US Mortgages & Home Loans for Canadians

How US Mortgages & Home Loans for Canadians Work

Thinking about buying a home in the United States? With real estate prices considerably more affordable than they are in Canada, this may be the ideal time to invest in a house, townhouse, or condo south of the border.

If you are considering taking the property plunge, here’s a rundown of what you can expect as a Canadian citizen looking to finance a house purchase with a US mortgage or home loan.

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Top US Mortgages & Home Loans for Canadians Providers in Canada

Interest Rate
$150,000 - $10 Million (US Properties ONLY)
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Why apply for a US mortgage?

Whether you’re in the market for a permanent residence, investment property, or part-time vacation home, the first thing you need to know about buying a house in the United States is that you must have a US mortgage to finance a US property.

While the US mortgage process can be a little more complex than getting a mortgage in Canada, the good news is that American loan eligibility isn’t based on citizenship or residency.

So long as you find an appropriate lender—and can meet their requirements—you can qualify for a US mortgage or home loan.

Where to get a US mortgage or home loan

There are three common ways to access US mortgage funding.

You can:

  • Approach a US bank or financial institution directly about applying for a local mortgage
  • Work with the cross-border arm of an international or global bank (like RBC or BMO)
  • Apply for a US mortgage loan from a direct online lender (like Milo)

There are several advantages to working with a Canadian-affiliated lender, including better interest rates and faster processing times.

As a digital bank that specializes in US home loans for Canadians, for example, Milo has reshaped the mortgage process by making it easy for non-citizens to apply for and close a US mortgage, completely online.

Having worked with thousands of applicants in over 90 countries since 2019, Milo is well-positioned to help Canadian citizens without US residency or a social security number get a US property mortgage. Not only can you apply to Milo for a home loan ranging from $150,000 to $3,000,000+ (at a competitive, 30-year fixed or adjustable rate), getting your pre-approval letter takes less than 5 minutes.

US mortgage vs Canadian mortgage: What’s the difference?

The mortgage process in the States looks a little different than what you may have experienced when buying a home in Canada. Understanding some of the main differences in advance will help you know what to expect when applying for a US mortgage loan.

4 Key differences between Canadian and US mortgages

1. Loan processing times:

  • 5 – 10 days for a Canadian mortgage
  • 30 – 60 days for a US mortgage

A lengthier process time tends to make ‘quick possessions’ challenging south of the border.

2. Down payments:

  • In Canada, a minimum of 20% without CMHC insurance or 5% with mortgage insurance is usually required
  • In the US, a minimum of 20% for a personal home or 25% for an investment property is usually required

If the home you’re buying won’t be your primary residence, you can expect the down payment to be higher than it was for your primary residence in Canada.

3. Closing costs:

  • Approximately 5 – 4% in Canada
  • Approximately 2 – 6% in the US

Because US mortgages are frequently open, with prepayment costs built in, you can often pay off lump sums—or the total amount of your US home loan—any time without penalty.

4. Amortization periods: 

  • Usually 25 (occasionally 30) years in Canada, with this period broken into mortgage terms of 6 months to 10 years each
  • Frequently 30 years in the US, often with the option to lock in a single interest rate for the entire period

What you’ll need when applying for a US home mortgage

Just like in Canada, to qualify for a US home mortgage, you’ll need to complete an application and provide the necessary documentation to support your financed property purchase.

Although you won’t have to show a US credit history if you work with a lender offering mortgage programs for non-residents, your Canadian credit score, income, assets, and liabilities will all be reviewed.

Specific (residency-dependent) documents you may need to provide include:

  • Income tax Notices of Assessment, pay stubs, T4s (and/or US W2s), T1s (and/or US 1040s), and pension statements
  • New property purchase and sale agreement, down payment confirmation, and US homeowner’s insurance policy
  • Existing mortgage, insurance, and property tax statements
  • Passport, social insurance number (and/or US social security number), Green Card, and US work visa
  • Account statements for bank accounts, lines of credit, RSPs, and financial investments

You should also be prepared to show proof of legal residence status if you’re planning to live in the home that you’re buying.

Bottom Line

With attractive real estate prices, and fast, easy access to mortgage pre-approvals online, there’s little holding many Canadians back from buying their US dream home. Before moving ahead with your purchase, however, make sure you speak with a cross-border mortgage specialist about the different loan options available and how much you may be qualified to borrow. Don’t forget to also consider the ongoing costs and tax implications of owning a property in the US. If you’re hoping to rent out your home, for example, you may need to report and pay US taxes.

US Mortgages and Home Loans for Canadians

Frequently Asked Questions About US Mortgages for Canadians

Can Canadian citizens buy a house in the USA?

Yes. Canadian citizens are permitted to buy and occupy a house in the USA. You can purchase a single, multi-unit, attached or detached family home, condo, or townhouse as a permanent resident with a Green Card, a non-permanent resident with a US work visa, or a non-resident foreign national. Just remember that buying a US property (like a vacation home, for example) does not give you US residency.

Can you get a mortgage if you’re not a US citizen?

Yes. Non-citizens can get a mortgage to finance the purchase of a US property, regardless of their residence status. Given that the mortgage industry is more regulated in the US than it is in Canada however, you should expect a lengthier application process, higher fees and down payment requirements, and more extensive documentation requests.

Can a Canadian get a mortgage from a US bank?

Yes. Canadians can both open a US bank account and get a mortgage directly from a US bank. In practice, however, not every lender is keen to offer local mortgages to foreign clients—and you may face less favorable terms and rates when they do. Since you may also have trouble getting your application approved if you’re a non-resident without a US credit record, it makes sense in many cases to work with a large global bank or Canadian-affiliated lender instead.

How do mortgages work in the US for Canadian citizens?

Although the loan process takes longer in the States (a minimum of 30 days from the time your purchase offer is accepted), US mortgages work pretty much the same way for both US and Canadian citizens. You’ll simply arrange to make your mortgage payments online, via wire transfer, or with automated payments from a US bank account.

One important point to keep in mind is that most US sellers and real estate agents expect buyers to have a pre-approval letter in hand before making a property offer (especially in competitive markets). It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for your US mortgage 2-3 months in advance.

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