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Three years ago I bought a Toronto condo on paper, that was going to be constructed by today but they kept extending and now they are unable to finance the project so I had my lawyer get my deposit + interest back. The condo was for 210k and my down payment and initial deposit added to about 35%. With my saving and with my money back I now have around 100k to invest on real estate.

Right now properties in Florida are very cheap and some in great locations surrounded by golf courses and tennis courts and 30 minutes from the beach. They go for $50,000 and $60,000 so I could buy one and with the remainder, lets say $40,000 I have left over invest in a Toronto property. Then I could spend 6 months in Toronto and another 6 months in Florida.

I was wondering if any Canadians here own property in Florida. What are your experiences?

ps> The reason the property is that cheap is because it's bank owned and you have to pay 100% downpayment and therefore it only attracts buyers who can afford it.

Thanks!
 

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I bought a property in South Florida 6 years ago, so I got in before all the madness. I bought a really nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1100 sq ft condo on a lake in a gated community around 20 minutes from the beach and surrounded by golf courses.

I paid only $66,000 and it probably tripled in price during the boom and now is back to what I paid for it. I put 20% down and financed the rest at 5.6% fixed for 25 years with a Bank of America mortgage.

It's been the most enjoyable purchase I have made. I am not ready for retirement, but use it several times a year including extended time in the winter. I plan to spend Oct - March when I retire in 8 years.

We haven't rented it out, but family has been using it regularly, including the kids with friends. I have had a very positive experience with the purchase and think the timing is perfect now, but financing from a US institution may be tough.
 

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A vacation condo in Florida for $66,000 intrigues me and sent me on an internet search of properties in south Florida. I couldn't find anything that affordable with the amnemities you described. You place sure sounds nice and certainly affordable.
 

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Maltese, there are lots of available properties at this price range and even lower - try using realtor.com - all you need to do is type your price range, desired size of condo and zip codes where you want to live.
 

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I bought a property in South Florida 6 years ago, so I got in before all the madness. I bought a really nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1100 sq ft condo on a lake in a gated community around 20 minutes from the beach and surrounded by golf courses.

I paid only $66,000 and it probably tripled in price during the boom and now is back to what I paid for it. I put 20% down and financed the rest at 5.6% fixed for 25 years with a Bank of America mortgage.

It's been the most enjoyable purchase I have made. I am not ready for retirement, but use it several times a year including extended time in the winter. I plan to spend Oct - March when I retire in 8 years.

We haven't rented it out, but family has been using it regularly, including the kids with friends. I have had a very positive experience with the purchase and think the timing is perfect now, but financing from a US institution may be tough.
Wow, that sounds really GOOD! Just wondering, how is the property tax? I heard that Florida charge different tax (much higher) for non-state residents. What are other costs per month other than your mortgage?
 

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Purplesnow - yes there is a difference for Florida residents, called a homestead exemption. For long term home owners it means property taxes can be as low as $500 year. As valuations went through the roof, my property taxes went up, but now that are back down to $1,200.
I think prices will be pretty stable for some time so I'm hoping that taxes don't rise signficantly.
 

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The US is the most popular country after Spain for British people buying second homes abroad, and the majority of them buy in Florida.

Some watchers are predicting that the fall in Florida property is almost at an end, and prices have nearly 'bottomed out', so for people buying now it could be the perfect time for an investment.
 

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Just watched an interesting segment on "The National". Apparently the ownership status of many who purchased foreclosure properties is in limbo. This is because due to the massive volume, property foreclosures were virtually rubber stamped without giving the original homeowner ample time to present a case.

Somewhat unrelated, but I found it a little sad after seeing one of the foreclosure homes that was abandoned. Wherever the family moved to, obviously didn't have room for many of their possessions. The kids rooms still had furniture and many of their toys left scattered over the floor. I suppose that sometimes adults make mistakes where they must live with the consequences, but it's too bad that little children are also forced to deal with consequences that they had no part in.

Anyway, after watching the segment, I think if I was buying a Florida property I would pay a little bit more and buy an non foreclosed one.
 

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Anyway, after watching the segment, I think if I was buying a Florida property I would pay a little bit more and buy an non foreclosed one.
There have been documented cases of people owning their homes outright getting them foreclosed. I think you would be wise to wait a few years until all this mess gets sorted out.
 

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One couple went to an auction and bought the second mortgage thinking it was the first one. They paid close to $240K and thought it was a decent deal for the house, they were foreclosed upon by the first mortgage holder a few months later. :mad:

I do have a friend who bought a Florida house for 50K and she's happy she got a great deal

Basically buyer be wary.
 

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One couple went to an auction and bought the second mortgage thinking it was the first one. They paid close to $240K and thought it was a decent deal for the house, they were foreclosed upon by the first mortgage holder a few months later. :mad:

I do have a friend who bought a Florida house for 50K and she's happy she got a great deal

Basically buyer be wary.
Shouldn't their lawyer have caught this?
 

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This thing about buying auctioned houses happens everywhere around the world, even in developed economies. The purchaser attends the auction by invitation, has never seen the house, don't know much about it except some small things they heard during the auction, then jump into the boat and quickly snap it up due to the great price.

Then later, they discovered that the ownership cannot be transferred legally due to many problems, eg utility bills not paid; in under-developed economies, we have squatters sitting inside the house; problems with the title at the Land Office due to special rights of certain races or ethnicities; frauds whereby the titles are under another mortgage bank, the list goes on and on,...

I always stay away from house, commercial property,.. etc auctions. Though I don't mind art auctions, but I have a lawyer at the auction with me to check out on the authenticity and whether there is another owner registered against the artpiece that I am interested in.

Thought I'd just give-in my two cents here,...
 

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The banks and Wall Street were shuffling properties around so fast, they didn't want to the bother of having to go the local land registry office and fill out the paperwork.

So, they formed their own company called Mortgage Electronic Registration or MERS. This company simply recorded changes in ownership electronically, without any accompanying paperwork such as title and notes. The paperwork got lost or destroyed and the only record is from MERS.

The problem is that a lot of States don't recognize electronic registration and MERS is not owner or lender of the property, and therefore have no right to foreclose. The paperwork is gone, and everything is in limbo.

There is also the issue of avoiding land transfer fees to the local municipality by doing it within their own company.

I wouldn't buy any property in the US until they get it sorted out, because you have no idea if you own it.........and nobody can find out if you do, including a lawyer.
 

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One nice solution, is to rent rather than buy. We were there in the summer and the deals were unbelievable. I'm sure there are even better deals in the winter. Granted, you don't have the potential for future huge property increases but you also don't place significant amounts of money at risk. Besides most people I know don't really purchase as an investment per se, but rather as lifestyle choice. They often have no intention of selling. Why not just rent and have the flexibility to go to a different location from time to time?
 

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Why not just rent and have the flexibility to go to a different location from time to time?
I completely agree with this. As the economy continues to sputter and unemployment lengths increase, more and more people will come to this conclusion. I've owned and rented and the latter is a far better deal. Just pocket and save the savings, make that money work for you right away instead of giving it away to middlemen and risk crappy neighbors moving in who could lower your property value.

I also agree with your earlier post - I saw that same segment about the mess of sold and foreclosed US properties. The various entities were WAY too hasty about this and it is slowly being sorted out. One Judge had even been pulled out of retirement and briefly spoke to the TV cameras about the problem.

Watch that documentary or story whatever.
 
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