Please post about US credit/banking issues Here!!!

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Please post about US credit/banking issues Here!!!

Post by nelsona » Fri Oct 29, 2004 8:26 am

Many wonder how to establish credit when moving to US; about getting a mortgage on TN.

Post questions and info on this topic here.

<i>nelsona non grata</i>

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Post by MarcLeonard » Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:59 pm

Canadians living in the US are often confused about the mortgage process, which is understandable considering that few mortgage professionals have experience helping Canadians holding TN and H1B visas. The mortgage guidelines for TN and H1B visa holders are complex, but the reality is that Canadians are eligible for mortgages just like US citizens and permanent residents - you just need to work with someone who knows which lenders will approve non-permanent residents.

Once you get beyond the myths, the mortgage process is the same for a Canadian as it is for US citizens.

<i>Myth 1: Lenders won’t approve mortgages for TN or H1B visa holders</i>

In recent years the mortgage guidelines have become more lenient and non-permanent residents are eligible for mortgages just like US citizens. But, some lenders are more willing than others to finance loans for non-permanent residents so it’s important to work with the right lender. A mortgage broker who’s experienced with non-permanent residents will be able to guide you in the right direction.

<i>Myth 2: Buying a home shows “intent to establish permanent residency” which violates TN requirements</i>

Purchasing a home shows intent to establish “a residence” not “permanent residency”; the former is where you live, the latter is a form of legal status. TN and H1B holders are non-permanent residents and purchasing a home does not affect that status in any way - you could always sell your home and return to Canada. Applying for a green card is what demonstrates intent to establish permanent residency.

<i>Myth 3: You need to have at least two years of US credit history to get a mortgage</i>

Some lenders do require this, but many will consider a shorter US credit profile or even look at your Canadian credit history to qualify you for a mortgage. The key is working with a mortgage professional who understands how each lender views non-permanent residents. A TN visa holder could get a mortgage the day after entering the US for the first time by working with the right professional.

<i>Myth 4: You need a large down-payment to purchase a home while on a TN or H1B visa</i>

Some lenders do require this, but there are others who will finance up to 100% of the purchase price for non-permanent residents. The ability of a non-permanent resident to purchase a home with little money down is determined by your credit profile, assets, and income, not your residency status.

<i>Myth 5: TN and H1B visa holders are riskier borrowers so the interest rate and fees are higher</i>

Many Canadians hear this while shopping for a mortgage, but it just means that your mortgage professional is trying to make a little extra money. By working with the right person and finding the right lender, Canadian borrowers are eligible for the most competitive rates available.

To get your mortgage you need to work with a mortgage professional to document your income and assets, review your credit profile, examine the home you want to purchase, and find the mortgage program that gets you the lowest interest rate and fees. Look to another mortgage professional if they tell you the loan can’t be done, and be suspicious of banks and brokers if they quote any of these myths or don’t have a history of working with Canadians. (Sometimes mortgage professionals will say they can do it, but at the last minute when complications arise the rate and fees suddenly climb)

I recommend working with mortgage brokers (rather than banks) since they shop all of the top lenders to find you the best program, they’ll have access to more mortgage programs, and good brokers won’t charge you any fees for their services.

Feel free to contact me for assistance with your loan, to ask any questions, or for a second opinion on the financing you’ve already arranged. I’m a fellow Canadian (originally from Halifax) who’s worked in the US on TN and H1B visas. I now have a green card and am a mortgage broker with a company that finances mortgages throughout most of the US.

Marc Leonard
Mortgage Broker
Prime Mortgage Financial
Toll-free: 866-653-3257

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Post by MaggieA » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:40 pm

Americans generally seem to rely a lot on personal recommendations when looking for a service provider of any kind, from plumber to doctor. We decided to try imitating this custom when looking for a mortgage on nonimmigrant status, and it worked wonderfully well.

A friend at church recommended a mortgage lender (not broker) who couldn't have been better to work with and gave us a top-notch rate.

So my advice on finding a good mortgage is to ask savvy-seeming people you know if they can recommend a broker or lender.

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Post by waynehooper » Sun Nov 28, 2004 10:52 am

I established credit by getting a "secured" credit card.
Basically I gave the card issuer $1000 on account for a year and they gave me a credit card.....I paid in full each month on the credit card and after a year they gave back my $1000 and change the credit card to a normal credit card.
Now I get credit card offers every day!
Welcome to the USA credit machine.

Wayne Hooper

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Post by nelsona » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:06 pm

Using this pre-paid credit method is usually counterproductive to establishing credit.

Such a card is a red flag on your credit report, and does NOT lead you to getting a good score.

You probably would have qualified for a regular credit card after a few months anyways, and would not have had this mark against you.

Paying your utilities would have been sufficient.

If one really needs a credit card when coming to US (you should keep a Cdn one for immediate neds), then talk to a PERSON, who will manually underwrite your application.

Pre-paids are for the credit flunkies, not for newly arrived Cdn professionals.

<i>nelsona non grata</i>

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