Having an immigrant spouse does not mean you cannot purchase a home. It is the American Dream to own a home and it is possible. You may have to jump through a few different hoops if you want to use your spouse’s income, though. The easiest way to go about the loan is to secure it yourself, without the income of your spouse. If this is not possible because you don’t make enough, though, there are ways to include your spouse on the loan.
The first thing you need to establish is permanent residency for your spouse. This is a requirement for any loan – you need to prove that he has the right to live in the United States. You must provide the lender with the appropriate paperwork to show that he is a legal resident. This is all the lender needs to include your spouse on the loan.
If your spouse does not have permanent residency, though, it could pose a problem. Lenders need to see that your spouse is able to stay in the country for at least the next 3 years. If his residency is temporary, the lender will ask for proof of his ability to stay for three years, at a minimum. If you don’t have that proof, you will need to provide proof of the likelihood of renewal of his temporary residency.
This is where things get tricky. If you want your immigrant spouse on the loan, he needs a credit history. Depending on how long he has been here, he might not have established any type of credit history yet. It usually takes around 12 months to obtain a credit score. Luckily, there are ways to work around it. The best thing to do is start applying for small amounts of credit in your spouse’s name. Things like store credit cards or small personal loans will get him started. Once the trade lines start reporting and your spouse makes payments, he will compile a credit score.
If you are past the point of being able to wait for your spouse to create a credit score, you can use a program, which allows the use of alternative credit. In this case, you do not use your credit report. Instead, your spouse can prove timely payments of other debts, such as:
Any payments your spouse makes on a regular basis can be used to prove his credit worthiness. The lender will need to see 12 months’ of payments for this trade line, though. They usually want to see at least 3 accounts within different industries as well in order to use the alternative credit.
Another thing the lender will care about is the job history of your immigrant spouse. If he just came over to the United States within the last year or so, do not worry. If he had the same type of job or worked within the same industry in his country, the history counts. The lender cannot convert the income he made there to use for loan purposes, but the job history is usable. Generally, lenders want to see a 24-month job history. If you can piece together a 2-year history between your spouse’s time here and in his country, you should be in good shape.
Consider it Carefully
Before you go through everything to include your immigrant spouse on the loan, you should consider the loan on your own. Check with your lender to see if you qualify for the loan. If you don’t already have a house to purchase, you can secure a preapproval for a specific loan amount. This way you will know if you can secure the funding on your own. Sometimes this is the easier route because you won’t have to jump through so many hoops. If you have traditional credit, a good job history, and adequate income, you can likely use a mainstream program and avoid the issues using your spouse’s credit and income may cause.
Using an immigrant spouse on a loan may throw up a red flag with many lenders. They may even decrease the amount of money they are willing to lend you because of the risk involved with your spouse. If your credit score is high, but your spouse does not have credit, it could pull the validity of your good credit down. Unless your spouse’s income really makes a difference in your debt ratio, it might be worth keeping him off for simplicity’s sake.
As you can see, an immigrant spouse can affect your mortgage in several ways. The longer your spouse is in the United States, the better your chances are of getting him on the loan. Of course, if you cannot put him on the loan, it does not mean he cannot be on the title. After you close on the loan, you can file a quitclaim deed, which transfers ownership of the house from your name alone into the names of you and your husband. Unless you need your spouse’s income to qualify for the loan, it may not be worth the hassle to verify his credit, employment, and residency. Talk to your lender to see what the best option for your situation may be.