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Canadians Buying Southwest Florida Property

Canadian Dollar – US Dollar Exchange Rate Attractive to Canadian Property Buyers

With the exchange rate now once again favoring Canadian buyers, we’ve been hearing from a lot of Canadians looking to take advantage of the low prices in the real estate market here in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, the beaches, and surrounding areas. With low housing prices and a stabilizing market, coupled with the exchange rate, buying a vacation property now is too good to pass up, our Canadian clients say.

So we thought we’d take a moment to answer frequently asked questions that Canadians have when buying homes and condos in Southwest Florida.

Q: Do Canadians pay more in property tax than other residents?

A: No. Canadians pay the same property tax than other Florida part-time residents pay.  Here’s a link for more on property tax for nationals and internationals.

Q: Is there a sales tax due when buying a property?

A: No. There are some state “documentary stamps” – essentially filing fees – due at closing but they are nominal. The fees due vary if you are paying cash for the purchase or if you are financing. Read about closing costs here.

Q: If I am only in my Florida home seasonally, say 4 to 6 months out of the year, who takes care of my home or condo while I’m away?

A: For some, the idea of owning a property far away from home is new and a bit daunting. But rest assured, it’s business as usual in our neck of the woods and there are several options for keeping your property safe and secure while you’re away. Many Canadian snowbirds rely on neighbors – it’s a darn friendly place here and neighbors look out for each others property just as a natural and right thing to do. Additionally, there are professional firms that specialize in “home watch” and property management services for a reasonable fee. Read more about Canadian Snowbird Vacation Property FAQs here.

Q: Should I get a condo versus a single family home because condos are low-maintenance?

A: Not necessarily. Condo or townhouse buildings are indeed low-maintenance (exterior, grounds, community pool, etc.).  Yet many who prefer single family homes (say on a Cape Coral waterfront canal) find that hiring services to maintain the pool and lawn is easy and reasonably priced. Again, friendly neighbors are a good help as well as professional home watch and/or property mangement services.

Q: Who pays for your real estate services?

A: The seller pays the sales commission. The seller is hiring the services of real estate professionals to find a willing and able buyer for the property.

Q: Why Is it Beneficial if You Search Properties For Me?

A: If you are not familiar with the neighborhoods, we save you a lot of time and frustration. Our expertise and experience on neighborhoods, pending assessments, construction details, association fees, and location, location, location is what we put to work for you. Instead of searching and searching only to find out that what appears on the surface to be a great house is not…. Let us do the leg work for you.

Q: I see the terms “sold AS-IS” in many of the listings. Are these distressed properties that I should stay away from?

A: Generally speaking the AS-IS stipulation in the listing data is not a concern and does not indicate that the home is woefully in need of work. What it means is that the seller will accept only the AS-IS contract, a standard Florida FAR/BAR approved contract – Florida Association of Realtors the Florida legal BAR (as are all the contracts we used). Most of the contracts we right are AS-IS even on brand new homes or condos.

The As-is contact stipulates that the buyer has the right to inspect the property and can cancel the purchase contract for any reason. The other contract (non, as-is, or “standard” contract) stipulates a pre-negotiated amount that the seller will pay for any repairs needed for defects discovered during the inspection. Typically that is 1.5% of the purchase price. So when the listing says being sold “as is” it means the seller is saying up-front that they are not going to agree in advance to a repair allowance.

So for example, let’s say the inspector says the pool pump should be replaced. In an as-is contract, the buyer can decide whether or not that is an issue worthy of cancelling the purchase contract or the buyer can decide that they still want the home and proceed with the purchase (and replace the pool pump at his/her own expense). At the end of the day, everything is negotiable. But the key difference between the two contracts is that there is no pre-arranged repair allowance in an AS-IS purchase.

Q: Is home property insurance difficult to get?

A: For most Canadians buying property in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita and surrounding areas, obtaining homeonwers insurance is straighforward. If you are considering buying in Coastal Areas (Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Beach, Captiva) it might be a bit more difficult, but to date all of our clients have had no problems getting coverage.

Property insurance (wind/fire and flood) varies greatly given the size of the home, its age, construction type, location and so on. Here is one example for illustration:

The Home: 1997 construction, 2200 sqft under air, sailboat access canal, replacement value $300,000 (cost to rebuild the home on its present site). The Annual Insurance Expense: $1900 wind and fire, $600 flood. Flood insurance is a separate policy (federally regulated) from the Hazard (wind/fire) policy.

What to Know More About Buying Property in Southwest Florida?

The SageRealtor Group is at your service. Call 800-789-6618 or email us to get started.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great information. I was kind of confused about the CAD to USD deals.

    July 24, 2009
  2. nice work guys :)

    July 14, 2009

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