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Is It Hard to Buy a House as an Immigrant in the U.S.?

For some people, living abroad is the best way to fulfill their dreams. Sometimes, they find it hard to sustain their family’s needs in their native country. Other times, they simply want a change of surroundings. There are also some people who want to get closer to their family who now reside in a foreign country. Another common reason for becoming an immigrant is to live with their spouse who is a citizen in another country.

The U.S. tops the list of countries with the most number of immigrants. Since housing is the top priority for immigrants, it pays to learn how you, as an immigrant, can secure a home purchase. But is it that hard to buy a house when you are not a natural-born citizen in the U.S.?

Even native-born citizens can have a hard time buying a house if they don’t have enough qualifications. For immigrants, it can be even more complicated. While there is no citizenship requirement for making a real estate purchase, the tricky part is getting a mortgage.

The simplest way to make a home purchase as an immigrant is to buy real estate in cash. You may face numerous challenges when buying a house. But it is possible to deal with these challenges especially if you know what to do and what to expect.

The following are examples of challenges immigrants face when buying a home.


There are laws that aim to protect home buyers regardless of their color, race, religion, and even their immigration status. But there are still people who would treat you differently just because you are a non-U.S. citizen. This could be a real estate agent who refuses to offer their services to you or a home seller who is unwilling to sell you their property for sale just because of your citizenship status.

The Fair Housing Act protects everyone against housing discrimination. If you believe you are being discriminated against, you can consult an experienced immigration lawyer. They can answer your questions and help you go through the process.

Lack of Affordable Housing

These days, houses are nowhere cheap. Many can’t afford even the cheapest houses in rural areas. Add the fact that the pandemic caused a massive shift in the housing market.

The pandemic caused a housing boom. More people are looking forward to buying a house but sellers are having second thoughts about selling. The imbalance in supply and demand made houses for sale more expensive and less in numbers.

What some immigrants do is they find a house they can share with other immigrants. They ask their immigrant tenants for rent that they then used to pay for the mortgage. This often leads to overcrowding.

No Credit History

When applying for a mortgage, you will need to have enough credit score to qualify for a mortgage. This can be a problem if you don’t have a credit history in the country just yet. While there are mortgage lenders that will allow you to find a cosigner, it can be hard to find a U.S. citizen who will want to cosign a mortgage with you.

What you can do is start building your credit as early as possible. The good news is, there are credit card options for immigrants. You just have to find the right card and pay your dues on time to build your credit.

Regardless of your citizenship status, the credit card application is usually the same. Once you acquired your credit card, make sure to use it responsibly. The higher your credit score is, the better your chances of getting a mortgage approval.

Poor Housing Locations

Since most immigrants can’t afford the best locations, they often settle in a neighborhood that fails to meet their needs. Some are forced to stay in housing units far from essential facilities like shopping malls, public transportation, good schools, and health facilities. Others settle on buying a house where crime rates are bad.

Most insecure neighborhoods are unfit to raise a family. These are usually in noisy neighborhoods with poorly maintained housing. Instability also pressures immigrants to buy houses that are usually old and requires lots of fixing.

Buying a home as an immigrant is not impossible. There are challenges that could come your way. But with a little bit of luck and lots of hard work, you can deal with each issue and realize your dream as a homeowner. Work hard on saving for a down payment, establish a desirable credit score, and other requirements when applying for a mortgage and you can finally buy your own home in the U.S.


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