What Are Gift Funds and How They Can Help You Buy a Home

Buying a home is a significant financial commitment, and for many prospective homeowners, coming up with the necessary down payment can be a challenge. One way to ease this burden is by using gift funds. In this blog, we’ll explore how gift funds can be used when buying a home and obtaining a mortgage, what the lender requires, and some tips for a smooth process.

What Are Gift Funds?

Gift funds are monetary gifts given by family members, friends, or other approved sources to help with the purchase of a home. These funds can be used for the down payment, closing costs, or even to pay off some debt to qualify for a mortgage.

Who Can Provide Gift Funds?

Most mortgage programs have specific guidelines about who can give gift funds. Typically, acceptable sources include:

  1. Family Members: Parents, grandparents, siblings, or other relatives are the most common sources of gift funds.
  2. Close Friends: In some cases, a close friend who has a documented relationship with the borrower can provide gift funds.
  3. Employer: Some mortgage programs allow gift funds from an employer.
  4. Charitable Organizations: Certain charities or non-profit organizations may provide gift funds to assist with home purchases.

What Do Lenders Require?

When using gift funds for a down payment or closing costs, lenders have specific requirements to ensure the funds are legitimate and not a hidden loan. Here are the common steps and documentation needed:

  1. Gift Letter: A gift letter is a document provided by the donor stating that the funds are a gift and do not need to be repaid. The letter should include:
    • The donor’s name, address, and relationship to the borrower
    • The amount of the gift
    • A statement that the funds are a gift and not a loan
    • The donor’s signature and date
  1. Proof of Funds: Lenders may require proof that the donor has the financial ability to provide the gift. This can include bank statements or other financial documents.
  2. Transfer Documentation: Proof of the transfer of funds from the donor to the borrower is often required. This can be shown through bank statements, canceled checks, or wire transfer receipts.
  3. Sourcing Requirements: The lender may need to verify that the gift funds have been in the donor’s account for a certain period (e.g., 60 days) to ensure they are not borrowed funds.

How to Use Gift Funds Effectively

  1. Understand Lender Guidelines: Different lenders and mortgage programs have varying guidelines for using gift funds. Ensure you understand the specific requirements of your mortgage program.
  2. Communicate with Your Lender: Inform your lender early in the process that you plan to use gift funds. They can provide guidance on the documentation needed and any specific requirements.
  3. Document Everything: Keep thorough records of the gift transaction, including the gift letter, proof of funds, and transfer documentation. Proper documentation is crucial to avoid any delays or issues with your mortgage approval.
  4. Plan Ahead: If possible, plan to receive the gift funds well in advance of your home purchase. This allows time for any required seasoning periods and ensures all documentation is in order.

Potential Pitfalls to Avoid

  1. Undocumented Gifts: Avoid receiving large sums of money without proper documentation. Lenders scrutinize undocumented deposits, which could delay or jeopardize your mortgage approval.
  2. Last-Minute Transfers: Last-minute transfers of gift funds can create complications. Plan for the transfer and documentation process to take some time.
  3. Mixing Funds: Keep gift funds separate from your other savings to avoid confusion and ensure clear documentation of the source of the funds.


Using gift funds can be a valuable strategy for making homeownership more attainable. By understanding the requirements and ensuring proper documentation, you can smoothly integrate gift funds into your home buying process. Always communicate with your lender and follow their guidelines to make the most of this opportunity. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can use gift funds to help secure your dream home.