Karen Lee Bertiger
Lic. Real Estate Broker
CDPE, REDM
Florida & Arizona
Commercial & investment Real Estate
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Investing in the U.S.


If you are a foreign national be aware of the following:

In order to purchase real property you may need to have funds available within a U.S. bank (an international, national or local bank) account for several months prior to completing your planned purchase, particularly if there are capital controls imposed by your home country. Ample time must be allowed in your purchase contract for funding delays. If you are planning to finance your purchase you will generally need 30-50% in verifiable funds. You may also need a payment reserve of 12 months of PITI in a U.S. bank. You will also need to comply with U.S. Immigration laws.

Some of the laws that apply to a U.S. real estate purchase by a foreign national:

OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control)
Bank Secrecy Act of 1970
Anti-Money Laundering Act
Patriot Act
Fair Housing Act
Immigration Laws
FIRPTA (Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980)
U.S. Federal Income Tax Laws
Branch Profit Tax
U.S. Federal Estate Tax Laws

Some common ways to purchase real property in the U.S. that you may want to acquire further information about include purchasing in your own name, in a Florida Trust, in a Florida LLC/Partnership, in a Florida Corporation, in an Offshore Trust (such as the Bahamas, Cayman Islands or British Virgin Islands) or an Offshore Company (such as the Cayman Islands or British Virgin Islands) or even in your own name! Good legal counsel is a must both in your home country & in the U.S.

Even with rising prices, the U.S. has certain benefits available through its legal & political infrastructure that make investing in real estate here far safer financially than many other countries. 

There are many other things that need to be considered such as taxation, federal estate taxes & probate, if a foreign national owning U.S. real estate dies in the U.S. One interesting thing to note is that foreign nationals are not entitled to the U.S. Estate Tax Exemption according to the IRS. 

Please be aware that many other licensed professionals will need to be retained, in addition to your Florida licensed real estate broker.