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Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Old Dec 14th 2014, 2:33 pm
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Default Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Has anyone on here managed to get a mortgage without being a permanent resident? My husband is on an L1 visa and the kids and I have L2s. We have only been in the US since March 2013 but we do have a good credit score now and would be able to put about 20% down. His company is sponsoring us for GC and the process is well under way, we have recently completed the biometrics.

As I posted a few weeks ago, we are in a rental contract which expires in June 2015. We are sick of being at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords and do not want to go into another rental, we'd rather just buy.

Has anyone been in this situation and managed to get a mortgage? Any advice would be most appreciated, especially if you could recommend a broker who is experience in these type of situations. We are in New Jersey.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

I have no personal experience as I came here on a K1 and got married, so I had permanent residence when we got our first mortgage. Plus, of course, we've been through a recession since then!

The only way to find out is to apply! I would start at lendingtree.com.

Be aware, though, that if you use that website, you're likely to get bombarded with emails from all kinds of financial institutions.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 4:14 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

I don't think the question of residence status ever came up for me...just ability to pay.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

I'd avoid websites. Try get a recommendation for a broker you can talk to in person. This avoids the "computer says no" syndrome. Be prepared to have paperwork showing where every cent of your money comes from.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

we went through aig inbound (ex-pat assistance) and they sent us to Wells Fargo HQ to people used to dealing with foreigners. Getting the approval for a mortgage means providing a lot of financial information from outside of the US and this team at Wells Fargo were great. We didn't even have to get anything translated from the french (we lived in france prior to the USA). I have the guy's contact details at Wells Fargo so pm me if you want it.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Getting a mortgage shouldn't be a problem...without 2 years of credit history, getting a decent rate might be.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Getting a mortgage shouldn't be a problem...without 2 years of credit history, getting a decent rate might be.
We got a very competitive rate - this wells fargo team put together our creditworthiness from all the info from France. Salary info/bank inf/previous mortgage info/utility bills and proof of payment history.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

It's really to do with your credit history more than anything else, the crappier it is, the bigger the down payment, and being recent arrivals your credit history will suck. The usual trick is to get an Amex card before moving to the US because Amex will transfer your account over which brings part of your credit history with it.

If you're really persistent you might be able to get the bank manager or whoever to look up your foreign credit history, e.g. Worried about your credit score? We can help you | Equifax UK

I'm not sure if you can use a US equifax account to look at a UK one but my understanding is that it can be done with a Canadian one.

Bank of America used to do mortgages for non-resident Canadians and they would look at Canadian credit history, but I think they've stopped doing them now.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Originally Posted by Hotscot View Post
I don't think the question of residence status ever came up for me...just ability to pay.
I think the only real problem is that you don't qualify for FHA backed mortgages.
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Old Dec 14th 2014, 10:18 pm
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Yep, we did just this - started the house buying process once we were a good way along the Green Card process. In our case, the GCs came through a couple of weeks before we closed on the house, but it didn't make a jot of difference anyway.

We had some credit history from a credit card - scores of around 700 - and were only borrowing about 1x income, so were able to get a normal competitive rate of (at the time) 3%.

Do you have a buyer's agent yet? Our agent also came complete with a broker, a title person, and a raft of people he used to do inspections. They were all excellent, so if you find a broker you like/ trust, just use their recommended team - s/he'll be used to working with them, and it makes it all go very smoothly.
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Old Dec 15th 2014, 1:32 am
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Originally Posted by Steve_ View Post
It's really to do with your credit history more than anything else, the crappier it is, the bigger the down payment, and being recent arrivals your credit history will suck. The usual trick is to get an Amex card before moving to the US because Amex will transfer your account over which brings part of your credit history with it.

If you're really persistent you might be able to get the bank manager or whoever to look up your foreign credit history, e.g. Worried about your credit score? We can help you | Equifax UK

I'm not sure if you can use a US equifax account to look at a UK one but my understanding is that it can be done with a Canadian one.

Bank of America used to do mortgages for non-resident Canadians and they would look at Canadian credit history, but I think they've stopped doing them now.
Our credit score is good, as previously stated. We managed to get a credit card after 3 months here and now have a score in the mid 700s. It's our residency status which worries me, although from what other posters have said, it's the credit score which matters more?
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Old Dec 15th 2014, 1:36 am
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
Yep, we did just this - started the house buying process once we were a good way along the Green Card process. In our case, the GCs came through a couple of weeks before we closed on the house, but it didn't make a jot of difference anyway.

We had some credit history from a credit card - scores of around 700 - and were only borrowing about 1x income, so were able to get a normal competitive rate of (at the time) 3%.

Do you have a buyer's agent yet? Our agent also came complete with a broker, a title person, and a raft of people he used to do inspections. They were all excellent, so if you find a broker you like/ trust, just use their recommended team - s/he'll be used to working with them, and it makes it all go very smoothly.
Yes, we do have an agent, she has offered to put us in touch with her mortgage specialist. I am just concerned he may not have experience of dealing with resident alien applications.
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Old Dec 15th 2014, 1:40 am
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Petitefrancaise, I have just sent you a PM.
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Old Dec 15th 2014, 4:16 am
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

Originally Posted by Suz16 View Post
Yes, we do have an agent, she has offered to put us in touch with her mortgage specialist. I am just concerned he may not have experience of dealing with resident alien applications.
It honestly didn't seem to matter; the visa status was an irrelevance as far as I could tell.

The mortgage itself wasn't at all an issue - the only complication we had was authenticating the provenance of all the money we were using for the downpayment. We had funds in Switzerland (where we'd recently moved from), and the UK (where we'd lived previously and sold a house), and were bringing that all onshore to the US and switching it to dollars ready to buy. We had a multi-currency offshore account in Jersey, and the broker/ their underwriters needed a lot of explanations and hand-holding to grasp how that all worked. But they got there in the end, and it all went through fine.
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Old Dec 15th 2014, 11:40 am
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Default Re: Getting a mortgage on an L1 visa

The L1 is not a blocker. We closed on a house a few weeks after arriving on L1 with a sizeable mortgage. Happy to introduce the banker if you want to PM. It was somewhat painful but then for a large part of the process we didn't even have a social security number, let alone a credit history :-)
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