Florida Realtor April 2014 : Page 6

upfr nt Get Your Realtor Rewards! ® FOREIgn BUYERS Beyond Bowing or Shaking Hands Background knowledge that gives you an edge by Norma HeNNiNg These companies offer special rewards to you through your state association. Get applicant credit and background reports for $25 (regularly $30). Create a landlord account at floridarealtors.mysmartmove.com tenant sCreeninG solution espite stiff competition from destinations all over the world, Florida continues to attract its share of foreign investors. No one ex-pects you to have all the answers, but being able to spot issues and assemble a team of advisors to address these issues will prove invaluable. Here are some tips for working with foreign buyers. visits into the United States is rela-tively easy if the foreign person’s home country and the United States have en-acted reciprocal rules for visa-free travel. A simple “snowbird visa” for six months per year is also an option. Aside from family reunification and entry on humanitarian grounds, U.S. im-migration policy aims to do one major thing: benefit the United States by at-tracting talent, skill or money. Visas exist for highly educated people with job of-fers in their field as well as for those who invest in enterprises that create jobs. Ex-perienced immigration counsel will help you determine what’s possible. depend on the size of the invest-ment, on the country of origin and on the question of whether investors spend enough time in the United States to be-come residents for income tax purposes or for estate tax pur-poses. Substantial time spent in the United States or possession of a green card will make a for-eign person subject to taxation on his or her worldwide income and to intrusive reporting re-D 1. Know visa options. Entry for short Cut Costs Get exclusive discounts up to 28%, including international. savewithups.com/far REO•ADVISORS When it comes to errors and omission insurance, REO Advisors makes sure your policy fits you best. 800.753.3557 • reoadvisors.com Get speCial attention 2. Help them plan. Planning needs quirements on the person’s foreign hold-ings, corporations and bank accounts. The higher the customer’s net worth and the more diversified his or her holdings, the more cumbersome this procedure gets. Many opt to keep things casual for exactly that reason. For those interested in making a permanent change, preim-migration tax planning, for income and estate tax, is recommended. Many investors from countries with which the United States has a favorable estate tax treaty opt to hold title in their personal name, which makes things sim-pler. But one size does not fit all. Get a tax professional involved. Regardless of residency, foreign inves-tors usually expect to be taxed on the capital gain generated by their invest-ments, but they should be aware that any transfer of their property will be subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Prop-erty Tax Act (FIRPTA). This law pro-vides for the advance deposit of 10 per-cent of the sales price with the Internal Revenue Service, subject to a final deter-mination of tax due. This can be avoided in certain situations, but the customer still needs to be prepared before closing. Norma Henning is an attorney with the Henning Law Firm in Naples. Build a positive online reputation and save money. Go to reputation.com/floridarealtors99 exClusive disCounts grEaT IdEa Target one or two specific groups of buyers. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, Carlos A. Fuentes, a sales associate with namaste Realty in Tampa, suggests pinpointing one or two international markets. “Target your efforts into a given area,” says Fuentes. “Learn the nuances of the market, their likes and dislikes, and how those particular buyers do business.” For example, by establishing yourself as an expert for Asian or hispanic buyers in your area, he adds, you’ll be able to build a more lucrative referral business. 6 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2014

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