No Social Security Number? You can finance a home with your ITIN

Published: 10th June 2009
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If you don't have a Social Security Number, but you do have an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), you may qualify for an ACORN program that offers 30-year fixed-rate financing with a very competitive interest rate. You can also use alternative lines of credit, such as rent and utilities, to qualify.

An ITIN loan, for homebuyers who may be new to this country, who do not have a Social Security number, gets its name from "Individual Tax Identification Number."

Adriana Vasquez, a housing counselor for ACORN, said her organization works with CitiBank and other lenders to make ITIN loans available for first-time homebuyers who do not have Social Security identification.

"For those seeking an ITIN loan, the first step is to attend one of our first-time homebuyer seminars - which are offered in Spanish, English and Vietnamese," Vasquez said. "These are held on Saturdays, last four hours and provide information about buying a home for the first time buyers. During the seminar, Realtors and loan officers explain the steps to home buying and how to qualify for a home mortgage loan."

After first-time homebuyers attend the four-hour seminar, their second step is to schedule a one-on-one meeting with an ACORN housing counselor.

"During this meeting, we go over their credit, their finances and determine what they can afford," Vasquez said. "If we find financial or credit problems, we show them how to solve these problems, and we tell them about their rights when working with Realtors and loan officers."

When they come to ACORN for their one-on-one meeting, first-time homebuyers must bring two year's worth of tax returns as well as a good credit history and a stable job history.

"If they don't have a credit history, we use alternative credit," Vasquez explained. "One of their most important payment histories is their 24-month rental history, and we help them get letters from their landlords to verify their payment record," she said. "We also use their utility bills to show they have a good payment history."

The paperwork the ACORN counselor will want to see for ITIN loan applicants includes the following:

# Two year's tax returns, a W-2 or, if self-employed, the equivalent of a two-year work history.

# Three most recent bank statements

# One month of most current paycheck stubs

# A 24-month rental history plus three alternative credit references for 12-months each. These must be verifiable, such as utilities, and they can be used in place of a traditional credit report.

"Once the homebuyer meets with the ACORN counselor and is pre-approved for an ITIN loan, the next step is to work with a loan officer," said Brian Ellis, area manager with CitiMortgage. "Because the homebuyer is pre-approved by ACORN, their loan will automatically be a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan with no PMI."

PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, is usually required when financing a home with less than 20 percent down. Not having PMI can save the borrower as much as $18,000 over the life of a 30-year loan, Ellis explained.

CitiMortgage, as well as several other lenders, works with pre-approved ACORN clients through a national agreement with ACORN. "Because of our agreement, we can get applicants the best interest rates available for ITIN loans. Currently, those rates range from 6 to 6.5 percent, which is excellent anywhere in the market," Ellis pointed out.

Once the client has been pre-approved through ACORN's program, has met with a loan officer and is approved for the loan, they only need a minimum of $500 out-of-pocket for the transaction.

This fee covers any costs of the bank's origination of the loan as well as a full appraisal of the property the client wants to purchase.

Said Ellis, "The ITIN loan program is for the purchase or refinance of a property. It is not to buy second homes or investment properties," Ellis said. "If you own a property and want to buy another property through the ACORN program, you must sell your existing property first."

Vasquez said that ACORN also does refinancing. "We can help clients who have become involved with high-interest loans and who need relief. We're here to help anyone who wants to become a homeowner," she said.

For more information, or to get started, call ACORN's Houston office at 713-863-9002.

Are you considering a second home or relocating to the United States?

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