Buying A Home As An Immigrant In America

Homeownership is part of the American dream, and it is one of the first ways that immigrants know that they have made it in this country. Immigrants can buy homes in the U.S., even if they are not citizens. Assuming they can qualify for a mortgage, immigrants have the same rights in the real estate market as anyone else.

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Immigrants Can Buy Homes In The United States

Housing discrimination based on national origin is illegal under federal law. However, co-ops and condominium boards have been historically tough on buyers. Nonetheless, a person cannot be turned down for approval to buy because he or she is not originally from the United States. Immigrants must have the appropriate documentation to buy a home.

With that, they have practically a full range of options. The biggest issue that must be addressed is qualifying for a mortgage. There is little to prevent an immigrant from owning property here as there are no citizenship requirements to own a home. The question is whether the individual has the money to buy the property.

Getting A Mortgage With The Right Paperwork

Lawful permanent residents can qualify for U.S. government lending programs. With the proper paperwork, they can receive:

  • FHA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Conventional loans

One of the most important requirements is that an immigrant proves his or her ability to lawfully be present in this country. For starters, he or she would need a Social Security number and an unexpired green card.

He or she may also need a valid visa that allows him or her to work in the U.S. After all, a lender needs to know that the borrower can pay the money back. Accordingly, the borrower needs a U.S. credit history to show that he or she is creditworthy.

There are some options for borrowers without a credit history. There are available loans that require less documentation, but these will have restrictions and a higher interest rate. Immigrants could also try to get a portfolio loan, but this could come with underwriting restrictions that cut the amount of money available to borrow.

Hiring An Attorney To Understand The Sales Process

State real estate laws can be complex, and there are a number of legal issues that can arise in the sales process. Everyone should have a real estate lawyer working for them when they are buying a home. One of the biggest issues that immigrants may face when buying a home after moving to a new country is lending discrimination. Even when borrowers meet the requirements, they may have trouble getting a loan when the lender is not following laws.

Moreover, it is important for buyers to understand the terms of the real estate sales contract. Those who are unfamiliar with how the U.S. real estate market works may need extra help understanding how the sales process works. In addition, there may be language barriers that could get in the way when an immigrant is buying a home.

This is why an immigrant should spend some time learning the market, especially if it is their first home in the United States. Nonetheless, homeownership is possible for anyone with the resources and credit.

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