Standard US programs backed by the government, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae all require some sort of legal residency to finance foreign national -- either permanent or non-permanent. However, other lenders that keep their loans on their own books (portfolio lenders) may be able to help.
In most cases, foreign buyers pay cash because it's just easier. However, lenders having a relationship with the borrower, like your own bank's US affiliate, may be willing to finance you if you qualify. Understand that these purchases, combining investment property, hard-to-trace credit histories, and difficulties tracking the applicant's income can spook lenders used to working with plain vanilla American programs.
In most cases, the lender will want a previous relationship with the borrower. However, your real estate agent, if he or she has a "go-to" lender for these kinds of transactions, can help you. Expect to put at least 30 percent down and you'll need a valid visa and / or passport. Other options include owner financing or so-called "hard money," which is private lending based on the value of the property. Expect higher rates, larger down payments, increased fees and less consumer protections for these transactions.
Thank you for writing, and please get back to us if you have additional questions.