I'm a Realtor. Ask me anything

I'm a Realtor. Ask me anything

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The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
My wife and I are part-time Realtors here in Florida. We mainly use our licenses for our own personal (sales/rentals) transactions etc. Having said that, we of course have to go through all the classes, the training and join a brokerage etc.

That being the case, I know there are some PHers who either have property in the US or are considering purchasing/selling property in the US and if you have any questions or would like any advice/assistance, I'd be happy to do my best at answering those questions here. smile

Doofus

13,493 posts

132 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
I've got one:

What happened to Cheers The Moose?

tuscan_raider

184 posts

106 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
Where does the word Realtor come from ? Estate Agent makes much more sense

mr_spock

3,020 posts

174 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
Can I have my name as part owner of a US property without an SSN?

hyphen

17,509 posts

49 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
tuscan_raider said:
Where does the word Realtor come from ? Estate Agent makes much more sense
Real estate is what they call it over there, so imagine from that?

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
Doofus said:
I've got one:

What happened to Cheers The Moose?
Honestly, right now I can’t remember. I seem to remember there was a sizable thread about it and I got a whole bunch of emails from various people. must be nearly 10 years ago now?

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
mr_spock said:
Can I have my name as part owner of a US property without an SSN?
In Florida, where I am licensed, there is no requirement for a Social Security number. If you are going to rent the property out, you can get a tax ID number which as I understand it, essentially works the same as a Social Security number but just for foreign entities.

What states specifically are you looking at?

You may also want to look at a ownership structure involving a corporation. It really depends on many different factors.

Finally, another thing that sometimes gets forgotten about at the acquisition stage, as a foreign person, is FIRPTA and its implications upon disposal of the asset.

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
tuscan_raider said:
Where does the word Realtor come from ? Estate Agent makes much more sense
My understanding is that the word Realtor is essentially made up but based around the phrase ‘real estate’ and the legal definition of that.

It is a registered trademark of a organization - the National Association of Realtors or NAR. Not all sales associates are Realtors – you can be licensed as a sales associate, but not join the association. Everything is based around the membership of the organization and it’s hard to really do business without being a member.

It’s multi-tiered. So I’m a member of NAR, FAR (Florida) and my local board. My wife is NAR, FAR, and 2 different local boards.

Think death by a thousand cuts fees!

Saleen836

8,114 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
Why do I regularly get post from realtors advertising thier services (also from management co's) ??
I have no intention of selling my property over there but at least once a month I get a letter introducing *insert name* along with other property on the estate that has either sold or is up for sale

sunbeam alpine

5,485 posts

147 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
What the hell are you doing in the colonies?

smile

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
Saleen836 said:
Why do I regularly get post from realtors advertising thier services (also from management co's) ??
I have no intention of selling my property over there but at least once a month I get a letter introducing *insert name* along with other property on the estate that has either sold or is up for sale
Marketing

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
sunbeam alpine said:
What the hell are you doing in the colonies?

smile
Living. The. Dream!

At least living our dream smile

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Wednesday 24th June
quotequote all
The Moose said:
tuscan_raider said:
Where does the word Realtor come from ? Estate Agent makes much more sense
My understanding is that the word Realtor is essentially made up but based around the phrase ‘real estate’ and the legal definition of that.

It is a registered trademark of a organization - the National Association of Realtors or NAR. Not all sales associates are Realtors – you can be licensed as a sales associate, but not join the association. Everything is based around the membership of the organization and it’s hard to really do business without being a member.

It’s multi-tiered. So I’m a member of NAR, FAR (Florida) and my local board. My wife is NAR, FAR, and 2 different local boards.

Think death by a thousand cuts fees!
I actually just looked it up and the etymology is "From real (in real estate) and -or. Coined by Charles N. Chadbourn in 1916, on the model of Latin agent nouns ending in -tor (such as actor, creator)."

mr_spock

3,020 posts

174 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
The Moose said:
mr_spock said:
Can I have my name as part owner of a US property without an SSN?
In Florida, where I am licensed, there is no requirement for a Social Security number. If you are going to rent the property out, you can get a tax ID number which as I understand it, essentially works the same as a Social Security number but just for foreign entities.

What states specifically are you looking at?

You may also want to look at a ownership structure involving a corporation. It really depends on many different factors.

Finally, another thing that sometimes gets forgotten about at the acquisition stage, as a foreign person, is FIRPTA and its implications upon disposal of the asset.
Thanks! We talked about this on email a bit - my wife is a USC and we're buying a house in North Carolina (I hope). I'm contributing some cash, she has the mortgage. I want my name on the deeds as a part owner somehow. No SSN yet as my visa application is in the works somewhere.

mikal83

5,057 posts

211 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
I was a Realtor for many years in central west FL, til we came back to the UK for family reasons......we did OK and as moose has written we used my licence for our own needs, (and have made a killing)

geeks

6,413 posts

98 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
I don't live in the US (I have family near Cape Canaveral though if that counts)

Do realtors just do property or land as well? I was reading about UK self building and how in the US you buy a chuck of land then engage "contractors" to build a house on it.

I guess really what I am asking, how completely different is the US housing/purchasing and rental stuff different from the UK?

Nice AMA The Moose, nice to see you outside of the Secret Santea stuff hehe

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
mr_spock said:
The Moose said:
mr_spock said:
Can I have my name as part owner of a US property without an SSN?
In Florida, where I am licensed, there is no requirement for a Social Security number. If you are going to rent the property out, you can get a tax ID number which as I understand it, essentially works the same as a Social Security number but just for foreign entities.

What states specifically are you looking at?

You may also want to look at a ownership structure involving a corporation. It really depends on many different factors.

Finally, another thing that sometimes gets forgotten about at the acquisition stage, as a foreign person, is FIRPTA and its implications upon disposal of the asset.
Thanks! We talked about this on email a bit - my wife is a USC and we're buying a house in North Carolina (I hope). I'm contributing some cash, she has the mortgage. I want my name on the deeds as a part owner somehow. No SSN yet as my visa application is in the works somewhere.
We did - I'm sorry for not recognizing the username. I suck at that!

Like you, I would prefer my name to be on the deed, however you may have a problem with the mortgage company in doing that? Are they aware of the situation? Being married, the type of ownership specified should be "tenancy by the entirety" (I just looked and it seems to work the same in NC as it does here in FL...but IANAL). As long as you're not buying hundreds of acres of agricultural land, you should be able to own property in NC with no issue. I would actually talk over your concerns with a real estate attorney in NC if you can - especially if you're looking for a bit of strategic planning in case things don't have the happy ending you hope for.

Oh, and you never sent me that link wink

The Moose

Original Poster:

20,407 posts

168 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
geeks said:
I don't live in the US (I have family near Cape Canaveral though if that counts)

Do realtors just do property or land as well? I was reading about UK self building and how in the US you buy a chuck of land then engage "contractors" to build a house on it.

I guess really what I am asking, how completely different is the US housing/purchasing and rental stuff different from the UK?

Nice AMA The Moose, nice to see you outside of the Secret Santea stuff hehe
Both options really...and many more! Also, depending on what land you buy will depend on what you can build. For example, if you buy a parcel of land within a community, they will have standards for you to keep to and possibly a limited list of contractors that can work in that community.

If you buy some land which is not within a community, then you are free to work with whoever you like just abiding by whatever 'code' exists for that location.

The biggest difference between a purchase/sale transaction in the US vs the UK is that here there are many more parties in the transaction (and therefore many more mouths to feed). For example, when we bought our house a little while back, the people involved were:
  • Seller
  • Seller's Realtor
  • Seller's Realtor's Broker
  • Seller's Attorney (not necessary but prudent)
  • Title Company (these are the guys that actually 'do' the transaction
  • Buyer's Attorney (not necessary but prudent)
  • Buyer's Realtor's Broker
  • Buyer's Realtor (my wife!)
  • Buyer (my wife and I!)
There was also another attorney on the seller's side because the house was almost at the end of the foreclosure process, but that's a bit different. That's also before you get into the house inspection guys, pool inspection guys, mold guys, dock inspection guys etc etc etc

Each part of the chain has a very specific job, although it is reasonably common for multiple jobs to be covered by one party. For example, some attorneys also do the title company job too...and some title companies will do the job of both attornies as well as the transaction stuff.

Having said all that, every part of the transaction is actually optional. You have the ability to scrawl, literally a single piece of paper with some specific wording on and give it to the other party and that can legally change ownership too yikes

The mechanics of rentals is very similar to the UK. Obviously the contracts are different. The biggest difference is that it's somewhat easier for a landlord to get rid of a crappy tenant. The biggest downside of rentals however is that generally the landlord pays the property tax bill which can be spendy.

Fun fact - transactions buying/selling businesses here are generally done by Realtors also.

Does that help?!

geeks

6,413 posts

98 months

Friday 26th June
quotequote all
The Moose said:
geeks said:
I don't live in the US (I have family near Cape Canaveral though if that counts)

Do realtors just do property or land as well? I was reading about UK self building and how in the US you buy a chuck of land then engage "contractors" to build a house on it.

I guess really what I am asking, how completely different is the US housing/purchasing and rental stuff different from the UK?

Nice AMA The Moose, nice to see you outside of the Secret Santea stuff hehe
Both options really...and many more! Also, depending on what land you buy will depend on what you can build. For example, if you buy a parcel of land within a community, they will have standards for you to keep to and possibly a limited list of contractors that can work in that community.

If you buy some land which is not within a community, then you are free to work with whoever you like just abiding by whatever 'code' exists for that location.

The biggest difference between a purchase/sale transaction in the US vs the UK is that here there are many more parties in the transaction (and therefore many more mouths to feed). For example, when we bought our house a little while back, the people involved were:
  • Seller
  • Seller's Realtor
  • Seller's Realtor's Broker
  • Seller's Attorney (not necessary but prudent)
  • Title Company (these are the guys that actually 'do' the transaction
  • Buyer's Attorney (not necessary but prudent)
  • Buyer's Realtor's Broker
  • Buyer's Realtor (my wife!)
  • Buyer (my wife and I!)
There was also another attorney on the seller's side because the house was almost at the end of the foreclosure process, but that's a bit different. That's also before you get into the house inspection guys, pool inspection guys, mold guys, dock inspection guys etc etc etc

Each part of the chain has a very specific job, although it is reasonably common for multiple jobs to be covered by one party. For example, some attorneys also do the title company job too...and some title companies will do the job of both attornies as well as the transaction stuff.

Having said all that, every part of the transaction is actually optional. You have the ability to scrawl, literally a single piece of paper with some specific wording on and give it to the other party and that can legally change ownership too yikes

The mechanics of rentals is very similar to the UK. Obviously the contracts are different. The biggest difference is that it's somewhat easier for a landlord to get rid of a crappy tenant. The biggest downside of rentals however is that generally the landlord pays the property tax bill which can be spendy.

Fun fact - transactions buying/selling businesses here are generally done by Realtors also.

Does that help?!
It does, cheers TM thumbup

Expat16

810 posts

175 months

Saturday 27th June
quotequote all
We are moving from Central Florida up to Charlotte in 3 weeks otherwise we could have definitely use your knowledge