Can You Use Bitcoins To Buy Real Estate?

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By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers

Over a year ago, a buyer bought a Mansion in Manhattan Beach using his bitcoins. If he would have waited a year he could have bought multiple houses for the same amount of bitcoins!

What is a bitcoin? The dictionary defines a bitcoin as follows: a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

U.S. and Global investors are using Bitcoin and other new currencies like Ethereum, Ripple, Cardano, or Litecoin to purchase real estate. They can transfer funds around the world. Many investors who have seen their Bitcoins rise in value, love to transfer their gain to more traditional assets.

Through highly secure blockchain technology an investor could purchase a car or a home with bitcoin, if the seller is accepting bitcoin currency. These currencies are not part of global banking, like checks or wire transfers. There could be a risk of the buyer or investor violating U.S. anti-money laundering rules. At this time the currency is not controlled by the Federal Government and the IRS is asking the investors for honesty in reporting the gain.

If you are thinking of a bitcoin transaction, find an attorney who has worked with digital currency.  For the seller transaction it works like a cash transaction, while for the buyer it is a little more complicated, as they have to convert the bitcoins into US Dollars, if the seller is not accepting the bitcoins. As the digital currency is fluctuating in value a lot, the buyer needs a clause in the contract to be able to cancel the contract if the cryptocurrency loses value before closing.

Before I found a company who offers “locking” in the exchange rate for a foreign currency, I always had a contingency clause to protect the buyer. If the exchange rate changed more than agreed, the buyer was able to cancel the contract.

Cryptocurrency is a way to send large amounts of money pretty easily with low fees and little interference from middlemen. If the buyer pays in bitcoin the sellers might face some potential risk.

How do you provide proof of funds when the funds don’t physically exist?

Since this currency is so new, many banks at this time will not consider the money converted from cryptocurrency in the bank account to approve a conventional loan because they are not sure of its origins. On the other side it is an added marketing tool to offer acceptance of bitcoins for the seller, as the seller is reaching an untapped group of investors.

About Christel Silver

Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) and again for 2018 as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.