For years now, home buyers have been able to receive down payment assistance when buying homes approved for FHA financing. Basically, when the buyer makes an offer, they ask the seller to contribute a percentage of the sales price towards a non-profit company as a gift towards future home buyers. Since the minimum down payment amount on FHA insured loans is only 3%, the buyers could ask for the seller to provide it.
When you purchase a home, you are not allowed to receive funds from the buyer directly to help you with your down payment. The seller, however, is allowed to gift the down payment to non-profit organizations who then provide the same dollar amount to the Title company at closing, covering your down payment obligations according to FHA rules.
The Department of Urban Housing and Development has issued a release that may end this practice altogether.
The purpose of FHA insured loans is to provide affordability and sustained home ownership. Here is a link to the proposal. It’s long, very long, and some of it is quite annoying to read, but it’s there.
The problem that we have when someone provides a buyer with funding is that it may be unfair to other sellers. If I am selling my home for $300,000.00 and you need an FHA loan whereby you need to come up with $9,000.00 as your down payment, but you don’t have it, I as the seller could, at close of escrow, contribute $9,000.00 of my net proceeds (the money I make on the home) to that non-profit organization. The non-profit would then turn right around and pay you a gift of $9,000.00 towards the down payment.
By offering you the “gift” I’m basically telling you that I’ll pay you to buy my house over the neighbor’s $300,000.00 home. This does two things. It fulfills the down payment requirement by FHA, and allows the home to remain at full price.
We’re looking at these deals as the current “Sub-Prime” loan, and whenever Sub-Prime is mentioned, lenders cringe. What we don’t want is to perpetuate the idea that any average joe can get into homeownership when many of these people have no business buying homes.
Right now in the market, the opportunity to find a great home for the first time home buyer is at the forefront. If you are a first time home buyer, and you have been responsible about your savings and you have the required 3% to put towards the purchase of your home, then it’s likely you’ll be in good standing for years to come as you build equity and wealth through your home ownership. If you’re just looking to get into a home free, then statistics show that it’s more likely that you’ll also be walking away from that home because you have no real investment in it.