Getting Ready for the Purchase

Buying real estate in the United States is not a complicated process. The following are step-by-step guidance for getting ready for the purchase:

1. Carefully read through all contents of this website. We have worked hard to provide you with concise and specific information, and hope that you will take the time to read and familiarize yourself with the process.

2. If you intend to make a cash purchase, you will need to provide proof of funds – it can be a letter from your bank showing your (the buyer’s) name and an account balance equal to or greater than the price you offered. The letter must be issued within 30 days. Proof of funds from a Chinese bank showing the account balance in RMB is acceptable, but it must be accompanied by an English translation of the letter. If you intend to take out a mortgage loan, please have a pre-qualification letter ready either from a US bank or from a mortgage company.

3. If you do not have a bank account in the United States, please open one. This account is used to collect rental payments from your tenants and to pay expenses associated with your property, such as property taxes, insurance premiums, homeowner association fees, utilities, property management fees, repairs and maintenance, etc.. For your and your tenant’s convenience, we strongly suggest that you open an account with either Bank of America or SunTrust (both banks have branches through Florida), and activate online payment function. We urge international investors to open such a bank account when you have a chance to visit the United States.

 

The Process:

1.Consultation: please contact us to discuss your investment needs and goals. For example, the dollar amount you would like to invest, the price range, property type, age and size of property you are interested in, whether you plan to do long-term rental or short-term rental, etc.

2.Property Hunting: based on your criteria, we will search property listings in the Disney World or greater Orlando area and email you all the listings that match your criteria on a regular basis for your selection. Once you have nailed down the properties you are interested in, you can either come to Orlando to view the property or request additional information to help with your decision. We can obtain information on the sales history, HOA (Homeowner Association) fees with services included, take more photos of the property to reflect the current conditions, and provide estimates of repair and/or renovation cost.
If you can clearly describe to us your search criteria, we are happy to set up an auto notification email account for you on MLS (website), so that you will receive an email with the property listing whenever a new property that matches your criteria comes onto the market. This website also allows you to search properties on your own. Click here to start your exciting house hunting now.

3.Making the Offer: Once you have decided to bid on a property, please email us the following information: legal name(s) of the buyer(s) (name on your passport, driver's license or other photo IDs), your offering price, whether this is a cash transaction or a purchase with a mortgage loan, amount of deposit you intend to put down, and intended closing date. We will then prepared a contract with the information you provided and email it to you, along with other required documents. You will need to review and sign the documents and send them back to us either with a proof of funds letter (for cash offer) or a pre-qualification letter( for financing offer). We will then submit the offer on your behalf. If the seller (especially the bank seller) receives multiple offers, the seller will usually ask the bidders to submit their best offer, select the offer that the seller deems to be the best (not necessarily the highest offer), decline other offers and the bidding process ends.

4.Deposit & Home Inspection: Once your offer is accepted by the seller, who then signs the contract, you are expected to send earnest deposit to the seller or the assigned title company (usually within 2 business days), and conduct a professional home inspection (usually within 7 days). The purpose of the home inspection is to ensure that the property does not have major issues such as structural defects, termites, serious mold or roof leaking. When purchasing foreclosure properties, the bank/seller will use an “as-is contract” only, which means the property is sold in as-is, where-is condition. The bank/seller will not do any repairs if problems are found, but you have the right to withdraw from the contract and request your earnest deposit be returned to you, should you decide not to move forward with the purchase. Therefore, it is important that you review the inspection report carefully and notify the seller in writing within the inspection period whether you intend to move forward with the purchase. Otherwise, you stand to lose your earnest deposit . If a regular contract is used, the seller is required to fix any problems found before delivering the property for closing.

5.Closing/Settlement: In central Florida, it is customary practice for the seller to assign a closing agent or a title company to handle the closing on the property, and for the seller to pay for the owner’s title insurance policy. You can request to use the closing agent of your choice, but in that case, you will bear the cost of the title insurance policy. Prior to the closing, you need to work closely with your mortgage broker to get your loan approved. You also need to obtain a home insurance policy on the property. On the day of the closing, you will need to review and sign all closing documents in the presence of a notary public, wire closing funds or send a cashier’s check to the closing agent. If a lender is involved, your lender will wire the loan amount to the closing agent. Nowadays, physical attendance is usually not required for a closing to take place. Mail away closing has become the norm, as the seller, the buyer, the closing agent and the subject property are often located in different cities.



 

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