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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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BUDDY HARPER TEAM REALTY
5130 Wilkinson Blvd.,
Gastonia, NC 28056
Licensed NC & SC
Phone: 704-879-7155  

Fax:      704-879-7157
Email:bharper1@carolina.rr.com
Direct:  704-747-4016

Testimonials Page

Stacey and I had a wonderful home buying experience working with Christyn Denton. Her knowledge of the Belmont area; her understanding of our home wants, needs and desires; and her professionalism were excellent. We had to find something in a short period of time, and she helped to take away our stress during the process. We highly recommend Christyn for your home buying needs. Sincerely, Mike & Stacey Andrea
Christyn, "I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for all the hard work and effort you put forth in our recently ratified contract. Your professional manner and commitment undoubtedly contributed to the successful conclusion to you or clients offer. If more agents were of your caliber our business would be so much more enjoyable." Tim B
Buddy, We want to thank you for the Excellent service you gave to us in finding our "Dream Home"! We appreciate all the time you spent in negoiations and getting us the best price on the house! Our best regards, Mike & Karen Worrell
Buddy, Thank you for helping us to sell the Stanley house, we really appreciate your hard work and friendship. Jeff & Emily
Buddy, We want to thank you for all your hard work that you did in finding a house for us! We cannot tell you how much we appreciate all the time and effort you put into us! We miss you already. Chan & Natalie
Buddy, I can't tell you how appreciative I am of all you did to help me. I must say, you have made me change my mind about realtors and their integrity. I certainly am convinced of yours! So thanks for all you do and for who you are. May God bless you! M. Hayes
Buddy Thank you so much for all your hard work to help us buy our first house! We really appreciate you going above and beyond for us. Thanks again! Ryan & Lisa
Buddy, thank you so much for all of your help in the past several months! You have been a God send, and we couldn't have done it without you! Thank you again, The Devers
Dear Buddy, Not everyone can do what you do. But anyone can see that what you do makes a wonderful difference. Thank you for your involvement and commitment in finding our home. The Green's
I appreciate everything you did for me. I feel like you went above and beyond and I'll never forget it. Thank you! I love my new home, it's perfect. Thank you again for everything! Sincerely, C. Phipps
We would like to thank Buddy Harper for all the time he took with us while we looked at condos all over town. He's like the Energizer bunny, he never runs out of power. He listed our house to sell on Thursday and we had a contract on Saturday. If you are even thinking of selling or buying you need to call the Buddy Harper Team Realty for results! Jimmy and Sandy Carr
Thanks for all your help in making our "dream home" a reality. We really appreciated that you went the extra mile to get us the best price for our home. You are truly a professional. Grant & Tammy Field
In all our dealings with Realtors over the past eight years, we have never met anyone as helpful and energetic as you have been. Without hesitation, we would highly recommend your service to anyone who is looking for an experienced Realtor who cares about getting things done and doing them right! Thanks for taking such good care of us, we couldn't have done it without you! Tisha Jackson
Thank you so much for taking the extra effort to make our first home purchase successful. You were there guiding us through all the crucial and important steps! You really listened to what we wanted in our home and you found exactly what we were looking for - at an amazing price! If we ever outgrow this home, we'll definitely be calling you! Ben and Catherine Hoersch
You made buying a home so easy for my wife and I. We were grateful for how much patience you used in answering all of our questions and taking us to look at so many houses. You never pushed us into looking at something we were not interested in. We strongly recommend you to anyone looking at buying a new home. Matt & Jennifer Keepes
Thank you so much for all you have done for us to make this so easy and stress free. Also, thanks for taking care of all the additional things that had to be done. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Tom & Carol
John and I want to thank you so much for selling our house for us. Thank goodness, we can sleep at night now. We appreciate everything you did for us! John & Robin
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