Nothing shows that you really are an American, like owning a property. And just over half of all foreign-born households living in the United States own a home of their own.
Try these seven tips for American-style homebuying success if you’re ready to join them. The method here might be very different from what you’re used to.
1. Be able to show who you are,
Before you buy a home, you don’t have to get your citizenship, green card, or any specific form of visa. You do need, however:
Person Identification Number for Taxpayers. That’s a number allocated to foreign nationals by the Internal Revenue Service who need to file income tax returns.
2. Plan on getting a mortgage
That way, to become a homeowner and start building equity, you do not have to save your money for years. Many secure, affordable mortgages are provided by the U.S. home loan industry, including ones that allow Muslims to buy a home without breaching Islamic laws against paying interest.
You need to build credit and gain a good credit score to get a U.S. mortgage. To improve your score:
- Open accounts for U.S. banks and credit cards.
- On your tax returns, show all your taxes. To check your income and decide how much you can afford to borrow to purchase a home, lenders use tax returns.
You can find major banks with global operations that have experience dealing with international borrowers when it is time to apply for a mortgage and appear to have a mechanism for checking credit developed in other countries.
3. Work with a Foreign Property Professional Accredited
Make sure your REALTOR® is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) who has expertise, knowledge and training to support homebuyers born abroad. You can also be helped by an experienced real estate or title lawyer to protect your interests.
Tell your real estate agent how your native country’s home buying process works and ask her to clarify U.S. home-buying customs to recognize any discrepancies. Local variations occur also within the U.S. in how people purchase and sell houses. Knowing how homes are sold here and what to expect from closing expenses, inspections, and the process of negotiation decreases the tension and helps you get a good deal on your first home.
4. Don’t shock yourself with casual attitudes
A byproduct of the relaxed U.S. corporate community is the casual attitude of Americans towards purchasing or selling real estate.
Although real estate contracts must be in writing, the process leading up to the sales contract signing may be more informal and casual than it would be in your home country.
5. Convert Units
Learn to convert from the U.S. standard measurement into metric, or pick up a metric converter app so you can better estimate room and home sizes while shopping.
6. Find Someone Who Can Translate
If you’re not fluent in English or prefer speaking in your native language, choose inspectors, mortgage bankers, and REALTORS® fluent in your own language.
7. Build your home financial plan
Take into account all the real-estate related expenses you would have as a landlord, including property taxes, premiums for renters, and maintenance costs. Set up a home financial plan so you know how much cash to set aside for continuing expenses.
In the US, Rent Control
Rent regulation serves as a price cap for leases. When the occupant wants to extend the lease, it sets a cap on how much the landlord will raise the rental price. It operates in four US states (California, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland) and in the District of Columbia. Nine other states allow rent control, but they have not opted to enforce it in any of their cities or districts.
Renting as a foreigner in the US
The key difference between renting as a local and a foreigner in the US is that you will need to have more paperwork as an ex-pat to show your financial stability.
Your landlord will not be able to rely on them when weighing your ability to pay rent, since you will not have US credit records the first time you arrive in the US. That is why you should be prepared to show your foreign credit score and work paperwork and pay a higher security deposit in certain situations (anywhere from two to twelve months rent).
Phase and Laws of US Rental
By looking into your options online, start your rental process. Study the area in which you want to stay and see what kind of housing is available.
The accommodation would be furnished in most situations, whether you want a studio apartment in a high-rise in the center of a metropolis or a house in the suburbs. It might be tricky to locate unfurnished homes, but if you are searching for an unfurnished home, you will have better luck.
Working with a reputable provider or real estate agent for relocation services would make the rental process smoother and help you prevent rental scams. You can rely on many online resources, social media, or local newspaper classifieds to find a place you want if you keep searching for an apartment on your own.
You will have to fill out a rental application after you find a spot that fits your needs. The landlord generally brings this paper together. It asks you to include your contact details as well as your job records and previous tenancies.
You will sign your rental agreement after your landlord accepts your application.
Lease or Rental Agreement?
Make sure you know what form of tenancy contract you prefer when searching for a spot.
When it comes to rentals, leasing is typically the most popular choice. This document shall last for a specified period of time (six months, a year, or longer) and shall be extended at the end of the period of leasing. The owner is not permitted to make any adjustments to the agreement (e.g., raise the rental price) for the term of the contract until all parties agree with them.
Rental arrangements are more attractive to tenants interested in rentals of the short-term, month-to-month type. Usually, these contracts last a month or 30 days and are automatically extended unless a written notice of termination is issued.