Financing Options for International Couple

Asked by Camille, Mon Oct 29, 2012

I'm wondering about financing options for an international couple looking to buy a home in the US (one is a US citizen and graduate student with little to no income, the other a foreigner with a steady job and pretty good income, but in a foreign country and currently no visa or anything for the US). I doubt that my income and credit could get me approved for any loan by myself, yet the kinds of loans that he seems to be eligible for as a foreigner require something like 40% down payment, which would be very difficult for us financially seeing as we would need to continue to live (and pay rent) abroad for several more years at least. Is there any way we would be able to take out a home loan together that combines my advantages as a US citizen (with access to potentially better loan terms) and his income/savings?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


, ,
Tue Oct 30, 2012
Foreign income does is not allowed on your Conventional of FHA type loans. But some portfolio or private money lenders will do it with more money down assuming the property is in the USA and it is a second home or primary residence.
0 votes
John Stewart, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Oct 30, 2012
The link that I'm going to provide below is to Richard Hobson at Landover Mortgage. Richard is British and moved to the US about 5 years ago so he understands the move. He is a broker with access to both wholesale and portfolio money.
RBC and HSBC both have retail branches in Seattle. I'm not as familiar with Deutsche Bank USA, they have a branch in Seattle but it appears to be for corporate customers.
My company does property management so if you are interested in purchasing an investment property and leasing it out, I can also help you with that.
It sounds as though your main interest is in investment in US, which is certainly doable at any level. In the core of the city we're seeing 5-10% appreciation this year but just as on the east side, those are not inexpensive neighborhoods. It might be just as reasonable to save up the cash for a few years. A higher investment in equity will always give you an advantage in the market. There is a huge amount of cash that is currently competing for the lower and middle markets right now and by that I mean purchases without any financing.
Drop Richard an email. Please let him know that I sent you over.
0 votes
Camille, Home Buyer,
Tue Oct 30, 2012
We live in Germany and he is a German citizen, I'm merely here on a student visa. We would be looking to buy in the Seattle area (where my family is) with the idea to (hopefully) live there in the future, but not for at least another few years since I would want to finish grad school here in Germany and both of us would need to figure out job prospects for Seattle first (and since he is a lawyer he would most likely require some sort of further education/certification to work in the US, or would have to go a different direction job-wise). We're not married and the idea to buy a house in the US now rather than later when we're more ready to move comes mostly from the low prices--assuming in a few years if we want to start a family for example we'll probably regret not buying when we could get a whole lot more house for the money. He's also not averse to the idea of an investment property in the US, but in that case we would probably be looking at very different (cheaper) properties, particularly if 40% down is the standard.
0 votes
Ray Akers, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Oct 29, 2012
You mention that you are a 'couple', but I presume you are not married? I recommend that you talk to a mortgage broker. There may be private money available for a non-conforming loan. Good luck.
0 votes
John Stewart, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Oct 29, 2012
There are a few banks that have branches in both countries (again where are you?) but they typically require substantial deposits in either the US or your current location. 40-50% is a typical equity position for purchasing real estate using offshore assets (or income) as collateral.
Some local lenders (where do you want to buy?) portfolio their own loans and have some flexibility in making them.
Another option is pooling funds with a few friends if you can convince them that it is a good idea.
If you are interested in the Seattle area I can work on it with you.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Mon Oct 29, 2012
Where do you want to buy? If you are living abroad and continuing to, you should seek lending options in the country you are in. US Banks primarily finance US properties, as conventional mortgages. If you are living in a country where you are residents or citizens, and plan to live there for a while talk to the local banks about the options.
If you are hoping to buy it the state as investment property, you will have a more difficulty as there is little for the US bank to pursue if you were to default, except the property, thus a large down payment is their security.
If this isn't what you were looking for, give us some more information and we can try to help further.
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question

Email me when…

Learn more