getting a mortgage while living abroad

I’m an American that has been living in Tokyo for 10 years now and want to buy a house in CA this year. I have enough for a deposit on a 3-4 unit property.
The tenants would pay most, if not all, of the mortgage each month. I believe California lenders include rental income when considering a borrower’s ability to make mortgage payments.
My question is, would lenders lend me the money if I don’t live and work in the US?
Also, I may be changing my employer in Tokyo after 3 years with the present employer. How much of a negative is it if you’ve recently changed jobs. My income would go up significantly and I could prove that to the lender if requested.
Any thoughts or references on this would be appreciated.


Hello sean!

The best thing to do if you have somebody in Cali to do the deal in your behalf, that can be on option and for the job issue as long it’s the same profession it would not hinder you on getting a loan.

                                                               Garland Piggot

Hi Sean,

I am in the industry, and i have coworkers who have closed loans on home here in the states who owned a business in Turkey. So to put it bluntly, yes you can. I’m sure taht there are some lenders who may not look kindly upon it, but it would not hurt to contact a broker and start asking them some questions so you will have all of your ducks in a row when it comes time to start making offers.

As far as your change of job is concerned, it is not a problem if it is “the same line of work”. If you went from a Quality Assurance Manager to Freelance Starving Artist than there may be a problem in the underwriters eyes.

Also, when condsidering if rental income will cover the mortgage, the rule of thumb is to use 75%. That is, generally, what the bank will use. They take into consideration that units will be unoccupied and there is certain costs associated with owning a multifamily. So, if the PITI is 2,600 per month and a 3 out of the 4 units are rented, and they are bringing in 900 per unit there is 2,025 in income. So the net, in the eyes of the bank is 575 to pay the PITI as opposed to 2,600. Not too shabby!!

Hope this helps,