By: Lorena Villatoro, ABCDC Housing Counselor
Owning property in the United States has become synonymous with the American Dream. The process of purchasing a home in the United States can seem daunting but it is not impossible, even for non-citizens or non-residents living in the United States. Depending on your current residency status, you may be eligible for certain loans and homebuying options.
*Financing options are limited and may vary lender to lender depending on your status*
Green card holders or lawful permanent residents (LPR): Green card holders and lawful permanent residents have access to the same loan services as U.S. citizens, this includes FHA loans and other government-backed services as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
DACA Recipients: Since January 19, 2021, DACA recipients can purchase a home in the U.S. using an FHA loan if they plan to make it their primary residence.
Non-permanent Residents: Individuals with a valid work visa may be eligible for an FHA loan. To secure an FHA loan, non-permanent residents will need to provide proof of employment and a social security number. Lenders may request proof of a valid work contract that spans up to three years to be sure that the borrower plans to remain in the country long enough to pay back the loan, along with other documentation such as positive credit history, bank statements, and tax returns for the previous two years.
Options in Massachusetts: The premier first-time homebuyer products in Massachusetts are MassHousing and ONE Mortgage. Loans are made available to non-U.S. citizens who are lawful permanent or non-permanent residents under the same terms available to U.S. citizens through MassHousing. ONE Mortgage follows Fannie Mae guidelines on residency status, which allows non-permanent resident borrowers. It’s important for homebuyers to reach out to their lender, as lenders may have their own policies on requirements for non-permanent resident borrowers.
Foreign nationals looking to purchase within the boundaries of the U.S. are protected by the same laws that protect citizens. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits the discrimination in the selling, financing, or renting of property to any individual based on their race, religion, national origin, or sex. Should you experience any discrimination at any point during the home purchasing process, you can contact a fair housing center in your area to investigate your discrimination complaint by visiting HUD.gov. You will need to file a fair housing complaint with HUD within one year of the alleged violation, or in state or federal court within two years of the alleged violation.