Buying a property in Florida

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brunborgNew Member
Topic author
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Location: Quebec

Buying a property in Florida

Post Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:26 am

Hi,

I'm a new user here (this is my first topic) and from the beginning I want to say that I found your forum really helpful.
I'm looking to buy a condo in Florida and I want to find as much info as possible.
I did a search on the internet and on few real-estate forums, I found some stuff but it's not enough, I still need some information.
Here is my plan and what I want to find out: I plan to buy a 2bdrs condo in Florida, in the area between Ft Lauderdale and West Palm beach and I'm thinking to pay 30% down payment and for the difference I will use a mortgage .I plan to stay there less than a month per year, at the beginning. I don't want to rent the property in the first years.
I need to know:
1) What are the property taxes for a non-resident in Florida (some real examples, if possible) ? I know the average taxes for non-residents are much higher than what the local residents are paying.
2) Is it possible to obtain a mortgage from a local US bank ? (I work in Montreal, so I have no income in the US). Or I can get a mortgage from a Canadian bank (I have no property in Canada)?
3) What else I need to pay when I buy a property there ? I know that there is no "welcome tax" but the notary fees are higher, there is some closing fee, etc. Also the insurance it's quite expensive because of the tropical storms.
4) What else I have to consider before buying there ?

My plan is to buy this property only for my family, so I don't expect income from it, at least in the first few years.
Thank you for any help or suggestion.
Last edited by brunborg on Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
brunborgNew Member
Topic author
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Location: Quebec

Post Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:36 am

To be more specific, this is an example of what I'm thinking to buy(West Palm Beach area):
.
Property Details
Price $xxxxx
Bedrooms 2 BR
Bathrooms 1.00 BTH
Living Area 1,100 SQ. FT.

Description
2 BR 1 BATH WITH ATTACHED GARAGE. HOA FEE INCLUDES DIRECT TV, HIGH SPEED INTERNET, AND SECURITY.[u]
.
Main Features
Type Condo/Townhouse
County Palm Beach
Status For Sale
Taxes $1,800.00
Year Built 2003
Tax Year 2007
Garage 1
Zoning 000000
Floors 1
Subdivision xxxx
Full Bath 1
brunborgNew Member
Topic author
Posts: 4
Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Location: Quebec

Post Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:36 am

Nobody can help me :(
StevenCanuckAbroad VIP
Posts: 3699
Topics: 6
Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary

Post Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:07 pm

1) If it's your principal residence (and for that you must be a US citizen or an LPR) then you can get a $50,000 homestead exemption in Florida, which means the assessed value is reduced by that amount, the millage rate is usually around 21, i.e. 2.1% but you'd have to check with the local property appraiser's office. People with homestead exemptions also have a cap of 3% on increases in tax but that isn't a big issue at the moment with everything going down in value.

The property tax issue is why you have to be really careful buying property in Florida.

2) Depends on the bank, but it's usually best to do it in Canada if you live in Canada as you're insulated against exchange rate changes.

3) Insurance is expensive, it's actually done by the State if you live close enough to the coast. You'd need to check with an agent. The other fees are not a big deal, just the usual stuff like realtor's fees.

4) Condo fees are the big one.
Steve.
bcboyNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Location: Cowtown Alberta

Post Thu Oct 30, 2008 4:15 pm

Hi brunborg. I am meeting with folks in November to look at buying around Sarasota, Florida in November. I'll let you know how it goes.

I found that you need to carefully look at property taxes, because it is your biggest risk. If it was owned by a resident, you need to find out from the county what the actual (non-homestead) assessment and taxes will be, because what they list as taxes for a resident in the MLS probably won't be anywhere near what you'll be forced to pay. My realtor in Sarasota said, at least for that area, expect to pay 1.5% in taxes. You should check with someone in the part of Florida you are looking in. There are stories of non-residents having their assessment and taxes going up 70% in a year, however earlier this year Florida put through Amendment 1 that caps the non-resident assessment increases to 10% a year so in theory your taxes shouldn't increase more than that. Of course, while your assessment is capped, there's no limit on how much they can increase the mill rate.

I saw something that if your property is 2002 or newer, the wind damage portion of your insurance is a lot cheaper, or if its older than 2002 and has certain wind protection features installed. Permanent shutters are good, so is Miami-Dade rated doors. A "hip" roof, which is a pyramid shaped roof with no flat vertical sides, instead of a gabled roof will reduce your premium. You need to find out if the property is at risk for flood plains or sink holes as well; that will boost your insurance. Search the web; there's good info on what to look for hurricane-wise when buying a place.

Apparently a Canadian bank with a big presence in the US has a program specific for Canadians buying in Florida. While other banks may need 50% down from Canucks, this mortgage I'm told only requires 25%. However I heard too that if you can get a mortgage in Canada instead, you'd probably get better rates.

I wonder, with the cost of condo fees, sometimes you can buy a small house and pay a bigger mortgage payment with what you save in condo fees. Or maybe not. Something to think about. I guess if you're not renting it out, you probably want the maintenance-free experience the condo has.

This is all stuff I just read off the web, so don't depend on it and do your own research. When I get back from Florida I'll let you know what they tell me. If you're buying, we should keep in touch here.
bobgiggerNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 14 Feb 2009

Re: Buying a property in Florida

Post Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:26 am

Good day to all, My wife and I are seriously thinking about buying a Condo in Florida specifically around St-Petersburg - Clearwater - Tampa, basically on the West side. Financially I'm in Military and I have 4 yrs left to pay on my actual house. Would it be better to take an open mortgage in Canada or should I be dealing with an institution in the States, also I am completely ignorant on how to proceed. So I'm looking for advice or pointers from somebody that went through the process. We know the market is presently low with all the Foreclosure and so on. What about taxes, insurance,.......
Help will be greatly appreciated
bobgiggerNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 14 Feb 2009

Re: Buying a property in Florida

Post Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:02 am

Forgot to ask, If any of you has a good point of contact , (agent) that you know can be trusted aname would be gratly appreciated
PortLucieNew Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 15 Feb 2009

Re: Buying a property in Florida

Post Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:43 am

I just bought my second house in Florida and will be moving some furniture by truck in 1-2 weeks from now. What restrictions (if any) are there when crossing the border on a truck full of furniture and personal belongings? Any duties I have to pay? Any paperwork I have to show? Anyone had this experience?

Thank you in advance
Reba

Re: Buying a property in Florida

Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:15 am

I answere you in the other thread where you asked the same question.

Please post in only one place, someone will answer you soon enough.
StevenCanuckAbroad VIP
Posts: 3699
Topics: 6
Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Location: Calgary

Re: Buying a property in Florida

Post Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:47 pm

PortLucie wrote:I just bought my second house in Florida and will be moving some furniture by truck in 1-2 weeks from now. What restrictions (if any) are there when crossing the border on a truck full of furniture and personal belongings? Any duties I have to pay? Any paperwork I have to show? Anyone had this experience?

Thank you in advance


Basically zip, just have a comprehensive packing list with you. If you have controlled items like firearms it gets more complicated.
Steve.

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