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What is required to document gift funds?

Documentation Requirements

Gifts must be evidenced by a letter signed by the donor, called a gift letter. When the gift is sourced by a trust established by an acceptable donor or an estate of an acceptable donor, the gift letter must be signed by the donor and list the name of the trust or the estate account.

The gift letter must:

  • specify the actual or the maximum dollar amount of the gift;
  • include the donor’s statement that no repayment is expected; and
  • indicate the donor’s name, address, telephone number, and relationship to the borrower.

Note: If the actual amount of the gift received is different than the amount used to underwrite the loan casefile in DU, the lender may need to resubmit the loan casefile to DU in accordance with B3-2-10, Accuracy of DU Data, DU Tolerances, and Errors in the Credit Report. For manually underwritten loans, the lender must verify the borrower has sufficient funds for closing, down payment and/or financial reserves. 

When a gift from an acceptable donor is being pooled with the borrower’s funds to make up the required minimum cash down payment, the following items must also be included:

  • A certification from the donor stating that they have lived with the borrower for the past 12 months and will continue to do so in the new residence.
  • Documents that demonstrate a history of borrower and donor shared residency. The donor’s address must be the same as the borrower’s address. Examples include but are not limited to a copy of a driver’s license, a bill, or a bank statement.

Verifying Donor Availability of Funds and Transfer of Gift Funds

The lender must verify that sufficient funds to cover the gift are either in the donor’s account (such as a checking, savings or investment account, or trust or estate account owned by the donor) or have been transferred to the borrower’s account. Acceptable documentation includes the following:

  • a copy of the donor’s check and the borrower’s deposit slip,
  • a copy of the donor’s withdrawal slip and the borrower’s deposit slip,
  • evidence of the electronic transfer of funds from the donor’s account to the borrower’s account or to the closing agent,
  • a copy of the donor’s check to the closing agent, or
  • a settlement statement showing receipt of the donor’s check.

When the funds are not transferred prior to settlement, the lender must document that the donor gave the closing agent the gift funds in the form of an electronic transfer, certified check, a cashier’s check, or other official check.

For additional information, see B3-4.3-04, Personal Gifts.

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