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Documenting Your Assets - Verifying Your Down Payment

When buying a home, it is not enough to just come up with the money. With the exception of no asset verification loans, lenders want to verify where the money for your new home will be coming from. If you can document that the funds are coming from your personal savings, the lender is more confident of your strength as a borrower.

In addition, if you can verify that you have additional assets that are not needed for the down payment, it is important to document those, too. Additional assets are reserves you can draw upon during times of trouble, such as unemployment, medical emergencies, and similar occurrences. Additional assets can also help to document that you have a history of saving money, which makes you a more dependable borrower.

It is extremely important to completely document the paper trail of any funds you use for down payment and closing costs. The sections below provide guidance on both verifying assets and documenting them as a source of your down payment.

Checking, Savings, & Money Market Accounts

The quickest and easiest way to document funds in your bank account is to provide your lender with copies of your most recent bank statements. Most lenders request two months of bank statements, but some still ask for three. Some lenders still send a Verification of Deposit to your bank in order to determine your current bank balances and average balance for the last two months. However, that is the old way of doing business and most lenders nowadays prefer to have bank statements.

If the money you are using for the down payment and closing costs has been in the bank for the entire period covered by the bank statements, you’re fine. These are known as “seasoned funds.” However, if your statements show any large or unusual deposits, the lender will ask you to explain them and document their source.

Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds, etc.

Most of those who own stocks get a monthly or quarterly statement from their brokerage. You will need to supply statements for the most recent sixty or ninety days in order to document these assets.

Though it is rare nowadays, some people actually have stock certificates instead of having a brokerage account. When this is the situation, make copies of the certificates and provide those copies to your lender. You might also want to supply tax records to indicate you have owned these stocks for some time.

If part of your down payment will come from the sale of stocks and investments, you will need to keep all documentation that applies to the sale. Provide these copies to your lender as well.

Gifts

Especially when buying a first home, some borrowers need help coming up with the down payment. This help should come in the form of a gift from a close family member. Lenders will require the donors to sign a special form called a gift letter. The gift letter states the relationship between the parties, the address of the purchased property, the amount of the gift, and sometimes the source of the funds used to make the gift. The gift letter also clearly states that the funds are a gift and not required to be repaid.

With most lenders, the donor will have to also provide evidence that they have the ability to make the gift. This can be in the form of a bank or stock statement to show they have the funds available. You should also make a copy of the check used to make the gift and keep a copy of the deposit receipt when you deposit the gift funds into your bank account or escrow.

401K or Retirement Accounts

It is important to provide documentation about your retirement accounts or 401K programs because this is another asset you could draw upon as reserves in case of a problem. It is also another way to show you have a savings history. Just provide a copy of your most recent statement to your lender.

Many people use these accounts as a source of funds for their down payment, too. Some employers allow you to cash out a portion of the 401K and some allow you to borrow against it. Be sure to keep copies of all paperwork involving the transaction. If they cut you a check, be sure to make a photocopy of that, too, including any receipt for deposit into your personal bank account.

If you are borrowing against your 401K, some lenders will count this as an additional debt to go along with car payments, credit cards and other obligations. This may seem kind of silly because you are borrowing your own money, but from the lender’s viewpoint it is still a monthly obligation that you must come up with and should be taken into account. If you are tight on your debt-to-income ratios in qualifying for a home loan, this could be an important consideration. It may affect whether you choose to cash out the account and pay any tax penalty, or simply borrow against it.

Employers

Some companies provide down payment assistance for their employees. They may feel that Homeowners are more stable and reliable employees, or that providing down payment assistance fosters an environment of higher morale and loyalty to the firm. Just make copies of all the paperwork, including a copy of the check and the receipt when you deposit the funds into your personal bank account. It is important that these funds do not require repayment.

Savings Bonds

If you have Savings Bonds, remember that they are also financial assets. Since you hold the actual bonds in your possession, the easiest and best way to verify them for your mortgage lender is to make photocopies of them. If you choose to cash them in for down payment or closing costs, you should do this at your local bank. Be sure to keep copies of the paperwork the bank provides because that will establish the current value of the bonds and show that you received their cash value.

Personal Property - Cars, Antiques, etc.

Personal property includes automobiles, vehicles, boats, furniture, collections, heirlooms, antiques, art, clothing, and practically everything you own except for real estate. The mortgage application asks you to estimate the value of these items.

The larger the loan amount, the more important it is for you to provide details on your personal property. This is because larger loans usually indicate larger incomes, and lenders check to see if your personal property matches your income. If it does not, this sends a red flag to the underwriter and they take a closer look at your application.

You are not required to document the value of personal property unless you intend to sell them to come up with your down payment.

Selling Personal Property

For those Homebuyers who do sell personal property in order to come up with their down payment, the verification process can be arduous. Lenders are much stricter about documenting this method of coming up with your source of funds.

Selling a car is perhaps the easiest to document. First, you need to photocopy the registration that shows you actually own the vehicle. You will have to provide a copy of the page in the “Blue Book” that shows your model and its value. Then you need to photocopy the bill of sale showing the transfer to another individual and a copy of the check used to purchase the vehicle. Do not get paid in cash because that makes it impossible to show you actually received the funds. Make a copy of the receipt when you deposit the funds into the bank.

Other types of personal property are more difficult because you have to show that you actually own the property and that it actually has the value that you sold it for. This is a little harder to do for most assets than it is for automobiles.

Records showing you purchased the property would be helpful. You could also provide an old inventory that documents ownership. To determine value, you may have to contract with an independent appraiser or a specialist who has the knowledge for that particular type of property.

If you cannot document the item’s value, the lender will not view the sale as an acceptable source of funds. Just like selling a car, you have to prove you own the item, make a copy of the bill of sale, copy the check used to purchase the item, and make a copy of your receipt when you deposit the funds into your bank.

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Sandra Cullinan
Vice President/Associate Broker

Meybohm Real Estate
6004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809
Office: 706-863-8218 
Extension: 2471
Fax:  706-855-7847
Cell:  706-533-3353
Email:  scullinan@meybohm.com

 

Testimonials

Sandra was very friendly, helpful and honest, she worked very hard! Mr. Schlabach
Sandra was very helpful and made sure that we understood everything that was going on during the whole process. We had a great experience with her. She also kept us very informed through the whole process. She was very friendly and knew exactly what she was talking about when it came to helping us out. We would recommend her to anyone! She is AWESOME!! Mr. Lunz
Sandra did a terrific job! We were under tight time constraints and she made sure we saw lots of homes- all of which met the criteria we provided! Mr. Guay and Mrs. Madden
Sandra Cullinan was wonderful! She made my first home buying experience wonderful as well! Great job! Ms. Altman
Sandra Cullinan is by far the best agent I have worked with in over 7 home purchases! Great experience! She is very knowledgeable in the market, best in the Augusta area! Mr. Allen T. Berry
Sandra Cullinan made our selling and buying a smooth transition. I have recommended her to several friends. She was WONDERFUL! I have dealt with other real estate companies. Meybohm has been the best! Communication was excellent!! Thank you Meybohm!! Mr. and Mrs. Chris Pryor
Sandra had excellent knowledge of the local real estate market, builders and neighborhoods. We looked at a lot of houses and I got a great house at a good price. Cannot ask for much more than that! Mr. Brett A. Paye
I would recommend Sandra because she was knowledgeable regarding short sale and other services I wanted to take advantage of. Also, she and her assistant Andrea consistantly handled themselves professionally and friendly. Not only did we give them a deadline that we had to sell due to military, there was also the added irritant of Chase Bank. With all this, yet Sandra met every challenge and excelled. Thank you. Mr. and Mrs. William T. Payne
Excellent service, friendly and knowledgeable! Mr. and Mrs. Marc Gianotli
Sandra Cullinan was a great help to us and was looking out for us with the sale. We have sold a home and purchased a home with Sandra. When we are ready to sell again (2-5 years), we will search out Sandra Cullinan. Mr. and Mrs. David A. Pierce
Sandra Cullinan is the best realtor in all of Augusta, maybe even the country. What a wonderful, caring, knowledgeable agent she is and truly an asset to Meybohm Realty- She ROCKS! Marilyn B. Altman
Sandra Cullinan went above and beyond her duties. She is a God send person. I will have her to purchase a new house in the future. Thank you for all your services. Patricia Washington
During our house hunting process we were able to see many homes without feeling the pressure of closing the deal. Our agent's goal was for us to find the right house and not just sell a house. Mr. Saman Nazar Zangana
Honest, great knowledgeable sales people Pamela B. Kennedy
Prompt service Tony E. Meade
Very early as we were simply being introduced to Augusta and the real estate market, we were not particularly pleased with service. With our connection to Sandra Cullinan however, we found energy and an accurate assessment of what our thoughts on what we bought. Mr. and Mrs. David L. Barcus
Sandra and Andrea were very helpful throughout the entire process. They constantly communicated with me via email and phone calls while I was doing my house hunting. My wife and I are very pleased with our new home! Thanks Sandra, Andrea and Meybohm! Mr. Anthony Weaver
Sandra and Andrea did a great job! Jill Churchill
Our home buying experience went very smooth. Mr. and Mrs. Hyun Ha
Excellent service, very knowledgeable and professional service, will definitely use Meybohm in the future! Ronald C. Blue
Sandra and Andrea were wonderful to work with. They made the entire process easy and stress free! Mr. and Mrs. Jansen Johnston
"It was so nice to find an agent like Sandra Cullinan. We lived out of the area and my husband was ill much of the time,This placed an added burden on Sandra to make sure that our property was always ready to show, which she handled with grace and compassion. When we needed to have repairs done she was our go between with the workers. She was always available by phone or email and was prompt in her response. I would highly recommend Sandra Cullinan to anyone needing a real estate agent. " Barbara Rollins, Orlando, Fl.
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