Home Buying Tips for New U.S. Citizens

The home buying process is often daunting for many people, but for those who are new U.S. citizens, the task can be particularly difficult. However, having a house to oneself is a dream for many immigrants, and there are options available that can help make the process easier to navigate. 

In order to help get your footing on the home buying process as a new U.S. citizen, here are a few tips and resources you can utilize to make your journey as easy as possible.

Save Early

While there are first-time homeowners loans available that immigrants should certainly take advantage of, these loans still require a down payment of 3.5%. Therefore, saving money in advance is imperative to the process. 

Signing up for a bank account in the United States as a new citizen can be difficult, especially due to the potential lack of a U.S. credit score. However, there are now online banks that don’t require credit checks to sign up, allowing you to have a safe place to save your money during your home buying process.

Build Credit

As mentioned previously, credit scores play a major role in the home buying process; your credit history will impact the interest rates and loan amounts you have access to. This applies to most mortgage services, aside from a few agencies that perform underwriting for home buyers and don’t take credit score into account when applying.

However, there are options available for new citizens looking to build their credit. One option would be to use your international credit report to get credit in the United States. This means that you won’t need to spend time signing up for credit cards and building credit, if you have a solid credit score from your previous nation of residence.

Find Community Support

Remember that the home buying process isn’t something that you need to take on all by yourself. Through the support of your friends, family, and other members of your local community, you can find a great network of people who have been through the home buying process themselves. Many of them would be more than willing to provide insights and advice on how to navigate it in the best, most cost-effective way. 

Finally, look for real estate agents that have experience working with new citizens, as they can often point you in the direction of the best resources for you to utilize while searching for a home. They will also be more understanding of your current situation, and give you the time and advice you need, to avoid rushing into the process and overspending, or settling on a home you don’t enjoy. At the end of the day, being a homeowner is a wonderful experience, and the day you finally sign the final deal will be incredibly rewarding.


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Important Things to Consider Before Buying Your Next Home

Whether it be your first home or you’re deciding to make a change, buying a home can be a time-consuming and complicated process. To ensure your purchase goes as smooth as possible, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for and go into home buying with your priorities in order. Here are a few things to consider before buying your next home:

Move-in Ready or Fixer-upper

When you’re on the hunt for your next home, it’s crucial to know if you’re looking for something move-in ready or a fixer-upper. There are benefits to buying each type, but ultimately it’s up to you, your needs, and what you’re willing to take on. A move-in ready home has the perk of being able to enjoy it right away. Once your purchase is complete, and your family settles in, all that’s required of you is to kick back and relax. Turnkey homes also come with attractive upgrades such as high-end fixtures, appliances, and flooring, that require little to no work from you. Search move-in ready homes on the market right now!

If you decide to find a diamond in the rough, you’ll be able to do so for a lower price tag. Due to this, homes in need of updates are perfect for people who are looking for something budget-friendly. A cheaper price point can provide you with extra money to complete renovations and transform the space into your dream home.

Kitchen Layout

The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the home, and can also be a key selling point in the home buying process, so it’s essential to keep the layouts in mind as you’re viewing homes. Don’t feel as though you have to stumble upon your dream kitchen, or sacrifice other aspects to acquire a luxury kitchen as you can always make updates and minor renovations. As long as the layout is functional and what you’re looking for, you can make changes to transform the space into what you truly want. 

Kitchen remodels are one of the most common projects that homeowners complete, and it’s no surprise since they are a gathering point in the home. Should you decide to perform a kitchen renovation to achieve your dream kitchen, consider kitchen remodel costs to help you assess your needs and wants for the room. For example, refinishing cabinets, new hardware, and light fixtures, flooring, and appliances can all be incorporated into a minor kitchen remodel, without having you redo your entire living space. 

Price Point

Before you begin looking, you should determine your price range and ensure you’re pre-approved for a home loan. This will help you stay on budget and find a home within your means to live comfortably. It’s also essential to research the house and ask questions before you move forward and are left feeling as though you received a poor deal. 

Once you’re ready to move forward, you must assess your monthly debts to determine your down payment percentage. Many argue that at 10% downpayment will do the trick, and can leave you with extra money in your pocket for home improvement projects or other additional expenses. The downside of a lower downpayment is that it can lead you to high monthly mortgage payments and can even be more challenging to receive approval. 

Instead, consider a down payment of 20%, as this can be beneficial in the long run. This can provide you with a smaller loan, lower monthly payments, and more equity. Just keep in mind that a 20% downpayment will require some saving ahead of time! 

Location is Important

Wherever your new home may be, you will be driving to and from each day, and that can be a dealbreaker for some, if not most, people. Viewing a home before researching the neighborhood can lead to problems down the road. 

Most buyers want a location that provides them with easy access to their everyday commutes, as well as main roads or other places you may frequent the most. If your previous drive to the grocery store was short, and home farther away may make routine tasks feel like a hassle. Be sure to speak with your realtor about neighborhoods and streets you prefer, as you want to be happy and comfortable where you settle down. 

Needs vs. Wants

It can be easy to fall in love with large houses that come with all the bells and whistles. It’s important you remember your budget and develop a list of needs and wants for your future home. Don’t buy over budget as that can lead to issues down the road, and make living in your home more complicated than it needs to be. 

Be sure to begin simple, and slowly upgrade. You don’t have to furnish each room with brand new items. Instead, start with what you have, and with every new purchase, you integrate into your home, remove or sell something old to prevent clutter. 

If you take these considerations with you into the home buying process, you’ll be sure to have a smooth sailing purchase and a home you love. 

garden art

Nine Airbnbs with Absolutely Stunning Yards

By: Kena Morris

When you stay at a great Airbnb, what lingers in your memory long after your vacation is over? It’s probably not the linens in the bathroom or the kitchen island. Based on the most popular Airbnb listings in America, what people look for are amazing outdoor spaces that inspire a sense of calm, and joy.

We’ve compiled a list of the best Airbnb yards in the United States to fuel your wildest outdoor fantasies. Whether you imagine sipping a morning coffee among the tulips or waking up in the tree canopy, the beautiful landscaping of these yards are sure to inspire you to get out more. You may also want to up your yard game this year beyond the basics.

1. Los Angeles, CA
Yard with pool Los Angeles
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This private pool house comes with a meticulously landscaped poolside, jacuzzi, and a stunning view of Hollywood Hills. Barbeque beneath the palm trees and enjoy the high life, if only for a night or two.

2. Biscayne Park (Miami), FL

Pool in yard with hut- Miami FL

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This dreamy bungalow is only fifteen minutes from Miami beaches. But it’s set in such a dreamy location, you may never leave the yard. A sparkling pool sits next to a tiki lounge where you can relax during the day or knock back some cold ones at night.

3. Atlanta, GA

Lights on wood cabin- Atlanta GA

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This treehouse Airbnb takes your childhood dreams and turns them into adult reality. A stream runs through this wooded yard… that also happens to be inside of Atlanta. This listing is one of the most popular in the nation, so booking may be a challenge.

4. Chicago, IL

Chairs on a patio- Chicago IL

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Nestled right in the middle of Logan Square, a hip corner of Chicago, is this well-appointed apartment beloved by all who pass through. You’ll enjoy this lush, tranquil (award-winning) garden just beyond the home.

5. Tyringham, MA

Point Cabin in Feild- Tyringham, MA

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In the Berkshires of Massachusetts lies a getaway cottage unlike any you’ve dared to imagine. A round, two-story tower overlooks two wooded acres accompanied by a lily pond, running stream, and an exquisite garden. This yard is enough to make most city dwellers green with envy. It’s yours on demand thanks to the sharing economy.

6. Tiller, OR

House like watch tower- Tiller OR

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This cabin built in the style of 1940s fire towers will take your getaway to the next level. Perched 40 feet above the land, the panoramic views of Southern Oregon from this cabin are unparalleled. And the yard? One hundred and sixty acres of private land with a fire pit, hot tub, hammock, and the freedom to wander throughout. Heaven on earth!

7. Oakland, CA

Table in Vine fortress- Oakland CA

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This private cottage in Oakland offers luxury in the middle of a lush, expansive garden. A porch canopied by dense climbing vines overlooks the beautifully landscaped yard. The hot tub overlooks the hills, providing the perfect respite from a day of sightseeing and walking in the Bay area.

8. Lyndon, VT

Patio with Flowers- Lyndon VT

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This quiet, tucked away studio is equipped with all the modern touches that make sleeping away from home comfortable. It’s right on the edge of one of the best mountain biking trail systems in the country. The yard is heavily stocked with perennial plantings which you can enjoy from your private patio and grill. Bonus points for the hosts who offer guests fresh fruit from the garden.

9. Hudson Valley, NY

Cute Cottage in garden- Lyndon VT

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This artsy bungalow is set in the middle of a colorful and picture-perfect garden teeming with flowers in the spring and summer. A porch swing and grill complete the package. You’ll be searching for excuses not to leave the property. If you do decide to leave, there are ski slopes, farms, and wineries just a few clicks from the front door.

You want your next vacation to be relaxing, and there’s nothing more relaxing than having a home away from home where you can kick back after a day of sightseeing. Being outdoors releases stress and keeps us healthy. So take a look and consider booking a stay at one of these Airbnbs with the best yards to enjoy.


Kena Morris is a gardener and flower expert who loves sharing in the growth of nature. She is a gentle spirit and a self-described introvert. You can find her in any nearby botanical garden relishing in the peace and serenity or watching her favorite film, Amélie.