Those who are not citizens of the United States may be eligible to buy a home or other real property in California. However, the process of doing so depends on a person's status within the country. As a general rule, a permanent resident goes through the same process of getting a home loan as a citizen. The permanent resident is also likely to qualify for FHA or other government loans.
To qualify for a home loan, a permanent resident would need to show proof of income and payment of United States taxes. Generally, he or she would need at least two years of tax returns as well a credit history of at least two years. Those who live in another country qualify for foreign national loans as opposed to conventional or government-backed mortgages. Furthermore, these loans are only available for investment purposes and require down payments of 25 percent.
If an individual is living in the United States temporarily and can work in the country legally, he or she is usually eligible for most home loans. An employer will need to submit a letter indicating that a work visa will be renewed if it's scheduled to expire in less than a year. In some cases, a lender will consider income and credit histories from outside the United States.
Buying a residential property is generally more challenging than purchasing a car or new set of golf clubs. It may be even more complex for those who aren't American citizens. An attorney may be able to help permanent residents or those in California on work visas to better understand their loan options.