Can a New Immigrant Buy a House for Cash

by Nicole
(California, USA)

Ask Kate can a new immigrant buy a house for cash: Hi Kate, My aunt (my father's sister) is a new immigrant. My father wants to buy her a small house (which is not really expensive). Since my aunt is a new immigrant, she has never worked in the US nor paid tax.

Nicole continues... However, the amount of money in her savings and with a bit support of my father and relative, she can have the house paid off. We do not plan to borrow any loan.

My question is if she is able to own the house. I mean the house is under her name only, since she doesn't have income. Would this be a problem in terms of paper work in the future when she needs to pay property taxes?

Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

Kate Answers: Can a New Immigrant Buy a House for Cash

Ask Kate at
Hi Nicole,

I assume your aunt resides in the United States through official channels. If not, I could her see an investment in homeownership could be risky.

And before I go any further, I need to clearly state I am not an attorney nor experienced in matters of immigration.

My experience as a lender included originating mortgages for (in lender speak) foreign nationals who were not required to produce documentable income, credit history, or source of down payment. But what they possessed was a sizable amount of cash for the down payment!

After purchasing the home, they paid property taxes on an ongoing basis along with the monthly house payments. I'm pretty sure the county where the house was located was very happy to receive payment for property taxes!

Introducing The Escrow Company

But your father, aunt and relatives are also going to be making a large cash investment in this house. That means parting with a significant amount of money. So they deserve more concrete answers than I can give you.

I'm suggesting you make an appointment with your escrow company to discuss your questions. Escrow is a neutral third party between the home buyer and the seller. They handle the transfer of money, record the deeds and are a good source of real estate information.

Learn more about the role of escrow in a real estate transaction here - Meet Your Escrow Companies.

Introducing The Title Company

To be thorough, I would also discuss this matter with your aunt's title insurance company. By the way, your aunt IS getting title insurance, right?

Read about the importance of title insurance here - Meet Your Title Insurance Companies.

Nicole, please offer your aunt my best wishes on her journey to homeownership. You have a wonderful family to be so helpful.

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