Boston becomes more global every day. Look around and you will see more international families relocating to the area for work or college and deciding that purchasing is the way to go.
As with all loans - working with an experienced lender is key - but in addition there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of and plan for early in the process....
Today I'll share some tips from my own clients' experiences as well as some sage and timely advice from Wall St Journal, columnist Robun A. Friedman
Everyone is working harder these days to fullfill all the requirements to get a great mortgage, but foreign buyers should take note of these 5 recommendations to ensure a less stressful experience.
1) Be prepared to verify all of your assets and employment in the US and abroad. This can take time. In today's low inventory markets you are competing wth buyers who may be cash or 30 clsoing buyers. Having a global bank can help. If your mortgage application is through the same bank that holds your overseas assets then they may be able to verify assets for you. If you are using a MA lender - a global bank may be able to easy the verification prcess just becasue it is a normal part of their business.
2) Interview potential lenders early and be very direct about your foreign national status. Some lenders may not be comfortable working with visa holders so the advice to get your pre-approval early in the process goes double for foreign nationals holding visa's. Ask your lender of they have some experience in this area before you commit. The good news, says Friedman, is that "green card holders are trated exactly like U.S. citizens" when they apply for their mortgage.
3) Be ready for the US credit check. Credit scores are a key component of the US loan application process, but your credit record overseas will likey not translate. Here again - working with a lender that has experience with foreign nationals can help an applicant overcome what is typically a thin or non-existent credit history in the US.
4) Expect higher down payment requirements. Today an American citizen can choose from a range of down payments programs typically from 3% to 20%. Because of the previously mentioned lack of US credit scores - lenders may insist that foreign nationals bring in higher down payments in the range of 25% or more of the purchase price.
5) Make sure all of your international docuemntation is current up to an beyond the proposed closing. This includes passports and your employment and visa documentation. Take care that none of these critical documents will expire during the closing process and build in extra time for unexpected delays.
On the bright side with overall transaction volumes down, lenders have plenty of bandwidth for you and many of the items above like strong pre-approvals and big down payments can only help you in this competitive buying environement.