The "been there done that" thread: life in the US after DV

Hi everyone

I know this may be a personal question so please don’t answer this if you don’t want to share (and please delete this if it isn’t appropriate mods). May I ask roughly how much you all had saved up in savings before you moved to the US? I am unsure if I have enough saved or not (roughly $20k USD) for any expenses that may pop up.
I would suggest having at least 6 months' worth of rent and expenses saved up at all times if you can. I'd say 20k is more than enough if you are single. It's good to also think about all the expenses you'll have when you first move and don't have a job and budget accordingly. For example, rent is high in Boston, but you may not need a car.
 

Mijoro

Well-Known Member
Also take into consideration that a lot of places won’t rent to you if you don’t have a job. So real estate agents ask for 6 months rent in advance. So you may have to stay in an extended stay place until you gain employment.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
I think an extended stay hotel is a better option at first anyway, gives you a bit of time to check out different parts of town and also see what your work commute will be like, before you commit to a lease. Depending where you are, in some states it is really difficult to get out of leases. No idea about MA.
 

Mijoro

Well-Known Member
I think an extended stay hotel is a better option at first anyway, gives you a bit of time to check out different parts of town and also see what your work commute will be like, before you commit to a lease. Depending where you are, in some states it is really difficult to get out of leases. No idea about MA.
Agree 100% especially if you don’t know which part of the city you will be working in etc
 

Bob22

Active Member
$20k is healthy but if you live in certain states where car is king (like my state of TX) then you will need a car. And being a new migrant, you won't have any credit history so it will be hard/expensive to get credit.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
$20k is healthy but if you live in certain states where car is king (like my state of TX) then you will need a car. And being a new migrant, you won't have any credit history so it will be hard/expensive to get credit.
On the other hand, cars are cheap in the US. Worst case you buy a jalopy for cash until you can get a car lease, which normally you just need a job for. Much easier than a mortgage.
If he’s living in Boston or its suburbs he can probably easily do without a car most of the time, and there’s always Uber or zipcar for the other times.
 

Aidyn

Well-Known Member
I had about half that, but I was semi forced to go a few months earlier than I was planning - my work contract ended and I didn't want to renew for 12 months so I opted to leave earlier, it was super stressful and I'm not sure I'd advise anyone to do it that way lol - 3 weeks from interview to relocating. I was also lucky enough to already have a place to live and a car available to me.
 
Also take into consideration that a lot of places won’t rent to you if you don’t have a job. So real estate agents ask for 6 months rent in advance. So you may have to stay in an extended stay place until you gain employment.
I had to put down 2 months deposit for a six-month rental, even though I was employed. It seemed that owners in Illinois are wary if you don't have a credit history, so if you are from a country where you can carry that across somehow it would be good. I wasn't able to move mine across, so had to start from scratch again. Even letters of position from your bank don't seem to carry much weight.

It seems credit scores and having a permanent address are important for many things in the US. Maybe folks here will have some advice on how to build the credit scores up for you. I got AMEX to transfer my credit card over, which helped. Credit unions might be a good place to start with. Be careful not to let people "ping" your credit too much, even when they say it would be a soft and not a hard ping.

Even if you don't plan to drive, I'd encourage you to get a driving licence. It is a very handy ID, on top of your GC.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
I had to put down 2 months deposit for a six-month rental, even though I was employed. It seemed that owners in Illinois are wary if you don't have a credit history, so if you are from a country where you can carry that across somehow it would be good. I wasn't able to move mine across, so had to start from scratch again. Even letters of position from your bank don't seem to carry much weight.

It seems credit scores and having a permanent address are important for many things in the US. Maybe folks here will have some advice on how to build the credit scores up for you. I got AMEX to transfer my credit card over, which helped. Credit unions might be a good place to start with. Be careful not to let people "ping" your credit too much, even when they say it would be a soft and not a hard ping.

Even if you don't plan to drive, I'd encourage you to get a driving licence. It is a very handy ID, on top of your GC.
2 month's deposit for a rental is not uncommon from my understanding. We put down 1.5 months for our rental but in scouring the ads many required 2 months so - not sure if it actually was a credit record thing or not? With no credit record, our landlord's agent wanted to see 6 months' rent on a bank statement, but explicitly did not want to take a bigger deposit than normal (we offered, because we were terrified no-one would rent to us with no credit record, and we needed a fixed abode to get the kids into school!)

The only way to build a credit record is to open a few accounts and pay them off. Yes the pings will hurt more than help at first. You may have no file for about 6 months, and a weak score after a year. Keep paying down and it should build up pretty quickly, especially if your bank keeps raising your credit card limit but you don't spend more (so % utilization falls).
 
One way to get started is to sublease. In big cities especially, there are plenty of twenty-somethings looking to sublet a room in a shared apartment or house, and they will often be less strict with their requirements. If you're single, it's much easier to find these types of living arrangements and when you're new to the area, you can also meet new people through your roommates. But always be cautious and sign a lease or some form of agreement!

Another thing to note is that property managers will also ask for proof of income and your income should be at least 3 times your rent.

I agree with Susie. Credit cards are a necessity in the US because you need a credit score for lots of things. Spend enough but not too much, and always ALWAYS pay the full statement amount on time every month. I also second credit unions. When I first came here as a student, I opened a credit union account and it was easy to get a credit card.
 
Does subleasing help with your credit score though?
No, I meant a good way to get started in general, because it may be difficult to find a property manager that would be willing to rent to someone with no credit score and no income. Renting will affect your credit score if your landlord officially reports your rent payments to the credit bureau, and I think that's a relatively new practice so not everyone does it. I use a credit-tracking tool and I only see my credit cards on there.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
Does subleasing help with your credit score though?
I think it’s more rare than usual that landlords report rental payments (as opposed to non payment) to the credit bureaus, and from what I recall before they don’t always use the information anyway. To build up a credit score you generally need a credit facility that you pay down (so generally not paying something that is not credit - rent, cellphone etc - can hurt your score if reported, but not help it while you pay).
 

Mijoro

Well-Known Member
I think it’s more rare than usual that landlords report rental payments (as opposed to non payment) to the credit bureaus, and from what I recall before they don’t always use the information anyway. To build up a credit score you generally need a credit facility that you pay down (so generally not paying something that is not credit - rent, cellphone etc - can hurt your score if reported, but not help it while you pay).
Thanks Susie so I guess the way would be to put your rent on your CC ( depending on limit) and pay it down straight away.
 
I had to put down 2 months deposit for a six-month rental, even though I was employed. It seemed that owners in Illinois are wary if you don't have a credit history, so if you are from a country where you can carry that across somehow it would be good. I wasn't able to move mine across, so had to start from scratch again. Even letters of position from your bank don't seem to carry much weight.

It seems credit scores and having a permanent address are important for many things in the US. Maybe folks here will have some advice on how to build the credit scores up for you. I got AMEX to transfer my credit card over, which helped. Credit unions might be a good place to start with. Be careful not to let people "ping" your credit too much, even when they say it would be a soft and not a hard ping.

Even if you don't plan to drive, I'd encourage you to get a driving licence. It is a very handy ID, on top of your GC.
Thanks for the info! Illinois is my second choice so it’s good to know that having no credit history can impact my ability to find rent
 
Top