International Buyers and Sellers

Foreign Buyers and Sellers:


Foreign Nationals Buyers:

To obtain a mortgage the following will be required.  For more information or call Manny Fajardo at 954-560-6934:

  • Accountant’s letter and license  – CPA Letter Template 
  • One banking reference letter
  • Two credit reference letters
  • Most recent 3 months of bank statements.
  • Copy of utility bill from your property in your country of origin.
  • Copy of your business card.
  • If you own any real estate in the US: most recent mortgage & insurance statements.
  • Copy of passport & visa.



FinCEN GTO NOTICE.  If Closing Agent is required to comply with the U.S. Treasury Department’s (iii) Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) Geographic Targeting Orders (“GTOs”), then Buyer shall provide Closing Agent with the information related to Buyer and the transaction contemplated by this Contract that is required to complete IRS Form 8300, and Buyer consents to Closing Agent’s collection and report of said information to IRS.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this advisory to provide financial institutions and the real estate industry with information on money laundering risks associated with certain real estate transactions.  As highlighted by recent Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) issued by FinCEN, real estate transactions involving luxury property purchased through shell companies—particularly when conducted with cash and no financing—can be an attractive avenue for criminals to launder illegal proceeds while masking their identities.

  1. Although FinCEN to date has focused on residential real estate, money laundering can also involve commercial real estate transactions.

Each type of financial institution—defined by law to also include “persons involved in real estate closings and settlements”—has certain anti-money laundering obligations and can provide valuable reporting on potential money laundering and terrorist financing.

  1. FinCEN—a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury—administers and issues regulations pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The BSA is the commonly used term for statutory enactments requiring U.S. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering, terrorism finance, and other illegal activity. The BSA’s definition of “financial institution” includes “persons involved in real estate closings and settlements.”  31 U.S.C. § 5312(a)(2)(U).  While that term has not yet been defined under FinCEN’s regulations, it is not intended to include individual buyers and sellers.

While real estate brokers, escrow agents, title insurers, and other real estate professionals are not required to, FinCEN encourages them to voluntarily report suspicious transactions involving real estate purchases and sales.  As with other financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), a safe harbor from liability exists with respect to the filing of suspicious activity reports, including voluntary ones, by persons involved in real estate closings and settlements.3

While FinCEN currently has exempted them from these broader obligations, persons involved in real estate closings and settlements do participate in efforts to safeguard the U.S. real estate industry and financial system from money laundering and terrorism financing through their existing AML/CFT requirements.  See FinCEN’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking “Anti-Money Laundering Program Requirements for ‘Persons Involved in Real Estate Closings and Settlements’’’ (April 2003).

They, like all U.S. persons engaged in trade and business, must file reports on transactions in currency and certain monetary instruments involving more than $10,000 (commonly referred to as “Form 8300”).  31 CFR § 1010.330 (Form 8300). A Form 8300 also may be filed voluntarily for any suspicious transaction, even if the total amount does not exceed $10,000.

They also may be required to annually report on foreign bank and financial accounts they own or control, report the transportation of currency across the U.S. border, and keep associated records, as well as respond to FinCENissued GTOs. 31 CFR §§ 1010.350 (FBAR), 1010.340 (CMIR), 1010.430 (recordkeeping), and 1010.370 (GTO).

In addition, as other financial institutions under the BSA, persons involved in real estate closings and settlements—which may include real estate brokers, escrow agents, title insurers, and other real estate professionals—can voluntarily report suspicious activity and such disclosures would be protected from liability under the BSA’s safe harbor.  The real estate industry recognizes the seriousness and importance of protecting the U.S. real estate market from abuse.  For example, the National Association of Realtors has issued red flags and voluntary guidelines to assist real estate professionals minimize the risk of real estate becoming a vehicle for money laundering.



FIRPTA Withholding Rate Increasing to 15%



“FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN REAL PROPERTY TAX ACT (“FIRPTA”): Seller(i) shall inform Buyer in writing if Seller is a “foreign person” as defined by the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (“FIRPTA”). Buyer and Seller shall comply with FIRPTA, which may require Seller to provide additional cash at Closing. If Seller is not a “foreign person”, Seller can provide Buyer, at or prior to Closing, a certification o f non-foreign status, under penalties o f perjury, to inform Buyer and Closing Agent that no withholding is required. See STANDARD V for further information pertaining to FIRPTA. Buyer and Seller are advised to seek legal counsel and tax advice regarding their respective rights, obligations, reporting and withholding requirements pursuant to FIRPTA.”

FIRPTA TAX WITHHOLDING: If a seller of U.S. real property is a “foreign person” as defined by FIRPTA, Section 1445 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) requires the buyer of the real property to withhold up to 15%  of the amount realized by the seller on the transfer and remit the withheld amount to the Internal Revenue Service  (IRS) unless an exemption to the required withholding applies or the seller has obtained a Withholding Certificate  from the IRS authorizing a reduced amount of withholding.  (i) No withholding is required under Section 1445 of the Code if the Seller is not a “foreign person”. Seller can provide proof of non-foreign status to Buyer by delivery of written certification signed under penalties of perjury,  stating that Seller is not a foreign person and containing Seller’s name, U.S. taxpayer identification number and  home address (or office address, in the case of an entity), as provided for in 26 CFR 1.1445-2(b). Otherwise, Buyer shall withhold the applicable percentage of the amount realized by Seller on the transfer and timely remit said funds to the IRS.  (ii) If Seller is a foreign person and has received a Withholding Certificate from the IRS which provides for reduced or eliminated withholding in this transaction and provides same to Buyer by Closing, then Buyer shall withhold the reduced sum required if any, and timely remit said funds to the IRS.

(iii) If prior to Closing Seller has submitted a completed application to the IRS for a Withholding Certificate and has  provided to Buyer the notice required by 26 CFR 1.1445-1(c) (2)(i)(B) but no Withholding Certificate has been received as of Closing, Buyer shall, at Closing,  withhold the applicable percentage of the amount realized by Seller on the transfer and, at Buyer’s option, either (a) timely remit the withheld funds to the IRS or (b) place the funds in  escrow, at Seller’s expense, with an escrow agent selected by Buyer and pursuant to terms negotiated by the parties, to be subsequently disbursed in accordance with the Withholding Certificate issued by the IRS or remitted  directly to the IRS if the Seller’s application is rejected or upon terms set forth in the escrow agreement.    (iv) In the event the net proceeds due Seller are not sufficient to meet the withholding requirement(s) in this  transaction, Seller shall deliver to Buyer, at Closing, the additional COLLECTED funds necessary to satisfy the  applicable requirement and thereafter Buyer shall timely remit said funds to the IRS or escrow the funds for  disbursement in accordance with the final determination of the IRS, as applicable.  (v) Upon remitting funds to the IRS pursuant to this STANDARD, Buyer shall provide Seller copies of IRS Forms 8288 and 8288-A, as filed.

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