Can You Invest in Real Estate Without an SSN? Here’s What You Need to Know
5 minute read
June 1, 2024


Are you a non-U.S. citizen who wants to invest in property in the U.S.? Or, are you a U.S. citizen who wants to buy a property in the U.S. with a foreign partner?

The good news is that foreign nationals do not need a Social Security Number (SSN) to purchase investment property in the U.S.

In this article, we’ll dig into what to do if you don’t have an SSN and how to purchase an investment property without one.

Let’s Get Your Loan Started

Why do you need an SSN to get a mortgage loan?

In the U.S., an SSN is issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary working residents for tax and credit purposes.

SSNs serve the following purposes:

  • Identification
  • Tracking an individual’s earnings
  • Monitoring tax records
  • Checking credit history
  • Preventing fraud
  • Determining eligibility for government services and benefits

Many countries have their own versions of SSNs, which serve similar functions.

For example, Canada has a Social Insurance Number (SIN), and the United Kingdom has the National Insurance Number (NIN).

An SSN is generally required to get a mortgage in the U.S., so lenders can perform the following actions:

  • Pull an applicant’s credit report
  • Verify the borrower’s identity
  • Report the interest paid to the IRS
  • Confirm the borrower’s income and employment
  • Manage the loan from application to final payment

While an SSN is the most straightforward way for lenders to manage U.S. borrowers, there are options for those without one.

What to do if you don’t have an SSN

Foreign nationals will only qualify for an SSN if they are authorized to work in the U.S. or intend to obtain legal permanent residency.

However, foreign nationals do not need to live or work in the U.S. to invest in a property in the U.S., which means a SSN may never be a solution for them.

Fortunately, foreign investors who don’t have an SSN have other options, including an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that can be used to file tax returns create an LLC based in one of the 50 US states.

How to purchase an investment property without an SSN

Let’s examine foreign investors’ options for buying an investment property without an SSN.

Purchase with cash

The most straightforward way to purchase an investment property without an SSN is to buy the property outright with cash.

If you don’t have the cash on hand, you’ll need to finance your purchase, which may require a SSN alternative.

Get an ITIN

An ITIN can be used in place of a SSN for tax reporting and some financial transactions.

You can use the ITIN to open bank accounts, apply for credit, and purchase properties.

To get an ITIN, you’ll complete IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

You must provide identity verification and submit a valid federal tax return (unless you qualify for an exception).

Establish an LLC

Foreign nationals can establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to purchase and hold real estate.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a state to establish the LLC
  2. Name the LLC
  3. File the necessary documentation, including basic information about the LLC and the name and address of your registered agent
  4. Draft an operating agreement (if the state requires one)
  5. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which does not require an SSN
  6. Open a bank account in the name of the LLC

You can purchase real estate using the LLC’s bank account funds.

Build a team of experts

Whether you decide to get an ITIN or LLC, you will need a team of experienced real estate professionals to ensure you follow the tax rules and regulations of both the U.S. and your home country.

This team should include:

  • Tax professional or accountant
  • Real estate attorney
  • Real estate agent
  • Hard money lender
  • Property manager

Work with a hard money lender

A reputable hard money lender is critical to your investment.

Foreign nationals may struggle to acquire loans from traditional mortgage lenders like banks.

Banks have strict documentation requirements and restrictions on property type and usage.

Hard money lenders like Marquee Funding Group can provide foreign investors with lending options tailored to their unique investment goals and scenarios.

Partner with a U.S. citizen

Foreign investors might consider partnering with a U.S. citizen to simplify the process and share the burdens and successes of an investment.

Invest indirectly with mREITs

Foreign nationals could also choose to invest in real estate indirectly through mortgage real estate investment trusts (mREITs).

Marquee Capital Fund 1 provides ongoing, reliable cash flow with better returns than stocks and greater protection for investors through prudent underwriting and diversification via a pool of mortgage-backed securities.

How hard money lenders can help non-U.S. citizen investors

Hard money lenders help non-U.S. citizens participate in the U.S. real estate market with more flexible lending criteria.

Rather than relying on credit scores and SSNs, hard money lenders focus on the investment’s potential and the value of the real estate.

This unlocks more options for foreign investors who cannot meet strict bank requirements.

Hard money lenders also can finance a broader range of properties, including:

  • Commercial real estate
  • Renovations
  • Construction projects

Marquee Funding Group is experienced in international transactions and can offer support and guidance for foreign investors unfamiliar with U.S. laws.

Submit your scenario to Marquee Funding Group

If you’re ready to take the next steps with your investment, submit your loan scenario here or call us at (818) 222-5222.

Marquee Funding Group is a full-service mortgage banking firm specializing in hard money loans. Our experienced team can arrange debt on all types of real property.

We are proud to offer financing solutions to borrowers who need help securing a source of institutional financing, including foreign investors.


More on Real Estate Investing