Real Estate

Do you want to buy your own property in Cape Coral or Fort Myers?  This is 

what you should look out for

You should know that it almost always starts with a vacation in Florida. You fall in love with the 

country and its people, and at one point, a question arises that you can’t get out of your head. 

Why not just buy a house? It usually takes a while before the final decision is made, because 

with each answer, two new questions arise. After all, Cape Coral or Fort Myers is not just around 

the corner. If you can use the house only during a vacation, you have to think about whether and

how the property will or could be used in the other months. In addition, the legal situation in the 

US is different from that in Germany. However, you should not let that put you off. More and more 

German landlords in Florida are proof that the dream of a property in Cape Coral or Fort Myers does 

not have to be a dream.

How much is a luxury villa or a vacation home in Florida?

A private vacation home in Cape Coral or Fort Myers is a luxury that not everyone can afford or even 

want. In contrast to a permanent residence, you only use the property a few weeks in the year.  It is 

even more important to know for the buyer what the cost of acquiring and maintaining a house in 

Florida will be.  Let’s get one thing straight: The fall in prices after the real estate crisis 10 years ago - 

prices have recovered somewhat in the following years. However, there are still many vacation homes 

and villas for sale. Interested parties are offered a wide selection to fit any price range. Especially 

popular are houses in the prime locations of Cape Coral and Fort Myers. Cape Coral has to offer many 

high-quality homes and even new homes to the buyer. The market is booming and prices are on the 

rise, that is likely to continue for a long time. What also makes the purchase of a house for Europeans 

in Florida financially interesting, is on one hand the favorable exchange rate and the currently still 

favorable interest rates. In addition, more and more German homeowners rent their villas and vacation 

homes to sun-seeking tourists from all over the world or to the so-called "snowbirds". This is what 

people call retirees from up north who can afford to hibernate in a vacation home in Florida with 

pleasant temperatures. In this way, investing in your own property in Florida can even be a lucrative 

business model.

A few examples of property prices in Cape Coral

House type average price

Detached house with pool / normal location $ 250,000

Detached house with pool / top location starting at $ 300,000

Villa with pool and boat dock / normal location   $ 380,000

Villa with pool and boat dock /  prime location  starting at $ 480,000

Villa with pool and boat dock / newly constructed starting at $ 600,000

What should you pay attention to when buying a villa or vacation home in Florida?

If you plan to use your property not only for yourself, but also to rent out, you should take the same

things into consideration that you did for your own vacation home in Cape Coral or Fort Myers, for 

example a pool will probably be very important for your future vacation guests.  The location is 

equally crucial. The vacation home or villa should be in a quiet area, but centrally located. 

Preferred locations have direct access to the water, the property should also be fully furnished. 

This is especially true for the kitchen and bathrooms. Further important criteria are also the 

number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Also an air conditioner should be part of the standard 

equipment in Florida. However, before all these details you should first of all know what your budget 

is for your project “Property in Florida”.  Generally, one should assume that 25 to 35% of the costs 

incurred in a purchase immediately become due.  You should also considere whether only a part 

or all of the costs should be covered by renting out.  When you are renting out, not only do you have to 

pay the monthly mortgage but also numerous deposits and withdrawals will come due, so you 

should specifically for this purpose open an account with an American bank. The effort for this can 

vary depending on the bank. Florida properties for sale are usually offered through brokers. Private 

sales are the exception.  By the way, you do not need to fear a broker's commission in the US. Here, 

the broker is basically paid by the seller.

Your house purchase checklist in Florida

1. Set your budget

2. Decide whether the property should be rented out or used only privately

3. Get a first impression of properties for sale on the website

4. Specify your desired location

5. Contact a local broker

6. If you want to rent your property without having to worry about it, you should right away contact

a German-speaking property management company in Cape Coral (this will work in your favor and 

can excellently be used as a bargaining chip when renting out)

Is there an ideal time to buy a property in Cape Coral or Fort Myers?

There is, and it is right now! The real estate market in Florida is on the move. This is especially true 

for the booming tourist metropolis of Cape Coral. For exclusive vacation homes and luxury villas a 

new homeowner can usually be found immediately. Anyone who decides to buy a property now can, 

in spite of rising prices have a pick from the cream of the crop.

Can Germans in Florida even buy a house and also rent it out?

Legal info

You are allowed to do both. German citizens can buy and rent houses in Florida. The financing can 

be done via a German bank or an American bank with a German subsidiary.  There are also some 

American banks where financing can be done. Since this is not a matter of course with all US banks, 

you should check this possibility right away.  Since the legal situation for homeowners in the US is 

different than in Germany, one should use the support of a title company.  The Title company verifies 

if the present property certificates are valid and it checks by doing a title search the legal status of 

the property by doing a title search. This is the American equivalent to a German notary public.  The 

title company will also take care of the title insurance which protects the acquired property against 

claims of third parties and also pays for hidden defects, which were not revealed at the "closing", 

(settlement and finalizing of the contract). The premiums for Title Insurance are 

the same everywhere and depend on the amount of the purchase price. In addition when you sell the 

property later, significant tax payments are due. You should be aware of this in advance. The rental 

income must be taxed in the US. But, of course, you can use it to offset the maintenance costs 

incurred there as well. 

Property in Florida is a great thing, but it does not automatically secure you a special status.

Even as a homeowner, you can only stay in the US, a maximum of 90 days at a time. Only those who 

have a visitor visa can spend the complete nasty weather season in Cape Coral and can stay up to 

six months in the country. However, this visa must be applied for and specifies amongst other things 

that you have a permanent residence in Germany. In addition, the must prove that you will not work 

in the US.

The typical process of a home purchase

           •          You are interested in an house for sale on the Internet or have found an appealing house and 

             see a broker’s sign with his phone number.

           •          You call the broker and make an appointment.

           •          A good broker will be able to show you other houses for sale.

           •          The price the broker gives you is usually not set in stone and there is room for negotiation. So it

            pays to negotiate.

           •          The sale is confirmed by the receipt of a "title". So that you are not unpleasantly surprised, you 

            should secure the support of a title company.

           •          The title insurance will secure your property of third party claims and if there are hidden defects.