John Meussner could not have posted this at a better time! One of my best past clients just sent me an e-mail asking me to help one of her employees find a rental home because he is not a US Citizen and so cannot buy a home. I told her she was misinformed, but this blog post does a great job of explaining the process. Thanks John!
I'm not a US Citizen. Can I still get a mortgage?
Yes. YES. YES. You can.
Last week, I received a referral for a buyer that didn't think she could get a loan. She has great credit, good income, not a lot of debt, savings, and a good job history, and over the past several years has been renting (at increasingly higher costs) because she didn't think she could get a loan.
Because she's in the US on a work Visa.
With acceptable documentation, buyers with 'non-permanent resident alien', or a work/student Visa can certainly purchase a home, provided they meet lender requirements, which aren't much different than those placed on citizens.
Here are some things non-permanent residents will need to qualify for financing terms and programs similar to :
- A valid Visa showing they are lawfully in the country (Visa should be renewable)
- A social security number or tax ID number (TIN)
- Credit history (very helpful if the borrower has FICO scores & history with all 3 US credit bureaus)
- Stable, sufficient income with a 2 year work history and a reasonable expectation of continuance.
- Acceptable assets to cover any down payment/reserve requirements
With the above items, a non-permanent resident alien can qualify for many of the same financing options that citizens can qualify for, including low down payment options at favorable interest rates.
Can a foreign citizen working in the US buy a home without a credit or US residence history?
YES again, with NO US credit history required.
While other lenders guidelines may vary, we require a 3 year job and residence history, as well as a valid passport and social security number (SS # must be provided prior to funding, typically employer sponsored). This program does have restrictions not typically seen with conventional financing, such as a larger required down payment and stricter debt/income ratio caps, but is a great option for US working foreign citizens interested in home ownership in the states.
Can a foreign national purchase a home in the US?
YES. Non-residents interested in buying a 2nd home or investment property in the US can take advantage of foreign national financing. Again, these programs traditionally have stricter LTV requirements, but are a great option for foreign citizens that would like a vacation property in the US or would like to invest in income generating property here.
Foreign national buyers must have documentation showing all foreign income/assets, and reserves must be properly sourced. Prior to funding, we require a borrower have a social security number or unique tax ID.
Who CAN'T qualify for a loan?
Though options may be out there somewhere, we cannot currently offer financing to foreign citizens with a tourist Visa, or those with diplomatic immunity.
My recent referral made me wonder how many others out there would love to achieve the dream of home ownership but don't think they're able to. It is our duty as industry professionals to make others aware that foreign citizens do have financing options to purchase real estate here. Whether here to make a living and pursue the American dream, or simply looking to invest or purchase a vacation home, there are financing options available.
Every situation is different, so it's important to speak with a mortgage expert to find the best type of financing available. The most important thing is to not assume you CAN'T get a mortgage loan prior to speaking with an expert.
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