I'm interested in the south beach condo market and where prices are expected to go over the next while. I am

Asked by Rachel, Ontario, CA Wed Jun 4, 2008

a canadian citizen and would like to know if i should by now or wait a few months. I'd also like to know more about financing - would i need to get this done in canada to secure the us property?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Angela Schra…, Agent, Pembroke Pines, FL
Thu Jun 5, 2008
Hi Rachel: There is a huge supply of condos right now and I would certainly start your preparation now. The first and most important thing is to sort out your financing. If I were you I would check both in Canada and with a local reputable mortgage broker here in South Florida. You would apply for what we call a "Foreign National Loan" which requires about a 30% down-payment. The lender would also want you to have significant funds in a U.S. bank account - this means enough for your downpayment, closing costs (approx. 3% of the purchase price) and then 6 months worth of mortgage payment, taxes and insurance. You will want a pre-approval letter too. There's a fair amount that has to be organized on this, so the sooner you can get this set up, the better off and more prepared you'll be.

Once you've taken care of the financing preparation then you should find a Realtor that is competent and comfortable working with international clients and putting in the extra mile that is necessary to work with an out-of-town buyer. There are many, many Realtors out there who want and need the work but several are lax and careless and this isn't what you want as an absentee buyer. Look for someone you feel comfortable with, enjoy working with, someone who will think of things that hadn't even occurred to you and most of all, a Realtor who is professional and experienced. You want this experience to be stress and trouble free!

You'll also want someone who is comfortable in searching for the right home for you with the ability to narrow your search enough so that you're looking at the best selection of properties when you come down to Florida. You don't want to be looking at 20 different units in a day!! It's exhausting and overwhelming and you'll completely forget which condo was which after #7!

I would also mention that you should consider the Fort Lauderdale condo market too! This market also has a huge inventory supply but it isn't quite as saturated as Miami, and as such, you should realize an increase in your investment sooner rather than later. It really is an excellent time to buy, go for it!!

We work both markets, so If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to contact me.

Wishing you all the best ...

Villa G Realty

PS: You're playing 2 markets now, the real estate AND the currency market - strike while the iron is hot!

PPS: Bear in mind that your choice of units will narrow if you want a pet-friendly place, and if you want to be able to rent your unit. If you want to rent on a short term basis, it drops to almost zero, so avoid that one if you can.
Web Reference:  http://www.villagrealty.com
1 vote
Debra & Eyal…, Agent, Miami Beach, FL
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Hi Rachel
I think it's important for you to create your checklist of priorities of what you Must Have vs Would Like to Have. Think about location, size, views, ammenities of building etc. Also because we have experienced such a turmolt in the Mortgage industry it is just as important for you to check out the finances of the condo building as it is your own. You want to make sure there are not too many foreclosures or short sales in the building you like as this may be indicative of owners not paying maintenance which may become a burden to the owners that are.

In terms of when to start - this is your choice. Have you been down here? I think you should plan a trip before the season begins and see what properties match your Checklist. Then you can either plan to buy or put the building on a watchlist (we are able to do this for you and send you notifications every time there is a sale or new listing in the building).

After you know what you want to buy it is a good time to work on your finances. However, note, you should estimate between 30-40% downpayment (mortgage lenders are becoming more stringent by the day), property taxes and maintenance payments should all be factored in to help you work out what your budget is. Also watch the dollar exchange rate as this is crucial to saving you the most money.

If you are definitely planning on purchasing you might want to open a US Dollar bank account and when the rates are good for you, exchange your Canadian Dollar for a US Dollar and have the money waiting for you when you are ready to buy.

Ultimately the timing will work out for you when you have your decisions made. If you want to own something for this winter season I would suggest you start your search soon while there are less snowbirds down here and perhaps your chances of getting that great deal are greater.

Either way, we welcome you here as a new neighbor!!!!

Debra Golan
Web Reference:  http://www.golanteam.com
0 votes
Wenceslao Fe…, , 33140
Thu Jun 12, 2008
Hi Rachel. Any closer to a decision? Consider that, because of NAFTA, there are many advantages for Canadian citizens to do business in the USA.

Financing is not as big a mystery as you may think and there are many lenders who would consider lending to foreign nationals.

However, depending on why you want to buy in this area, at this time, and this type of property, a professional Realtor could help guide you all the way. Do you intend to own as investment or are you planning a move?

If your intent is to own a second or vacation home, how long do you intend to use it each time you visit? What do you intend to do with it while you're away?

Some buildings restrict the frequency and length of your rentals. Some require tenant approval. Other restrictions may further limit what you intend for the property so, remember to do your homework with a local trusted professional.

How to take title to the property may be as important as any part of your buying decision. Are you looking for a prestine place or are you able and willing to do repairs? If so, what level of repairs would you consider?

Remember, the bigger the mess, the bigger the payoff. A clean, ready to move place may be found at a great price, but an investment bargain deal may best come in the form of a place needing a lot of work.

A professional Realtor who is a Certified Distressed Property Expert can guide you through every step of the process, regardless of which route you choose. Just be aware to tame your expectations either way.

Remember, "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity" so, prepare and embrace success.
0 votes
Joseph Poras, , Miami Beach, FL
Thu Jun 12, 2008
Hi Rachel,

The condo market here in South Beach is an interesting one. Many Europeans and Canadians like yourself are seeing a great opportunity with the weak dollar to buy now. As mentioned in other answers here, some high end condos on the beach are maintaining their selling price. In general, I feel, prices still are adjusting and as long as the Canadian dollar holds strong, look now and make offers in the fall.

Good Luck,
0 votes
Mott Marvin…, Agent, Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Thu Jun 5, 2008
Hello Rachel:

Nobody knows what direction the values will go. I believe that we have already seen the worst of things. There are plenty of bargains out there right now.

Fianancing is easily obtainable here, count on a minimum down payment of 30%. Look into financing options in Canada first- we have a few Canadian Bank here in Miami.
0 votes
Kirsten McAn…, Agent, Panama City Beach, FL
Thu Jun 5, 2008
Panama City Beach in Northwest Florida is a very popular vacation and second home spot with our Canadian neighbors. We are due south and offer beautiful white sand beaches directly on the Gulf of Mexico. With our new international airport scheduled to open in 2010, travel to the area will become direct and affordable, opening us up to the world!

We are currently experiencing a very strong buyers market so your money goes a long way towards wealth building investments. This market, combined with the tremendous benefits of the new int’l airport, brings predictions of good value and profitable appreciation.

PCB offers Gulf-front condos and townhomes, beach cottages, detached single-family homes, golf communities, retirement neighborhoods and wooded inland environments. There are also exciting new developments that will change the landscape of this region forever - there will be something for everyone from the new Oceanside Pier Park entertainment center to Wild Kingdom Animal Park to fishing at the new Pier and boardwalk! And, much more is on the horizon – we are hoping to be a stop for the Disney cruise ships. We have a lot to offer everyone!

CLICK the link below to read and learn about Panama City Beach, Florida, USA.

Search all properties that are for sale in PCB and surrounding areas here: http://www.coastal-lifestyles.com

Please let me know how Keller Williams Success Realty and I can be of further assistance.

Kirsten McAndrew, Realtor
Keller Williams Success Realty
Panama City Beach, Florida 32413
Web Reference:  http://www.pcbeach.org
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu Jun 5, 2008

Your question is the most often asked question in the current real estate market.........
We feel the best way to approach this is to look today and negotiate next year's prices. Make no mistake, this can be accomplished because of the excessively large inventory that exists and the current level of seller motivation.

The advantage of tossing you hat into the ring at this time is being able to identify the best place at the best price. As the market strength returns and inventory deminishes, you will not benefit from the great selection that is out there today.

An aggressive agent with strong negotiation skills would be most desirable.

Best of luck,

The "Eckler Team"
Century 21 Almar and Associates
Venice, Fl 34285
0 votes
Kevin Tomlin…, Agent, Miami Beach, FL
Wed Jun 4, 2008
I would expect prices generally to continue to decline over the summer months, though some "prime buildings" are holding or even going up. It really depends, more than ever, what you are looking to purchase

With regard to obtaining a mortgage, you could start in Canada or do it here. You may feel most comfortable talking to a mortgage rep in Miami and Canada. It will benefit you greatly to have a head start on the mortgage process.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more