The Home Buying Process Explained
The process to purchase a home in Florida for a foreign citizen is much the same as for United State’s citizen. To begin the process, here is what needs to happen (in order): If you are going to require U.S. financing, you will need to start arrangements for that prior to your arrival in the U.S. Contact us for several lending options.
If you plan on putting a mortgage on your personal residence and use the cash to purchase it here, you should have that underway before you start to look at homes. It’s good to have a budget and stick with it.
Prior to your coming to Florida, we’ll have exchanged many phone calls and emails. I want to make sure I know what it is that you want in a home and area. We will have a lot narrowed down before your arrival here.
Let me know if you need some recommendations for accommodations during your visit to Florida. If you are planning on having the purchase happen during your stay, please make sure that you allow for at least a week’s stay.
Once you arrive, I will pick you up at your hotel or wherever you might be staying. If you are unsure of the area you want to live in, then you should plan on 3 days for touring the city and deciding on an area (we can absolutely do it in less time though).
Upon your decision of a particular property, we will begin the contract process:
Determine the value of the home vs. the offer you want to submit
Once the offer is received, the seller generally has 24 to 48 hours to either accept, counter offer or reject your offer. If it’s a bank-owned property or “short sale” the acceptance period will be longer.
Upon acceptance of a mutually agreeable contract, we will open up escrow with our title company. This is when your deposit is deposited with the escrow company. The money is fully refundable to you until the Buyer Inspection Period (generally 10 days) is over. Once contingencies have been removed, your money goes “hard.”
When escrow has been opened, the following things take place with the Title and Escrow Company:
Earnest money to be deposited with a Title company or attorneys escrow account in U.S. Dollars via wire transfer (must take exchange rate and bank conversion fee into consideration so that sufficient funds are deposited).
Title Commitment will be issued disclosing status of title along with copies of documents pertaining to subject property such as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. This documentation may be sent to Buyer via e-mail.
You will receive an opening letter with contact information for Escrow Agent along with Escrow Instructions, Buyer Information Request, and Buyer Identity Statement forms, to be completed, signed, and returned to Escrow Agent for processing the file.
You will need to choose how they are taking title to subject property. There are several options in Florida. If Buyer will be taking title in a Trust, a complete copy of the Trust must be submitted to Escrow Agent in advance of the closing date to allow sufficient time for review and approval by the underwriter.
Buyer must obtain homeowners insurance to be in place effective with the close of escrow date. If a cash sale, Escrow Agent does not need to be provided with Evidence of Insurance. If a loan is being obtained from a U.S. Lender, the Buyer will generally provide the Lender with their insurance agent’s contact information and Lender will order an Evidence of Insurance with the proper mortgagee clause.
At this time we will start undergoing the inspections. You will be provided with several companies in which you can choose from to do a complete home inspection and also Termite inspections. A home inspection is not mandatory, but it highly recommended so you know the condition of the home you’re going to purchase. A Termite Inspection is recommended for all home purchases to make sure that you are not buying a home that has any wood destroying organisms.
You will also be given a “Seller Property Disclosure Statement” if available, during this time to assist you in determining the condition of the property:It is common in Florida for a termite inspection to reveal the presence of termites. If they are found during the inspection period, then we will request that the seller treat the termites as well as provide you with a 1 – 2 year warranty.If other things are found wrong with the home (not cosmetic items), then you may also ask the seller to make repairs or give you a credit for you to do the repairs yourself. Any requests for repairs will be done within 10 days of contract acceptance on a form called the “Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response”.
Once the Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response is delivered to the Seller, they have 5 days in which to respond. During this period they Buyer may elect to cancel the contract if the Seller is unwilling to make requested repairs. If the home is NEW, then Step 8 is not required since all new homes are covered by the Builders Warranty.
Within a few days before the scheduled close of escrow, the Buyer and their Agent will perform a final walk thru to make sure that all of the agreed upon repairs have been made. Once done, the Title Company will be instructed to proceed with the final closing documents.
Your funds should be wired to the title company 3 days prior to close of escrow. On the closing day, the ownership documents will be recorded with the County Recorder’s Office and you will be given the keys to your new home!
Foreign Buyers and Sellers