Buying Process for Foreign Nationals Using Financing

Using financing as a foreign buyer can seem complicated, but it's an accessible process. This is a good summary of the steps you should be expecting and preparing yourself for. 

1.       Make a written offer and get it accepted.

2.       Make an initial deposit – usually around $5000 (for properties between $200,000 and $600,000) with your attorney within 3 days of the contract being accepted. I can recommend the attorney that we always use, unless you already have one.

3.       You will make the formal loan application – if you haven’t already – within 5 days of acceptance of the contract. The contract acceptance date is referred to as the Effective Date.

4.       You will have a property inspection to determine if there are any problems with the property – typically you have 10-15 days to do that. The seller is not required to fix anything but you can try to negotiate to get work done or a credit, accept the property as is, or cancel the contract and get your deposit back before the end of the inspection period.

5.       You will make another deposit typically in 10 days from the Effective Date of about the balance of 5% - (less the first deposit) – of the purchase price. The seller can request more.

6.       There will be a loan approval deadline of about 30 days and if your loan is not approved by the end of the loan approval period, we must notify the seller. Either you or the seller can cancel the contract and get your deposits refunded or agree to extend the loan approval period.

7.       We would have the actual closing/settlement – where the money is transferred to the seller and the ownership is transferred to you – in about 45 days from the Effective date (the date is a term of the contract). Your attorney handles all of this.

In additions to the 30% down (the required down payment with the lender we work with), there are closing costs of approximately 3 to 3.5% of the purchase price. These are all typical, customary, and usual. If, after a discussion with your attorney, you decide to take ownership in the name of a LLC (and the lender permits this), there may be additional charges.

You will be led through the process by me, my office manager, the lender and your attorney’s office  so don’t worry about being overwhelmed.

You do not have to stay in Miami the entire time. Actually, if you saw this property or other properties that you liked and hadn’t secured an accepted contract, you could go back home and we could do everything long distance. You may find it easier to do the actual closing in Miami because the loan documents need to be notarized and you would need to go to the US Embassy or Consulate if you weren’t here but it’s done on many transactions.

As an example of the documents typically required, here is the list provided by First Bank Florida for foreign national clients:


Ralph E. De Martino -- Aura Cecilia Rengifo ,
Ocean International Realty
5151 Collins Ave., Suite 227
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Phone 305.695.1105
Fax 305.328.4690