H1B Mortgages in the U.S.
Posted by Frank Gogol
Are you an H1B visa holder in the U.S. who’s tired of throwing away money on rent every month? Do you want to own your own home? If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting an H1B mortgage and buying a home in the U.S.!
Table of Contents
What is an H1B Visa?
The H1B is a specialty visa that allows foreign workers to be employed and work in the U.S. It requires the application of specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent of work experience. H1B jobs include, but are not limited to:
- Programmer Analyst
- Software Engineer
- Software Developer
- Systems Analyst
- Business Analyst
- Computer Programmer
- Senior Software Engineer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Assistant Professor
The H1B visa is valid for three years and extendable for up to six years. Should the visa holder choose, they may reapply for renewed H1B status.
Considering the potential length of stay available to H1B visa holders, a foreign worker on an H1B may be in a housing situation beyond a mere rental agreement.
But is it possible for H1B visa holders to own a home in the U.S. And if so, are there are mortgages for H1B visa holders?
Can H1B Visa Holders Buy Homes in the U.S.?
In a word: yes. Even if you are a temporary worker in the US, you can buy a home. But this begs the age-old question: If you can, does that mean you should?
5 Reasons Why It Makes Sense for an H1B Visa Holder to Buy a Home
Even if H1B visa holders can buy homes, it’s important to ask if it makes sense for them to buy homes. And honestly, it really comes down to needs. H1B visa holders can buy and own cars in the U.S., but a foreign worker who lives in a city might not need for a car. It all depends.
That said, there are 5 good reasons H1B visa holders should at least seriously consider buying a home in the U.S.
1. Owning is Cheaper than Renting
On average, owning your home, rather than renting it, will save you an average of $300 to $500 a month in most U.S. cities. This won’t be true in all cities, but in the ones where it is true, it’s absolutely worth it to own rather than rent. You could save up to $6000 a year that could be used for more important things, like sending money back home to help family.
2. Mortgage Interest Deductions Can Reduce Taxes Owed
Another reason to consider owning your home rather than renting is the significant tax benefits of owning offers. If you itemize your deductions on your tax return, you can claim the mortgage interest deduction on the first $750K of your mortgage.
3. Mortgage Payments are More Stable than Rent Payments
Living in the U.S. can be very expensive, especially if you’re living in a city, so stability in your monthly housing payments is important for budgeting. And therein lies one of the major issues facing renters: your landlord can raise your rent upon the renewal of your lease. And depending on how much your rent goes up, it can significantly affect your finances. And this can happen every year your renew.
Mortgages, on the other hand, offer a stable, predictable monthly payment schedule for the duration of your loan. When you buy a home, your lender will give you a schedule of every payment you will ever make, and the payments will essentially be identical for the lifetime of the loan.
4. Own Helps Build Equity in a Valuable Asset
When you pay your mortgage, you are building equity in a valuable asset (your house). Over time, as your equity builds, so does your future buying and investing power. So, if you want to buy a nicer home down the line or retire one day, building equity is important. There is also an exemption on capital gains from any appreciation you build in a primary residence. According to IRS rules, if there’s a capital gain on the sale of your home, you may qualify to exclude for up to $250,000 of that game from your income or as much as $500,000 is you are married.
5. Lenders Offer Similar Mortgages for H1B Visa Holders and U.S. Citizens
While it can be more difficult for H1B visa holders to get mortgages in the U.S., it’s certainly possible. H-1B visa holders can apply for all types of mortgages, including FHA loans, conventional mortgages, and jumbo mortgages. Some H1B visa holders might struggle to procure a mortgage due to a lack of credit history, but the struggle is very much worthwhile for the other reasons listed above.
So, yes – H1B visa holders in the U.S. can buy homes there and there are plenty of great and beneficial reasons to buy a home, but what are the financing options?
Is There Such a Thing as an “H1B Visa Mortgage”?
As of this writing, there is no mortgage option specifically for H1B visa holders. That said, there are several viable mortgage options for foreign workers in the U.S. on an H1B visa.
FHA Loans for H1B Visa Holders
FHA loans are loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. In order to get an FHA loan, you must be eligible to work in the US. Aside from your work visa, the FHA also requires an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if you apply for a loan.
FHA loans tend to be more affordable upfront because the down payment is only 3.8%, but there is a credit score requirement of 580 to get that rate. And, as discussed above, many visa holders do not have credit scores in the U.S.
Still, if you can get an FHA loan, it’s a great option for financing your home.
Traditional Mortgages from Big Banks
H1B visa holders may also qualify for home loans with big banks, like Wells Fargo, but there’s a catch.
Many big banks offer loans that visa holders qualify for, but upon risk assessment, visa holders will not be approved. The unfortunate truth of the situation is that mortgages are long loans–usually 30-40 years long–and the average H1B visa is valid for 3-6 years. Yes, renewals are possible and mortgages can be paid off early, but big banks are very risk-averse and lending to a person on a visa comes with a considerable amount of risk.
All of that said, both of these options are viable under the right circumstances. And should you find yourself qualified to get a mortgage loan, you’re next questions should be able down payments.
Down Payments on an H1B Mortgage
Very few people can afford to pay cash for their homes, but when it comes to buying a home, the more money you can put into it up-front, the more benefits you’ll see (like reduced monthly payments and interest rates).
The average down payment is about 20% of the asking price on the home, so, for example, a down payment on a $500,000 home would be approximately $100,000. Now, most H1B visa holders won’t be looking to but a half-million-dollar home, but precedent stands. But it can be difficult for some visa holders to come up with $20,000 or $30,000 for a down payment. So, what can you do?
3 Simple Steps to Applying for a Mortgage Down Payment Loan
If you are considering applying for a personal loan for a mortgage down payment, just follow these 3 simple steps.
Apply online for the loan amount you need. Submit the required documentation and provide your best possible application. Stronger applications get better loan offers.
If your application meets the eligibility criteria, the lender will contact you with regard to your application. Provide any additional information if required. Soon you’ll have your loan offer. Some lenders send a promissory note with your loan offer. Sign and return that note if you wish to accept the loan offer.
The loan then gets disbursed into your U.S. bank account within a reasonable number of days (some lenders will be as quick as 2-3 business days). Now you need to set up your repayment method. You can choose an autopay method online to help you pay on time every month.
While it might seem daunting to buy a home on an H1B in the U.S., the benefits are real and significant. Moreover, it might seem like an uphill battle to procure a mortgage on your H1B visa, but it is possible, and with companies like Stilt here to help, it’s more possible for you to own a home in the U.S. than ever before.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!