Buying a House in Florida While in Another Country

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Our market is seeing an ever-increasing demand from foreign buyers.  Just yesterday I was talking to a buyer from Germany.  It seems like buyers from England, Canada, Germany, and South America are becoming just as common as buyers from Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois!  Prices are still low -relatively speaking – and most foreign buyers have greater purchasing power due to the currency exchange.  I specifically target buyers in a lot of these countries and have had a lot of success in helping them buy homes here in Florida while being in a foreign land.  Here are a few tips to make it an easier process:

  1. Hire a competent home inspector.  You want to make sure you have a qualified professional inspect the home for you inside and out.  If you live outside the US, it’s probable you won’t be here too often.  Make sure you are aware of as many issues upfront as possible.
  2. Don’t forget to get the electric, cable, internet, and water and sewer all hooked up into your name.  The day you close on the property, the seller will have everything cancelled.  It’s especially important to have that in your name so that you’ll have the A/C running in these hot summer months.
  3. When you have to wire the money to close, make sure you factor in the exchange rate and any bank fees that you will be charged.  Sometimes I see a buyer send a foreign wire so the bank charges them $100, then their funds to close end up being $100 short.  Not that it’s a big deal (it’s more of an annoyance than anything) but it’s easy to do it correctly the first time.
  4. Hire a reputable home watch company.  You’ll want someone to go into your new house every week to make sure the plumbing is working, that nothing is leaking and that the air conditioning is turning on and keeping the house cool.  Every year homeowners come down in the winter to find their house full of mold because their A/C malfunctioned months ago and no one knew about it to have it fixed.
  5. Don’t forget to get your insurance on the home set up.  I see a lot of the foreign buyers paying cash, so you want to make sure you are insuring your investment, just in case something happens.

You do not need to be here to close; most everything can be done electronically and through FedEx.  It makes it extremely easy to buy property while not wasting time and money on the extra trip down here.  If you’d like any recommendations or guidance as a foreign buyer, please let me know.

Gabe Mellein was voted a Top Real Estate Agent – Exceptional in Service and Overall Satisfaction by Gulfshore Life Magazine in 2012 and 2013.  He is the broker of Gulf Pointe Properties, Inc and has over 9 years experience in the SW Florida Real Estate Market.  He is a member of The Naples Area Board of Realtors, Bonita Springs – Estero Association of Realtors, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, The Florida Association of Realtors, The National Association of Realtors, and is nationally certified in Feng Shui for Real Estate.  Need real estate help?  Please contact Gabe at:  239.825.2234,  or


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