Once you’ve figured out how much of a down payment you can make on your home mortgage, it’s time to determine how to document the source of your funds for the down payment and closing costs. Now you might be saying, “Why do they care where I get the money?” Lenders need to verify the source of funds to both assess the underlying risk in you as a borrower as well as to prevent loan fraud. This makes it imperative for you, the applicant, to maintain complete and detailed records of how the money which you plan to use for a down payment makes it into your hands. Money from your own savings, checking & money market accounts looks best to the bank for a variety of reasons, and is amongst the easiest sources of capital to document.
Money in the bank is also very easy to document. The lender has the option of asking you to submit bank statements to them indicating that you have the money for the down payment and closing costs, or performing a formal Verification of Deposit directly with your bank. Most lenders ask for statements, generally 2 to 3 months if you are providing full income documentation or up to 24 months if you are providing alternative documentation of income.
When discussing your down payment, your lender may discuss the topic of seasoning requirements with you. If you have money in a bank account for 3 months and it reflects consistently in consecutive statements, that money is considered “seasoned” 3 months. Your lender may require that your down payment money be comprised of seasoned funds, and that any large influxes of capital into your bank account may have to be extensively and thoroughly explained, documented, and potentially disqualified. So start saving and plan ahead!
There are loan types which do not require any form of documentation in this regard, particularly No Asset Verification mortgages or “no assets” loan programs. Just as it sounds, this type of mortgage does not require any verification of assets, however most lenders generally do not allow the applicant to borrow more than 60% to 70% of the property value without some form of asset verification. There is another type of loan program which is increasingly popular over the last few years called Stated Income Stated Assets mortgages, which allows for limited verification of assets, and some of these programs allow up to 75% or 80% of the property’s value to be loaned to the borrower. There are certain specialty programs which will allow as little as a 3% downpayment with limited to no asset verification
Buying a home with no down payment, often referred to as a “no money down” mortgage, has become a popular way for first time buyers to enjoy the benefits of homeownership without substantial savings, however it is important to note that borrowers who want a zero down loan will be faced with higher interest rates and monthly payments and are statistically shown to have higher rates of default and foreclosure.
No matter what you decide to put down, if you have and can document assets above and beyond the down payment and closing costs on the home and mortgage you can establish “reserves” with your application. Having ample capital reserves, good credit, and your down payment sitting in your bank account for a couple of months can in combination help you qualify for some of the best programs available, and potentially save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.