Helpful websites for Canadians
Information regarding US Visas
A new act introduced into the US Senate could help to boost the country’s tourism and overseas property market. The Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act, brought into the House by Senator Charles Schumer, focuses on trying to speed up the process of visa applications, encouraging Canadian and Chinese tourism, incentivising investing in the U.S. during low-season for foreigners and updating the country’s visa waiver program.
EB-5 visas enable foreigners to invest in the U.S. via a commercial enterprise. To do so investors must prove their source of funds and create ten new jobs within a two-year period.
Questions and Answers
If I am a Canadian can I only use my Florida house for 6 months out of the year?
Immigration allows Canadian visitors to visit the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time using either a B-1 Visa or a B-2 Visa. The first is a business Visa and the second is for pleasure Visa. Some changes have been made with immigration under NAFTA that will allow some Canadians that are working here under a B-1 Visa to stay for a full year stay per trip. There is a false belief that Canadians must stay in Canada for a full 6 months when returning from the U.S. in order to come back and stay for another 6 months in the States. Currently there is no prohibition from immigration against Canadians leaving the U.S. after their 6 month stay on their Visa and then coming right back to the United States for another 6 month visit. Obviously if someone were to do this continuously immigration may be under the impression that you have an intent to live in the States permanately.
I have heard there are other programs for Canadians looking to buy real estate in the United States if they are business people?
Yes 2 U.S. Senators, Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Mike Lee (Utah), introduced legislation recently which is a bipartisan proposal, that would make it easier for international tourists to visit the U.S., is similar to an existing program that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.
The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but the proposal would not put them on a path to citizenship. To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000 on residential real estate. The other properties could be rented. The house purchase would have to be in cash, with no mortgage or home equity loan allowed. And the property would have to be bought for more than its most recent appraised value, Schumer said.
The buyer would have to live in the home for at least 180 days each year, which would require paying U.S. income taxes on any foreign earnings. Buyers would no longer be eligible for the temporary visa if the property were sold. The buyer would be able to bring a spouse and minor children to live in the U.S. but would need to apply for a work visa to hold a job. Neither the buyer nor dependents would be eligible to receive Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security benefits.
Can I get financing here to buy Jupiter Florida real estate?
Yes you can. Right now the best lender that I know of is RBC for Canadians. Your interest rate may be a little bit higher than someone buying a house to live in as a primary residence, but the rates I have seen from RBC are not too bad. Some Canadian buyers have taken advantage of the current low prices for Florida real estate as compared to their homes in Canada and are getting equity lines of credit from their primary homes in Canada and then just paying cash. Currently in 2012 financing in the United States is very tight and difficult to get for foreign buyers. You should try to obtain funding in Canada before you start making offers on real estate so there are no delays. Then you can pay cash for your real estate purchase.
Are property taxes higher for Canadians that buy Jupiter Florida real estate?
No, your property tax bill will be the same as anyone else buying a second home or investment property whether they are U.S. citizens or Canadian citizens. The only time a property owners taxes would be less is if the owners live in the house as their primary residence and apply for homestead exemption.
Are there other restrictions for Canadians buying homes in Jupiter Florida?
There are no restrictions that I know of for Canadians buying homes in Jupiter Florida. If you buy in a deed restricted community or in a condo association that as a homeowners association rules and regulations you would have to abide by those rules.
What about Income Tax Regulations?
You can contact the Canadian Revenue Agency Website at www.cra.gc.ca or call them for individual income tax inquiries at 1-800-959-8281.
Tax issues for Canadians reference website
ITIN Guidance for Foreign Property Buyers and Sellers http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=120219,00.html
What are the fees/closing costs when buying Florida real estate?
The fees involved in buying a house in Jupiter Florida will be very similar to buying a house in Canada, when you find a home to buy and you are setting up the paperwork with the title company or attorney handling the purchase you will get a written breakdown of costs involved in the purchase. The most common costs are the following:
Home inspection fee, Property insurance, Appraisal fee, title insurance and county recording fees for the note and mortgage if a loan is being placed on the home. Also your lender may charge points and processing and underwriting fees to secure your loan.
Is it hard to get a property insured in Florida if I am only there part time in the Winters?
This has not been a problem for us, we have insurance companies that will write property insurance for Canadian buyers