European Buyers

Comments Off on European Buyers

European Buyers

A very large percentage of my inquiries come from Great Britain, Germany France and other European countries.  Southwest Florida has been a very popular winter destination for all and since the recent economy is improving and the stock market is moving higher we have seen a hefty increase of buyers lately.  Our prices have dropped substantially, and the combination of this with baby boomers around the world planning their retirements makes buying a home in Florida a unique opportunity.

If it’s a waterfront property you are after, you can find an entire section under Naples Waterfront Communities, Naples Beach Communities and Cape Coral Sailboat Communities devoted strictly to waterfront properties on website.

Here are few things you should know about buying a home in Florida, USA:

  • Buying real estate in the U.S. is a fairly simple process. Plenty of properties in South West Florida are owned by foreign nationals from all over the world.
  • We have new international airport in South Ft Myers with direct flights to several European cities. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is centrally located between South Fort Myers and Naples.  It is among the easiest and quickest “in &out the door” airports in the USA, so it’s a great asset to the region.  The number of flights offered to Canada increases dramatically in the cooler months of the year.  Also, Tampa International is about 2 hours away, so is Ft Lauderdale. Miami and Orlando are just a little further, respectively. Rental cars are available at all of them. Try to get one with a GPS system if you will be visiting different areas of Naples through Cape Coral!  The canal system makes for a complex road pattern.
  • Financing is available from U.S. banks, typically up to 65 or 70% of the purchase price. These are referred to as Foreign National loans.  So expect to need 30 – 35% down payments on US purchases.
  • You may consider tapping equity in your Canadian or European property and buying your US home for cash.
  • U.S. mortgages are typically 30 year terms.  15 year term is available also.
  • Rates will be a bit higher for foreigners (foreign nationals).
  • Title insurance is very important. It protects your exclusive ownership rights to the property. I will make sure that this is all handled properly.
  • An appraisal conducted on the property can assist you in verifying the value of the property.
  • A survey can be completed to show where the exact boundaries of the land are.
  • As long as the contract is properly written, you will have, for example, 10 days or so after the offer is executed to conduct any home inspections you wish. This can include a comprehensive overall inspection, a pool inspection, termite, air conditioning, etc.
  • When making an offer on a property an escrow deposit (earnest money deposit) is required, to demonstrate that you have legitimate intent to buy. Amounts are typically $1000-$5000 dollars US on transaction to, say, $200,000. A bit more as you get into pricier properties. This deposit is refundable in the event the home does not pass inspections in the allotted time frame.
  • Closings in Florida are more commonly handled by title companies than by lawyers, though you can certainly hire an attorney if you wish to do so.You will want to use a Florida attorney as opposed to one in your country of origin as they won’t be familiar with the Florida state and U.S. laws.
  • Property taxes are paid annually in Florida. Paying them in November each year will get you a discount. U.S. Federal government taxes will likely apply on the sale of a property in the U.S. (only when there’s a gain).  The State of Florida has no additional income tax.
  • Homeowners insurance includes hurricane coverage.
  • Flood insurance is mandatory in some areas, in other areas it’s not (but is still available).  I will guide my clients through the details.
  • It is customary for appliances to be included with the sale of property here.
  • Cement block construction (CBS) has higher desirability here than frame construction and is cheaper to insure.
  • In general, the newer the home, the cheaper it is to insure.
  • Metal roofs are the strongest, but expensive and only a small % of homes have them.
  • The islands are notably more expensive than the mainland areas of the city.
  • If you are buying a condo note: 1) some will have age restrictions (ex: 55+), 2) some won’t allow pets or have pet size restrictions, 3) condo fees vary greatly and some do include insurance coverage, 4) the minimum # of days for rentals will vary from one community to another.
  • The time frame for a purchase to close is typically about 30 days if financing is involved, perhaps a little less if you are a cash buyer.  Documents of ownership can be mailed to you and closing doesn’t have to occur in person.

Vito Bauer – Principal Realtor “Trusted Source for Homes in Southwest Florida”

Cell: (239) 777-7080, email:


Cell: (239) 777-7080