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Buying a Home

Buying a Home

Old Apr 10th 2011, 12:28 pm
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Default Buying a Home

If my H1b is approved I'd like to get a house sorted out before I move to the US in October. There doesn't seem to be anything stopping me buying a house before I've got my visa and arrived. I don't think I need a SSN before I buy.
My question is - What's the house buying process like in the US? Is it as difficult as the UK is ?
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Are you looking to pay 100% or get a mortgage? I don't know much about the ins and outs of it all, but I know when I first moved over my husband and I bought a house but I could not get on the mortgage as I had no credit over here.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Fortunately I have enough cash to buy outright. Don't need a mortgage. If it makes any difference to the buying process I'll be buying somewhere in Missouri.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Why not rent for a year and look around & buy at your leisure? That way you are more likely to avoid the kind of expensive mistake that you can make by buying in haste on a brief visit.

We recently bought a house for cash in Massachusetts. Nothing in the least bit complicated about it; we paid a lawyer a very modest sum and she negotiated all the bureaucracy.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 1:52 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Thought about renting but decided against. I really don't want to get settled in one place then move 12 months later. I'd had several visits to the area and have the chance to spend some more time there before I decide. I don't have kids so no worrying about school areas.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 3:16 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

The only concern I would have buying a house as compared to renting, is that, God forbid, if anything went wrong with your H1-B (ie, they made you redundant as I've heard this happening to other people on here), you would have to leave the country and owning a house would mean you would have to sell. Just a thought, hopefully it wouldn't happen, but we're on an H1-B and H4's and have just started our 2nd year renting until our GC are finalised. Just something to think about and good luck with the H1-B application
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Originally Posted by Brat1 View Post
The only concern I would have buying a house as compared to renting, is that, God forbid, if anything went wrong with your H1-B (ie, they made you redundant as I've heard this happening to other people on here), you would have to leave the country and owning a house would mean you would have to sell. Just a thought, hopefully it wouldn't happen, but we're on an H1-B and H4's and have just started our 2nd year renting until our GC are finalised. Just something to think about and good luck with the H1-B application
I agree with this, wasn't there a family that had to up sticks and go home and one that managed to get a transfer to another part of the state to save the job recently?
I'd rent till I got a green card.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Originally Posted by RayM View Post
Fortunately I have enough cash to buy outright. Don't need a mortgage. If it makes any difference to the buying process I'll be buying somewhere in Missouri.
Each state has its own system. Find yourself a realtor and go from their. As a buyer, it shouldn't cost you anything, and there's someone else to sue if it goes tits up.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Buying in this market would be easy, especially as you are all cash. However i would definately rent first. The previous comment about you losing your job can happen. When we first arrived here - and in that I mean, packed up an entire house in UK, shipped it all here and relocated with 2 young children, within 48hrs of us arriving the company was sold, no one informed us that this was even likely, and our visa's became invalid. Luckily for us we were renting at the time.
It did get sorted out, but not fun. Best to get on a solid footing first.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 4:53 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

The seller pays the real estate agent commissions for both the buyer and seller, an escrow/title company will be picked to close the deal, the title company will do a title search to determine if their are any open liens against the property and some states require that you purchase title insurance, there will likely be a small transfer tax/title recording fee, there will likely be a termite inspection (require it if is not in the contract) that does a major inspection of the house that can be paid for by the seller or buyer, there may be a home guarantee appliance insurance policy offered to you, and all of that can be handled by the escrow/title company with your real estate agent without a real estate attorney.

You can get a real estate attorney involved if desired but I've purchased and sold many homes over the years without a real estate attorney. Just make sure that you understand the conditions of the sale (eg. you can back out of the sale if problems are found during the termite inspection or title search, normally conditional on the buyer acquiring a loan (not relevant in your case), and any other conditions.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Many thanks to everyone for the ideas.
Michael - thanks for explaining the process

I've thought through the issues around the Visa. I work for a large corporate, 140,000 employees worldwide and around 1500/2000 in the US. The role I have is very secure for 3 years at least and I have specialist knowledge from my previous employer which is not available in the market place. I think the risk of anything going wrong is very low, although not completely risk free. If anything goes wrong I'm happy just to consider the US property as a long term investment and rent it out.
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Old Apr 10th 2011, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Buying a Home

Don't buy a house till you've lived in the area for a while...especially till the greencard process is being started, no point in case you get bounced or hate it...selling up costs a lot more than a first time buyer.
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