Be careful when buying U.S. property, experts says hire right Realtor 

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The Canadian dollar is virtually at par. And there’s that gloomy weather outside. That can only mean that Canadians are thinking Florida.

Experts say consumers should be even more careful than normal when purchasing down south. Buying a home in the United States just got a little riskier; after all 50 states launched an investigation into the mortgage industry this fall.

The U.S. government is looking at whether banks used possibly fraudulent paperwork to get homeowners out of foreclosed homes.

This has caused deals on foreclosed homes to stall in areas such as Arizona and Florida, where nearly half the deals done there are foreclosures.

Investigators are looking at whether banks used robotic signers to sign hundreds of affidavits a day without reviewing them properly.

This will help foreclosed households stay in their homes rent-free for longer, but watch sales activity dry up in coming months since it was foreclosed sales that were really impacting the turnover in recent months.

The freeze isn’t expected to last for long. While there was a drop in foreclosure filings in October, a new wave of foreclosures is expected to hit the market once the regulators play catch up.

However, Canadians should always be wary of buying foreclosed properties.

There is a lot of due diligence that you have to do, and this will spook the market even more. Canadian buyers have to do their due diligence before purchasing. In the U.S., you always have to be prepared to do a little more digging especially with a foreclosed property. Many of the best foreclosed properties are already purchased by large private equity corporations or hedge funds.

Unless you have boots on the ground and you have time to sniff around, it’s tough to find that diamond in the rough.

However, there are lots of other properties on the market that are “distressed priced” but not in foreclosure.

Some inventory of developers who are trying to sell empty units that were built during the boom.

You could get a one bedroom condo in Sarasota Florida that would have cost more than $200,000 during the peak for $59,000, he says. A one bedroom in Orlando is going for $66,000 compared with $150,000 at the peak.

Still, analysts say the market could fall even further over the next year, as more foreclosures come on the market. In the short run, inventory will be low as in States such as Nevada and Florida; foreclosures are as much as half the market.

Canadians are the largest foreign buyers of property in the U.S., representing 23 per cent of all sales according to the National Association of Realtors.

Unlike smaller investors, corporate and larger investors have not really been affected by the foreclosure documentation crunch.

With the very large transactions there is normally a greater oversight and due diligence. But it has certainly affected people at the consumer level if right people or due diligence is not followed. Some transactions are now taking longer than normal as the market has stalled.

Also you see this in cases where the mortgage broker may not have got all the proper paperwork because they were rushing things through.

For the better mortgage service

It doesn’t matter the size of the deal, but Canadians should be careful when they sign the dotted line.

I think Canadians were all excited about the deals a year ago, and now they’re wondering if the bottom will ever come, things have spiraled downhill so badly, it’s just overwhelmingly bad down there. And just because the house may go into a foreclosure auction, doesn’t mean the price is right.

There are lots of homes that don’t sell, and the bank takes them back and resells them later for a cheaper price. This is also the better route because unlike the foreclosure, you’re not getting something ‘as is’.

It is recommends that buyers get a lawyer to review their transaction in the U.S.

Unlike Canada, many transactions are done with title insurance companies doing the paperwork without the benefit of a lawyer.

I think Canadians are obsessed over taxes, so they hire an accountant first, but they forget that they could also use legal advice, especially to make sure you have a clean title, and to make sure that your deal will close. All you need is right realtor partner who guide you thru the process. You sure can contact us at and get referred to right RE/MAX realtor partner across the south of border.

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(The comments contained on this site are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.)

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Vijay Gandhi,
Sales Representative- REALTOR®,
RE/MAX Dynasty Realty Inc. Brokerage*
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