buying home ownership on h1b visa f1 visa

Buying a Home While on OPT or H1B Visa – Analysis & the Math

Should you buy a home while you are on H1B Visa?

Should you buy a home while you are on F1 Visa – OPT or STEM OPT?

When it comes to buying a home in the USA, you need to find an answer to these two essential questions:

  1. What if I H1B Visa is denied?
  2. How much money do I need to buy a home?

Let me paint a better picture before we dig deeper.

If you are renting an apartment or sharing a room today, any rent that you pay is not coming back to you. 

If you purchase a home, the money is coming back to you as home equity and price appreciation. 

Read On:

Now, you may ask, what background do I have in writing this article about homeownership and how I can give suggestions about buying a home while on H1B Visa?

Get the Home Buying Guide

  • Interviews with guests who purchased a home while on F1 OPT and H1B
  • Guest #1: Owns Two Homes and Investing in Rental Properties
  • Townhome buying experience while on F1 Visa – OPT
  • Single Family Home Buying Experience While on H1B Visa
  • The Numbers behind the being a homeowner
  • Cash flow generated with investment home
  • How to get a mortgage loan and process
  • Typical homeownership expenses
  • How much money is required to buy home
  • Where to buy if you live in CA, NY

Get the Home Buying Guide Now >>


Let me put it in bluntly to set the stage for this article.

I purchased our home (current home where we stay) before I got married.

I vividly remember a conversation with my co-worker when I told them that I’m closing a new home.

He said that you are making a “HUGE” mistake.

We have lived in our single-family home close to 13 years now.

I wanted to buy a townhome right after I got my first job.

I do understand it’s a considerable investment.

I had a sleepless night before the new home closing.

About my friend:

He purchased the same sized home, from the same builder, in the same community within six months after I bought my house.

You should have seen the look on his face when he told me that he’s buying a home!

Here’s the Truth:

You are most likely to buy a home or a townhome or a condo if you have someone in your social circle who have purchased a home.

You would have to feel for yourself about what it means to be a homeowner.

You have to stay in a home.

Once you have that feeling, then you can work out the math. And you can always make to work, provided you live in the right city.

By the end of this article, I would want you to have a clear understanding of the following topics:

  1. How much do you need to buy a home?
  2. What kind of house should you buy as a first-time buyer?
  3. Should you buy a home while you are single?
  4. Can you get a home loan while on F1 Visa?
  5. Can you get a home loan while on H1B Visa?
  6. What happens if you don’t get the H1B visa?
  7. What happens if you H1B Extension or Stamping is Denied?
  8. What homes are costly in the city where life and work?

Before I can answer the above questions, you should watch this excerpt from the interview I did with Abdul (coming soon).


He’s not just a homeowner. He’s a real estate investor. He buys a home in not good condition, renovates it, and then sells for a handsome profit.

You can watch the full interview, along with three other events about Home Ownership in this Home Buying Guide.

How Much Money Do you need to Buy a Home?

You can read all the personal finance books about homeownership and personal finance blogs.

They will ask you not to buy a home if you don’t have money saved for a 20% down payment.

Did I listen to them?


I did my match based on my financial circumstances and how much I expect to earn and save in the future.

Then I did a 10% Down Payment on $245,000 home back in 2007.

These days, you can buy a home with as low as 3.5% down payment.

  • 3.5% of $200,000 = $7,000

What if you don’t even have that? Well, there are options.

In the interview I did with Avinash (he owns two home, and he’s on H1B Visa, got his first townhome while he was on STEM OPT), he shared what inspired him to buy his first home, even when did not have the money for the down payment. Home Buying Guide includes access to his 2-hour long interview.

Of course, you will have to pay PMI when you have less than 20% down payment.

But, hang in there with me to explain the math.

What kind of home to buy – Condo, Townhome, Single Family Home

Instead of deciding the home type first, I would go with your budget.

  • Up to one bi-weekly paycheck for your Mortgage, PMI, Insurance, and Taxes

If your bi-weekly take-home paycheck is $1300, then all your expenses for Loan and taxes should be less than $1300.

What if your take-home paycheck is $2000, should you buy an expensive home?


Have an upper limit, and you can you can’t go above that!

Then pick the type of home-based on what you can afford.

Town or city where you live might be cheap, and you can get a Single Family Home for that price.

Maybe you don’t want the commute and want to live closer to work, and townhome is in that price range.

I started looking for a tow home for $180,000 tops, even though my upper limit could be stretched up to $275,000, I ended up buying one for $245,000.

Once you start looking at the home, you can make the right choice.

Should you buy a home before your marriage?

You can save a ton of money or even stay for free in your home if you buy a house when you are single.

That’s what I did.

I had two roommates for a few months before the marriage.

They paid like $500 per month in rent. That was easy $1000 in income for a few months.

I could have had three room-mates.

I know friends who had multiple roommates, and they had a good cash flow every month from their home.

A lot of families rent a private room through Airbnb and get a good income from that.

So, think about where you like, if you can buy a home and rent the space.

If you are currently sharing an apartment, you can do the same with your home.

Think about this:

  • Your mortgage is $1300 per month.
  • You have 3 Bedroom – 2.5 Bath Town Home.
  • You have three roommates, each paying $750 per month.
  • They will be paying you $2,250 in rent.
  • Plus, how much did you invest? Maybe $7,000 to buy a $200,000 townhome.

In 1 year, you would have earned close to $8000 to $9,000 from rental income.

You got your investment back in just one year. Plus, roommates are helping to pay the mortgage.

On the other hand, if you had a rental apartment, you would have paid $7500 in rent, that’s not coming back to you!

Do you see the power of homeownership now?

Sources of income can be broadly classified into the following streams:

  1. Business
  2. Salary
  3. Real Estate (Home Ownership)
  4. Stock Market

While you are working on F1 Visa or H1B Visa, you are limited to three kinds of income.

I’m not sure how many of you will be willing to put $7,000 and Stocks and expect to double that in less than one year.

Your visa restricts you from starting your business (it’s possible if you have the right business ideas and structure and get work authorization to work for your company). But, 99% of folks will not be taking that route.

So, that leaves you with two options:

  • Salary
  • Real Estate

Your Salary is limited and has an upper limit.

That leaves you with one other option. Real Estate.

Within the Real estate, the low hanging fruit is homeownership.

So, think about it.

I will continue a series of articles about Home Ownership on F1 Visa and Buying a home while on H1B Visa.

When Should You Not Buy a Home While on H1B Visa?

There are several situations when homeownership may not be right while you are on an H1B visa.

Everyone’s situation will vary. It’s tough to foresee, or if you are on the fence, reach out to me, I can share my journey and give my suggestions.

  • If you are working as a consultant and  you will change jobs, clients every few months
  • You came for a short trip to the USA and didn’t plan to stay here longer, or employer may send you back

Summary: Buying a Home On H1B Visa 

  • In general, you should be a calculated risk-taker.
  • Know how much home you can afford and stick to it.
  • People generally sell and move every few years to bugger home.
  • Buy a starter home – start small. You can always upgrade.
  • Visa will always be an issue – extension, stamping, lottery, etc.
  • There are 1000’s of Homeowners on H1b Visa and maybe 100’s of homeowners on F1 Visa.

Get the Home Buying Guide

  • Interviews with guests who purchased a home while on F1 OPT and H1B
  • Guest #1: Owns Two Homes and Investing in Rental Properties
  • Townhome buying experience while on F1 Visa – OPT
  • Single Family Home Buying Experience While on H1B Visa
  • The Numbers behind the being a home owner
  • Cash flow generated with investment home
  • How to get a mortgage loan and process
  • Typical homeownership expenses
  • How much money is required to buy home

Get the Home Buying Guide Now >>


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  1. Isn’t H1B visa regulate how many homes you can own? Having more than one home will be considered as non-primary real estate investment and any income you generate violate H1B rules. I’m sure I’m missing something, can you tell how does it work?

    1. Hire a Property Manager and pay them 6% to 10% and you are not doing any work. But, if you just have one rental, you probably are not spending 10 hours a week on that right?

  2. Hi, I’m curious about F1 Visa implications, when you buy a home. If an extension of the visa is required, say for PhD after Master’s, would real estate act against you for a renewal?

    1. No given that foreign investment is a norm in cities like NY. It absolutely is not considered Immigration intent , given that the real estate here is open market to everyone

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