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Can I buy a house if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Immigrants to the United States are often eager to put down their roots through the purchase of a home. The good news is that non-U.S. citizens and those who hold temporary resident status may be able to buy a home. Overall, your ability to purchase a home is not dependant on your citizenship status here in the U.S. However, there are several challenges that you may be facing.

Obtaining A Mortgage

There is a great deal of paperwork involved in obtaining a home loan if you are not a U.S. citizen. Lenders will want financial documents, past tax statements, bank account information and more.

    • These documents can be difficult to obtain for individuals who are new to the country and may have not established a U.S. credit rating yet.
      • Foreign financial information may not be seen as reliable by lenders, often leaving immigrants without the documentation they need.
        • Also, lenders may be hesitant to extend mortgages to potential borrowers without knowing how long they will be in the country for.

          For these and other reasons, it is clear that one major obstacle to home ownership is getting the necessary financing for the home.

          Tax Implications

          The IRS may impose additional tax consequences on those who buy or sell homes and are not U.S. citizens.

          Coop Boards

          Though discrimination based on race, gender, national origin and other characteristics is illegal, some coop boards will still make it difficult for non-U.S. citizens to purchase a condo or other property in the building.

          Language Barriers

          In many cases, the language spoken by an individual can be a barrier to fully understanding the process of buying a home. Talking with a law firm that has the resources to accommodate Spanish, Bengali, Hindi and Hebrew speakers, along with numerous other non-English speakers, can help to minimize any language issues.

          Know Your Rights And Options

          It is essential that you talk with a real estate attorney before you buy or sell a home as a non-citizen to ensure you are protected. Your lawyer will stand by you throughout the process and put you in touch with mortgage, tax or other professionals as needed.

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