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Winning Ways to Overcome Objections

When international buyers consider a Florida purchase, three common objections come up:

1.  Ownership costs. Many foreign buyers are not familiar with the ongoing costs involved with owning a home in Florida. For instance, paying property taxes is a new concept for many European buyers. High insurance premiums and condominium or homeowners’ association fees are other cost issues.

To deal with these issues, a sales associate can educate a buyer about the U.S. real estate system at an early stage of the transaction. Ownership cost factors might also influence the house-hunting process; for example, they might influence buyers to seek a single-family home in a neighborhood without monthly association fees.

2. Financing. Though many international buyers pay cash for U.S. homes, an estimated 69 percent rely on mortgages, according to a 2007 study by the National Association of Realtors®. As a result of the national credit crunch, some international buyers are finding it more difficult to qualify for loans or are facing larger down-payment requirements than in years past.

Again, a sales associate should discuss the financial aspects of the sale at an early opportunity and, if necessary, refer a buyer to several potential sources of mortgage funding.

3. U.S. immigration rules. Tighter immigration and visa requirements in the post-9/11 era have made it more difficult for some international visitors to enter the United States. Current rules also limit the amount of time a visitor may stay in the country.

A sales associate should stay informed about U.S. visa requirements and advise international buyers about the rules. If buyers will be allowed to live in the United States for only part of the year, the associate might suggest that they consider a fractional ownership or a condominium hotel suite, or a property that can be rented out when the owner is out of the country.