How to get a USA mortgage as a non-resident

Kariuki Maina
By Kariuki Maina 23 Min Read

Many Britons have dreams of leaving the country, and we frequently receive inquiries from people trying to obtain an American mortgage from abroad. And it’s simple to understand why, given the potential and variety the nation offers.

We can thus assist you no matter your position, whether you’re looking for a jumbo mortgage in New York City, have your eye on a vacation house in sunny Florida, or need a luxury mortgage in exotic Los Angeles. You just have to comment asking any query and we will respond or write an article guiding you on the same, deal?

Continue reading for information on how to obtain foreign mortgage loans in the USA, what the American mortgage application procedure entails for nationals of the UK, and general purchasing abroad information.

Can you get a mortgage in the USA as a UK resident?

The answer is that an overseas resident can obtain a mortgage on a residence in the US.

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Some purchasers complete their transactions in as little as four weeks thanks to the remarkably short mortgage approval times in the USA. Given the likelihood that you hold a Green Card or work visa, the procedure is typically more simpler for British expats.

There are a few things to be aware of while purchasing real estate in this nation, regardless of your circumstances. For instance, if you’re a first-time international buyer in the USA, you might need to pay certain local taxes and your first year’s worth of property insurance up front.

Should I choose an international or US mortgage?

You have a few alternatives for financing your American property mortgage as a British citizen. Which is ideal for you entirely depends on the situation:

– Refinance your UK house (a “reverse mortgage” in the US), and pay cash for the new property.

– Get a mortgage from a foreign lender to purchase a house in the US.

– Purchase a home in the United States with a US mortgage lender.

Make touch with a whole-of-market broker who specializes in international mortgages before you decide.

How do mortgage loans work in the USA?

The US mortgage market is similarly well-developed as that of the UK. Although there are many parallels between the two, you might not be familiar with all of the US terms or the various American residential mortgage programs.

Mortgages with long payback terms and fixed rates are the most common among US citizens. However, there are also shorter-term, variable-rate, and interest-only arrangements available.

How long are the terms on American mortgages for UK residents?

A fixed-rate mortgage typically has a duration of 25 to 30 years, although some lenders also offer shorter periods of 20, 15, and even 10 years.

Many mortgage lenders in the USA have age limitations in place, just like in our nation. The average ceiling age is 75, although each lender will have a different policy.

What documentation do I need when applying for a US mortgage?

If you’re a British expat looking to buy a home in the USA, you will need to provide the following alongside your mortgage application:

Permanent residents

If you’re now a permanent US resident and have a Green Card, you’ll need:

  • 2 years’ worth of “W-2 forms” (equivalent to a UK P60)
  • Last month’s “pay stub” (payslip)

Non-permanent residents

If you’re living in the US with a resident visa but not a Green Card, you’ll need:

  • Last year’s W-2 form (if applicable).
  • Your previous month’s pay stub.
  • A copy of your Visa and Passport.
  • Your last 3 months’ bank statements.
  • A copy of your UK credit report.
  • A copy of the most recent mortgage statement for any property you own in the UK.

How much can I borrow for a mortgage in the USA?

In the USA, affordability plays a significant role in determining whether or not you’ll be given a house loan.

For the purpose of determining how much you may borrow, lenders frequently set your maximum monthly payment at 25 to 35 percent of your gross monthly income. This shows that even if your circumstances change, you will still be able to finance your mortgage.

To ensure that you can afford the monthly payments, they may also look at your monthly expenses, such as your electricity bills or bank statements.

How much deposit do I need for a US mortgage?

Expats having permanent status in the US can apply for FHA mortgages, which have relatively low down payment requirements. However, if you lack a Green Card or a current work visa, finding them will be more difficult.

Otherwise, international purchasers with acceptable credit might anticipate paying a deposit of between 20 and 30 percent, depending on the lender and your particular situation.

You could discover that you are given somewhat less advantageous terms than US residents as a non-resident, which is another reason to engage with specialized USA mortgage brokers if you want the lowest interest rates.

How do US mortgage providers assess my credit-worthiness?

Before approving a loan in any nation, mortgage lenders are required to analyze your credit history.

In the US, a credit check will be done, and you could also have to present bank statements, tax returns from the last three years, and/or a letter from your employer.

It can be challenging to establish your creditworthiness in a foreign nation, particularly if you haven’t been a resident there for a long time. In this case, you could think about obtaining an overseas credit check to confirm your domestic records.

Don’t freak out if your credit history isn’t perfect. We’ve assisted many customers in obtaining mortgages despite having a history of poor credit, but it’s crucial to get guidance from a professional.

How does my job status impact my American mortgage application?

Due to the degree of risk they provide, self-employed mortgage applicants may find it more challenging to secure a mortgage.

The majority of US lenders need your most recent three months’ worth of bank statements in addition to your past two years’ worth of tax returns (other lenders may only need one year’s worth).

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401k plan can be used to show your retirement income if you are retired.

What does the American mortgage process involve?

Although each state has its own specific procedure, the overall idea is the same. Following is a step-by-step guide on how to obtain a non-resident mortgage in Florida:

  • Find an agent

Every property that is for sale is represented by a “seller’s agent,” who works for no cost and receives payment only when the house sells. They are not required to give a prospective buyer an accurate description of the property.
In order to protect your interests as a buyer, most experts advise that you work with a “buyer’s agent.” A buyer’s agent will share the commission from the transaction with the seller’s agent; you do not have to pay them.

  • Find a property

In Florida, every property that is for sale is published in a single database, saving potential purchasers the trouble of scouring many estate agencies or searching the internet for their ideal home.
It’s time to haggle over a price once you’ve located one, just like you would in the UK. The transaction will then be confirmed verbally, and it’s customary for the buyer to put down a modest goodwill deposit at this point.

  • Sign a purchase contract

The buyer and seller will then sign a purchase agreement that is enforceable in court. At this point, you must transfer your deposit into Escrow (this is standard for most US property sales).
In order to avoid delaying the completion date, you must now make arrangements for your mortgage finance to be put in place (if you haven’t already done so).

  • Check the legalities

Buyers in Florida utilize a title insurance provider to insure the documents against any third-party claims after the paperwork has been signed. Florida law does not mandate the employment of attorneys since the Title Insurance company handles all legal matters.
However, as a non-citizen, you might want to hire a lawyer who is experienced in the American real estate market and is conversant with all the jargon to review the final paperwork and offer you additional piece of mind.

  • Completion

You may now finish the transaction. Completion could be feasible in as little as 4-6 weeks after making a first offer, if there are no title problems or other difficulties.
Closing fees should amount to about 5% of the purchase price. Depending on the state, they may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

    • Documentary Stamps – $0.35 for every $100 of mortgage.
    • Intangible Tax – 0.002% of your mortgage value.
    • Local Property Tax – the equivalent of UK Council Tax.
    • Title Insurance – usually about 1% of a property’s cost (mandatory in Florida, varies in other states).
    • Title companies fees – approximately $250.

How to get the best USA mortgage rates?

We cannot emphasize enough how crucial it is to talk with one of the whole-market brokers we deal with if you want access to the most affordable mortgage rates in the USA.

They may negotiate favorable terms with UK lenders who specialize in international mortgages since they have links with a number of leading banks and mortgage brokers in the USA.

Should I use a USA mortgage calculator?

It might be tempting to use an online mortgage calculator to figure out your possibilities when you’re applying for a mortgage.

However, it’s crucial to be aware that these online tools seldom take into account the eligibility requirements of every lender, nor do they take into account your particular scenario and circumstances.


This is particularly common when using a mortgage calculator for a house loan in the USA or any other foreign country.

It’s uncommon to find an online service that will take into account all of the US’s many tax laws and state restrictions in addition to the standard factors like credit history, loan to value (LTV), affordability, and more.

What other factors impact eligibility for an American mortgage?

The aforementioned information is relevant to non-citizens looking to purchase a property or a vacation home in the USA. If your real estate acquisition is an investment, however, there are additional requirements:

Buy to let USA properties

You can still be approved for a US mortgage if you want to continue living and working in the UK while investing in real estate as “buy to let” (also known as “buy to rent” in the US).

You can achieve this by financing investment properties with a loan from a foreign country. However, compared to a residential mortgage, you will be required to make a significantly greater down payment, and interest rates often run much higher.

You must submit the following information to qualify for a mortgage on a US buy-to-let property:

  • Last 3 months’ bank statements
  • Most recent UK mortgage statement
  • UK credit report
  • A copy of your passport
  • Employer’s reference/proof of income or audited accounts for self-employed buyers
  • As long as you can meet the standard affordability criteria, you should be able to get a US mortgage while living in the UK.

Commercial mortgages in the USA

You would submit a second residential mortgage application as per usual if you wanted to purchase real estate in the US for your own residential needs, such as a vacation house. However, if you’re looking for financing for a piece of property utilized for business, there are distinct criteria that apply.

It is suggested that you contact a broker or business that specializes in commercial mortgage loans to have access to the most affordable rates, which will be determined by your particular set of circumstances.

For commercial mortgages, you’ll probably need to put up a considerably larger deposit, but you’ll profit from being able to borrow much larger amounts of money with security.

How does the US mortgage process vary by state?

Mortgage rules can change based on where a borrower is located in the nation. The following are some of the most typical questions we get about mortgages in the USA:

Florida mortgages for UK residents

If you’re a foreign national looking for a mortgage in Florida, you’re in luck since there are many eager lenders accessible and a number of innovative mortgage products that have just been established in the Sunshine State with foreign nationals in mind.

There are also some extremely appealing mortgage loan interest rates available in Florida for a variety of various property kinds, even for non-residents, if you’re wanting to add a new investment to your property portfolio.

Make sure to speak with a specialized Florida mortgage broker that is connected to both high-street and private lenders and will determine the most affordable rates depending on your unique situation in order to get the most for your money.

You will typically require a deposit for a mortgage in Florida of between 20 and 30 percent, which will be secured by the property you’re purchasing. The majority of mortgages in Florida are repayment-based and have maturities of 10 to 30 years.

Mortgages in Miami

This multicultural metropolis in sunny Florida is the setting for several well-liked vacation spots. It is understandable why many foreign nationals are looking for a mortgage for a Miami house.

For a home in Miami, there are a variety of mortgage lenders willing to accept lending to non-citizens or expatriates who provide reasonable rates, much like the rest of the state.

However, if you intend to buy a vacation property to rent out, be advised that it’s crucial to confirm the seller’s rental authorizations. Property purchases designed for vacation rentals are prohibited in certain states, including Florida, particularly in popular tourist destinations like Miami.

Los Angeles mortgages

Los Angeles, the second-most populated city in the US, is another popular choice for British expats. The city offers people a plenty of opportunities as Southern California’s cultural, financial, and economic hub.

Los Angeles has a high cost of living, particularly in some districts. Despite this, homes frequently sell quite fast. There are minimal limitations on international purchasers, however the mortgage application procedure for non-citizens might be complicated.

A strong credit score is a requirement, and opening a US bank and filing tax filings will give you the best chance of obtaining a mortgage in Los Angeles.

You are also highly encouraged to seek the counsel of an international mortgage broker who can connect you with lenders that have knowledge in obtaining mortgages for non-citizens in LA. This will guarantee that you have access to the best prices and lessen the possibility of any difficulties arising from a credit check.

New York mortgages

With a population of about 8.7 million, it’s safe to say that New York City is a highly sought-after place despite the high cost of living. Many UK inhabitants dream of living in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.

A foreign mortgage on a New York home is undoubtedly feasible, and a sizable chunk of the city’s real estate currently belongs to foreign individuals and businesses.

For non-residents who want to purchase in New York, several banks provide unique schemes. Non-residents and expatriates often have access to loans up to 65-75% of the value of the property.

Working with an expert ensures you receive professional assistance throughout the process, are knowledgeable of local tax rules, and have access to the greatest interest rates because this state has the highest average mortgage rate in the nation.

Why speak to a USA mortgage specialist?

The procedure is a little more difficult when buying property abroad, whether you want to take out a mortgage with a UK or US company.

This is why it’s crucial to seek professional guidance to help you through the procedure.

Before making a decision, think about the following:

  • Tax liability – Make careful to account for any taxes you owe in the US as well as the UK. Even a small error might cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in late penalties and missing payments.
  • Check the legal documentation – Examine each and every contract with a fine-tooth comb. A lawyer should be present to ensure that the relevant licenses, permits, and planning consents are in place at these times.
  • Exchange rate changes* –There are frequent fluctuations in the dollar-to-pound exchange rate. If you have a mortgage in dollars, you might anticipate fluctuating payments due to currency fluctuations. Fortunately, if the exchange rate changes by more than 20%, the lender is required to notify you and provide you the opportunity to repay the loan in a different currency.

*If you’re a British expat receiving your income in dollars, this will not apply.

Tips when buying overseas property

It’s crucial to get legal and financial counsel from a lawyer who isn’t connected to any other parties involved if you’re investing in real estate overseas. This covers the vendor, the builder, and the real estate broker.

Before you start with the transaction if you’re hiring a UK law firm, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re registered with the UK Law Society, have experience with foreign transactions, and specialize in property conveyancing.

Why you should speak to a whole-of-market broker if you’re getting a mortgage in the USA

Even for customers whose mortgage applications were rejected or who had a poor credit history, we have assisted over 120,000 clients in finding the ideal mortgage.

Additionally, consumers have given us a 5-star rating on Feefo, largely because of our excellent standards of customer service but also because we provide a 5-star service with access to knowledgeable brokers who are:

  • Whole of market.
  • Can offer bespoke advice to customers buying in the UK or overseas.
  • Have a working relationship with all lenders, including those who offer international mortgage products in the USA.
  • Already know the lenders to go to as they have successfully arranged residential, commercial, BTL and holiday home US mortgages.
  • Are OMA Accredited advisors.
  • Have completed a 12 module LIBF accredited training course.

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By Kariuki Maina Kariuki Maina
In a world full of worriers, be the warrior.
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