What Blue Springs Homebuyers Need to Know About Receiving a Down Payment as a Gift

If you’re preparing to  buy a home in Blue Springs, MO or surrounding area, you’re probably aware that the single biggest upfront expense in buying a home is almost always, the down payment. Although future homeowners know that they can reasonably afford monthly mortgage payments that come with buying a home, the initial cost of purchasing a home may be too much for them to pay on their own.

That said, the biggest challenge for most people when it comes to buying a home is saving for the down payment. And most of us know that the more you can pay down, the better off you’ll be – with lower interest rates and mortgage payments and no private mortgage insurance to pay for. But saving nearly 20% of the purchase price is next to impossible for most of us. There is, though, another option: having the down payment gifted to you by a family member. But there are a strict set of rules you have to follow in this case. Read on to find out what Blue Springs homebuyers need to know about receiving a down payment as a gift.

Overview of Down Payment as a Gift

It’s not common, but homebuyers sometimes use the money they have received as a gift for the down payment when they can’t come up with it themselves. And what is even less well known is that you have to document this gift and disclose it to your lender.

It’s not enough, from your lender’s perspective, that you have the down payment ready at closing. When using a down payment as a gift, you have to let your lender know.

“Even though lenders do allow gift funds, they also require mortgage applicants to disclose the source of these funds. Remember, when applying for a mortgage loan, the lender needs a clear picture of your financial situation. This includes information about your employment, income, and assets. This is why a lender will ask for copies of your most recent bank statements. The purpose of reviewing your bank statements is to ensure you have enough in reserves for mortgage expenses.”

Who Can Gift a Down Payment?

There are also restrictions on who can give a down payment as a gift and from whom Blue Springs homebuyers can receive one. These restrictions vary by lender and according to the loan/mortgage program.

Some programs allow down payment gifts only from a blood relative. Others permit such gifts from a godparent as well, and still others include charitable organizations or non-blood relatives.

When it comes to loan type, here’s what’s allowed concerning who can give a downpayment as a gift:

  • Conventional Loan (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) –  Family only, including “by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship,” as well as finances and domestic partners
  • FHA Loan – Family (excepting cousins, nieces, and nephews), close friends (which can include cousins, nieces, and nephews), and “employers, labor unions, and charitable organizations
  • USDA and VA Loan – From anyone you have a relationship with, but they can’t be an interested party (someone involved in “your home purchase transaction”)

You Must Document the Money and Have a Gift Letter

The main thing Blue Springs homebuyers need to keep in mind about receiving a down payment as a gift is that they have to document that money and have a gift letter.

Lender requirements for documentation (unless it is “seasoned” money) typically include:

  • Bank statements
  • Copy of check and deposit slip
  • Copy of the gift-givers check
  • Proof of wire transfer
  • Copy of settlement statement indicating that the gift has been deposited

Your lender will also require you to submit a gift letter before you can use the money for a down payment. The purpose of this letter “is to prove your relationship with the gift giver and that the funds are a gift and repayment isn’t required.”

These gift letters have standard elements, but be sure to check with your lender to be sure. Your lender may provide a template you can use to make sure you get it right. It’s also a good idea to consult your agent about this. (Call (816) 695-7352 to find out more.)

Can a Down Payment Gift Be Repaid?

As a Blue Springs homebuyer, another thing you need to know about a down payment as a gift is that it cannot be repaid. It must be strictly a gift. Here’s why . . .

“If the buyer is planning to pay back the funds, that money was loaned not gifted, and then the lender is required to factor that into the debt-to-income ratio. This is to ensure that you can actually afford your mortgage payment. Withholding information about your downpayment sources could put your loan qualification at risk, and even more importantly, it’s considered mortgage fraud, which is illegal.”

Honesty about the gifted down payment is paramount.

Use Your Agent

Let us help you make sure you have all your down payment ducks in a row.  As you can see in this blog post, when it comes to a gifted down payment, there are some pretty strict requirements and important guidelines to be aware of. It’s easy just by inadvertence to muck things up and possibly run into problems with the law down the line. The best course of action here for Blue Springs homebuyers is to let their local real estate agent help guide them safely through the process. If you plan to use a down payment as a gift, contact us today at (816) 695-7352 to make sure you get it right the first time.