Home Buying in Philadelphia>Question Details

Home Buyer, Home Buyer in Philadelphia, PA

We have recently moved from Canada to Philadelphia and so have no credit history here yet. Do you think we can still buy a decent house here?

Asked by Home Buyer, Philadelphia, PA Sun Aug 28, 2011

We have an excellent credit score in Canada. Plus, we've been homeowners there for a year before the move. But, as I said, we've only moved to Philadelphia with the new job last month. So, no credit history here.
We are currently looking at getting $400000 mortgage loan on an annual income of $82000. Is it possible? We have about $65000 cash for (10%) downpayment and closing costs. The annual property taxes of the houses we are looking at in the main line suburbs range from $5000-5500. Is it realistic to look at that figure as our mortgage amount? Please advise.

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Welcome !

Yes subject to the normal income other debt savings questions that any borrower would normally face. If this move also invoved a new employer, or new career field, you may see a time in job issue. All realtors have a couple of trusted reliable mortgage sources. Call, write text if you would like mine
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Hi! Since you recently moved to Philadelphia, there are many communities in the city or nearby suburbs to visit. Unless you've fallen in love with a specific community, its always better to learn a little about the area before you invest.

Mortgages are made to non U.S. citizens who are lawful permanent or nonpermanent residents of the United States under the same terms, mortgage product, transaction type, occupancy status and loan-to-value ratios that are available to United States citizens. Borrowers that are not citizens must currently reside in the United States to be eligible. We do not specify the precise documentation that must be obtained to verify that a non-U.S. citizen borrower is a legally present in United States. Rather, a determination must be made of the non U.S. citizen’s residency status based on the circumstances of the individual case, using whatever documentation we deem appropriate. This documentation will generally include the borrowers Visa or Green Card. Borrowers with residency documentation that expires in the near future will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Borrower(s) with a visa type of E, H or L that expire within 6 months must show evidence they have applied for an extension or provide a letter from their employer indicating they will continue to sponsor their employment.
A permanent resident alien is an individual who is lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) uses the word "immigrant" to describe these individuals. We also consider another group of individuals—such as refugees and others seeking political asylum, who are immigrating to and seeking permanent residency in, the United States to be permanent resident aliens. The INS has special immigration programs that enable these individuals to seek (and accept) employment while they are in the process of obtaining their permanent resident alien status (which generally will take from two to three years).

So, prior to buying a home, you'll need to have proof from your employer (work visa), letter of employment and better yet, a year's W2 earnings in the US. Your assets should be season for 60 days, meaning, sourced from any foriegn account or be deposited in your bank account for a minimum of 60 days. You should also initiate application for credit in the United States. A United States credit history shorter than two years is permissible provided it is supplemented with an International credit report that meets credit report standards. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require at least a 2-year credit history documented with a minimum of three traditional tradelines or four non-traditional tradelines. Non-traditional tradelines must be documented with a minimum of 12 months history in the United States. Banks must be able to evaluate a borrower's credit history to determine whether the borrower has demonstrated the willingness to meet credit obligations. To verify previous credit histories outside of the United States, lenders may obtain a credit report from a foreign independent credit reporting agency (if available), written verification directly from a bank or an institutional creditor or any other common form of credit references used in the country where the borrower had established credit.

Hope this helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Your situation is little different than normal borrower.Answering down payment, if you qualified for FHA loan most probably you need 3.5%. But In your situation best thing to do is talking to a mortgage Banker.So please talk to a mortgage broker. Thank you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Not sure. Do you have credit card debt? Do you have major bank credit cards? Complicated question. Send your email to be as we do both mortgages and real estate.
Web Reference: http://www.usloans.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Dear Home Buyer:

I am going to refer you to Ian Rimerman of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. He is a genius when it comes to financing and will help you go through the proper steps to get your qualified for your home loan in the states. His number is 908-531-6843.

Be careful of your tax estimates. They may be a bit low for your Philadelphia purchase. Will you be working in the city? If not, you may want to purchase outside the city and save the city wage tax. I can explain these things to you if we have a chat. If you would like some info send directly to your email address about values and activity in ANY zip code, just go to http://www.sendmyvalue.com and you will get almost instant info.

Welcome to the States! I have lots of Canadian relatives in Ontario - beautiful country! If I can help you, please let me know.

Carol Cei, Realtor, ePRO
Five Star Professional
ReMax Action Realty
215-643-9661 Direct
215-358-1223 Office
Web Reference: http://www.carolcei.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
If you have no other debts except for this home you'd be buying, then based on the raw numbers you provided they qualify. However having no US Credit is a roadblock to many lenders. Asking your creditors to report to the U.S. counterparts of Canada's credit bureaus is one way you can produce a U.S. credit history & credit score in a very quick amount of time, opening up many more lending options. There are lenders who will be able to accept a non-traditional credit history as well (the web reference goes into detail about non-traditional credit), or even be able to use your Canadian credit history if they can indeed verify your payment history with those creditors.

Are you US Citizens? Permanent resident (green card holders)? Non-permanent resident (here on a Visa? If so, what Visa classification)? That will also play a part in what type of financing options you'll have. Having one of the above is acceptable to most mortgage lenders - although non-permanent residents may have additional employment documentation verification to be done.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Home Buyer,

As regards your credit, I echo what others have said: Talk to a LOCAL reputable lender. Besides, the first step in buying a home is to be pre-approved, so this conversation needs to happen anyways.

Your mortgage: It sounds like you're stretching yourself- but I do not know the intimate details of your situation.

I also recommend you check out the neighborhoods surrounding University City! There are many positive things going on. One of my favorite places is Clark Park and The Green Line Cafe adjacent to Clark Park along Baltimore Ave. I also find the 4500-4800 blocks of Larchwood Ave. enchanting with all the trees and old homes.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 31, 2011
Hello my Canadian imports to Penn,

First (and for ALL buyers reading this ALWAYS FIRST) get in touch with a reputable mortgage lender doing business physically in your area. Someone you can actually sit down with. This will define the financial parameters of your home search, and if any issues are identified - at least let you know what needs to be done.

Depending on where YOU are looking, the figures you broach should be doable. A $400k mortgage, maybe pushing the limit, but without knowing your EXACT personal financial details. This is why anyone engaged in a home search should very early on, get pre-approved. Keeps you from looking at the "wrong" set of houses.

there are so many nice communities that make geographic sense for people working at Penn, that you should sit down soon, but after your mortgage pre-approval with an agent who is experienced and knowledagable in the area. The "right" town could areise from a myriad of wants needs and desires in your life. i.e. driving in or train/trolley/subway, commuting time limit, urban or suburban, diverse or not, lifestyle vs life stage - i.e. schools more important or resturants/culture, etc. Your right community could be in the city, or suburban Delaware or Montgomery county. Chester county too, if a longer commute is acceptable - or New Jersey or Delaware for that matter. Spend an hour in discussion with yourselves about the things that are important, then an hour with an agent. interview several if you like, but do that BEFORE you go looking at houses. Those 2 hours will save you tens or hundreds seeing the wrong places - and car mileage too.

I'm emminently qualified to be that person, but not the only good agent. If you've not reached this point, do so quickly. You will be glad you followed this general guideline, whether or not we ever meet.


John Leonard
Long & Foster Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
Happy to help.

It jsut depends on your diplomatic status.

I am a broker for U S Bank and they have done these in the past.

You can call me at 215-852-4469.

Fred Glick
U S Loans Mortgage LLC
Web Reference: http://fredglick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 29, 2011
I have helped Canadians use the looney to buy homes here...sometimes via a US bank and sometimes VIA a canadian bank (RBC)...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
H1B Visa is very commonly accepted, and because you have 6 years left on it you shouldn't have any issue with your residency status being able to qualify - you would have both FHA & conventional options to choose from. However with your down payment & income, as long as you can get your credit transferred to the U.S. credit bureaus & generate some healthy (at least 680, preferably 720) credit scores then I feel conventional financing would be the better option for you as you'll have a lower overall monthly payment (FHA's mortgage insurance is more expensive than conventional private mortgage insurance). I would also recommend you set up a U.S. bank account so you can transfer the money from your Canadian one when it comes time to verify funds for closing.

Shane Milne | Loan Officer in Orange County, CA | NMLS #81195
Direct local #'s: 949-273-4161 or 646-257-4842
Lending in all 50 states, all types of mortgages
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
The first step in buying a home is to find out how much you can qualify for and if you want to spend that much, or less.I suggest you call Jason Greisser at 215-440-2073 and he will get that part started.
While the Main Line is very,very nice,have you considered University City,which is much closer to work ,has the best public school in the city and many academics like yourself ?
Hopefully,you will find this to be of some help.If I can be of any further help please call me.

Best Always
C.Dennis Conwell
Accredited Buyers' Representative
Prudential,Fox&Roach Society Hill Office
215-440-2085 office
215-272-0360 cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
Hi All,
First, thanks very much for your advice and suggestions. To clarify our situation, here are a few details:
1. No, we have never been in debt ever.
2. The move involves a new employer (UPenn), but not a new career field. We've been academics ever since we can remember. Getting an offer letter, paystubs, etc wouldn't be a problem.
3. Our residency status in the US is that of H1B, i.e. work visa, valid through to 2017. [FYI, UPenn has already applied for Green Card on EB1 type on our behalf and that should take about a year or slightly less to come through.]
4. Our Canadian bank accounts, including credit cards, are still active, so getting our credit score through Equifax or TransUnion should not be an issue.

So, that's the scene at our end. We'll get in touch with you/ your contacts re: more details on financing asap. Any more suggestion or advice from you is, of course, very very welcome. Thanks a lot for responding!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 28, 2011
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