Now is the Time for Foreign Investment in Florida

Foreing Investment in FloridaThe diminished value of the U.S. Dollar is still offering the opportunity to make money for foreigners who invest in real estate in Florida.

With the rise in short-sales and foreclosures, foreign investors are able to buy properties for a low cost. Investors are able to buy a multi-family home for the cost of an efficient apartment in their own country.

In addition, because many Floridians are now renting instead of buying, there is an opportunity to make a true investment that will gain profit not only from an eventual resale, but also through renting out properties such as condos, which many foreign investors are buying in bulk.

Management and repair costs are also lower in Florida than in many foreign countries. Foreign investors who rent out some properties are estimated to receive a 10-15% return rate.

Even if you are looking to buy a second home on one of Florida’s sunny beaches, renting the property out on a seasonal basis can still result in profit gain (not to mention a nice place to get away.)

Foreign investment in Florida is becoming more popular, and, as a result, the number of properties available is diminishing, and the price of these properties is expected to increase as the demand does. The trend is already in full affect in South Florida areas such as Miami, and it is expected to be replicated in other coastal areas of Florida in a South to North pattern.

Sources: Condo Owner, Equity First

*Image courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

Short Sales for Non-Delinquent Borrowers in Florida and Across the U.S.

Starting TODAY, for the first time ever, borrowers, in Florida and across the U.S., who have never missed a mortgage payment will be able to short sell their houses if they can demonstrate a hardship, such as loss of employment or the death of a spouse.

This new rule will allow for underwater homeowners to get rid of their mortgage and also take advantage of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which is expected to expire at the end of the year.

Previously, only delinquent borrowers have been eligible for short sales.

There is a downside. The average person suffers a 150 point credit score loss after a short sale. This will be no different for non-delinquent homeowners because there is no special coding that differentiates them from those who went months without paying their mortgages.

Photo courtesy of stockfreeimages.comThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is currently in discussions with the credit industry to determine if and how this new law will affect credit scoring, but no solution has been found as of yet.

If you are considering a short sale, you should consult an attorney to discuss your options. There are many things changing in the housing market, and it is important to have all of the facts before making a decision.

Source: Inman News

Don’t Be A Victim: Fraudulent Out-of-Country Buyers

Most foreign property buyers have a legitimate interest in buying a property in the U.S. However, the increased number of scams in the real estate market from fraudulent out of state buyers have increased, causing title companies and real estate attorneys to lose time and money.

How the scams are conducted:

The first person that is contacted by the fraudulent party is usually the real estate agent. After they inquire about the property, they send information proving that they have the funds to purchase the property, and then ask to be referred to an attorney.

After the “buyer” gets in contact with the attorney, he sends a fake cashier’s check and asks the attorney to deposit the check in a trust account. Once the scammer knows the check is in the trust account, he will come up with an excuse to ask for the money back and have it deposit in a foreign bank account. When the attorney’s bank realizes that the check was fake it will be too late to recover the money that was drawn from the attorney’s trust account.

In most instances where scams take place, the prospective client will use an email address from one of the large services instead of a personal website address, claim to be a professional with a title that suggests wealth, or mainly be interested in land that is vacant. To avoid these scams, the first thing real estate agents should do is to confirm the identity of the client by verifying through a letter that the person is the true owner of the record.

Property Appraisals Required for Risky Mortgages

New proposed federal rules will require consumers with high-risk mortgage loans and people whose interest rates are above the average prime offer interest rates, to obtain property appraisals. Since the current Average Primer Offer Rate (APOR) is around 3.64 percent only, consumers with a typical mortgage of 5.14 percent or higher would have to get an appraisal. If the loan amount is above conventional loan limits, a rate higher than 6.4 percent would require the property to be appraised.

To prevent fraud using inflated appraisals, the seller of a home who bought it at a lower price in the six months before selling it will be required to obtain a second appraisal.

The rule is open for public comment until October 15, 2012. The Federal Reserve has posted more information about the rule, including a way to contact the issuing agencies, on its website.

Information obtained from: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=279791

Federal Laws to Be Aware of in Real Estate Sales

How to Invest in Real Estate?

As the prices of real estate are getting lower and lower, it is easier for average people to invest in real estate.

According to Investopedia, there are five simple ways to invest in real estate, which are:

  1. Buying rental properties- this is a good source of income once the mortgage is paid off (if applicable) as the rents usually cover the mortgage, taxes and costs of maintaining the property.
  2. Find a Real Estate Investment group- the companies help investors buy through the company and will maintain and manage the property for the investor.
  3. Real Estate Trading- this is pretty much known as “flipping” properties, which is purchasing the property for a short period of time, and then sell after a couple of months for profit.
  4. Real Estate Investment Trust- A REIT is created when a corporation (or trust) uses investors’ money to purchase and operate income properties. These are like stock.
  5. Leverage- this is when have leverage to play around with the investment because the interest on the mortgage is low, or you have enough equity in the home.  

Real Estate can be a great long term investment for you, your family or business. If you have any Real Estate questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Information obtained from Source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/investopedia/article/How-Much-Money-Do-You-Need-To-Invest-In-Real-3700843.php

Home prices fall for the year, but there are good signs recently

As home prices continued to fall nationwide over the past year, there is some good news on the horizon. Prices continued to fall from November to January; however, February was a month that showed some slight increases. One of those increases was in the price of new homes. The price of new homes rose 6.1% and the price for “existing homes rose .3%” sparking what may be a renewed confidence in home buying.

In Florida, hope remains. Although the Miami and Tampa Bay areas showed drops in prices in January, the drops were smaller than the average of the 20 metropolitan areas nationwide for which statistics were published. In fact, Miami showed gains in the price of homes in February and was one of four metropolitan areas out of the 20 that showed an increase in homes prices over the last twelve months. Slight changes in the price of homes may not be a great indicator of things to come, but it does lend hope for the coming months. If the economy can pick up and the number of jobs increases nationwide, then some stability in the housing market may indeed follow close behind.

Information for this article was obtained at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/case-shiller-home-prices-fall-in-january-2012-03-27?dist=countdown and http://www.marketwatch.com/story/city-by-city-breakdown-of-home-prices-2012-03-27?dist=afterbell.

Florida ranked first in 2011 home sales to Canada

According to the National Association of Realtors 2011 Profile of International Buying Activity, Florida is one of the top choices because of their favorable winter climate. “In fact, 58 percent of all international sales in 2011 came from just four states: Florida at 31 percent, followed by California at a distant 12 percent, Texas accounted for nine percent and Arizona at six percent.”

Location, location, location- even for international buyers this what they look for. “Forty-three percent of those surveyed report a favorable location as their clients’ most important factor when choosing where to purchase. That was followed by 27 percent who stated their clients’ top reason to buy in the U.S. was that they view U.S. real estate as a profitable investment.”

“The NAR profile also showed that in the 12-month-period ending March of 2011, Canadians accounted for 23 percent of all foreign buyers – the largest of any country. In a 2010 article, Canada’s largest daily newspaper The Globe and Mail reported that a vast majority of Canadians were paying cash for their purchase.”

“There are few lenders who have a mortgage process tailored for Canadians looking to purchase a home in the U.S.,” said Sheila Blom, Florida mortgage market manager for M&I, a part of BMO Financial Group. “Our parent company is based in Toronto, so naturally we have relationship products specifically designed to meet the needs of Canadian customers for purchasing or refinancing their primary residence, second home or investment property in the U.S.”

If you are interested in purchasing property in the U.S. specifically Florida, contact us today, we will be happy to guide you in the right direction throughout the whole real estate process.

Information from this article was obtained from the Florida Realtor News & Events.

Supply and Demand do not Apply

Basic economics will teach you that when supply is up demand will be down and when demand is up supply will be down. This is not the case when it comes to the availability of affordable housing provided from November statistics. Apparently the number of available houses is up and so it the number of home sales. With mortgage rates being at almost record lows, homebuyers who have not been able to afford homes the past few years are able to get out there and sign contracts. There is really no end in sight in the near future.

As more foreclosures loom in the coming New Year, increasing availability of affordable housing also comes into the New Year. More homes in foreclosure means there will be more houses that need to be sold and will likely be sold at lower prices. These lower prices coupled with lower mortgage rates will result in more buyers, first time and otherwise, being able to afford a previously lived in house. The New Year looks to bring a stability back to the market and a resurgence in the American dream.

Information for this article was taken from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-29/pending-u-s-home-sales-climb-more-than-forecast-7-3-on-declining-prices.html.

Confidence on the Rise

Over the past year, home prices in the United States have decreased at a slower pace. This suggests possible stability to the market coming in early 2012. The signs of stability are a result of fewer unsold homes on the market, an increase in new home construction, and a rise in builder confidence. For those looking to build or buy homes this is good news. The Federal Reserve has stated that it will keep the benchmark interest rate near zero until at least the summer of 2013. In addition, it experts have shown that many home payments are actually less than some rental payments now.

For homebuyers looking to secure financing or just looking for help buying a home, Boyer Law Firm can help. We have experience helping clients with a number of issues relating to real estate. If you would like legal help with the purchase or sale of real estate, please call the Boyer Law Firm Today.

Information taken from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-27/home-prices-in-u-s-probably-fell-at-slower-pace-as-market-gained-traction.html. Please read the article for more information.

Prices Up, Foreclosures Remains

A number of areas in South Florida have seen a rise in the median list price of houses and other properties over the past year.  Those areas have seen increases in the median list prices for home sales between 15% and as high as 29.5%.  This does not mean that the housing market is back and stable, but it does show hope for Floridians looking to sell and others looking to buy.  The state continues to see foreclosures from north to south and the state’s foreclosure inventory continues to grow.

Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of certain things when contemplating the buying or selling of a house.  Is the market on the upswing or the downswing, can I afford this house, does the seller have good title, what are my options to close, can I put conditions on the sale of my house?  These and other questions are some that people often never ask, but can be important to the seller, the buyer, or both.  If you are thinking about buying or selling property and you need questions answered, or you want the comfort of having an experienced attorney on your side, then please call the Boyer Law Firm.  We are here to help.

To read more on this article: http://www.housingwire.com/2011/12/15/median-home-list-prices-rise-4-05-over-last-year

Do you have a real estate attorney?

Below is a really informative video on why it is so important to hire a Florida real estate attorney that knows specific laws and regulations in your area, such as Miami, Orlando or Jacksonville.

Some of the main advantage points of hiring a real estate attorney is:

– Ensuring that you receive clear title to your new property;
– Drafting and explaining to you the appropriate documents;
– Finalize closing and register the deed in your name.

Your real estate agent cannot legally guide you through a real estate contract, so you should get additional assistance from a Florida real estate lawyer.

Why Real Estate Attorneys are so Important

Below is a really informative video on why it is so important to hire a Florida real estate attorney that knows specific laws and regulations in your area, such as Miami, Orlando or Jacksonville.

Some of the main advantage points of hiring a real estate attorney is:

– Ensuring that you receive clear title to your new property;
– Drafting and explaining to you the appropriate documents;
– Finalize closing and register the deed in your name.

Your real estate agent cannot legally guide you through a real estate contract, so you should get additional assistance from a Florida real estate lawyer.

Please do not hesitate to contact Boyer Law Firm in your real estate matter.

Tips for Canadians Purchasing Property in Florida

Many Canadians want to buy property in Florida whether it is a vacation home, an investment property or a second residence. Florida offers a variety of lifestyles from beachfront property, to life on the Intracoastal. However, Canadians often have the same questions when inquiring about Florida real estate:

– How much do I have to pay in taxes?
– Will I get taxed on any gains after selling the property?
– Will I get taxed in Canada?

Let us begin with choosing the right property in Florida which meets your needs. Due to the U.S. economy, many Canadians are looking to buy property in the U.S. since housing rates have plummeted. In deciding on the property, always look at the community you are buying into. The economy has affected both good and bad communities. As a Canadian, you will want to invest in a community which will regain value once the economy improves. If you are looking for good deals, short sales are always a good option. A property in short sale is one that has not been completely repossessed by the lender. One thing to remember with a short sale is that they can take up to six months to finalize. Any offer the seller receives from a buyer is subject to the bank’s approval.

Secondly, some Canadians are not aware of the cost of condo fees or homeowner association fees when deciding on property. You may be able to find a condo unit on the beach for $80,000 due to foreclosures or short sales. However you may also find a condominium with several unoccupied units and other unit owners on the verge of bankruptcy. The owners of the units who have not declared bankruptcy and are still able to make payments will suffer the cost of increased condo fees. This includes Canadians acquiring property. Condo fees are based on the costs of maintaining the building. The fees are dispersed evenly among the unit owners (depending on the size and location of the unit there will be fee difference). If a building is losing owners, the condo fees will be dispersed to those owners who remain. Although the $80,000 condo seemed like the deal of the century, the extra $500 in condo fees are not.

If you are interested in purchasing property in Florida, please contact Boyer Law Firm, as we will be happy to help you in your needs.