How to Buy a Home in the U.S. as a Non-U.S. Citizen.Buying a home in the U.S. as a non-U.S. citizen can be tricky, at least on the surface. If you’re wondering whether a citizen of another country can buy property in the U.S., the short answer is yes, though it’s easiest if you’re buying the property in cash.
If you’re seeking financing from a financial institution in the U.S. to purchase real estate., as a non-citizen getting a mortgage is the most challenging part. However, if you are prepared to purchase property in the U.S., but you’re not a U.S. citizen, here is essential information to know.
Buying a House as a Non-U.S. Citizen
Anyone may buy and own property in the United States, regardless of citizenship. There are no laws or restrictions that prevent an individual of any foreign citizenship from owning or buying a home in the U.S.
In fact, many foreign nationals purchase vacation homes in the United States, and there are many wealthy foreign investors who purchase investment property such as multi-unit apartments or condos, single-family homes, and even business properties such as shopping malls. So whether you’re a new resident searching for a two-story home for you and your household, or an investor with interest in vacation property, there are several resources and options available to you.
Getting a Mortgage as a Non-U.S. Citizen
Buying a house in the U.S. as a non-U.S. citizen is simple if you plan to pay in cash (or have all the money saved to buy the home in one lump sum). If you’re not in the financial position to be able to purchase a home with cash, you’ll need to obtain a mortgage loan to purchase property. This is where the process can become more complex.
Your ability to get a mortgage as a non-U.S. citizen depends on your residency status. If you are planning to buy a home and have no intention of moving to the U.S., the only loan you may qualify for is a foreign national loan. Foreign national loans tend to have a higher down payment, higher interest rates, and you will need to have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (INTN).
If you are a permanent resident with a green card, a non-permanent resident with a valid work visa, or a refugee granted asylum, you can qualify for a mortgage. A lender will need to be able to verify the legal residency of the applicant, so foreign nationals whose primary residence is not in the U.S. may have a harder time getting a mortgage.
You may be wondering if you can buy a home with an FHA loan if you are not a U.S. citizen. In most cases, you can apply for an FHA loan as long as you provide proof of your permanent residency. However, in order to qualify for an FHA loan, the home you are looking to buy will need to be your permanent residence, not a second home or vacation residence.
Additionally, most U.S.-based mortgage lenders look at a borrower’s U.S. credit history to determine their eligibility for a mortgage loan. As a non-U.S. citizen, you may not have a U.S. credit report or your credit report may not have enough information for lenders to establish your creditworthiness. Therefore, it can make it difficult for lenders to analyze the risk of loaning you money to purchase a home. That means your lender will have to use another method for evaluating your risk as a borrower.
Due to the complexity of analyzing risk, many lenders simply opt to not lend money to foreign citizens. It may take you longer to find a lender who is willing to work with you, and it may take longer to get approval for your mortgage loan. You might also pay a higher interest rate. If you are concerned about securing a mortgage loan due to your credit, consider taking the time to improve your credit score before buying a home as a non-U.S. citizen.
Implications for Selling a U.S.-based Home as a Non-US Citizen
Eventually, you might decide to sell your U.S.-based property. Before you purchase new property in the U.S., it’s good to be aware of the rules and requirements should you decide to sell your property in the future. The IRS requires that buyers of property from non-U.S. citizens withhold 15% of the gross sale price to ensure foreign nationals do not evade U.S. income tax on their sold property. If the buyer does not withhold this amount, they may be responsible for additional taxes. The rules surrounding this are somewhat complex but are outlined in the IRS FIRPTA publication, and more information can be found in the International Tax Gap Series.
Working with an agent you trust, who won’t push you beyond what you’re comfortable offering or rush you into making a bad decision, is key. Work with a reliable real estate agent, so you know they have your best interest in mind.
Call now:(617) 201-9188 Ana Roque |209 West Central Street, Natick, MA | Ana speak 3 languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish)
Are you ready to go to the next step of buying a home and build a legacy for your family?…Let us help you!
Call now:(617) 201-9188 Ana Roque |209 West Central Street, Natick, MA
I’m an expert REALTOR with RE-Connect, LLC, providing home-buyers, sellers, and investors with professional, responsive and attentive real estate services in Massachusetts. Want an agent with 17+ years of experience, who’ll really listen to what you want in a home? Need an agent who knows how to effectively market your home so it sells? Give me a call! I’m eager to help and would love to talk to you. I speak Portuguese (Brazilian), English and Spanish.
Buying A House With A Friend: Is It For You? Buying a house with a friend can be an appealing option for some people, but it's important to carefully ...May 31, 2023
When is the best time to refinance your home? The best time to refinance your home is influenced by various factors, including interest rates, your fi...May 26, 2023
Can I buy a house in U.S. without a green card? Yes, it is possible to buy a house in the United States without a green card. Non-U.S. citizens, inclu...May 24, 2023
Qualifying for a home loan typically involves several factors that lenders consider to assess your eligibility and determine the terms of the loan[rea...May 19, 2023
May 17, 2023
Buying a house at auction can be an exciting and potentially rewarding experience, but it's important to be prepared and informed before jumping in. H...May 12, 2023
Can you change your mind after signing a contract to buy a house? Once you sign a contract to buy a house, you are generally legally bound to the term...May 10, 2023
Buying a house is a significant investment, and it is important to ensure that you are making a wise decision. Here are some things to look for when b...May 4, 2023
Refinancing a home can be a smart financial move that can save you money in the long run, but it's not always the best option for everyone. Here are s...May 1, 2023
Why do I need insurance when buying a financed home? When you buy a financed home, you'll likely be required to have insurance to protect the property...April 28, 2023
The best places to flip houses in 2023 will depend on a variety of factors such as the local housing market, economic trends, population growth[read m...April 26, 2023
The value of selling a home can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the current market conditions. However, selling a home can provide a ...April 20, 2023
Buying a house is a significant financial investment and a major life decision, so it's important to do your due diligence to ensure you're making the...April 19, 2023
Fix and flip houses is a real estate investment strategy that involves purchasing a property, fixing it up, and selling it for a profit. Here are the ...April 14, 2023