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How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Old Sep 7th 2015, 1:18 pm
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Default How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Hello all,

I have good chances of moving to California on L1 visa and then hopefully company sponsor on green card.

My question is ho soon can I get a mortgage after landing there? Will the lenders be willing to lend to a person just arrived in the country?

Will my UK credit history be of any use?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 7th 2015, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

UK Credit History is not much use in US.

We bought ours within 6 months of arriving and had our Mortgage offer after 4.

You need to build up your history in US by getting Store Cards, then Credit Card etc. The larger the deposit the easier it gets....

Good luck with your plans and let me know if you needed more help!



Originally Posted by smfa View Post
Hello all,

I have good chances of moving to California on L1 visa and then hopefully company sponsor on green card.

My question is ho soon can I get a mortgage after landing there? Will the lenders be willing to lend to a person just arrived in the country?

Will my UK credit history be of any use?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 7th 2015, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Originally Posted by smfa View Post
Hello all,

I have good chances of moving to California on L1 visa and then hopefully company sponsor on green card.

My question is ho soon can I get a mortgage after landing there? Will the lenders be willing to lend to a person just arrived in the country?

Will my UK credit history be of any use?

Thanks!
Most people will quote you between 6 months' bare minimum to a year.

I've been here around 8 months now, and although we're probably in a good position to get a mortgage I still need to get a better idea of the different neighbourhoods, commute times, 'vibe' of each one, future upswings, local amenities/infrastructure etc.

You might find you simply don't have enough information to be comfortable with buying so soon, even if you can get a mortgage.
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Old Sep 7th 2015, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Very good point!!! It was easy for us as we knew the area very well before our move. Been going to OC on Holidays for the previous 15 years so that helped!!
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Old Sep 7th 2015, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Originally Posted by smfa View Post
Hello all,

I have good chances of moving to California on L1 visa and then hopefully company sponsor on green card.

My question is ho soon can I get a mortgage after landing there? Will the lenders be willing to lend to a person just arrived in the country?

Will my UK credit history be of any use?

Thanks!
My question would be why do you want to buy? There's no guarantee that you can stay in the country if you lose your job, so I would be very careful buying now.
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Old Sep 7th 2015, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

We are still in the UK but already have a mortgage offer - they used our UK history. Have been given a competitive rate as well. Just need to get over there and find a house now!

It was through support on here that we were pointed in the right direction.
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Old Sep 8th 2015, 3:43 am
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

Originally Posted by Springy6 View Post
We are still in the UK but already have a mortgage offer - they used our UK history. Have been given a competitive rate as well. Just need to get over there and find a house now!

It was through support on here that we were pointed in the right direction.
Who did you use in the end?

To the OP. It is possible to get a mortgage fairly quickly, we had one less than 6 months after arriving. However, the visa you have is a temporary one and we had our green cards in our hands by the time we were closing on the house.

We found AIG Inbound service invaluable in getting our credit history up with a non-secured credit card they sorted out for us and they searched for a mortgage for us too - they presented us with 3 possibilities and the wells fargo international team were great.
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Old Sep 8th 2015, 4:37 am
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Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

A lot can happen that could make a house purchase a catastrophic decision.

            All of the above happen, and in fact people on BE have reported all of the above happen. People have had to ship out a leave a vacant home in the hands of a real estate agent to sell.

            In truth buying a home in the US is a very different proposition to buying in the UK. For starters the transaction costs are a lot higher, about 10% round-trip, such that in most markets at most times you'd be lucky to break even in two-three years of ownership. Then US homes can be a minefield of expensive repairs - a roof every 20-25 years, a new AC system every 10-15 years, and these are very substantial expenses - think $10,000+ for a small house in a cheaper market. A larger house in a higher cost market could easily see you paying $20,000-$30,000 for each.

            The list of smaller repairs in US homes just seems to be relentless and brutal, and gets expensive and tiresome if you are forever paying plumbers, electricians and handymen to fix things. I often joke that my house isn't just a home, its a hobby. I would find my own joke more amusing had I not spent most of yesterday Sunday dismantling and reassembling a toilet five times while struggling to fix a leak, only to discover that the "universal" gasket I was trying to fit didn't work for this brand of toilet, so off to Lowes to buy the right gasket.

            Then today, a bank holiday, I spent fixing a jamming bedroom door that had been badly fitted in the first place, then jammed when the house "settled" (timber frame houses do that ), and replacing a ceiling fan which stopped working. So much for a bank holiday weekend!

            Other things I have done this year include: replacing a hood over the cooker with a microwave, replacing a rotted bathroom floor, replacing a leaky kitchen tap, and replumbing the kitchen sink drain which was leaking, replacing door lock that had worked loose so often that the mechanism was bent and couldn't be made tight again. And painting the exterior has been a three year project that is drawing to a close, though realistically I will need to start again as soon as I have finished. I also installed new door in an open doorway because the laundry appliances are just around the corner from the living room, making it difficult to watch TV when the washer is going.

            Last edited by Pulaski; Sep 8th 2015 at 4:53 am.
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            Old Sep 8th 2015, 7:48 am
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            Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

            Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
            Who did you use in the end?.

            Had meant to let you know but have had a number of significant 'issues' to deal with!

            We went with Wells Fargo - the contact you found for us was very good. All straightforward once we'd been able to make the contact.
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            Old Sep 8th 2015, 3:02 pm
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            Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

            A few more thoughts...

            We bought quickly because house prices in Austin were rocketing and if we had waited another buying /selling cycle then we would not have been able to afford the house we wanted in the area we needed to be in to keep the kids in their schools. So, if your area of CA has high house price inflation then you need to keep that in mind. Austin has slowed down somewhat toward the end of the summer but we were right to buy when we did.

            Pulaski is spot on about the cost of selling a house - the agency fees here are 6% but you may well be expected to get the house into tiptop condition to sell and that quickly adds up. A couple over the road here are getting divorced and will come out just about even on their house purchase of 18 months ago only because of the house-price inflation that happened. I'm editting to add because I know that Pulaski will pick me up on this.... apparently they had paid slightly over (according to the neighbours) for the value of the house just to get it and then added a pool to the back garden, which costs a fortune here to build and you don't recover the money because it eats up the smallish back garden (reducing the appeal) and left not a lot of lawn and water is really expensive here too so not everyone wants a pool.

            I wouldn't have touched Pulaski's house with a 10ft barge pole!!! I had a house like that in Scotland, looked beautiful etc, but a money pit. I also learned that neither OH nor I like to do DIY, apparently he thought I had inherited my family's builders genes and I thought all men were born with the ability......

            Last edited by petitefrancaise; Sep 8th 2015 at 3:20 pm.
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            Old Sep 8th 2015, 3:03 pm
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            Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

            Originally Posted by Springy6 View Post
            Had meant to let you know but have had a number of significant 'issues' to deal with!

            We went with Wells Fargo - the contact you found for us was very good. All straightforward once we'd been able to make the contact.
            Good to know! Glad it worked out.
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            Old Sep 8th 2015, 5:35 pm
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            Default Re: How soon can I buy a house after landing in CA?

            Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
            I wouldn't have touched Pulaski's house with a 10ft barge pole!!!
            I dunno - sounds like routine US maintenance to me. We just sold a 14 yr old house in AZ which was high end, semi-custom, well-built and good quality by area standards, etc. We owned it for just over 2 years, and in that time had to fix pretty much every tap from gently leaking around the base, dismantle several of the toilet flush mechanisms and get them working properly, repaint the exterior (every few years in the AZ sun, and a $4k bill), re-anode rod the hot water tank, replace the pool pump ($1.8k, but electric savings paid for it over a couple of years), add window film in a hopeless attempt to keep daughter's bedroom under 90 degrees, fix the dishwasher a couple of times, fix some faulty door locks... it's never ending. I'm only thankful we got out before the roof needed doing, as that's a $15-20k bill.

            We actually didn't want to buy this time but pragmatically had to to, to get the school district and neighborhood we wanted. I've put about 20% of the total house purchase price into a House savings account, because at some point during our tenure it'll need new carpets, hot water tank and furnace, possibly AC, and the bathrooms and kitchen updating (stupid HGTV, training buyers to demand new and contemporary fittings in a 30yr old house). We'd struggle to sell it in (possibly) 3-5 years without doing those things, so may as well do them early on and get the benefit.

            US houses seem shockingly high maintenance compared to the ones we owned in the UK, despite being fairly like for like. And it's nigh on impossible to sell quickly and efficiently, for a reasonable price, unless it's fully updated and looks like a show home (budget for 'appropriate' furniture, appliances, and accessories). When the guidance says to assume you'll spend 2% of the house value annually for maintenance - not even upgrades, but maintenance - it really, really means it. Make sure you organize your cash flow accordingly.
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