Mortgage Edge, in Richmond Hill, Ontario offers financing methods which use Canadian real estate as collateral to finance Florida investment and recreational property purchases.  By removing equity from Canadian real estate you can pay cash for American properties. 

There are several advantages to this option: 

  1. Interest rates are lower by approximately 2%.

  2. The mortgage process here in Canada is a much easier process for Canadians than attempting to negotiate within the current environment of the credit markets and mortgage lender requirements in the States, especially as a foreigner.

In summary, "cash is king" and if you are shopping with cash, you will be in a position to negotiate a better price than someone who requires financing and are more likely to close those deals.  For more information, contact Scott Ecclestone at 905-482-3193 or via cell at 416-910-6701 if you have any questions about real estate finance or if you want to talk further.  You can also visit their website at  


International buyers and sellers, we want to ensure that you obtain the most favorable currency exchange rate for your 
currency so that you may obtain the best deal possible for your property 
purchase or sale in your local currency.

Moneycorp are currency exchange specialists. The main reason why our clients use them is for their competitive exchange rates. In general, our clients save between 2 and 9% compared to the banks.

In addition, it is not only about obtaining a competitive exchange rate compared to your bank, it is also about exchanging at the right time.
Moneycorp will designate a currency exchange specialist with whom you can discuss about market fluctuations.

This is a free service, with no obligation to use them. If you wish, they can also fix an exchange rate for up to two years in advance to help you protect against adverse currency movements or lock into a favorable rate.

By Ron Webster, Attorney at Law Naples, Florida

So You Are a Canadian Buyer, Aye?

Given the value and strength of the Canadian dollar, our office has seen an unprecedented number of Canadian Buyers in recent months.

The typical and most legitimate concern many have surround the tax implications of their purchase. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution. If age and health is a paramount concern they may think twice about putting the property into their individual names due to estate taxation fears in the event of death.

Unfortunately, unlike their neighbors to the south, Canadians upon death are only provided with a tax exclusion for the first $60,000.00 worth of property value per person. Last time I checked there is little desirable property in Southwest Florida for under $120,000.00, presuming a couple is purchasing together.

One solution in the past has been to calculate the estimated tax and obtain life insurance for this amount. However, if health or age is a factor then the practical cost of life insurance may be prohibitive.

Another alternative is to utilize a corporate structure to hold title. This clearly avoids probate and estate taxes upon death but in the event of sale, the tax rate, assuming a profit is made, may scare the buyer to death. Additionally most insurance companies have made homeowner's insurance rates go through the roof when properties are titled in a corporate structure. Others refuse to insure at all.

My recommendation....The Florida Land Trust, simple, cost effective and a viable alternative to individual; or corporate ownership. A Land Trust can be a lot like a chameleon and take on many colors. First, when a profit is made individuals are taxed at their individual capital gain rate (presently 15% when held for a year or longer) rather than the corporate rate which can range between 28%-35%.

Additionally, a Land Trust will provide for successor trustees and avoid probate in the event of death. The Land Trust is not recorded and can have multiple beneficiaries including children, yet still be controlled solely by the parents as trustees. By spreading out ownership interest the original $60,000.00 tax exemption is multiplied by the number of beneficiares.

Furthermore, transfers of shares in the Land Trust may be held in escrow and shuffled around between family members like a ball in a shell game to avoid estate taxation upon death. Needless to say if this approach is taken, careful concern must be given to avoid unintended gift tax consequences.

In short, there are countless ways to take title, but experience has taught me, as a general rule, the best manner, depending upon the buyer's motives' may be to consider establishing a Land Trust prior to closing or create one shortly after. When transferred following closing, if done correctly, there should not be any additional documentary stamps nor should the validity of the title insurance be jeopardized.

Makes sense, aye? As always, feel free to contact me or have your our potential buyer contact me with any follow up questions.

Ronald Webster
Law Offices of Ronald S. Webster

phone: 239-394-8999


By Ron Webster, Attorney at Law Naples, Florida

FIRPTA ia an acronym for the Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act. It´s purpose is to assure that capital gain, if any, is paid before funds can be removed outside the taxing jurisdiction of the United States.  As a matter of law, 10% of the gross sales price must be withheld by the purchaser of property acquired from a foreign person, unless there is an exemption from the tax.  When applicable, FIRPTA withholding tax is paid directly to the I.R.S. within 20 days of the real estate transfer unless a withholding certificate is applied for prior to or up until the date of closing.

The present capital gain rate is 15% of the net proceeds realized upon sale.  All of the initial acquisition costs together with any capital improvements are totaled to create the "basis".  All expenses of sale are subtracted to determine the net proceeds.  If the net proceeds are greater than the basis Sellers will be taxed on the profit in the United States.  This tax rate varies at the present rate of 15% if the property is held individually or held in a Land Trust to as high as 34% if held in the name of the corporation.  In addition, there are further tax considerations upon the sale that could result in a double whammy when the profit is reported in the foreign investor´s home country.

Effective November 3, 2003 the I.R.S. requires foreign property owners to obtain a U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number in advance in order to lease, sell or finance U.S. real estate without punitive tax consequences.  Provided a U.S. Tax I.D. number is obtained prior to closing, a foreign seller may avail himself to the following benefits.


 If a foreign person sells a U.S. residence for $300,000.00 or less and the purchaser intends to occupy the property for residential purposes (although not necessarily the buyer´s principal residence), the sale is exempt from FIRPTA withholding.  Nonetheless, the Seller must report the sale to the I.R.S. and be responsible for taxes that may be due.


 If the property is being transferred in exchange for another U.S. property then the transaction may qualify for an exemption from FIRPTA as a non-recognition transaction.  However, the foreign seller, must designate the new property to be purchased within 20 days of closing.


With the present capital gain rate of 15% in virtually all instances, the foreign seller´s FIRPTA tax liability will be less than the amount required to be withheld.  A foreign seller may apply for a reduction in the amount to be withheld pursuant to the withholding certificate procedure.  Since the I.R.S. has 90 days to respond to such an application, the request should be submitted as early as possible prior to closing to utilize this special escrow procedure.

Under this procedure, the withholding tax is not required to be submitted to the I.R.S. within 20 days of closing but rather they can be retained by the closing agent and disbursed immediately upon obtaining a withholding certificate or letter of reduction rather than obtaining for the refund from the I.R.S.  Our office is extremely well versed in this process and can handle the procedure without the need to engage third parties.


When foreign investors rent out their Florida real estate they are subject to a withholding tax of 30% of the gross amount of rental income.  One way for foreign investors to avoid the 30% gross withholding tax is to file a U.S. tax return and pay tax on the net rental income.  The foreign investor is then entitled to a refund for any taxes withheld to the extent the withholding amount exceeds to the tax which is payable.

Sharon and Art David
Sharon and Art David