The down payment is often the biggest out-of-pocket expense for home buyers in Washington State, and it usually has to be paid up front at the closing. But there are ways to reduce your upfront investment when purchasing a house, and down payment gifts are one such strategy.
In this article, we will take a look at down payment gifts in Washington State, and how you can use them when buying a home.
Washington State Down-Payment Gifts Explained
Let’s start with a definition. A down payment “gift” is simply money that is provided by a third party to a person who is buying a home. The money is used for down payment and/or closing cost expenses. These days, many different mortgage programs in Washington State allow for down payment gifts, and that includes FHA as well as conventional home loans.
Home buyers in Washington State are sometimes unaware of down payment gifts. As a result, they might wrongfully assume that homeownership is beyond their financial reach, simply because of the upfront investment. We have published this article in order to increase awareness for this flexible financing option.
It Requires a Letter from the Donor
If you use a down payment gift when purchasing a home in Washington State, you’ll have to get a letter from the person who is donating the funds to you. This is true for both conventional and FHA mortgage loans.
A down payment gift letter simply states that the donor does not expect any form of repayment. In other words, it verifies that the money being given to the borrower is truly a gift, and not a loan.
The letter can be short, simple, and to the point. At a minimum, it should include the donor’s name and relationship to the borrower, the amount of money being provided, and the fact that they don’t expect any kind of repayment. This last item is the most important component of a Washington State down-payment gift letter.
Overcoming Obstacles to Homeownership
There are many hardworking, responsible people in Washington who are excellent candidates for a mortgage loan — but with one exception. They don’t have enough money saved up for a large down payment.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this obstacle. We just talked about one of them. Down payment gifts give Washington State home buyers a way to buy a house with less money out of pocket.
In addition, some mortgage programs offer lower down payments than others. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program is one example. When using the FHA program, a home buyer can put down as little as 3.5% of the purchase price (as explained here).
Some conventional mortgage loans allow down payments as low as 3%. Additionally, eligible military members and veterans can use the VA program, which offers 100% financing.
The point is, there are ways to overcome the perceived hurdle of a down payment when buying a home in Washington State. By using a mortgage financing option that allows for a lower down payment (and/or by using gift money provided by a third party), home buyers can greatly reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.