Foreign Nationals are not penalized. Cash purchases are however reported ($10K and over).
Your costs will be given to you on a HUD statement prior to closing and they will include paying title cost ($280-$560), prorated property taxes (each home will vary but would probably be $800 +), insurance for the contents (anything from the drywall in) for the year, some sellers are tax exempt which would mean you will have to pay the doc stamps on the sale which would be $.70 cents on each $100.
Condo's usually have Home Owner's Association fees which are paid monthly or quarterly. You will need to usually pay a fee to make the application as the new owner ($100 most times). They do background checks. If there were any liens placed on the property by the HOA then it would be up to the bank in the case of a foreclosure to satisfy that lien prior to your closing. However, be very cautious with short sales. They take a long time to close and are always a hair shy of someone going bankrupt and the deal going into foreclosure/auction anyway. Hopefully, that helps you and you will allow me to be your buyer's agent when you come down. Please use this site for shopping for your piece of paradise in SW Florida. This will give you daily updates that will match your criteria. http://www.swfloridahomebuyer.listingbook.com
Sarah Garrett, Realtor
ALLIANCE REALTY GROUP
"Chosen Best in Client Satisfaction 2006-2009"
by Gulfshore Life Magazine
I have a number of Canadian clients including one who's coming for a visit in just a couple weeks. As is noted in the other answers, there are no extra cost issues for a Canadian buying a condo in Florida. Let me encourage you to check out Central Florida. Many fellow Canadians love it here.
Weichert, Realtors - Hallmark Properties
There are some differences as it relates to property taxes. Foreign nationals and second home owners are not eligible for a homestead exemption, so your properties valuation will adjust annually at a market rate valuation. With a homestead exemption, your property valuation only adjusts up or down by 3% annually.
At the present time, just over 14% of the traffic on our website is from Canada. We have closed many transactions for Canadian buyers and are currently working with a number of both English and French speaking Canadians. The strength of the Loonie, coupled with our discounted property prices has proven to be a draw for many Canadians. Here are several blog posts about Canadians buying property in Southwest Florida: http://www.gulfreturns.com/tag/canadians.
Here is a resource to help you get better acquainted with the communities and developments in the Fort Myers area: http://www.greaterftmyers.com/
Good luck with your search!
Joanne, if you are trying to get financing, the extra cost could be a larger down payment, and reserves that the lender may require you to give because you are a foreign national.
I have helped many Canadians purchase property here. There are no extra costs for you. If you will have a mortgage you will have regular costs associated with that. You will also have minimal closing costs. All of that would be the same if you were an American. Here the seller pays for almost everything including commissions. I would be happy to help you with your home search or answer any questions you may have.
Have a wonderful day,
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