Foreign Nationals

Navigating the U.S. mortgage closing process as a foreign national

By Milo

September 14, 2023 6 min read

Table of contents
Navigating the U.S. mortgage closing process as a foreign national

The U.S. housing market presents lucrative opportunities for foreign investors, featuring a variety of real estate options with stable property values. Understanding the mortgage closing process is essential for a seamless investment experience. Milo specializes in facilitating remote closings where permitted, ensuring a compliant and secure transaction for all parties involved.

Overview of the Mortgage Process

Navigating the U.S. real estate market begins well before making an offer on a property. Many astute investors start with obtaining a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter. This step gives a clear idea of what they can afford, setting the stage for a focused and efficient property search. The steps of investing in U.S real estate prior to the closing process are as follows:

  • Pre-Qualification/Pre-Approval: Before house hunting, investors often secure a letter from a lender indicating a preliminary financing offer based on their financial status.
  • Property Search and Offer: Investors then search for properties within their budget, making an offer once they find a suitable option.
  • Loan Application: After an offer is accepted, the next step is applying for a mortgage, which involves providing detailed financial information and property details to the lender.
  • Loan Processing/Underwriting: The lender verifies the provided information, assessing both the borrower's financial situation and the property's value.

This leads us to the crucial phase of the process—the mortgage closing, where the roles of various parties come into play.

The Mortgage Closing Process

Once you submit your loan application, it undergoes a series of processing steps:

  • Conditional Approval: After evaluating the mortgage application, the underwriter provides an approval, contingent upon certain conditions.

Meeting Conditions: Borrowers must meet these specified conditions to move forward. This could include verifying financial reserves or clearing title issues. Typical conditions might include:

  • Ensuring funds for the transaction are in the bank account within 10 days of closing.
  • Submission of updated asset/financial statements.
  • Provision of credit references, either through credit reference letters from financial institutions or credit card statements.

Remote Closings

Milo takes pride in offering remote closings in jurisdictions where state laws accommodate such transactions, underscoring the critical function of title companies in facilitating these modern, digital processes. Remote and traditional closings have distinct approaches, especially concerning document notarization and the disbursement of funds.

  • Types of Notarizations: To accommodate the varying needs of remote closings, Milo supports both Traditional Wet Ink Notarization (TWIN) and Remote Online Notarization (RON). TWIN requires the physical presence of the signing parties, maintaining the traditional document signing process. Conversely, RON allows for a fully digital experience, where documents are signed electronically in a secure environment, witnessed by a notary via video conference. This flexibility ensures that all legal requirements are met, regardless of the closing type.
  • Fund Disbursement in Remote Closings: Unlike traditional closings where funds can be exchanged and disbursed on the spot, remote closings necessitate a different approach due to the nature of the digital process. In remote closings, the title company coordinates with all parties to ensure that all closing documents are signed, notarized, and legally binding before any funds are moved. This typically results in a slight delay in the disbursement of funds post-closing, as the completion and verification of documents must be confirmed. The delay safeguards against fraud and ensures compliance with legal standards, ensuring that funds are only transferred once all parts of the closing process are securely finalized.

In traditional closings, the exchange of funds often happens in real-time, during the closing meeting. The buyer brings a cashier’s check or arranges a wire transfer in advance, allowing the title company to disburse funds to the seller and any other parties immediately upon signing all necessary documents. This direct and immediate transfer is possible because all parties are physically present and documents are signed and verified on the spot.

Milo’s embrace of remote closings reflects a commitment to leveraging technology to enhance the convenience and security of real estate transactions for our international clientele. By adapting to the requirements of remote notarization and fund disbursement, Milo ensures that clients enjoy a seamless closing process, irrespective of their geographical location while maintaining the highest standards of compliance and integrity.

Parties Involved in the Mortgage Closing Process

Several key parties ensure the closing process is smooth and compliant:

  • The Underwriter: Evaluates the loan's risk, ensuring the borrower meets all lending criteria.
  • The Closing Agent: Coordinates the closing process, ensuring documents are signed and funds are transferred correctly.
  • The Lender: Provides the financing necessary for the property purchase.
  • The Buyer and Seller: The primary parties involved in the transaction.
  • The Title Company: Last but not least, the title company verifies the property's title is clear, provides title insurance, and facilitates the transaction. Their unbiased and compliant role is crucial in protecting all parties involved.


  • Why Do I Need Title Insurance? It ensures compliance and protection against any legal issues with the property’s title, providing peace of mind.
  • What is a Title Company? A neutral third party that ensures the title is clear, provides insurance, and facilitates the closing process.
  • What’s the Purpose of the Title Company? They ensure the transaction adheres to all legal and regulatory standards, safeguarding the interests of all parties.
  • What Does a Title Company Typically Charge? Fees vary based on location and the complexity of the transaction, covering services like title search, insurance, and closing facilitation.
  • Can a foreigner buy an investment house in the USA? Yes, they can, following the prescribed process.
  • How do investment mortgages for non-US residents differ from those for foreign nationals? Terms and rates can vary, often depending on residency status and credit history.
  • Are there any specific fees for foreigners during the closing process? Yes. Additional fees may arise for services like document translation.
  • What is the significance of the underwriter in the mortgage process? The underwriter assesses the risk of granting the loan, ensuring all conditions are met and the information provided aligns with the lender's criteria.
  • Is a final walkthrough of the property mandatory? The final walkthrough is typical for New Constructions where the initial contract is signed while the property is under construction. The final walkthrough allows the customer to see the property in its completed stage and ensure that all upgrades and/or construction requirements per contract have been completed.

Understanding each step of the mortgage and closing process demystifies what can initially seem daunting for foreign nationals looking to invest in the U.S. property market. Through this guide, Milo aims to provide the knowledge and services needed to navigate these steps confidently, ensuring a successful and compliant real estate investment experience.

The opinions expressed in the Blog are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product.


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