Can You Buy a House as a Travel Nurse?

Buying -a -home

Travel nurses love the job for a multitude of reasons. One big reason is that it gives them an opportunity to “sample” a state, town or community where they may want to put down roots.  Do you already own your home? Are you RV traveling because you want to save money to buy a home? Can you buy a house as a travel nurse?

Even though you have chosen to travel as a nurse the time may come when you want to settle to one home. Getting a home loan today is more difficult than ever. Buying a home can be a nightmare even for the non-traveler.

As nurses, we have no problem picking up extra shifts and overtime. Unfortunately, lenders may not take this into account when trying to get a loan. They want to look at your base pay. I once told a realtor to stop showing me houses she thought I could afford. I knew what my income potential was and was capable of making.

Think of how difficult it can be when you try to decipher your contract to understand your pay break sown. You also know that it can be scary not knowing where you will be or if you will be working at the end of 13 weeks.

As you become more experienced you realize the advantages of tax-free earnings. You also know you are often offered extensions and that there are endless opportunities for work. Convincing a lender will be the challenge.

The Process

Have you ever bought a house?  I have bought and sold a couple of times.  It is nerve-wracking, to say the least.  The waiting once you have found the perfect home is a nail biter.  As a traveler, you have to prove your worthiness.

Lenders will take into consideration all of these:

  • Credit report (maybe all three companies)
  • Tax returns possibly more than one year
  • Employment history ( will need clarification)

As a traveler imagine gathering all of this information remotely.  In today’s digital world it is possible.  If you are someone who is organized and keeps good records this may not be as stressful.  Most documents can be sent and signed online.   A letter of explanation of what you do and how you get paid can prove very beneficial.

The letter:

  1. Contract explanation:  Help them understand the 13-week commitment.  They need to know about extensions and the ability to stay up to a year in one place.  Explain how you are in the process of securing your next contract before the current one ends.  The nursing shortage plays a big part in the availability of job opportunities in every state.  Make sure they know you are licensed in the state where you file your income tax as a mandated permanent residence.  You could return there if needed to prevent laps in income.
  2. Income: As a traveler,  you know your tax return does not necessarily reflect the amount of money you make in a year.  You may need to provide pay stubs to explain your stipends and GSA.  Any item that you are paid that is not taxed may need proof.  Let them know about bonuses for extending or sign up.  Take into account travel reimbursement, over-time or increased rates for working in some areas.  Show them how lucrative travel nursing can be and highlight those ways of making money.
  3. Explain nursing: If you have a high demand specialty make it known and how that makes you valuable.  Explain shift work and the ability to have increased income as a result of that choice.  Any detail that you can highlight that shows job security will help lenders understand your potential.

Buying a home is a huge investment. Make sure you provide as much information as you are able to show you are worth the investment.  I found this Nurse Mortgage Guide that may make the process will be a little easier.  If you are asking can you buy a house as a travel nurse,  I hope this information is helpful.

Happy travels!!!

 

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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