Mortgage  Question?
Wait Before Apply for Mortgage After Working Abroad?

I recently returned to the United States after working abroad for several years. Do I have to wait before I can apply for a mortgage?

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru
, Mortgage and Finance Guru

As long as you reported your income to the IRS, you can verify your current and past employment, your income remains relatively steady and you do not have an extended break in your employment when you move back to the United States, you should not have an issue qualifying for a mortgage. Please note that these employment history requirements apply to all mortgage applicants and not just people who worked internationally for several years.

When you apply for a mortgage lenders are more focused on significant fluctuations in your income, employment gaps and changes in your type of employment. For example, if you go from being a salaried employee to earning the majority of your income from bonuses or commissions, that can create an issue because lenders usually want to see a two year track record for that type of income.

Additionally, if you change from being a W-2 employee (or whatever the foreign equivalent is) to being self-employed when you move back to the states, that can also create a challenge when you apply for a mortgage. Another potential obstacle is if your income declines significantly upon your return so it is important to demonstrate to lenders that you your income will be relatively steady.

Ideally you would continue working for the same company when you return to the United States but as long as you work in a similar field, this is not a requirement. Finally, if you do change companies when you return to the states and your new job has a trial or probationary period then lenders typically require that you wait to apply until the trial period is over before you apply for the loan.

If none of these scenarios apply to you and you are going to continue working for the same company with the same compensation structure and type of employment then you should be able to qualify for a mortgage without waiting to apply.

You may be required to help the lender understand the proper exchange rate and provide additional documents such as banks statements and pay stubs to verify your past income in the foreign country but this should not create an issue, especially if you can provide tax documents that verify your income.

We always recommend that you contact multiple lenders to understand how they would handle your unique situation. You can review lenders in the area you are moving to in the table below. We advise you to contact at least five lenders as qualification guidelines vary. It may also be helpful to confirm that the lender is comfortable working with applicants who recently lived and worked abroad.

Current Mortgage Rates as of August 21, 2019
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Data provided by Informa Research Services. Payments do not include amounts for taxes and insurance premiums. Click for more information on rates and product details.

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About the author

Michael Jensen, Mortgage and Finance Guru

Michael is the co-founder of FREEandCLEAR. Michael possesses extensive knowledge about mortgages and finance and has been writing about mortgages for nearly a decade. His work has been featured in leading national and industry publications. More about Michael

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