D W, Home Buyer in Mountain View, CA

How much house can I get if I put down 300-400k in cash?

Asked by D W, Mountain View, CA Sun Dec 16, 2012

I'm a first time home buyer from outside of the US. I don't have a well established US credit rating, but I can put down a relatively large down payment (around 300-400k). I have a relatively high income with a US company (300k a year). How much mortgage would I be able to get realistically? Is there any benefit to putting down a higher % for down-payment? Thanks!

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Michael Cheng, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012

I have several clients in your situation and unfortunately $300-400K isn't considered a large downpayment in Mountain View. For international clients with no US credit history, you really need to have all cash down, or 100% downpayment. For a single family home in Mountain View, that starts at about $1M for a decent 50 year old, 1400 sqft home. Most international buyers in this area are bringing around $1-2M in cash.

Yes, there's a huge advantage to putting down a higher percentage as downpayment. If you can qualify for 40% financing (which is difficult, but possible), then we can get you into a basic 2 bedroom condo in the $600K range. Or, if you can put down up to $700K, then we can get you into the single family home mentioned above.
Web Reference:  http://www.archershomes.com
0 votes
Marcy Moyer, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
The advantage to putting a higher down payment in this market is that prices are appreciating. In that situation an accepted offer on a home is likely to be higher than the home's appraised value. In this circumstance the highest offer may not appraise and a cash offer would be more attractive to the seller. If you can offer the most money, and not have it be subject to appraisal because the down payment is high enough you become more attractive to the seller.
As for getting a loan in your circumstances I know that in addition to HBC, Citi Bank has great programs for international buyers.
Marcy Moyer
Keller Williams Realty
DRE 01191194
Web Reference:  http://www.marcymoyer.com
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Sophie Luu, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
Morning David,

The price depends on the market - how many offers and bidding prices coming in eventually. This property well managed with great view will boost the price to some extent.

If you currently have No credit scores in the USA, It is hard to get a loan among the regular banks, you may want to seek the help of the family, and maybe re-finance to cash out the money 6 months after Closing of Escrow, to return them the money. if you can make a loan in the USA, actually you have a very good down-payment portion to make a good offer to bid.

I hope your question is answered. Email or Call me if you have any questions.

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season, Sophie CH Lu
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
We deal with a lot of international clients and the go to bank seems to be HSBC, although there may be others. They generally require 50% down, so you're probably looking at $600 - $700K.

Unfortunately I have not been impressed with any of the reps we've dealt with so I can't recommend one.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
There are a number of lenders that specialize in providing financing to those in scenarios just like yours. There is no way of knowing what your limits might be without more information – I’d recommend contacting a lender that specializes in loans like this – start with lenders in your country.
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My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Mon Dec 17, 2012
Rather than ask online I'd suggest you speak with some local lenders. If your company offers you access to a credit union I'd start with them.

The amount you put down certainly affects things but you three things in total to get a mortgage:
Assets- which you obviously have.
Income- which you seem to have.
Credit score - Uncertain.

You're going to want to find yourself an experineced Buyer Broker to help you and they can suggest some good local lenders to you. To find a good Realtor check out the link below on what to be looking for and how to interview perspective Realtors.
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Juliana Lee, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
There is a definite advantage to putting down a higher % of the purchase price.

In a competitive situation, your offer is more likely to be accepted if it is very certain you can get a loan (you are less likely to have to offer the highest purchase price).

Generally the less chance your lender will loose money, the lower the interest rate you will be able to get. If you have a higher down payment, you will probably be able to shop for a lower interest rate.

I work with many people who are relatively new to the US. If you can show you have stable earnings and that your down payment is coming from your own accounts, you shouldn't have much trouble getting a loan.

I have a web page showing average mortgage rates and a mortgage calculator at

Freddie Mac also has a mortgage calculator at
which answers the question "How much can I borrow?"

How much house you would be able to buy can be estimated by looking at my real estate statistics

I recommend that you talk with a top experienced agent who can get you on the right path to get the best house for your money. I wold love to help you.

Juliana Lee, MBA LLB
Cell 650-856-2075
Top 3 agent nationwide at Keller Williams Realty

Over 20 years experience
Over 1000 home sales completed in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties
Web Reference:  http://julianalee.com
0 votes
Grace Morioka, Agent, San Jose, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hi David,

Unfortunately, without a FICO score or credit rating here in the United States, you may be restricted to purchasing a home worth between only about $300 to $400,000, and at least here in Santa Clara County that is going to be tough to impossible unless you are willing to buy a condominium rather than a single family home with a lot and yard.

The important issue to resolve before you begin looking and before you talk with a real estate agent is financing and availability of credit. For this, you will need the advice and time of a loan officer or banker who will ask to review your credit history and income information to document sources and uses of cash. Once you know if you can obtain financing and how much you can get, you can get out there to buy a home.

Right now talk with a banker for advice. It might be best to begin with a banker in the country where you work to see if funding is available for international purchases. If the bank is a multi-national organization, they will have someone within the bank who can assist you or they can refer you to a lender here in the United States. Unfortunately, working for a US owned multinational corporation Is often insufficient to obtain either a credit history in the US or financing here in this country without tax returns and proof of domestically generated income (money earned in the US).

Good luck,
Grace Morioka
Allison James Estates and Homes
0 votes
Nina Daruwal…, Agent, Cupertino, CA
Mon Dec 17, 2012
Hi David,
I am re-location certified and work with clients with different situations like yours all the time. I have re-located four countries myself! With what figures you are giving here, you could qualify for a VERY decent Mortgage, $400K being 20% Down Payment. Yet, i have to say, I would have you sit down with my Lender and meet their Lending criterias, get your paystubs and W2's to them, before they will give you pre-approval....safer that way, then we can go out and look for a good home for you!
Advantage of putting down a good Down payment is, it makes your Offer that much stronger...
Do get in touch with me if you would like to have a detailed conversation.
Be well and safe, regards,
Nina Daruwalla
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