You should not buy a house or spend money on major purchases due to the uncertainty surrounding the H1B visa transfers and extensions.
You should reevaluate your home purchase plan due to the following reasons
Entire H1B visa life is a lottery:
Many H1B applicants think that they have won the lottery of their life by getting an H1B visa in the initial lottery process. The real lottery starts after you start working on the H1B visa. You may or may not get a good employer. If you get a good employer, organization restructuring is very common in the USA. You may end up with a manager who may not like you.
Each H1B visa renewal or transfer is treated as a new H1B application by USCIS. The only benefit is that you are not part of the lottery anymore.
Getting your visa renewals or transfers without issue is difficult depending on the political climate of the country. Visa approval also depends on many factors that are unclear.
Getting a fair visa officer to process your application, getting a good consular officer during your stamping process or port of entry is also a key factor in deciding your visit to the USA. Almost most aspects of staying in the USA on the H1B visa depend on factors that are out of your control.
Even if you manage to convince your employer to start a green card application process. A regular I-140 application goes through many different stages. Your application may get RFE or denial at any stage.
It takes a minimum of 5 years to get equity back on a home purchase.
Buying and selling a house has some additional administrative costs that are not mentioned in the overall listing. You will have to pay the following charges on top of the original purchase price.
- Closing costs (2- 6 % of the property value)
- Selling agent’s commission (6-10% of property value)
- Home inspection fees ($400 – $1000)
- PMI if you don’t provide enough down payment
If you are planning to stay for 6 years on an H1B visa, this math may not work out and you will end up losing money on a home purchase transaction.
Low credit score, high-interest rates
Your credit score may not be high enough to lower your interest rate on the mortgage. You will pay the extra interest due to a moderate credit score.
It takes few years to build good credit and H1B visa holders may take initial few years to build a stable credit history.
Your job position may be eliminated at any time at short notice.
Having a mortgage payment during such time can be very stressful. There is a slight chance that you may not be able to find a good job in 60 days grace period. Also, you will be restricted to one location due to housing.
It’s better to be flexible to improve your chances of finding a job in 60 days.
You will lose many good opportunities that are available in different parts of the country just because you are tied down to a particular location due to your house.
H1B visa holders have a significant impact on their professional careers due to less flexibility in finding new job positions.
H1B visa extension or transfer may get denied
You may not be able to enter the United States. You have to rely on friends or family members to take care of your house while you are away. You may be able to come back on a visitor visa and take care of the situation.
You have to keep paying the mortgage, utilities, and home insurance unless you get a chance to come back and sell the house.
Chances of foreclosure
It is a major negative event in your credit history, and it will impact your credit score for several years.
You have to start building your credit history again and bring it to an acceptable level for more substantial purchases in the future.
Your tax forms will be somewhat complicated due to the mortgage. You will need a CPA to do your income taxes appropriately.
You may just have a place to stay but you may not be able to enjoy the other things in life. You may not be able to travel much and enjoy few extra luxuries during your stay on an H1B visa.
President decides your future
The United States is a very divided country. Depending on the political party holding the majority and policies set forth by the elected president, you may face tough times during your stay on the H1B visa. Many H1B visa holders got RFEs and denials during their visa transfer and extension process even after spending over a decade working in the United States.
Having a house may just add to the troubles and it may make it difficult for you to navigate the muddy waters of immigration and government policies.
Return on investment is actually not that great
Home values do not appreciate that much in the United States.
The housing market also goes through its cycle and it’s difficult to accurately predict the outcome. In many cases, home values have not appraised over 2% for a long period of time. In major cities, your home may appreciate more but it requires a significant initial investment and a good credit score to purchase a home in the booming house market.
Property taxes may increase
US politicians are notorious for making wrong decisions and blaming immigrants for the bad outcome.
Your property taxes may increase to account for the debt created by the local government due to their bad policies.
Many US citizens are free to move in such situations. But an H1B visa holder has fewer options and they have to keep subsidizing for bad policies created by politicians.
You are already paying social security taxes and Medicare taxes even though you may never use those benefits. You are already working very hard and contributing to a great extent to this economy. Your tax money is contributing to the government departments that are making your life hard in many ways.
Why give them more money so they can get paid to make immigration policies that ruin your experience in the United States?
It’s better to keep some liquidity to secure a future in your home country or any other country. You should go where you will be treated better.
You should not buy a house until you get a green card in your hand.
There was a time when an approved I-140 guaranteed your stay in the USA until you receive your green card. In recent years politicians have made it difficult and uncertain to secure a future in the US.