Along with California and Arizona, Florida is among one of the most popular States that many Canadians have decided to invest their real estate dollars in. I had a realtor friend of mine, from Florida, write a guide to buying in Florida to help answer some questions.
Canadian Snowbird Rules
Before I was in real estate I used to travel to Canada when I worked in the textile industry. The city was beautiful and the people were awesome. However, I enjoyed visiting in the summer as winters were miserable. It was much more enjoyable visiting Florida between October – April!
It’s no wonder why we have such a huge Canada snowbird population in the Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens area. Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens are about 50,000 each in population; not too small and not too overpopulated make Cincinnati residents feel right at home in our area. Jupiter has land directly on the Atlantic Ocean while Palm Beach Gardens is a few minutes away, with North Palm Beach and Juno Beach directly on the Atlantic. Downtown Palm Beach is 20 minutes away and Boca Raton is 40 minutes south. Tons of golf courses, boating, seafood restaurants, and fabulous beaches make this area paradise.
Here are 6 essential tips a Canadian needs to know if you are considering a move to Palm Beach County, Florida.
- What Foreign Nationals Need to Know About Buying a Second Home in the U.S. Focus on existing properties in established developments to avoid the problems with builder defaults. If you are getting a loan, its pets to prequalify. Some lenders require that buyers places closing costs plus 12 months of PITI in a U.S. back account. More money down may be required. Taxes, property insurance, and selling a home over $300,000 under FIRPTA must be considered. Read more
- AS-IS Contracts Versus Traditional Residential Contract For Sale And Purchase The definition of AS-IS in Florida means you have a negotiated period of time (usually 10 days) to cancel without penalty. A sales purchase contract means the Seller is responsible for certain repairs. However, you can’t cancel this contract at your sole discretion. Make sure you know which contract you are signing. Read more
- Time is of the Essence There are no binders. The closing day is the settlement day. We have no “On or About” clauses. If you don’t close on settlement day, be prepared to lose your deposit and be responsible to close anyway.
- Taxes Forget what the current owner is paying in taxes. Homestead owners (Florida resident who lives 6 months + 1 day per year) gets $50,000 off their tax base. Plus, their taxes can only go up 3% a year. What the current owner is paying now is irrelevant. As a rule of thumb, figure 2.0% to 2.1% of the assessed value. The taxes you see in the property records are usually based upon 85% of the assessed value.
- Do’s & Don’ts Mold, termites, hurricanes, and alligators. There are lots of things that will affect resale. All of these are items you need to be aware of that can affect the resale ability of your purchase. Mold is natural and usually can be dealt with. Termites are native to Florida and I’ve never seen more than $3,000 damage in over 450 sales. I recommend a separate inspection for each. Impact glass or accordion hurricane shutters give great peace of mind and will keep insurance costs low. I can help find vendors for installation or for insurance quotes if need be. Yes, alligators do live here. Don’t swim in lakes and don’t feed them. They are afraid of us and attacks are highly uncommon. There is a much better chance of Goldie hurting you on a roundabout than an alligator attack.
- Mandatory Golf Membership Clubs Many country clubs have mandatory club membership dues & fees. These can range from $4,000 to $275,000 for initiations. It’s important you know what the development’s rules are before you fall in a love with a home. Country Club Cost Comparison
If you’d like to learn more about the area, our city community pages have video tours of the city. Community pages have videos and write-ups about every development. Our Florida Real Estate Search page lets you put in your criteria. Look for an oceanfront condo, golf community home, or just a quiet home near the beach. If you have any questions, I’m just an email away at jeff@JeffRealty.com or directly at (561) 346-8383. While we have to import “Canadian Bacon”, our seafood cevices and frozen margaritas under the Florida sun will make you forget those miserable Canadian January days!
Jeff Lichtenstein is originally from Chicago and has been a Realtor in Florida since 2001. Jeff’s wife, Veronica, Sam, his 13-year old son, and Jade, his 8-year-old daughter have resided in Jupiter ever since.