The question whether purchasing US property helps to obtain US residency is somewhat confusing, for paradoxically both a yes and no answer can apply.
With many British people seeking such a “sought after” status here is what I have found from my experience involving British buyers.
The E investor visa application is the most popular residency route with immigrants for a suitable new or established US business venture provides a relatively easy path.
However careful research and planning will be necessary to avoid a costly and disappointing outcome.
With many British buying vacation homes in Florida for rental and investment reasons, many ask if their property purchase can help them to obtain US residency status.
Anyone expecting a visa based on the purchase of a single US home will be severely disappointed, for it will never be able to justify a business investment reason.
However a carefully presented visa application that involves the purchase of 3 or more homes together with submission of a comprehensive detailed business plan could succeed.
If a visa application is poorly presented or it shows the property as being a “passive investment” it would normally be declined. Anyone considering an application is best advised to use an experienced professional with a proven track record in the preparation of such a business plan.
The purchase of property alone will always be viewed as a passive investment, however should the application clearly demonstrates an “active property business” an E2 visa may well be issued.
It is also imperative to prove a “substantial financial investment” as being made prior to the application being submitted and although no actual sum is detailed anywhere in reality it should not be less than $100,000.
Property loans are allowed although when the case sufficient projected business profit margin will be necessary for as the expense and risk increases so too does the scrutiny from the issuing immigration authority.
Of equal importance is the need to clearly show that the business will be viable and that it will be able to support the owner’s future living expenses etc
The supporting business plan should clearly demonstrate a defendable reason why it will generate future employment, plus as a guide projected generated profits of at least $50,000 per annum generally would be expected.
Clarifying property, as an important role in the business plan is essential as would be the case with such proposals as a guest- house, hotel or property rental firm.
Vacation rental homes can be treated similarly to a hotel acquisition for the property purchased has a similar function, however homes should never be bought for any personal use!
Property assets purchased specifically for a rental business do of course require regular maintenance and rental bookings require necessary appropriate personnel for the business needs, no wonder property management is a popular form of investment proposal.
In Central Florida, especially in the Disney catchments a constant demand for “good quality well run” property management firms still exists despite a number of holiday rental firms already operating in the area.
The constant growing demand for good quality management results from many new firms increasing their portfolio of homes, which seemingly reduces some firms’ business operating standards.
This problem was the underpinning reason for my firm’s decision NOT to enter into property management, despite the obvious financial temptation.
Back in 1985 there were very few holiday property management operations near Disney for by and large hotels were the main form of rental accommodation.
Over the next few years we arranged thousands of property sales to British buyers all of whom bought for personal holiday use and potential rental income during their absence.
In view of the importance our buyers applied to property management, we decided that we should do everything to provide the best possible service.
As such it would be best for us to remain totally independent and unlike many of our real estate competitors we resisted the financial temptation.
As a result we continue to track and monitor the performance of some 700 property management firms in Central Florida and the valuable information we gain often helps our client buyers.
There is thought to be over 50,000 British owned homes in Florida and of course many more are owned by other non -residents.
The constant demand for quality small to medium sized property- management firms is naturally creating attractive investment opportunities for budding entrepreneurs in search for a new way of life.
Those keen to try and keep their investment risk to a minimum and are nervous of investing cash into a new business venture may be hard pressed to find a better alternative than a property based management business.
Orlando Investment Properties purchased in the “Sunshine State of Florida should keep rising in value for property prices here are still much lower than many comparable states such as California, where prices are almost 3 times higher!
Those interested in obtaining more information regarding a resident E2 visa application or Orlando Investment Property should contact Graham at Florida Countryside 08456 444 747
You can also obtain a free DVD “The definitive guide to buying in Florida”