As I mentioned in my post, "The Canadian Invasion: Why Canucks are Flocking to Lee County," Canadians are accounting for a large number of real estate buyers in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and surrounding communities. Because of this, I wanted to provide a bit of information to Canadians and other international buyers who are looking for property in the Lee County area. Please note: the information below is just a general guide; for specific questions and buying advice, please contact me online or call (239) 410-5821. I'll be happy to help you assist you.
Q) How long can I stay in the U.S.?
A) Generally speaking, most Canadians can stay for up to six months in a year. Any longer than that, and you risk losing your provincial health coverage. Lengthier stays also make things a bit more complicated at tax time.
Q) Is there any difference between getting a U.S. based mortgage and going through a Canadian company?
A) Yes, there are differences. Because you're not a U.S. citizen, lenders will require somewhere between 25 and 50% down payment on a property, and you'll also need enough liquid reserves in a U.S. bank account to cover closing costs, taxes, insurance, and 12 months' worth of principal and interest. The bank could also require you to have up to 6 months' worth of mortgage payments on hand as well. Another difference is that U.S. mortgages are often for 15 or 30-year terms.
Canadians may opt to go through a Canadian lender for their mortgage, or they can go through RBC, which is the U.S. division of Toronto's Royal Bank Financial Group. RBC only requires a 25% down payment on a home.
Q) Can I rent out my SWFL home while I'm back in Canada?
A) Yes, you can. Renting out is a popular option for many international buyers. For one thing, renting out means that the house will be regularly maintained, and will be much more secure than if left vacant. You also have the added bonus of making income from your property when you're not using it. Note however, that if you rent out your SWFL home, you'll need to file a U.S. income tax return.
Q) Do I have to pay property taxes on my Cape Coral home?
A) Yes, you will have to pay property tax on your home in Florida, which is about 10% of the home's assessed value.
Q) Where can I find out about other tax implications?
Canadians need to know quite a bit before purchasing real estate in Southwest Florida. I'll be happy to guide you through not only the technical aspects of buying out-of-country, but I can also provide insight into which areas will garner a solid investment, and which properties will best suit your needs.
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By David Sporleder | Sporleder-Ray Realty Group | email@example.com| Google+