THE BUYING GUIDE IN FLORIDA
You want to invest in real estate in Florida but do not know the procedures or processes relating to a purchase? You wonder about the purchasing modalities and various requirements? We have the answers.
The searches led to your dream home, or at least, a satisfying property. The next step is the drafting of the offer. It must be written in the form of a contract and submitted to the seller. The contract (Contract for Sale & Purchase) is a standard document used in all real estate transactions in Florida and approved by the State Bar of lawyers.
The contract can come ‘’back and forth’’ if there are counter offers.
Once accepted, the changes have to be initialed by all signatories and the buyer must then forward a deposit.
If no agreement is reached, the offer becomes null.
Upon signing the contract by both parties, the seller and the buyer, a deposit guarantee, generally equivalent to 10% the amount of the purchase, is required. This amount must be paid in escrow to the real estate lawyer representing the buyer, within 3-5 days of acceptance of the offer by the seller.
‘’If the funds are outside the United States, the deposit must be an international bank transfer, sent directly to the attorney’s escrow account. ”
The duration of a real estate transaction in Florida, from the signing of the sale agreement to the final act, is between 30 and 60 days, the average being 45 days.
The real estate attorney who represents you at signing of the contract guarantees a particular security of transfers of the real property by intervening at all stages of the operation.
He must be insured by a reputable insurance company and recognized by the Florida Bar of lawyers.
“The real estate attorney in the US (Real Estate Attorney or Lawyer) replaces the notary in Quebec.”
The right of cancellation
From the signing date of the contract, there is a 15-day period to have the property inspected and examined by a licensed professional in the state of Florida.
The inspection report, highly detailed with photos, is an account of the general condition of the property and it will show, if present, any obvious or hidden defects as well as possible problems related to property (electricity, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, roofing, termites, etc.).
In case the results of this inspection place you at disadvantage, you have the option to cancel the contract and recover your entire deposit, or negotiate a lower price with the seller.
“An inspection by a professional is not mandatory, but highly recommended”
In Florida, each condominium has a condo association whose function is to enforce condominium regulations, oversee any work in the condominium buildings and resolve any possible neighborhood disputes.
The law requires that a buyer is first approved by the condo association before the transaction can be concluded.
The buyer has to complete and submit to the directors, a detailed form with a copy of his passport, employment and personal information. The file will be reviewed and the process may take up to 15 business days.
‘’The registration fee is payable to the condo association and range from $ 100 to $ 200 according to the residence.”
“This approval is not required as part of buying a villa unless it is inside a community managed by a homeowners association.”
A week before the final signature, or closing, we will send a final order of acquisition count (HUD), including all incidental costs for the purchase, which is called in Canada “notary fees”.
Following receipt of the HUD, the buyer will pay the balance of the amount due in the escrow account of his lawyer, who wrote the final act.
On the day of the closing, it is necessary to do a walkthrough with your real estate agent, to assess the condition of the property in accordance with the terms of the contract. This is part of the agent’s duty and there is no added fees.
The signing of the sale documents can be executed electronically. The keys are remitted by the seller upon the final signature.
“The whole buying process can be done remotely, with the exception of the opening of a bank account.”
If you rent your property
To cash rental income, you must open a bank account to deposit your rental income and keep proper accounting. Opening a bank account is quick and does not require an appointment. Simply present your passport and your driver’s license (or ID).
“We recommend banking institutions such as Citibank and Bank of America which are everywhere in the United States.
In Florida, NatBank, TD Bank, RBC Bank and Desjardins Bank facilitate cross border transactions for Canadians. ”
Our local partners will be delighted to assist you to rent your property. Whether for a long term or short term rental, they have the management skills to make your investment easier to administer.