Contact Kate - We Want To Buy Our First Home

by Australian Turned Texan from Austin, TX

Contact Kate - We Want To Buy Our First Home: I just moved here from Australia and have married a US Citizen. I have mortgage questions for Ask Kate! With the current housing market, we are very interested in buying our first home that will eventually become an investment property, something I am guessing a lot of people are doing now.


As I am new to the country, I don't have a credit score. My husband's credit is not that good as he fell behind on a lot of bill payments when he graduated college and was unemployed.

What would you suggest for us? He also has some college loans, about $15,000, but we both have enough income now to afford mortgage payments and want to buy soon before the housing prices start to go back up. What steps would you advise for us? Cheers.

Answer: Contact Kate - We Want To Buy Our First Home

Dear Australian Turned Texan, Great Idea! You want to buy your first home!

Greetings and welcome to the US! Here are a few mortgage tips for you and anyone buying a first home.

1- Establish US permanent residency to broaden your opportunity for available loan programs, if you haven't already.

2- Build up credit in your name with a few credit cards (pay them off each month).

3- To learn how to improve your husband's credit see how to fix your credit score fast.

4- Learn the secrets to how much mortgage you can afford.

5- Discover how mortgage preapproval turns home shoppers into preferred home buyers.

6- Consider a low down payment program such as a 3% down FHA or a low down 30 year fixed rate mortgage.

7- Build cash reserves and reduce debt.

Thanks for your questions. I believe this is a great time to become a home owner.

Best wishes and good luck,

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I'm a Canadian Citizen
by: Myrtann from St. John's, Newfoundland

Hi there, I'm currently a Canadian citizen looking to purchase a home in Florida. I am having issues finding a mortgage lender where I'm not a US citizen.

Hi Myrtann, Kate here...

If you are a non-resident who is not a US citizen (which I assume is true from your location), getting a mortgage to buy a house can be challenging. But some steps in the process remain the same, for example, how to shop for a lender. See How to Compare Mortgage Rates: Shopping for Lenders in Six Steps and add this question: Do you offer a offer a Foreign National Program?

Then request a list of required documentation that you'll need to provide. Commonly, lenders require an international credit report, proof of income and employment, and a passport or Visa. The requirement for certain items will be set in stone but be sure to ask for substitutions if you can't produce all of the paperwork.

Best wishes, Kate

Jills hits it out of the ballpark again
by: Kate Ford

From Kate Ford: Jill, one of our frequent contributors shared this with me today: "Often, housing counselors "must educate the staff of the servicers about their own program," said Maeve Elise Brown, executive director of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates in Oakland, Calif., which counsels homeowners. "Homeowners on their own are not able to navigate the system."
(Quoted from the Wall Street Journal, Author Ruth Simon)

So this is why I publish Get-Your-Best-Mortgage-Rate, to help homeowners translate the secret language of mortgage lending.

Steve Jobs Co-founder of Apple Computer once said he wanted to make a ding in the universe. Well, I want to make a ding with homeowners. So, let me know how I can help you navigate the mortgage and real estate maze!

Your Friend, Kate Ford


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You can also ask Kate about your mortgage at Ask Kate About Buying a House.

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