Can I Use Gift Money for My Down Payment?
The scrutiny by lenders around gift funds is to ensure you are not “borrowing” funds which could, in turn, add to your indebtedness.
Although cash gifts are most often seen given to first-time home buyers, other buyers ‘moving up’ will occasionally use them as well. The extra cash may be desired to help reach a 20% down threshold which could translate to better interest rates as well as no private mortgage insurance (PMI) which has become quite costly in recent years.
When a borrower qualifies through Fannie Mae guidelines for a conventional loan and has FNMA Desktop Underwriter (DU) approval, often the entire down payment can come from gift funds from family. In the past FNMA has required a borrower to have at least 5% of their own funds into the transaction. FHA loans also allow for all of the minimum down payment of 3.5% to be gift; however, there are some additional guidelines around exactly who can give the gift.
It’s important to know how to structure your gift funds to be sure that you are able to meet lender guidelines. For instance, a gift letter will be a part of the required documentation requested by your lender. The letter should ultimately be short and simple. Typically, the lender will ask that a borrower include the following information:
Outside of the basic gift letter there are a few other things to keep in mind:
When you know in advance that you will be using gift funds to help with your down payment, be prepared to document it for your mortgage company. Do you still have questions about using gift money for your down payment? Give us a call at 844-299-8150 to speak with one of our Mortgage Consultants or get started online!