Floridian’s and Investors alike are starting or buying new businesses every day. Florida is recognized as one of the leading vacation regions of the world, so taking advantage of this huge tourist industry allows you to grow in many different ways. With tourism comes jobs, and with jobs comes growth. Florida has that!
For those of you looking to obtain a visa and invest into a business, considering your location can be quite important. Think about it, we know for sure that there are literally tens of millions of tourists coming to Central Florida, just to visit Mickey. They all have to eat, shop, spend, travel and stay in the area. So, having a business that can cater to one of these needs ensures you have custom, or at the very least the chance of creating custom. A small family restaurant in a small town is only going to have so much growth potential, and for you as an investor, that is not always good. Remember, your visa renewal is based on the success of your business.
Most people who look at relocating to Florida are doing so for a complete change in lifestyle, as well as a chance to create more family and fun time. Achieving this is most often done by becoming a small business owner.
Owning your own business creates not only a valuable asset for the future, but a way in which to set your own work schedule. School events, travel and those lazy days at the beach are only a step away!
If you do not know what area of industry best suits you, or what options are available to you, send an e-mail with your questions or concerns, and I will begin the process of breaking down your options. This will save you a lot of wasted time looking at businesses that may not work for you!
If you have not done so already, sit at the table with your loved ones and discuss what their thoughts and opinions are? Be sure that you are all on the same page and make a list of the criteria you decide upon. At this point you can either start to search businesses on your own, or email your criteria and let me send you available listings to view?
Location – Where would you like to live and work ? It is important to note that living near the beach has a higher cost of living than inland areas.
Income – How much do you need to live? I would recommend understanding what your living expenses will be and then try to determine a satisfactory monthly income, or salary. This way you can be sure to look for a business that will support your financial needs.
Industry – What do you want to do? Are you ready to work outside, with kids, on your own, in a store, with your hands? Do you want a diverse business that can offer numerous income streams? Do you want to work with the tourist industry?
Now that you have an idea of what you are looking for, we can begin searching and reviewing selected businesses. Once you have nominated 4 or 5 potential options, we can start signing the relevant disclosures for each business you choose, sending them to the sellers requesting more information? Signing these disclosures will allow you to receive private business information and financials on each business. Be prepared that a seller may ask for your financial statement? This is their assurance that you are serious about the business.
Facts of the business you should be considering at this point are Owner benefit, Employees and History.
This is the final $$$ amount that the owner will declare as income to him or herself. They will add the net profit of the business, (after taxes), their salary and any other expenses that have been taken from the business for personal use, and not for the business.
If you are looking at a visa contingent purchase, employees will be a factor in your application. Does it have any, and or can it generate new ones? Employees do not need to be full time, and can be subcontractors.
Like with any business, you want to be sure that it is established, and strong enough to grow. Those buying a business for a visa particularly need to be careful here. After all, your visa is contingent upon the success of your business. Upon visa renewal, Immigration will want to know that the business has grown, or at the very least maintained itself.
NB. Even though U.S citizens do not need visas, it is worth while looking at your business purchase in the same way as those qualifying for visas. Projecting it’s next 5 years growth and studying it’s history can sometimes give you far more knowledge than financial records. Having said that, good financials are imperative.
At this point you should have been able to meet with the seller of the business, reviewed the financials provided, and feel that the business suits your needs?
When buying a business and requiring a visa, it is important to declare to the sellers upfront that the business purchase will be contingent on your visa application and approval. In order for you to buy any business safely, you will need this contingency written in to the contract to protect you, should you be denied a visa. We know denial is not an option, but better safe than sorry.
The seller will need to agree that the closing will be a little longer than a traditional sale. A visa can take between weeks and months to be approved, and until that point, you can not do anything but wait. So any contract will require a closing date several months out.
Once your offer is accepted, you will be required to place a binding deposit in escrow. This is an account generally held by an Escrow Agent or Attorney, where the monies are held safely until closing. Once all monies for the purchase are deposited (Full Sales Price), the Escrow Agent will send a “Letter of Escrow” to your Immigration Attorney, that will then be submitted with your visa application.
NB. You can not choose to pull out of the purchase once approved your visa! The visa you receive is only granted based on the information the seller has provided, and so once approved, you must close on that business. If not, you are at risk of losing ALL MONIES held in escrow, and the seller will need to notify Immigration that the sale did not go through.
Congratulations! You have been approved your visa ! It is now time to close on the business and begin your life here in the United States, specifically Florida.
All monies are in escrow, the attorney has done all lien checks and other title searches to ensure the business is in good standing, and you have your visa in your passport. You will go to closing and go through your closing documents, before signing. Upon completion of the closing, the business will be yours and the seller will begin his or her specific period of training.
Now that you own the business, the seller will guide you. Licensing your business and setting up the appropriate accounts is your first priority. The seller should guide you with making deposits for utilities etc, if required, as well as any other business needs. These next few weeks are the most important for you to have guidance. Use the time to ensure that the seller has explained everything you have a question about. Take notes and pictures of things you may not remember.
As long as you work together, it will be a smooth transition.