Owning property is one of the fundamental aspects of fulfilling the American dream. Regardless of whether you were born in the United States or came here from abroad to chase a career, at one point or another, you will probably start thinking about settling down in your very own house.
The home buying process in the USA is not as complicated and filled with obstacles as it may be in other countries in the world, but it’s still a complex procedure that you need to approach carefully if you want to get the best deal possible. There is no shortage of homes for sale all across the 50 states. Loads of people are looking to profit off of their property, and whether they’re selling a house for cash at Highest Cash Offer or another service that allows them to put their place on the market quickly, most likely, you will be able to find the most suitable option for yourself. You just need to know where to look.
This guide to buying a house in the US will answer all of your basic questions, including how to enlist a qualified professional’s help, the details of the procedure of home buying as a foreigner, and what you need to do in order to qualify for a mortgage.
Can a Foreigner Buy a House in the US?
The short answer to that question is: of course they can! They don’t call America the land of opportunity for no reason. In fact, over 50% of foreign-born families now own a home in the States.
Of course, the procedure for non-citizens is a little trickier than for the US passport holders, but it shouldn’t prevent you from making the purchase. Even though there are no laws that prevent you from owning property as a foreigner, the difficulties start when you try to apply for a mortgage. If you hold enough cash to buy property, then you can skip right over to the next section of this guide.
American lenders tend to evaluate your US credit history and estimate your credit score based on how you’ve handled your finances prior to the loan application. As a foreigner without a United States credit report, banks and other lending institutions need to figure out another way to determine your trustworthiness.
Some of them will outright deny lending money to non-US citizens, but other organizations pride themselves on being able to provide a home loan to foreigners. Keep in mind that a lot of these mortgages come with higher interest rates than for American citizens.
On the other hand, if you’re a green card holder, or reside in the States on a valid work visa, you may be eligible for a Federal Housing Administration loan on the same terms as American passport holders.
Work With a Real Estate Agent
The United States of America is the land of freedom and opportunity, which means that certain private sellers are free to seize the opportunity to screw you over when you try to buy a home from them. It is especially likely to happen if you’re a foreigner who’s unfamiliar with most of the property laws in the country.
This is why it’s absolutely essential for you to enlist the help of a good Realtor, certified by the National Association of Realtors. Their job is to help connect sellers with the right buyers. They make a living off of hefty commission fees that come with each sale, which guarantees that they’ll do everything in their power to help you lock down a good deal.
You may have a bad opinion of real estate agents based on experiences in your home country, but that shouldn’t deter you from seeking one out in the States. Your Realtor will make sure that the seller doesn’t try any funny business when it comes to determining your down payment, as well as guide you towards the best mortgage option, should you need one.
A good agent is especially helpful in states such as New York, where the real estate market is particularly tight, and property prices are skyrocketing. If you’re looking to buy a home in one of the NYC boroughs, it may turn out to be downright impossible to finalize the purchase without a real estate agent. Not to mention negotiating with sellers, which is a challenge on its own terms.
Realtors have years of haggling experience under their belt, and they’re more than qualified to handle bringing down the price and all of the contract business for you, all the while guiding you through the process. Remember — they want you to lock down on the home about as badly as you do!
The Bottom Line
The real estate market in the United States is still going strong, despite all of the controversies that have been surrounding it after the 2008 financial crisis. Owning property in the country may qualify you for some sweet tax returns, as well as bring more stability to your life.
If you have the money to buy a house without a mortgage, now it may be the best time to do so. Prices have temporarily gone down due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and sellers are desperate to offload property at favorable prices to anyone willing to buy. Don’t get overconfident, though! Even in these times, you should seek out the help of an excellent real estate agent to match you with a place that best suits your budget and needs.
Maciej Grzymkowski – an avid traveler with a particular affinity for Southeast Asia. I love to explore the differences between corporate cultures and ways of doing business in different parts of the world, and I’m always keen on adopting alternative and exotic solutions in my own work.