Can undocumented immigrants buy a house? This is probably one of the most common questions people in this situation ask.
With the continuing debate around immigration in the political sphere, legislation and state propositions about this may seem unpredictable. Foreign nationals or residents will have to deal with mountains of paperwork and navigate US residency requirements and visa restrictions.
However, you now also face mortgage loans, filing taxes abroad, and understanding how your credit here compares to that in your home country.
For example, if you want to purchase a home in the U.S., it matters what visa status you currently hold and if this permit is transferable or extended. The most important thing is to not go into debt when buying your property; you should think long-term instead of making hasty decisions due to an emergency because this could have severe consequences for the rest of your life.
Optimistic about buying your first home? Great, moving on to the next big question:
Can undocumented immigrants buy a house?
Well, feel reassured because it is possible and a quick hint: the key lies in your taxes.
This article provides you with all the info you need on buying a home in the US as an immigrant.
Buying real estate as an illegal immigrant
Buying a house in the United States can be simplified with the help of a mortgage, credit score, and down payment.
Still, those options require documenting your identity, which is hard for undocumented immigrants.
However, that does not mean they can’t buy a home.
Suppose you are an undocumented immigrant who has been given permission to live in the US and have worked here (legally) for two or more years without interruption or served in the military. In that case, you may qualify as an exception. These people can start owning homes by establishing a good credit history.
Many banks offer mortgages specifically to undocumented immigrants through special programs like The Bank of American Immigration Program.
Other institutions like Wells Fargo have also started offering loans directly to folks who cannot prove their identity.
How can undocumented immigrants buy a house?
Many people think that you have to be a country citizen to own homes or property in that specific country.
Suppose a country has laws regarding foreign ownership. In that case, it might also have regulations about which countries’ citizens can own property in that country.
Still, there is no law regarding whether or not non-citizens can own homes in the United States. This type of transaction would indeed incur many costs, and usually, illegal immigrants don’t have the kind of money required.
However, they can own property provided they have wealthy sponsors who can fund their real estate endeavors.
Securing a mortgage for undocumented immigrants is often out of reach and difficult to attain.
However, an alternative may work for those who wish to pursue homeownership despite their legal status in the USA. There’s now a way to gain access to mortgages even if they can’t prove citizenship.
Here, we’ll explain how undocumented immigrants can qualify for a mortgage and get started toward homeownership.
Undocumented workers face difficulties, but it is certainly possible to own a home. Here’s how.
Obtain an ITIN
The best way undocumented immigrants can qualify for a mortgage loan is by using the ITIN mortgage. ITIN stands for Individual Tax Identification Number. It was created as an alternative to a Social Security Number so foreign investors could pay taxes on their assets in the United States.
Aside from acquiring an ITIN, undocumented immigrants can also open bank accounts, pay income taxes, and obtain a home loan.
One must complete a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, on the IRS website and a Spanish version. Applicants will be required to provide their names, addresses, citizenship, and birth dates, among other things.
Within 40 days of completing it, you must mail it directly to the IRS Austin center for ITIN operation with a completed tax return. The applicant will then receive their ITIN number.
Prepare the documentation for your down payment
Once you have an ITIN number, we suggest looking into ITIN loans. These loans can be found on company and bank websites across the US and can be granted by lenders willing to take extra steps to ensure that your ability to pay back the loan is legitimate.
Because of their higher risk level, it will be rare (though possible) for companies or banks to offer you a loan with less than 20 percent down. At a minimum, expect 15% – if you’re lucky, you’ll find a lender willing to go as high as 30%.
And just like any other loan application, some additional documentation may be required, which could include:
- Provide proof of income in the form of pay stubs from the last month.
- Provide evidence of consistent employment for the past two years.
- Submit tax returns for two consecutive years using the same ITIN.
ITIN Mortgage Application
The ITIN Mortgages are popular with undocumented, international home buyers and first-time entrepreneurs.
These mortgages carry an interest rate slightly higher than market rates. Still, because immigrants with irregular incomes often use them, ITIN mortgages are pretty common in many locations throughout the U.S. Banks and credit unions.
Banks and credit unions have varying policies on this type of mortgage. Therefore, one may choose to shop around for the best rates or decide to go with a smaller bank or a credit union that offers more competitive rates.
However, it is necessary that you either know someone who knows them personally or you have specific attributes to be eligible for their services.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding what sort of mortgage is best for you and your unique situation. One important thing to keep in mind is that not all home loans are created equal.
An excellent place to start looking for a mortgage might be with smaller, local banks or credit unions that offer lower interest rates than more giant corporations.
Some credit unions have specially designed loans for immigrants such as you who are trying to make a name for themselves in their new country.
Homeownership can be highly beneficial in many ways. But how can undocumented immigrants buy a house?
Though it might look impossible, legal and financial obstacles need to be overcome, which could potentially make homeownership accessible to undocumented migrants in the future. One crucial way undocumented immigrants aid their nation is by contributing to the economy.
This means that if more of them could buy homes, they would purchase additional items and furniture. Still, they’d also likely pay income taxes and spend on property taxes as well, etcetera, perpetuating the cycle of wealth creation in the country!
[Related Article: How Long Does it Take to Buy a House?]
At Real Estate Juan C, we want to ensure you have all the necessary tools and information to find your dream house. Reach out to us today to start the process!