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