Can I Give Someone The Downpayment to Buy My House?

Can I Give Someone The Downpayment to Buy My House?

Although it might not always be this straightforward, the question “Can I give someone the downpayment to buy my house?” presents itself in many different ways. And the answer to all of them is no, well… except in one circumstance, but we will get to that later. Here are a few scenarios played out.

“I am selling my house on ComFree and I have someone who is interested in purchasing my property, but they don’t quite have the full downpayment, can I give them part of the downpayment to help them out? I REALLY need to sell my house! Does the bank really care where the downpayment comes from?” 

Let’s establish why the lender cares about where the downpayment comes from, there are 3 reasons.

Firstly by law, they have to. In order to prevent money laundering, lenders have to prove the source of the downpayment on the purchase of a home. Acceptable forms of downpayment are from own resources, borrowed (through an insured program called the FlexDown), or gifted from an immediate family member. To prove the funds are own resources, 90 days bank statements are required indicating the money has been in the account for 90 days or to show an accumulation of funds through payroll deposits.

Secondly, the lender cares about the source of the downpayment because it indicates the buyer is financially qualified to purchase the home. Obviously a downpayment from own resources is best, as it shows that the buyer has positive cash flow, is able to save money and manages their finances in a way that they will most likely make their mortgage payments on time. The bigger the downpayment the better (as far as the lender is concerned) because there is a direct correlation between how much money someone has as equity in a property to the likelihood they will/won’t default on their mortgage. To break that down… the more skin you have in the game, the less likely you are to walk away.

Thirdly and most important to this scenario, the downpayment establishes the loan to value ratio. Now, the loan to value ratio or LTV is the percentage of the property’s value compared to the mortgage amount. In Canada, a lender cannot lend more than 95% of a property’s value, or said in another way they can’t lend higher than a 95% LTV. This means that if someone is buying a home for $400k, the lender can lend $380k, and the buyer is responsible to come up with 5% or $20k in this situation.

So how does the source of the downpayment impact LTV?

Great question, and to answer this, we have to look at how a property’s value is established. Although we could go into a lot more detail here, very simply put, something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it and what someone is willing to sell it for. Of course within reason, having no external factors coming into play and when you are dealing with real estate, it’s usually compared to what people have agreed to in the past on similar properties.

So combining our scenarios, if you are selling your house for $400k and you give the $20k downpayment to the buyer, the actual sale price (the amount you agreed to sell for, and the amount the buyer pays) is actually $380k not $400k. So to take the purchase contract in to the lender and request a mortgage for $380k would actually be a 100% LTV and financing will be declined because the minimum LTV in Canada is 95%.

Now, despite how people attempt to rationalize or manoeuvre wording and money, its all smoke and mirrors, if the buyer isn’t coming up with the money for the downpayment independent of the seller, it impacts the LTV and financing will not be completed. Here are variations of this scenario played out in different ways.

“Can I increase the sale price of the property I’m selling and “gift” the downpayment to the buyer so they have a bigger downpayment and it looks more favourable to the lender?” 

Nope, again, this is a trick to try and manipulate the LTV.

“If the buyer wants my house really badly, but doesn’t have the full downpayment, can they borrow the money from somewhere and then we provide them with a cashback at closing to repay the debt?”

No. ANY cash back from the seller to the buyer when the purchase transaction closes is a no go. Just like on the front end of the purchase, any money refunded or given back on closing impacts the LTV and it would impact the mortgage lenders decision to lend.

“But what if the lender doesn’t know about it?”

This is called fraud. Having conditions to the sale of a property that are not disclosed to the lender is fraud. There is no 2 ways about it.

“You mentioned at the start of this article that there is one way to give someone the downpayment to buy a house, tell me more!”

As mentioned, there are 3 acceptable sources for a downpayment, one of them being a gift from an immediate family member. So if you are selling your property to an immediate family member, you are able to gift the equity to them on the purchase contract. You would write that condition on the actual purchase contract, that the downpayment is coming by way of a gift. You would then complete a gift letter indicating that the downpayment is a true gift and has no schedule for repayment.

So there you have it. If you are selling a house to someone you are not directly related to, you are not able to give them the money for your downpayment. Alternatively, if you are buying a house from someone you are not directly related to, you are not able to take money from them for the downpayment. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are misinformed. And if anyone ever presents a way to “get around the rules” regardless of how simple it sounds, it’s probably fraud.

If you have any questions about this or anything else mortgage related, we would love to talk with you!

Contact us anytime!

The New Year is a Great Time to Review Your Mortgage!

The New Year is a Great Time to Review Your Mortgage!

Happy New Year, 2018 is here! If you’re anything like us, you’re looking to set some goals to make some real progress this coming year! We can’t help you with your goals in the gym, but we can help with your financial goals. so let’s talk about why now is as good of a time as any (or better) to review your mortgage and assess your financial situation. 

Here are three reasons to consider:

Save money with better terms

Depending on when you secured your mortgage, by reviewing the terms of your mortgage, there might be a better fit out there for you today. Let’s say you locked into a 10 year mortgage term 5 years ago, there is a chance you could refinance your mortgage into a lower rate, and save thousands over the next 5 years. Maybe you have a fixed rate, and you’d like to consider the current variable rate, you will never know just how much money you could be saving unless you sit down with an independent mortgage professional and do a formal mortgage review!

Aggressively pay down your mortgage

The new year is a great time to review your current mortgage and make a plan to use your existing prepayment privileges. Most mortgages allow you to pay down 10-20% of the original principal mortgage amount as a lump sum and/or increase your payments by 10-20%. Just got a raise? Now might be a good time to increase your mortgage payment to match. Any money that you put on your mortgage as a prepayment goes entirely towards the principal balance and is not a prepayment of interest. 

Changes to Mortgage Qualification

If you’re planning to make a move in 2018; whether that be buying a new home to accommodate your growing family, or selling your family home to downsize into a condo, there is a chance that the new mortgage rules imposed by our federal government brought in on January 1st 2018 could impact your ability to secure new mortgage financing. 

Don’t just simply assume you will qualify for a new mortgage just because you already qualified for the mortgage you have now. Things have changed, and your best bet is to give us a shout so we can work through your financial situation. 

Have an incredible 2018!

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Investing in a Small(er) Home

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Investing in a Small(er) Home

The larger home is not always the better home. Yes, there still exists a large group of individuals who enjoy owning a grand estate, complete with all the modern conveniences, in addition to everything you could ever want; and of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this. But for an increasing segment of society, downsizing is the new “in”; the new “chique” if you will. These folks have talked the talk and walked the walk; and at some point they decided it was time for a change.

These homestead rebels are bucking the trend while showing the rest of us the “pros” of living a simplified life, house included. The following are 5 reasons why downsizing might just actually be upsizing:

Less Pressure on the Pocketbook

Not surprisingly: The purchase price of a small house is less than that of a large house (within a similar area, of course). Now, I know that this fact isn’t news to anyone, but it still bears repeating. Why you ask? Because a large portion of society seems to be constantly on the edge of financial trouble; constantly working to fend off the bank and pay all the bills on time. This lifestyle is not only stressful, it’s exhausting.

The solution? If possible, scale down.

Additionally, a small house is less expensive when it comes to the cost of living. Think about it: to heat a 2000 square foot home requires a certain amount of dollars. Additionally, the larger rooms will demand more of your hard earned money when it comes time to upgrade. Need new windows? New doors? New kitchen cabinets? All of these things will cost you more (based on volume alone) than a house which is even marginally smaller.

Less Maintenance

In car sales, the base model is always the economically prudent choice. Of course, the luxury model contains a host of upgrades. But, these upgrades inevitably break and require fixing, while the base model continues on, uninhibited by such things. The base model is solid. When it comes to pure performance, it does everything that the luxury model can do, and it’s very much the more affordable option. So, which model do you choose? If you’re like a growing number of Canadians, those who want to see their dollar go further, you choose the base model.

Similarly, a small home may not have all the “bells and whistles” of a large home, but the baseline performance should be there, along with fewer maintenance costs, fewer breakdowns, and fewer headaches.

Smaller (Environmental) Footprint

House 2

The simple fact remains: smaller homes are more environmentally friendly than larger homes. This makes practical sense on every level. When we learn to live with less, we end up using less, we end up wasting less, and we end up polluting less. Additionally, if there are less square footage to heat, then we use less power. If there are fewer rooms to illuminate, we use fewer bulbs, and if there are fewer washroom tubs to fill and toilets to flush, we use less water.

All of this leads to a smaller environmental footprint, which is a pretty big deal.

Encourages Minimalism

Small(er) living spaces force us to think about that which is important to us. Do we need all of this stuff? Can we do without the clutter? I think we absolutely can, but only when we’re faced with these types of situations are we confronted with these (potentially) freeing thoughts. The reality of a small living space encourages a healthy sort of purge; the sort of purge where, at it’s peak, you realize that you own your things; that your things don’t own you.

Easier to Sell (Price Point)

Finally, the truth remains, a well maintained affordable house is a desirable house. Plain and simple. 

Questions about home ownership? Wondering about the process of applying for a mortgage? Need direction? Contact me, and let me walk you through your options. You won’t be disappointed.

Avoid This Mistake When Shopping for a House

Avoid This Mistake When Shopping for a House

No doubt about it, buying a home is an emotional experience. 

It’s a game of balancing needs and wants, while trying to be honest with yourself about those very needs and wants. It’s hard to get it right, figuring out what’s negotiable and what isn’t… what you can live with and what you can’t live without. House shopping tends to be more arbitrary than science, especially when you’re someone who makes decisions with your heart (sometimes at the expense of your head).

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when shopping for a house is to fall in love with something you can’t afford. Doing this almost certainly guarantees that nothing else will compare and you will inevitably find yourself “settling” for something that is actually quite nice (and would’ve been perfect, had you not already fallen in love with something out of your price range). 


Now, there is nothing wrong with dreaming, and taking a tour of new show homes to snap a few pictures to get some inspiration, but when it comes to the nitty gritty of buying a home, you should know exactly what you can qualify for, so that you can shop with confidence. You need a mortgage pre-approval. 

A pre-approval does a few things… 

  • It will outline your buying power. You will be able to shop with confidence knowing exactly how much you can spend. 
  • It will uncover any issues that might arise in qualifying for a mortgage (example mistakes on your credit bureau).
  • It will outline necessary supporting documentation so you can get those together ahead of time.
  • It will secure a rate for 30 to 120 days depending on your mortgage product.
  • It will save your heart from the pain of falling in love with something you can’t afford. 

Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with something you can’t afford, get a pre-approval before you start shopping, your heart will thank you. 

If you want to talk with us about your financial situation and nail down exactly what you can actually afford, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime. This is what we do, and we’d love to work with you!

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