Agents will be expected to identify luxury cash buyers

More onus is on real estate agents to know who their cash-buyer clients are
  • Title insurance companies will be looking to agents and attorneys to discover the identities of overseas buyers investing with shell companies.
  • Real estate agents are being advised against receiving wired money from cash buyers.
  • New York and Miami luxury property agents should expect a flurry of real estate transactions closing in the run-up to March 1, when the reporting is to begin.

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As the real estate industry digested the news from The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) earlier this week -- that from March 1, title insurance companies will have to report the identities of cash buyers spending more than $3 million in Manhattan and more than $1 million in Miami -- experts said real estate agents and attorneys will have to be better informed about their buyers. “Both attorneys and agents are going to be under the spotlight more than ever,” said Michael Romer, managing partner of Romer Debbas LLP, a New York real estate law firm experienced with overseas real estate investors, for whom this new rule is especially relevant. Little lasting effect or part of a bigger anti-laundering initiative? This week, New York brokerage Douglas Elliman sent out a statement about the news from Treasury. Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber said he did not see the Treasury’s actions as a long-term concern: “We think that this will have little effect on th...