Even if you are not a citizen of the United States, you have options for purchasing a home. Green card residents have always had the same borrowing power as those born in the U.S., and recently, non-permanent residents were granted the same financing opportunities as citizens, so long as the home will be used as a primary residence.
If you aren’t a U.S. citizen, you must be able to prove your legal right to reside in the United States, and your lender will request a copy of your Visa or green card during the initial loan application process. If you’re a foreign national or dignitary looking to buy a vacation/second home, you can do so as long as you can provide a 20-25% down payment.
Once your loan officer knows your exact buying scenario, they will be able to find the right program to fit your needs by using the credit, employment and income records from your home country. For example, your lender may use one of the credit reporting agencies that have reciprocal agreements with other countries. They will document your income and assets by using a published currency conversion rate table. A translator will then translate any of your documentation that is provided in a language other than English, such as bank statements, employment verifications or credit references.
Your lender will pull credit information from your country for a nominal fee. It can take up to three weeks for the lender to receive the report. Any pre-established traditional or alternative credit you’ve built within the United States is very helpful and can save time. For example, you may already have a checking/savings account or utility bills in the United States, and these can be used to establish your credit history.
Be aware that while trying to establish your U.S. credit history, you should take care not to apply for an excessive amount of new credit, as too many new credit inquiries will lower your credit rating. Ask your Loan Officer for advice about the best way to establish good credit within the U.S.