With the myriad rules and regulations governing United States real estate transactions, it is no wonder that a foreign investor or seller has questions. Sometimes the regulations make sense to investors and are similar to the laws in their home country. Other times, the laws are unique to the U.S. and leave the foreign investor with more questions than answers.
One way to navigate these regulations and make sure your real estate transaction goes smoothly is to work with a professional real estate title insurance agency. Title insurance agencies are separate from the real estate company and the mortgage lender. In fact, the primary role of the title agency is to remain impartial to all parties involved in the transaction. Their primary role is to make sure the closing happens and that everyone involved meets all obligations. If you are looking for impartial assistance with your real estate investment, you can’t go wrong consulting a title agent.
Foreign Seller Services
Our Fort Myers and Cape Coral title insurance agency handles many real estate transactions involving foreign sellers and investors each year. Being located in Florida, we have many clients who enjoy vacation homes in the state, which keeps us current on foreign seller real estate regulations like FIRPTA.
The Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, as FIRPTA is properly known, requires the foreign seller of any property (other rules apply) to withhold 10% of the purchase price and remit it to the IRS for tax purposes.
A title agency can help with this in several ways. To begin with, the seller must be identified as a foreign seller for FIRPTA to have an impact on the sale. Title Junction can verify identities and can be counted on to verify if the sellers involved in the transaction indeed qualify as a foreign seller.
Many title agencies also act as the escrow agent in the real estate transaction, which would allow the agency to withhold the 10% tax and remit it to the IRS on behalf of the seller.
Our foreign seller clients often appreciate the convenience of having all real estate title and title insurance needs under one roof. Closing, title insurance, escrow and notary services in one location help make the transaction go smoothly. A title agency can also: help a foreign seller or foreign investor navigate real estate and closing terminology, assist with communication between buyers and sellers, their agents and their lenders and ensure both parties meet the legal requirements of FIRPTA.
Finding A Qualified Agency
When buying or selling a property, it is important to have both a title agency you can trust and one with the experience you need. This is especially true if you are a foreign seller in the United States. You can find qualified agencies through referrals from your realtor, mortgage lender and friends and family, the Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce. Finally, be sure your agency is professionally recognized and up-to-date with all current rules and regulations governing the real estate industry.