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Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Old May 14th 2012, 1:46 pm
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Default Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

I'll shortly be moving myself and family (5 of us) to Seattle, I want the family to feel settled and secure as quickly as possible to that end I want to purchase a home as soon as I can.
My company is willing to help out if they can but have bulked at the idea of becoming a Mortgage guarantor (deemed to be too much liability), has anyone else had support from their employer in getting a mortgage? What did it entail?
I am looking for ideas to investigate, as the UK and US Mortgage terminology differs I could be missing something obvious.

Thanks
Steve
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Old May 14th 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

We moved to Seattle about 18m ago and chose to rent so we could work out where and what we needed. Also the house prices were still falling, so it made good economic sense too.

We've just bought a house, but getting a mortgage was not easy, even with a very large deposit. My credit score was only in the low 700s and insufficient history was a big factor.
The mortgage broker had to get lots of credit references from the UK and the underwriter also demanded 2 year's IRS returns.
With two weeks to go to closing, I still only had one IRS report processed and so we had to convince Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac to give us an exception.

I can't imagine you will get anywhere near mortgage approval with less that 12m US history.

It's been tough having to move the kids again, but we've managed to stay in the same school for two of them. And it meant we had 6m or so to shop around and look at what was available.
Being 'only a renter' does make it hard to settle in, and my neighbours (on the few occasions they spoke to us) would always ask how long we were staying. At the new house they've actually come over and introduced themselves, and they seem genuinely excited and interested in their new neighbours!

Drop me a PM if you want any advice on living and working in Seattle. We have 4 kids so you'll probably have a similar experience!
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Old May 14th 2012, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Thanks, yes I will PM as not only are your experiences with family likely to be similar but you are in the area we want to move to - Sammamish...

I realised we would have a hard time getting a quick mortgage - if the company was prepared to act a guarantor then we would have been sorted (had heard this was what Microsoft offered their non US employees when moving to Seattle), I am still hoping there might be an alternative option that exposes my company to less risk from their perspective but enables me to access a mortgage quicker at a sensible interest rate.

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Old May 14th 2012, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

We currently live in 'South' Sammamish which is in the Issaquah school district. Our new house is in Klahanie, but still in the Skyline HS catchment area.

It's a beautiful place to live and not too far from the shops and DT Seattle/Bellevue. Expensive & wealthy though.

Are you working in Bellevue or Seattle ? I commute daily to DT Seattle on the bus.

The housing market has gone a little crazy since Feb this year and SFHs are going pending in less than a week. We were even outbid on one house. Whether this is the market bottoming out or just very limited supply it's hard to say. But as a buyer it's not easy, and if you don't have pre-approval you'll probably be outbid or not be able to close within a reasonable time frame.


We are more than happy to help you with your transition - we didn't know anyone out here, and eventually got some help off another Expat we 'met' on this forum.
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Old May 14th 2012, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Have sent a PM, thanks.

We are considering North Sammamish in the Washington Lake district, but will reserve further judgement until I get the visa and have a better chance to scout around.
The office will be near Microsoft so commute will probably be to Bellevue.

The housing market may have gone crazy but we can still afford a huge house there based on the value of our house here in the UK which is one aspect we are looking forward to - space....

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Old May 14th 2012, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

If you can sell up in the UK and buy with cash over here, then that will work!

Houses in the northern bit of Sammamish (LWSD) do seem to offer more bang per buck (e.g. more land) than down in the ISD, but I am not too sure why.

Once we had chosen a rental home, and hence the associated HS, it was difficult to then move area again - without grumpy and miserable teenagers that is. With younger kids I would be definitely be tempted to rent for 6-12m as the disruption will have less impact on them.

I guess our new house is huge compared to UK standards (4100 sqft) but we still miss the open views and village life we left behind. We used to live near Bristol, so house prices were pretty high, but nothing like near London and I assume in High Wycombe?


For lots of Seattle neighbourhood info I also used this forum extensively;

http://www.city-data.com/forum/seattle-area/
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Old May 15th 2012, 1:33 am
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

I wouldn't chance buying a house unless I had a green card or citizenship in the US. Times are tough and a job loss could mean leaving quickly if you aren't a LPR meaning you have to unload things quickly. It has happened in the not too distant past here, it also can cost a lot to sell so you could end up losing financially. Just thought I'd mention this side of things.
A nice house to rent can mean you settle down, I doubt the kids would feel more settled cause you have a mortgage to pay.
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Old May 15th 2012, 3:50 am
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
I wouldn't chance buying a house unless I had a green card or citizenship in the US. Times are tough and a job loss could mean leaving quickly if you aren't a LPR meaning you have to unload things quickly. It has happened in the not too distant past here, it also can cost a lot to sell so you could end up losing financially. Just thought I'd mention this side of things.
A nice house to rent can mean you settle down, I doubt the kids would feel more settled cause you have a mortgage to pay.
Agreed - IMO you'd be nuts to buy before your green card.
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Old May 15th 2012, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Definitely don't buy till you have a greencard...flogging a house does cost a lot more in the US compared to the UK.

Also and this is more of a issue in some parts of the country than others, but how you expect your lifestyle to be v how the reality is might change what kind of house you want.

Stuff like the hassle of rubbish collection v dump, cost/effort of running a pool, heating/cooling a place, snow clearing, guest parking etc, etc.

Obviously some of that isn't going to affect you, but there are a lot of things that come up that you just don't expect that could affect what kind of place you end up preferring to live in and once you've bought a place, you're stuck and that affects the kids too with regards to school.
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Old May 15th 2012, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

Has to be said some people already believe I am "nuts" for even considering the move...
We have family and friends who all purchased property before their GC's but admittedly the financial markets were a little different back then...

I understand the world is different now and have to admit I am reconsidering the need to purchase a property so quickly, having said that our attorney (Fragomen) is hopeful that our GC would only take 12 months so we could have the GC ahead of a decent credit history.

Once again thanks to all on this forum, we'll probably stand back and take the view of finding a longer term rental rather than the short term condo/complex option first considered.

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Old May 15th 2012, 4:36 pm
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Default Re: Another US Mortgage Question - Sorry

I must be in the "mad" camp too as I don't have a GC yet, but I have been assured by the company lawyers that it is in progress and will be completed by early next year.

It is risky, and so is buying a house with the current world turmoil, but the need to feel settled and the economics of buying vs renting convinced us to take the plunge. Our PITI will be be way less than our current rent on a much smaller house, so if the GC application went really pear-shaped, there is the rental option.

Also the Seattle high tech job market seems pretty buoyant at the moment with F5, Google, Facebook and Amazon all hiring.


But like the other posters, I would advise caution; it's a big change and can be pretty hard on stay-at-home mums.

All the best with your plans!
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