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UK Buyer Experience

UK nationals love Florida. And they love the current exchange rate even more. In the last 10 days, we completed two property purchase transactions for UK clients. One client lives south of London. The other is from northern Ireland. Both purchased beautiful waterfront vacation homes in Cape Coral.

Their parting words before heading back: “It was so much easier than we thought it would be! Thank You.”

The thought of purchasing property in another country is daunting, but the process is much smoother and faster than most non-US residents think. Our London client said that what took him just a few days in Cape Coral would have taken him months to do in the UK. We completed all the critical steps in the purchase transaction, from seeing many properties and choosing the best of the best, to writing the contracts and completing negotiations, to getting the home inspection done (equivalent to a survey in the UK), to getting all of the paper work and wire transfers completed.

Now that the key steps are done, we facilitate the remaining activities required for closing and communicate progress and status with the clients on a regular basis. The actual closing will occur via overnight mail. The buyers do not need to return to Florida to close the transaction and take possession of the property.

The keen efficiency of the process boils down to three key elements. The first is that the SageRealtor Group does a lot of proactive work to prepare for the client’s visit, the objectives, and the properties that will be of interest. This preparation includes educating our client on the process, the contracts, what to expect at each step of the way, and how best to protect their interests. The second is that the Florida’s real estate contracts and processes are wonderfully standardized and highly regulated by the state.  The third is that there are no government hurdles to jump through and no special requirements of European buyers. The process is the same as it is for us.

Outside of the real estate purchase itself, both clients were quite impressed with other services they received. While at a local bank, both clients were delighted with how friendly the bank personnel were and how little time it took to set up local accounts with online bill pay features. Both could not believe the speed and thoroughness of the inspection team and how quickly we could get the inspection scheduled. And of course, both enjoyed lovely weather, savored relaxing boat cruises on our ’31 Tiara (there is nothing like seeing SouthWest Florida from the water), and are thrilled with the purchases they made (our Irish client is 6 foot 5 inches tall and a strong man; he picked Dave up off the ground when he heard the news that he got the house he wanted at the price he wanted… I guess he was, as he’d say, a wee bit happy.)

From our side, we too were impressed and our now fortunate to call them our friends. Thoughtful and courteous, funny and warm, fair and honest, and full of life. We’ve been very lucky these last few days to have the opportunity to get to know them and look forward to their speedy return when they vacation for the first time in their new waterfront homes.

Related Post: Foreign Ownership of Vacation Property

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Ken
    Thanks for your question on our SW Florida Blog. I’ll do my best to help with your inquiries and or direct you to some resources that may help.

    As Realtors Our area of practice is from Naples in the South to Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda Isles in the North including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Beach, and Burnt Store Marina area. The Prices for Sailboat access Properties in Punta Gorda Isles and Cape Coral will be significantly lower than the Sarasota Bradenton Area. We are powerboaters but know that Burnt Store and Punta Gorda Isles would be the best for your needs in terms of access to deep open water via Charlotte Harbor and the Boca Grande Pass.

    Cape Coral may also work with all of its Sailboat access canals. Punta Gorda Isles is centrally located between Tampa and FortMyers both having international airports. Once we have a better understanding of your needs and desires we can send representative listings to give you an idea of values. In the meanwhile here are some links that you may find interesting Burnt Store Marina, Cape Harbor , , and Sanibel Captiva. Also view this link for a detailed description of the different types of Gulf of Mexico boating access.

    Generally Speaking Sailboat Access single family homes in the area range from 400k and up. Condos are 275k and up with the best values in Punta Gorda Isles and Cape Coral. Burnt Store Marina has the largest marina on the West Coast with 520 slips and a variety of condo and home options from 250k and up.

    As you know there are a myriad of programs. While not a immigration lawyer I would assume that multiple 90 day stays in a year under the waiver program would not be viewed favorably by US immigration I will however ask around to see if there is anyone who has done it this way. We have quite a few UK clients and friends that use a B-2 visa and are here for 6 month stays at a time. The following link to Gudrun Nickels Website (a well respected attorney in this area) has a synopsis of the other programs available.

    Punta Gorda is about 1.5 hrs from the Tampa airport. Another option is the Fort Myers (SouthWest Florida International Airport), which is about an hour from Punta Gorda and 30 minutes from Cape Coral.

    I hope this helps a bit. Please respond with any questions or if you would like some listings to review. We remain at your service.


    January 4, 2007
  2. Ken Pike #

    Hi there

    I am based in the u.k.have purchased a sailboat in Bradenton. In a marina for first six months. Thinking about having a property on that coast with a boat slip. Would like your suggestions if possible of nicer areas. happy to be anywhere within an hour or so of tampa airport.

    Could you also give some advice re visas? I would come over regularly to the property/boat on a visa waiver programme . Is there a limit to the total time or no of 90 days that I may come per year.

    Any advice appreciated

    regards Ken Pike

    January 4, 2007

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