Can TN Visa Holder Buy a House
Luckily, there are no laws in the US against immigrants, even those temporarily in the US, like TN visa holders, from buying a home. While you should certainly research each step carefully, at a glance, here are the steps to buying a home in the US:
- Determine how much you can afford to spend on a house
- Get Pre-approved for credit for your Mortgage
- Find the right Real Estate Agent
- Shop for a Home
- Make an Offer
- Get a Home Inspection
- Secure the Mortgage
- Obtain insurance and establish utilities
- Close the deal
For most TN visa holders, the trickiest part of this process will be the elements related to securing a mortgage, so we’ll take a closer look at your options.
What You’ll Need to Get a Mortgage Loan as a TN Visa Holder
1. Qualifying Work & Credit History
You will likely need at least two years of work and a credit history in the US to be considered for a loan. If you worked for the same company in your home country, you could use the proof of employment from home to help qualify. Likewise, if your credit history transfers over to the US, which is often the case for Canadians.2
2. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) or SSN
Lenders will use this number to pull up your tax returns, thus allowing them to prove your employment history and income.
3. Proof of Assets
The lender will want to see that you have sufficient funds to cover the down payment for the mortgage (which might be anywhere from 3-30% of the loan) as well as the closing costs. These funds do not have to be in the US when you apply, but you must prove you can transfer them to the US to fund the loan.
Types of Loans Open to TN Visa Holders
The types of loans available to you are the same as if you were a permanent resident or US citizen. However, it can be much harder to be approved, and your loan terms may differ, as the banks often see temporary residents as much riskier.
Bank Home Loans
Major Banks, like Bank of America, offer home loans to permanent residents as well as temporary visa holders like you. If you already have an account with an international bank such as HSBC, you may be able to use your account history to qualify.
Another great option would be to seek a loan through a credit union or non-profit, local financial institution. These tend to be friendlier to immigrants and offer better rates.
These lenders are known to be fairly friendly to immigrant applicants:
- Bank of America
- Rocket Mortgage
- Alterra Home Loans
- New American Funding
- Navy Federal
The Federal Housing Association is a government body that grants loans that only require a 3.5% down payment and are more friendly to those with lower credit scores. While any visa holder qualifies for FHA loans, the rules for a temporary visa holder are a bit different. Here are some of the basic requirements to qualify for an FHA loan:
- The house you plan to buy will serve as your primary residence (not an investment property)
- $679,650 loan limits
- Debt to income ratios of 31% housing and 43% total maximum
- 10% down payment with a 500 FICO score
- 3.5% down payment with a 580 FICO score
- Valid Social Security Number (SSN)
- Be eligible to work in the United States, which is proven with an Employment Authorization Document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
FHA loans are offered through major banks, and not all loan terms will be the same, so it’s still a good idea to shop around.
Foreign National Mortgages
Some large international banks, like HSBC and BBVA, offer loans designed for foreign investors and other non-residents. These loans don’t require proof of the ability to work in the US or a US credit history (although an international credit report might be required). If you don’t have enough credit or work history in the US to qualify for a conventional loan, consider this option. Note that these loans often require a minimum down payment of 20%.