purchase of the property, the closing can be executed from the buyer’s country of origin if he or she is not present in the U.S. at the time.

Buying property in Miami, New York or many other areas in the U.S. can be a big win for foreign buyers when done correctly. It’s important for foreign buyers to become educated on the best ways to do so and to enlist the services of a professional realtor and a qualified, experienced tax and/or real estate attorney to help them navigate the procedures. It’s also important for the buyer to find a mortgage financing company in Miami or in the city they’re looking to buy in that has experience working with international clients so they can really help guide the buyer through the smoothest property buying process possible with the most advantageous terms. 

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