Hey, Canadian Buyers !

My name is Don Shippey. I am a REALTOR / Broker Associate at REMAX Properties SW.

I have helped many buyers from Canada and have a "Power Team" to help with every step. I have lenders, property managers, contractors, and accountants, who specialize in working with you to make this easy! Lenders can only do 2nd home loans, and not investment loans at this time.

I specialize in working with Canadian buyers, who want to purchase a 2nd home for personal use, Holiday Use, or an investment home to rent to others. I have worked succesfully with many Canadian buyers, and have systems in place to make it easier. With the great currency exchange rate for the Canadian Dollar, it is now a great time for you to buy a second home in warm, sunny Florida. You can buy a condo or townhouse, fully furnished, 10 minutes to Disney World, for under $100,000 US dollars.

I can send you listings meeting your criteria and price range, with photos, all by email.

If you are buying a property in US, you will have to make your payment in US currency. Given the sums of money involved in such a transaction, I can help you save with a currency exchange service. The majority of people still approach their bank for their foreign currency transfers. However, a foreign exchange specialist, such as the one I use, is more likely to secure you a better deal.

I can preview the home or condo you are interested in to make sure it meets your needs. I will send you a detailed report, with photos I take, and note any damage or areas of concern.

I will advise you on the best offer, based on what other buyers have paid for similar homes in the same area. I will do my best to keep you from being outbid or paying too much.

I will prepare all contracts and send by email. I can send them with online, digital signing software, so you do not have to print and fax back documents. You can sign these online just by clicking. It is a legal signature in all 50 states.

When your offer is accepted I can arrange professional inspections if you like, and attend on your behalf. The inspector will check electrical, plumbing, roof, appliances, and many other areas for problems. If anything serious is discovered, the contract can be canceled without penalty.

I will coordinate all paperwork and closing process and can even send all closing docs to you be email. You do not have to be here to close.

I have a currency exchange service that specializes in helping you get a better deal than banks when moving your money to US for closing.

I can help you connect with a property manager for rental services, or contractors for repairs or upgrades. I can also refer you to a property manager to just keep your property in great condition and ready for your personal use, even if you do not rent it to others.

I can be reached at 407-925-2318 or donrshippey@gmail.com

Frequently Asked Questions

1. My friends tell me Foreign owners pay triple the property taxes US owners pay. Do foreign owners pay higher property taxes?

This is one of the most widespread misconceptions there are. There is no higher tax rate for foreign owners. There is an exemption for owner occupants who own and live in the property, known as the HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION. This gives owner occupants a discount that amounts to about $700-750 per year. If you do not live in the property over 6 months of the year, you will not get the exemption. It does not matter where you live, if you do not live in the property. US investor owners pay the same proeprty tax amount as Canadian investors. And it is approximately $700-750 higher than owner occupants.

2. I am afraid my taxes will double when the economy improves and values start to increase.

Although there is no limit as to how fast taxes can fall when values are falling, there is a 10% cap on annual increases. For those with Homestead Exemption above, the cap is 3%. Although it is not common, it is possible for taxes to jump from an artificially low amount for a property that had the 3% cap for many years. This is very rare now that taxes have been falling drastically for 3 years straight. If you read the property listing report carefully, you will see next to taxes there is a remark for HOMESTEAD Y or N. This will tell you if the current reported tax amount reflects a homestead exemption.

3. How will I find a tenant and collect rent from Canada?

I will recommend a property manager to you that specializes in rental property management. They will advertise the property, show the property, interview possible tenants, check credit and references, complete the lease, collect the deposit, and collect future rents. They will also handle repairs and emergencies such as plumbing issues for tenants. If the property is not in renting condition when you purchase it, they can help arrange paint, repairs, etc....

4. Do I need an attorney to purchase Real Estate in Florida?

Although it is not a requirement, there are many issues to explore including taxes, types of ownership, estate issues, etc.. A Licensed Realtor is not allowed to offer legal advice or tax advice. Please consult the experts on this page for tax questions and legal questions.

5. What are HOA fees? Some are listed as monthly, quarterly and yearly.

Yes this is Home Owners Association dues which you pay to maintain common elements of the neighborhood. This may include gate if gated, community pool and clubhouse, entrance, playground, etc, whatever the community has. These are private to the neighborhood and not open to the public. They may be required paid monthly, quarterly, or annual, as the report says.

6. Are there any rental restrictions concerning short term rental or long term rental?

None of them are likely to have restrictions for long term rental. However, short term rental requires licenses, and the area and neighborhood must first be zoned for short term. There are dozens of communities in Kissimmee that allow short term rental. However, there are only a handful in Orlando and most are Condotels in the Disney area. I have many years of experience in Kissimmee and Orlando and am familair with which neighborhoods are approved for short term rental.

7. What is a "Condotel" ?

They are resort condos operated as a resort hotel. They have a contract you sign to have them manage it, but you are not required to. However, to be successful it is always recommended to use the onsite management. They have the benefit of walk ins, repeat clients, heavy advertising, an established website with the resort name, etc..

All owners must pay HOA dues, whether it is used for short term rental, or only personal use. The HOA covers the gate, amenities, water, garbage, internet, cable tv, and probably phone. They usually cover all but electric in a condotel.

The normal split among many condotels is 40/60. Meaning when they rent it for 180 a night, they get about $72 and you get $108. Remember they have to supply housecleaners, security, free shuttles to Disney and Universal, free continental breakfast, 24 hour front desk personnel, reservation personnel, advertise and maintain website, 24 hour emergency maintenance for issues that may arise anytime, groundskeepers, and more

Many current buyers are purchasing condotels. Many that were selling for $300-500,000 3-4 years ago, now sell for 100-140k.

8. Do the banks accept lower offers or will they only consider the price listed?

Banks will consider lower offers but they are not always successful. It is not because the bank will not accept lower. Many bank properties, in good condition, in good areas, priced very low, will receive several offers. Since they have to reveal there are multiple offers, the last few will frequently offer a few thousand above asking. If you place the only offer, and feel confident there will be no others before your offer is answered, you may be succesful with an offer from 5-10% lower than asking price.

Since many properties are selling at discounts of 50-75% off previous values, it may not make sense to lose a very attractive property in great condition trying to save a few thousand more. Example: There are many condos selling for 60-80k that previously sold for over 200k. You may not want to lose one asking 70k, to try to get it for 68k. The bank would likely accept it, but someone else may come along and offer 70k before they reply to your offer. Full price offers tend to get faster replies since that price is already approved.

9. What are Annual CDD Fees? I see these on some of the listing reports.

CDD= Community Development District. It is a type of tax, set up by the original builder. They can set up a CDD, and sell bonds, to raise money for infrastructure, such as roads, underground utilities, amenities, etc.. The future homeowners pay these bonds back over the next 25-30 years as they are added to taxes. But they are not based on value as taxes are, so they never go down. They can go up, but usually do not fluctuate much. Only about 5-10% of newer neighborhoods have CDDs. I usually do not recommend most neighborhoods with a CDD as it eats into rental profits.

10. What will I need to place an offer?

For cash offers you will need to have what is considered "Proof Of Funds", at the time the offer is placed. This means you must already have the funds in an account in your name, or company name if buying in a company name. A copy of the bank statement is required to place the offer. If you do your banking online, and are able to print an official looking statement, with your name and professional looking bank identification on it, this may be acceptable. If it looks like just a "screen print", and looks like it could have been faked, it will probably not be accepted by the local banks. A letter of credit, or bank line of credit, is not acceptable. If that is going to be your source, you will need to draw the amount in advance and deposit it in an account in your name and obtain a statement, before you can make an offer.

11. How much deposit do I need and when?

We normally write the offer with the deposit to be paid "On Acceptance". This means when the offer is accepted, you will only have 24-48 hours to deliver the deposit to the bank in certified funds. The only 2 acceptable methods are a direct wire, or in some circumstances a cashiers check is acceptable. It always must be in US funds. Some buyers prefer to place the deposit in advance with a local title company. This way if your offer is accepted, the local title company will wire or overnight the deposit to the seller's closing agent for you.

For most purchases we will offer $1000 - $2000. It is common for banks to require up to 10% deposit. If they require above the $2000 offered on acceptance, they will normally allow up to 3 days to provide the additional amount.

12. How do I transfer the money to complete the purchase?

I have arranged with a worldwide currency exchange company to help my clients move the money from Canada, to the closing agent at time of closing. They can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. They will transfer the funds at a time when the exchange rates are most in your favor. Please contact me and I will put you in touch with the proper person to help you. If you have your bank move the money for you, they will do it when most opportune to them. The exchange company I use will hold the money in advance of closing, and move it to the US when the rates are best for you. They will then wire it to the closing agent 1-2 days before closing.

13. What's the difference between bank owned and "short sale"?

A "bank owned", or REO, is a property that has already completed the foreclosure process, and is owned by the bank. The previous owner is out of the picture. The bank sets the price, negotiates contracts, and the closing process is relatively fast. The typical closing period from contract to close is less than 30 days for cash transactions.

A "Short Sale" is also referred to as a "pre-foreclosure". It is still titled in the name of the current owner. The owner usually is in foreclosure, and owes much more than the current market value. The seller sets a price close to market value, and waits for an offer. Once the seller accepts your offer, he then sends it to the lien holder and asks them to accept a "Short" payoff on the mortgage.

This is a very time consuming and complicated process. It normally takes 4-6 months to complete, and that is only if it is succesful and actually closes. Many never close. The bank does not have to accept a 100k payoff on a 200k loan. The process to consider a short sale takes several months to consider and process. The bank servicing the loan is usually not the investor or bank that holds the note and must approve a short sale.

It takes 100% cooperation from the seller who is in foreclosure for a short sale to be successful. They must provide many documents to prove they can no longer make the payments and cannot pay back the loan. The seller is asking for a complete release of lien in a short sale, and many banks will not agree to this. They may approve a short sale, but require a new note from the seller. They may also require the seller to bring large sums of money to closing. Many sellers refuse and this kills the sale and your contract. But you will have wasted 4-6 months to find that out.

Short sales are very difficult to work with even before making an offer. They frequently do not cooperate with showings. Many times the "seller" is still living in the property, and not paying the mortgage. Many more have a tenant paying rent to the owner, who is not paying the mortgage. Since the seller cannot receive any funds from a short sale, they frequently are in no hurry for this situation to end. Some are able to do this for 1-2 years. So many tenants, and even owners, refuse showings or make it very difficult.

For these reasons, you may or may not decide to pursue a short sale. But if you do, rest assured I will do all I can to make it a successful transaction.

14. Can I get financing for a purchase in Florida?

At this time, the only loan a Foreign National (Canadian) can get from most lenders is a "2nd Home loan". (See recommended lender in this section) They normally require 20-40% down. This is a loan to purchase a home for personal use. You cannot purchase a home this way and operate it as strictly a rental property. Most Canadians are buying with cash. You will need proof you have cash sufficient to cover the entire purchase, in an account, to make an offer. Some Canadians also use money they obtain from an equity loan or line of credit in Canada. This is not a problem, as long as you have the money in your account when you make the offer. As stated above in FAQ # 10 above, a line of credit letter is NOT usually acceptable proof of funds and most banks will not consider it.

15. How much will it cost me to work with you?

At the close of your purchase, you will be charged a $295 fee by my office. This is charged to all buyers and sellers, domestic and foreign, at close of any transaction. Most other commissions are paid by seller in Florida. The exception is very low priced properties under $60,000. We must charge a minimum commission on these in order to be able to do business with them. Many agents just do not work in ranges below $50-60,000. We prefer to charge a fair amount that allows us to work with buyers in any price range. If the transaction does not close, you do not owe me or REMAX anything.