If you will be using gift money as earnest money, closing costs, or or down payment money for your home purchase please let your Realtor and Lender know. There are some strict rules regarding gift money. If someone other than you, the borrower, is giving any money towards the home purchase, it is considered gift money. The borrower must be on the account the money is being drawn from for down payments, closing costs, and earnest money, or it is considered gift money. If you’re unsure whether the funds you will be using to purchase a home will be considered gift money, please discuss this with your lender. There are different gift rules for the different loan types.

For FHA loans, buyers can get gift money from a family member without putting a minimum down payment of their own funds. However, this has to be documented with a letter from the family member that states the relationship, the amount of the gift money, and the source of those funds. You can ask your lender for an example letter to help you construct it for your relative. You must also have documentation showing the person gifting the money had the funds at least 30 days prior to gifting it. Verification can be done with a bank statement or a letter from the bank. In addition, you may need to show the withdrawal of funds from the donor’s account and a copy of the cashier’s check or wire transfer.

On a VA loan, a Buyer can get a gift from a family member for down payment and closing costs without putting a minimum down payment of their own funds. You will need to show a letter from the family member stating their relationship, the amount of the gift funds, and the source of the funds. Again, your lender can give you an example letter. You’ll also need a copy of the cashier’s check or wire transfer.

For a Conventional loan, a buyer can get gift money from a family member if the loan to value ratio is over 80%. The borrower must provide the first 5% down. If the loan to value is 80% or less, then all of the down payment can be a gift. Again, you’ll need to provide a gift letter and a copy of the cashier’s check.
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