Whether for your job or a new opportunity, relocating to the United States from another country can be exciting and nerve-wracking. Moving to the U.S. can give you a unique chance to live in a new country, build relationships and experience a different culture.
If your stay in America is long term, you might be considering buying a house before your big move. A home can offer you and your family stability while adjusting to a new location and allow you to build equity for the future.
However, buying a house and obtaining a mortgage overseas is a different process than what it might be in your home country. From finding a place to live to partnering with the right mortgage provider, the home buying process in the U.S. can have extra steps when you’re doing it from another country.
Even with these extra steps, obtaining a mortgage internationally doesn’t have to be a hassle. With an international mortgage partner like HSBC, you can simplify your overseas move and focus on your new adventure in America.
- Support every step of the way: HSBC can connect you to real estate agents, home purchase services and expert guidance as you navigate the home buying process.
- International credit solutions: HSBC can help you qualify for a home loan with your credit history in your home country.
- Services to help you settle in: When the home purchase process is through, HSBC can connect you to resources to get you settled in, including insurance and integration services.
1. Research the area
- Online resources to assist you in researching the area and getting ready to move abroad
- Personalized services from HSBC representatives to answer your questions
- A network of local professionals HSBC can connect you to while you research
Knowing where you’re moving is key to finding the right house and neighborhood. Each U.S. region offers a different climate, which will impact what you’re looking for in a house.
For example, the northeast and midwest both get snow in the winter, meaning you’ll need to find a house with good insulation and heating capabilities. The southern region, on the other hand, is much hotter and makes air conditioning mandatory for your home.
Also, keep in mind that each state will have varying home buying and mortgage requirements. Some states may have different disclosure requirements for the home’s conditions or will require you to purchase additional insurance.
Be sure to investigate the area you’ll be living in. If you have colleagues or friends who already live where you’re moving, reach out and ask about their experiences.
Your mortgage company or real estate agent, if they’re local, can also give you insight into the area. HSBC, for example, provides its members with online resources and expert guidance on the country and the region you’re moving to and can connect you with local professionals to help guide you through the process.
2. See how much house you can afford
- Currency conversation to calculate your down payment
- Expert guidance on mortgage and closing fees you may need to pay
Knowing what home price range you can afford is one of the first steps to buying a house in any country. Your household income will be one of the key factors in the size of your mortgage and how much money you can put down.
However, seeing how much house you can afford is not as easy as simply plugging your income into a mortgage calculator. Converting your country’s currency into U.S. dollars can be a challenge when determining your income, as well as factoring in and converting your other assets, debts, liabilities and so on.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider the relocation process, as moving costs, closing costs, immigration fees and other expenses can quickly eat into your savings.
Fortunately, there are banks and lenders, like HSBC, that are experienced in international home purchases.
HSBC can assist in navigating the exchange process, including converting your salary to U.S. dollars, getting you a mortgage estimate and helping you manage your international bank account. This can give you an accurate idea of how much money you can borrow. HSBC can also inform you of what fees may be involved.
3. Find a mortgage provider for your needs
- Qualify you for your mortgage with your current credit history in your home country, with no need for a U.S. credit score
- Guidance on what documentation you need to qualify for your international mortgage
- Connections to professional services during the home buying process, including real estate agents and buyer’s agents
Finding a mortgage provider that can support you through the complexities of an international mortgage can help save you time, effort and money.
When you apply for a mortgage in the U.S., the mortgage provider will evaluate your income, any outstanding debts and your credit history to determine how much money you may borrow.
Since you are taking out an international loan, your mortgage provider will also require additional documentation, including a passport, financial documents to prove your credit history, additional proof of income and more.
HSBC has credit solutions for international borrowers when applying for a mortgage. This way, you can use your credit history in your home country to qualify. If using your current country’s credit history isn’t possible, HSBC can pull an international credit report to use for your mortgage application.
Working with a bank or mortgage provider experienced in international house purchases can make applying for a mortgage overseas easier. Lenders like HSBC can tell you what documentation you need upfront and work with you to provide the proof you need to qualify for a mortgage in the U.S.
If you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll likely need to:
- Find a real estate agent who knows the area well. Your agent can show you properties and help you figure out which house you want to make an offer on.
- Find a homeowners insurance provider, which is required by most mortgage lenders.
- Find a title company to check that the property doesn’t have any liens or holds and to aid in transferring the property rights.
- Schedule the inspections and appraisal of the property to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
- Hire a real estate attorney to review the paperwork. This may be required in the state you’re moving to.
- Authorize a power of attorney (POA) so you are able to execute financial decisions and close on the property while you are overseas.
Your mortgage provider and real estate agent can typically connect you to these services, as well as help you get a sense of the property you’re purchasing and the area you’re going to live in if you’re unable to visit in person.
Once you’ve found the house of your dreams, evaluated the inspection report and agreed to a buying price with the seller, you’re ready to close – and make your international move.
4. Close and get ready to move
- Complimentary 30-day SIM card with free international calls, a two GB data plan and 200 text messages
- Discounts on travel, including baggage fees, airport parking services, air lounge access and car rentals
When you’re ready to close on your new home, you’ll want to have your closing documents and immigration papers ready to go.
If you are unable to be there when the house closes, you’ll want to assign a POA to manage the process in your absence.
Otherwise, you’ll need to visit your new home to do a final walk-through and sign any papers that may need to be officiated in person. You’ll pay any remaining fees, receive title, tax and mortgage documents and formally take on responsibility for paying the mortgage and owning the house.
Once you’ve closed on your new home, you’ll be ready to move! You’ll have to ensure your visas are in order, check that you meet the entry requirements for the U.S., enroll your children in their new school if applicable and possibly transfer or purchase new life, medical and auto insurance.
While your employer should be guiding you through the process if you’re moving due to work, upon your request, your mortgage provider and bank may offer services to help you emigrate and move.
5. Settle into your new home country
- Access to cultural integration classes and neighborhood guides to make settling in easier
- Referrals to childcare services, visa application services and medical services
- Discounts on wardrobe organizing and flower delivery services
Once you’ve taken the keys, unpacked all your boxes and marked your calendar for the first day of your new workplace, you can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on integrating into your new country.
Adjusting to the new climate, languages and cultures of the U.S. is a big undertaking and will take some time.
Your employer and bank can often simplify this process and make it a smoother transition. HSBC, for example, offers language and cultural support services to its members, helping you get comfortable with your new neighbors and home.
HSBC: Your partner for the big move
When it comes to an international move, HSBC doesn’t stop at providing you with a mortgage for an international purchase. HSBC’s international mortgage program is with you every step of the way. The program helps ensure the home purchase and relocation process is smooth, simple and affordable for you and any loved ones moving with you.
From pre-qualification, HSBC can assist you in converting your home currency and obtaining a U.S. mortgage with a simplified credit check process. Members get access to mortgage consultants who not only walk you through the home buying steps, but also help manage your money and keep an eye on the applicable exchange rate.
HSBC connects you with a mortgage provider through its global network of mortgage specialists. The bank offers financing up to 75 percent of your new home and helps you pull together the necessary documentation to borrow, make an offer and move to the U.S.
When you’re ready to make your move, HSBC provides integration services for its members. This includes access to resources such as online moving and culture guides. On top of this, HSBC offers referrals and credits for education services, banking, medical services and childcare.
If you have an opportunity to relocate to the U.S. and you’re looking for a change of scenery, don’t let the process scare you. HSBC can make the transition quick, safe and simple for those looking to buy a house in the U.S. and make a new life there.
The bottom line
Moving to the U.S. from another country can seem intimidating. Between converting your currency, navigating the credit check, finding a house, tackling the closing and immigration process and integrating into a new culture and environment, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the entire process.
However, if you take the journey one step at a time, you can find yourself relaxing in your new American home in no time. The right mortgage provider can make all the difference, and lenders like HSBC can give you the resources to get a mortgage that fits your needs.
If you’re considering an international move, check out HSBC International Loans and see if it’s right for you.
HSBC commissioned this article. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of HSBC. For a comprehensive review of your personal finances, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither HSBC, nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice. Terms and Conditions apply.