Here’s What You Need to Know About Gift Funds

What You Need to Know About Gift Funds

It’s the holiday season and we’ve all got presents on the brain. Some gifts, however, don’t come from a store and can help us with one of the biggest purchases we’ll make in our lifetimes – a new home.

For first time homebuyers, coming up with a down payment is often one of their greatest barriers to homeownership. But did you now that you can leverage “gift funds” to help with your down payment?

What Are Gift Funds

Gift funds are simply contributions from other parties, such as family members, to be used for a down payment or to help cover closing costs, with no expectation of repayment by the borrower.

For most loans, generally acceptable gift donors include your family members by blood or marriage (closely related in most cases – mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent, spouse, etc.), fiancés, employers, charitable organizations, or government entities.

But the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) also allows gifts to come from a close friend with a clearly defined and documented interest in you, the borrower.  This means that someone with a long-standing or close relationship with you, such as an ex-step-parent that truly continues to think of themselves as a parent of a child.

How Do Gift Funds Work?

When you’re using gift funds, there’s mandatory documentation required to ensure the funds meet the approved criteria. In these cases, you can count on your mortgage company’s underwriting team to ensure there is proper documentation for the gift funds to document that adhere to the requirements.

Here’s how it works: It’s acceptable for the gift donor to borrow funds to gift to the borrower, as long as they’re not borrowed from an interested party to the transaction (seller, builder, realtor, lender, etc.).  Cash is not an acceptable method of giving gift funds as underwriters cannot document the source of the funds as coming from the gift donor.

Additional gift options can include gifts of equity, which occurs when a borrower is related to the seller of a property that they’e purchasing. In this case the seller, may choose to give a gift of equity to the borrower to reduce the amount of funds the borrower needs to have available for down payment/closing costs.

Gifts cannot be used to meet reserve requirements that may apply to the loan. For conventional loans, gifts are allowed for either owner occupied properties or second homes.  They are not eligible for investment properties.

For some loan types, the borrower might be required to bring a certain amount of their own funds to the loan in order to qualify (minimum borrower contribution).

Contact Us

If a new home is on your holiday wish list and you’re seeking down payment assistance, receiving a gift may help give you just what you need to achieve the home of your dreams.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about down payment assistance programs or to discuss which type of loan is right for you and your financial situation.

Pre-Approvals for Christmas

House for Christmas

What could be a better Christmas gift than a new home? While it’s unlikely anyone will buy you one – you could always treat yourself. Get pre-approved for a mortgage and take Christmas shopping to a new level!

Pre-Approval Process

First of all, let’s make an important clarification. Pre-qualifications are not the same as pre-approvals.

Pre-qualifications will give you an idea of what kind of loan you may qualifiy for and can typically be completed in minutes. This informal estimate may be just fine for those in the very early stages of home buying process.

Pre-approvals are more involved and are a better indication of your ability to fully qualify for a mortgage loan. With a pre-approval, we will gather all the information we need to begin the loan process. This typically involves a credit check as well as income and asset verification. Typical documents required for a pre-approval include:

  • Bank statements
  • W-2s
  • Drivers License/Identification
  • Paystubs
  • Proof of IRAs or retirement accounts and their balances

Good Faith Estimate

After successfully completing the pre-approval process, you will receive a Good Faith Estimate (GFE). A GFE is a brief document that details the likely terms of the loan, including interest rate, loan type, and closing costs. All that said, a pre-approval is not a binding agreement between you and your lender – final loan approvals require the attention of our experienced underwriting team.

Pre-Approval Benefits

Pre-approvals have several advantages over pre-qualifications:

  • Your Realtor knows you’re serious when you present a pre-approval letter – and will work even harder on your behalf!
  • Sellers prefer to negotiate with prospective buyers with pre-approvals over simple pre-qualification letters – often times sellers won’t even consider your offer without a pre-approval letter from a licensed mortgage loan originator!
  • Your mortgage pre-approval letter takes into consideration down payment percentages, interest rates, property taxes and mortgage insurance – which makes it clearer to you (the buyer) just how much you can truly afford to borrow.
  • A solid pre-approval will help you get your loan processed faster. Getting a pre-approval could take your offer from a 60 day closing to as little as 30 days – with Inlanta’s express underwriting you may be able to close even faster!

Shop Smart

You’re not likely to shop for a car without knowing what you can afford so why would you house shop without knowing what type of loan you may qualify for? A pre-approval helps you make educated decisions about the most important investment of your life.

Contact an Inlanta Mortgage loan officer near you and begin the pre-approval process today to enjoy a new home in 2013! Happy Holidays & Happy House Shopping!

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.