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The Proper Way To Give And Receive Gifts For Downpayments

2008
06.04

When a home buyer is gifted cash for a downpayment, there is a right way and a wrong way to receive the funds.When a home buyer is gifted cash for a downpayment, there is a right way and a wrong way to receive the funds.

The right way includes:

  • Completing an acceptable gift letter
  • Documenting the withdrawal of funds with receipts
  • Documenting the deposit of funds with receipts

The wrong way is to ignore the rules that mortgage lenders clearly spell out for you.

Mortgage lenders watch gifts closely because they want to make sure that the “gift” is not really a loan-in-disguise. If it’s a loan, the total dollar amount must be counted against the home’s total loan-to-value and higher loan-to-values typically increase lender risk.

If it’s a gift, a signed and dated gift letter should accompany the home loan application. An example:

I am the [relationship to recipient] of [name of recipient] and this letter serves as evidence that I am gifting [name of recipient] [amount of gift] to be used for the purchase of the home at [complete address of property].

This is a gift — not a loan — and there is no expectation of repayment.

Signed,
[Signature of donor]

For additional evidence that the gift is legitimate, the recipient should make sure that deposited funds are not commingled at the bank. If the gift is for $12,000, for example, then the recipient’s bank deposit receipt should indicate that a $12,000 deposit was made.

There may be legal and tax liabilities when gifting funds between family members so if you’re unsure about how donating or receiving a gift may impact you, call or email me. If I can’t answer your question, I can certainly refer you to somebody that can.

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