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Please join us for our first CIPS course this year on April 3rd. Register now before it’s too late. It’s just next week! 

Florida accounted for the largest share at 22 percent of total U.S. residential home sales to international clients, which the National Association of REALTORS® estimated at $102.6 Billion. Florida attracted buyers from Latin America, Europe, and Canada who tend to purchase properties in warm climates for vacation purposes. St Petersburg-Tampa-Clearwater is in the top 10 markets in the USA for International BUYERS.

Consider these facts:

  • $19.4 Billion in sales to international buyers for the year ending 6/16
  • 19% of Florida’s market (volume) was to international buyers
    • 47,000 residential properties
    • 12% of Florida’s market (units)
    • 72% made an all-cash purchase

Note: The facts above were provided as part of the National Association of REALTORS® Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida study.

 

CIPS

 

Pinellas International Council 6th Annual Global Symposium-Thank you to David Bennett CEO of PRO, John-Paul Mario Chair of the PRO Business Affiliates, Susan Inez-Poskus CPA from Roberge Poskus, Maria Grulich from Florida Realtors, Bill Risser, VP of Digital Strategy from Fidelity National Title, Don Gonzalez Attorney, Carlos Fuentes NAR instructor, the nearly 100 attendees and all of the PRO Affiliates who sponsored this informative event. Thank you all for making this such great day!!

Don’t get left out of this important market! Did you know that 22% of all International buyers in the USA bought property in Florida? International buyers are a significant component of the Florida real estate market. 74% purchase with cash & spend an average of $174, 624 for their Florida-based home. According to National Association of Realtors, between April 2015 & March 2016, two out of three Florida Realtors worked with International buyers last year

Please join us for this very informative day. Excellent speakers & 3 hours of CE credit too!

NOW IS THE TIME to get involved with International Real Estate. Attend our Pinellas International Council’s 6th Annual Global Symposium and learn the proper way to work with buyers & sellers from around the world ! Register here: http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/popup.php?op=view&id=108868777&crd=pro

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Are you a REALTOR who deals with international real estate and want to build “global” business skills? Then you need to attend this class!

Please join us on Thursday, February 2nd from 8:30 to noon.

You will learn from two international real estate experts on these subjects:

1. Opportunities for International Networking and Marketing Properties – Tami Simms, Coastal Property Group
* Understanding the importance of international buyers
* Resources for networking with international agents
* Where to market internationally
* How to market properties effectively to international buyers

2. Working with International Buyers and Sellers with a focus on the Asian market – Jiayin Liao, Bailey Glasser Law Firm
* Learn how to help Asians realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle
* Learn how to keep up with the latest information on both sides of the border and work together to determine the best course of action
* Become familiar with cross-border issues whether they are related to language, culture, law or just plain common sense.

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Here are International Living’s picks for the top five places to escape to if politics is getting you down.

Top 5 Best Countries to Escape U.S. Election Results Revealed

1. Mexico

Mexico is the only place in the world where U.S. citizens can enjoy an affordable overseas retirement, live right on the beach at affordable prices, yet remain within minutes of the U.S. by car.

Plus, right now with the current exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the deflated peso, Mexico is a huge bargain.

With its moon-lit fiestas, languid white-sand beaches, ancient colonial towns set in the rugged Sierras, and Mayan pyramids rising from the misty Yucatan jungle, it’s no wonder so many people are starting new lives in Mexico.

With rapidly rising fuel, healthcare, food, and travel costs back home, it’s nice to know that there are still places where it’s possible to live well without burning through retirement savings. Mexico is one such place.

2. Panama

Tropical beaches, First-World infrastructure, high-quality healthcare, welcoming people…there are many things to love about Panama.

Retirees are drawn here by the Pensionado program, one of the best retiree benefits programs in the world. Younger adults…some with children in tow…are moving here in increasing numbers to take advantage of the ease of doing business and the hip, international vibe.

For many, the low cost of living is a major factor in choosing Panama, as is the fact that Panama uses the U.S. dollar. Expats living here have seen their costs drop substantially.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica…the name alone conjures up visions of lush tropical rain forests and crashing surf on long stretches of white-sand beaches.

Costa Rica inspires these visions for two reasons. Number one, they’re true. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful spots on earth, with Pacific and Atlantic coastlines that are the stuff of legend.

The second reason that the idea of Costa Rica can instantly create pictures of tropical splendor is that it has been one of the most popular destinations for expats and second-home owners for decades.

One place that has been very popular over the years is Costa Rica’s Central Valley…a spot that cradles the country’s thriving capital of San José yet also offers rustic and rural pleasure in abundance, as well as a mild, spring-like climate year-round. The Arenal region, with its centerpiece 33-square-mile lake, is also increasingly popular. It is three hours northwest of San José…a region of farmland, pasture, virgin forest, and unspoiled lake views.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador really does have everything…from the Galapagos Islands to the Amazon basin and the Andes Mountains, from big, modern cities to small, quaint villages. And up until now, one particular area of Ecuador has been overlooked–and that’s its 937 miles of Pacific coastline and its beautiful mainland beaches.

Ecuador draws a wide range of foreigners: entrepreneurs, travelers, humanitarian workers, foreign officials, diplomats, business people of all stripes, and retirees looking to stretch their budget and experience a different way of life. Many expats are attracted by the country’s less-intrusive government and the tranquility of being removed from the terrorist and antiterrorist campaigns that make headlines in other parts of the world.

Generally speaking, the expats who have settled in Ecuador are those who tend to blend into society rather than live together in expat-oriented communities. Nonetheless, a bit of time in any town of significant size in Ecuador is all it takes to find the gringo haunts and watering holes.

5. Colombia

Colombia is no longer just a place for adventurers, speculators and risk-takers. It’s a country that’s hitting its full stride as an expat destination this year as the numbers of expat couples, younger people with portable careers, and single men and women who’ve found the ideal place to live or retire increase. And many of the preconceptions about Colombia being dangerous are at least a decade out of date.

Located at the northern tip of South America, Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes and the Amazon. It’s a country that is more beautiful, dramatic, and diverse than nearly any other. It offers sparkling colonial cities and world-famous resorts along the Caribbean.

Just three hours from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Colombia welcomes nonstop flights into Bogotá, Medellin, Armenia, Barranquilla, and Cali.

In cities and towns in Colombia, expats find a perfect climate that’s neither too hot nor too cool (60 F to 80 F all year); amazing natural surroundings; plenty of cultural events; history-filled cities; superb healthcare; friendly people; and a welcoming country…all with a fantastically low cost of living–figure $1,500 a month for a couple, all in.

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This Thursday, August 11, 2016 from 8:00am – 5:00pm, the Pinellas International Council will hold another Certified International Property Specialist course-The Americas and International Real Estate. It will be held at the Pinellas Realtor Organization (PRO) at 4590 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater.

This course offers you practical information on working with Caribbean, North, Central and South American investors.  Historical and cultural influences, regional relationship, and investment opportunities are covered along with a special focus on Mexico.

***This course is one of the courses required to earn the prestigious Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. The CIPS Network comprises 2,500 real estate professionals from 50 countries and is the specialty membership group for global business practitioners of the National Association of Realtors®. The CIPS® designation prepares Realtors® to service the growing international market in their local community by focusing on culture, exchange rates, investment trends, and legal issues. Click here for more information about CIPS and the requirements to earn this prestigious designation.

SPEAKER: Jorge Cantero
Jorge is licensed in real estate in the state Florida since 1985, and previously a recipient of a New York State Broker’s License. Mr. Cantero’s international experience prior to that was a result of being involved in the chemical industry with a series of multinational companies, and having extensively traveled in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Mr. Cantero’s specializations include residential resales, marketing of foreclosures; and in particular serving inbound international investors and residential real estate exchangers.

Mr. Cantero is a Past President of the Residential Association of the Miami Association of REALTOR®, and was the recipient of the Association’s Educational Award in 1994, and of the REALTOR® of the Year Award for 1995. Furthermore, he is a member and director of numerous committees of the Miami Association, Florida Association and National Association of REALTORS®.

In addition to having earned the designations of Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI), Mr. Cantero holds a Master Degree in Chemical Engineering from New York University (NYU), 1972.

SCHEDULE:
7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.: Sign-in, networking, and breakfast
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Course

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Seating is limited and registration is required.

REGISTRATION:
PRO Members ($95):
Click here to register.

~~~PRO Members – would you like a scholarship to help pay for this course? The REALTOR® Professional Development Scholarship is available for you, courtesy of the Pinellas REALTOR® Foundation and the Affiliate Business Partners of PRO. Click here to learn more and apply. Note: the scholarship does not cover any additional costs associated with obtaining the certification. If you’re interested in the scholarship, REGISTER AND PAY FOR THIS COURSE FIRST, then fill out the application on the webpage linked above. We request that you register and pay for the course first to guarantee your spot since scholarships and seating are limited. If you are awarded, we will issue you a check.

Non-PRO Members ($95):
Click here to register.

For more information, please Contact: Jan Dean at  JDean@tampabayrealtor.com
Phone: 727-216-3004

IRAs Put International Real Estate Investments within Reach

The Spanish real estate market, hit hard by the financial crisis, is now what one analyst calls “a two-speed market.” In many locations, prices have bottomed out and are rising, while other areas may still have room to fall further. When you match attractive prices with the growing interest among many Americans in retiring outside of the U.S., you have a promising opportunity for real estate agents.

When I recently met with real estate delegates from Spain, many did not know that Americans can use their tax-advantaged retirement funds to invest in offshore real estate. They had a lot of questions about how to use Real Estate IRAs as a strategy to grow their business. They definitely saw the potential to sell more to their existing client base of American investors.

One of the strategies of particular interest to this group was purchasing the property in the IRA, then taking it as a distribution in the future. Because the IRA account holder cannot live in the IRA-owned property, it is typically rented out, creating an income stream for the IRA. When the account holder reaches retirement age, he or she can take the property as a distribution.

If the property was purchased with a Roth IRA, it can be taken as a distribution all at once without any tax penalties. If it were owned in a Traditional IRA, the account holder would pay taxes on the distributed amount. For example, Entrust clients will often purchase beachfront property, rent it out and take incremental distributions until the property is fully in their name.

There is no reason U.S.-based real estate agents shouldn’t take advantage of this same technique to grow their business and stand out from the competition. The Spanish delegates clearly understood the importance of asking every American investor client, “Do you have an IRA?”  Sometimes, you   need to look no further than your database to find more business opportunity—inside or outside the U.S.

By Jason Craig, President of The Entrust Group   –  http://rismedia.com

For more information, visit www.theentrustgroup.com.

Certified International Property  Specialist courses help Realtors to become more knowledgeable when conducting business with International buyers and sellers, understand the cultures, make worldwide connections, obtain the designation, and ultimately make more money.These 5 National Association of Realtors courses are to be offered at Pinellas Realtors Organization over the next few months. They include Transactions Tools, Asia/Pacific, Europe and the Americas. In addition, At Home with Diversity will be offered. Please register at PRO’s website soon as the first course begins on MAY 19th.  http://pinellasrealtor.org/education-and-events-calendar/

Hope to see you there!!

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TAMPA, Fla. – Jan. 19, 2016 – The Tampa metro area continues to be a desirable destination for international homebuyers.

Realtors cite a variety of reasons for the area’s popularity – the growth of direct international flights to Tampa International Airport, higher prices in South Florida sending people further north and stepped up marketing campaigns overseas by real estate companies.

Last year, international real estate purchases increased between 14 to 20 percent in Hillsborough County, according to Carlos Fuentes of Namaste Realty.

Despite an overall drop in real estate sales to international buyers in Florida last year, the state has long been a desirable market for foreign investors looking to purchase homes. With its desirable climate, the state accounts for 25 percent of all international real estate purchases in the United States. Half of those purchases have historically been in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region.

But Realtors say that could be changing in the Tampa metro area’s favor with the new direct international flights, better pricing on both lots and existing homes here, a secure environment in which to invest, proximity to beaches, professional sports, a new outlet mall and plans for a more vibrant downtown Tampa with more residential units.

“We have construction up in all sectors of real estate,” said Fuentes, past president of the regional Multiple Listing Service. “And the quality of life here versus South Florida is huge.”

Smith & Associates, this area’s leading luxury real estate broker, has been focusing on a marketing strategy for about four years to draw in more international buyers.

“We’ve been developing strategies, thinking about those direct flights and how to put our properties in front of these folks and build a presence,” said Bob Glaser, president and CEO of Smith & Associates, which did $1 billion in sales last year. People are a lot more likely to purchase in an area they can fly to directly, he said, and the recent addition of direct flights such as those from Frankfort, Germany could be game changers.

International buyers account for 12 percent of all sales in the state, according to the Profile of International Buyers in Florida 2015, published by Florida Realtors.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area was listed among the major destinations in Florida for international buyers, according to the Florida Realtors report. International sales in the Tampa metro area rose 6 percent during a 12-month period ending June 2015, the report shows. That figure was less than the 11 percent in 2014, which followed a similar drop in other metro areas across the state last year.

In 2014, the Tampa metro area was tied with Orlando for the highest percentage of foreign buyers in the state.

Top international buyers in the Tampa metro area in 2015 came from: Canada (31 percent), United Kingdom (19 percent) and Sweden (12 percent), according to the Realtors report.

Last year, international sales in Florida totaled 44,000 properties, or 12 percent of the state’s residential market, compared to 15 percent in 2014. Nationally, international sales accounted for just 4 percent of sales, according to the report that conducted a Realtor survey between July and August.

And when foreigners buy here, they buy more expensive real estate than Floridians. Many pay cash. The volume of international sales totaled $23.7 billion, or 24 percent of Florida’s residential dollar volume of sales (19 percent a year ago), compared to 8 percent nationally.

It’s a market worth growing, Glaser said.

The Realtors report listed the Miami metro area with 36 percent of international buyers in 2015; Fort Lauderdale got 14 percent last year and the Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach MSA getting 8 percent. The Northport-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA accounted for 7 percent of sales to foreign buyers in 2015.

The number of Realtors handling international sales went up from 52 percent in 2014 to 69 percent in 2015, Florida Realtors reports. Of those who worked with international clients 78 percent of them reported closing at least one sale with those clients. That is up slightly from the previous year.

Smith & Associates now works with Luxury Portfolio International to market its properties worldwide and has a working agreement with Mayfair International Realty, which acts as its London office, and links with the Financial Times to market properties in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Jacqueline Hutchinson, a Realtor with Smith & Associates, sold three homes to French investors last year. They found out about homes here through a website called French District, then contacted Hutchinson, a native of France.

“Florida is very popular with the French,” Hutchinson said. “Before, they always went to Miami, but because of the direct flights, they come here and they like it.” They like the Gulf of Mexico and they like the prices, she said.

And until recently, people from the United Kingdom and Germany targeted Sarasota and Fort Myers, Fuentes said. “Now, the prices have gone up down there and there are limits in land mass. You are seeing movement of Germans and British here. Prices are a big draw.”

Copa Airlines, which now offers direct flights from Panama City, brings in Latin American investors who previously flew directly to Miami. “Those flights, that is huge,” Fuentes said. “In addition, just in December Lufthansa added the direct flights from Frankfort, a hub for Asians who want to come to the United States.”

Glaser said a number of his Latin American clients come here because they consider it a safe place to invest their money and a safe place for their families, who in some cases are living behind barbed wire fences in their home countries.

The majority of Latin American buyers come from Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina.

Part of the difficulty in bringing in foreign buyers is that they are not all familiar with Tampa, Glaser said. There’s a learning curve about where it is in relation to Miami and Orlando and what this area has to offer, from condos and suburban homes to restaurants, museums and culture.

“Walkability is big with Europeans,” said Jane Gowarty, vice president of business development and relocation for Smith & Associates. “They want to be able to walk to the grocery, the museum, to look at the water. If you can get them to Tampa Bay and give them a tour, safety is a huge factor and the pricing here is right.”

Copyright © 2016 the Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Fla.), Yvette C. Hammett. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Buy or Sell?  The conundrum for Foreign Property Investors in the U.S.A.

 

The following informative article was recently written by a dear friend of mine, David Nixon-Business Development Executive at Currencies Direct.

When you buy an investment property in the US you’re probably motivated by a number of reasons.

Perhaps you want a destination for family vacations, maybe it gives you an additional income from rentals and – of course – there’s always the likelihood of your property increasing in value.

Buying a property in the US is, in effect, an investment in the US economy. That’s why Wednesday’s Federal Reserve announcement of the first interest rate rise since the birth of the iPhone is not necessarily a bad thing.

With economies all over the world in turmoil, the US dollar continues to be a safe haven. The decision to raise rates was data dependent, and that data has been positive enough to bring about this change: Compare that to the Europe, Canada, Brazil or China where troubles in the respective economies have been well reported.

If you want to buy an investment home in the US, it means you should be keeping a close eye on not just the fluctuating property prices, but also on the strength of the US dollar. The US economy has gone from strength to strength over the last 18 months, especially when compared to the countries of some other major currencies.

Take this example:

In the last 18 months, property prices in the vacation property haven of Polk County in Florida have gone up 8.6%. For a realtor this is an excellent selling point to attract new international clients.

It means that a property bought in June 2014 for $200,000 is now worth around $217,200. Typically, expectations are that property values will continue to rise steadily.

The currency rates are far more volatile. They can go in your favor or just as easily move against you. Look at the difference of major currencies in the same time frame (June 2014 – November 2015):

Great British Pound Sterling

US$200,000 in June 2014 was worth around £117,647. Today, it’s worth about £133,333 – an increase of 12%.

Canadian dollar

US$200,000 in June 2014 was worth in the region CA$216,000. Today, it’s worth approximately CA$268,000 – an increase of 20%.

Euro

US$200,000 in June 2014 was worth roughly €146,000. Today, it’s worth around €188,000 – an increase of 22%.

Brazilian real

$200,000 in June 2014 was worth somewhere around R$440,000. Today, it’s worth about R$830,000 – an increase of 53%.

This data could be great for those realtors who want to attract listings, and could also be an indicator to those of you who are foreign property investors that now is an excellent time to sell.

However the same data, coupled with continued uncertainty in the rest of the world, may also be a persuasive argument for now being the right time to invest in a property in the US.

David Nixon

david.n@currenciesdirect.com

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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