FHA Gift Funds – Guidelines and Requirements

FHA Gift Funds

FHA Gift Funds Guide simplifies the path to homeownership by explaining how to use gift funds for your down payment. It covers everything from who can gift you money to the specifics of gift letters, making the FHA loan process clear and manageable. Ideal for first-time buyers, this guide is your key to a smoother home buying journey.

What Are FHA Gift Funds?

FHA Gift Funds are a blessing for many first-time homebuyers or those without a hefty savings account. In simple terms, these are financial gifts used to cover the down payment or closing costs on an FHA loan. FHA, or Federal Housing Administration, loans are popular because they allow lower credit scores and smaller down payments than many conventional loans.

Gift funds can come from a family member, a close friend, or a charitable organization, making the dream of owning a home more accessible for many. The best part? This isn’t a loan. You don’t have to pay it back! Imagine someone giving you a boost, saying, “Here, let me help you get closer to owning your home.” That’s the spirit behind FHA Gift Funds.

Key Differences Between Gift Funds and Gift Letters 

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the difference between gift funds and a gift letter?” Well, it’s quite simple:

  • Gift Funds are the actual money given to the homebuyer to help with their purchase.
  • A Gift Letter is a document that goes along with those funds. It’s super important because it tells the lender that this money is a genuine gift and not a loan that needs to be repaid. The letter includes details like the amount of the gift, the relationship between the giver and the receiver, and a statement that no repayment is expected.

The gift letter is like a handshake in writing, ensuring everyone involved understands it’s a generous gift, not an added debt for the homebuyer.

How Do FHA Gift Funds Work?

FHA Gift Funds ease the burden of needing a large amount of cash upfront to buy a home. Here’s how they seamlessly fit into the home buying process:

  • Finding a Generous Donor: First off, you’ll need someone willing to gift you the funds. Remember, this has to be a genuine gift, with no expectation of repayment.
  • Gift Letter: Your donor will need to provide a gift letter. This isn’t just a casual note. It’s a formal document that outlines the nature of the gift and reassures your lender that the funds are indeed a gift.
  • Transfer of Funds: The funds then need to be transferred to you. This could be via check, wire transfer, or even cash, as long as you properly document the transaction.
  • Proof for the Lender: The lender will want to see that the funds are in your account and came from the source stated in the gift letter. Bank statements or transaction receipts usually do the trick.
  • Using the Funds: Once everything is in place, you can use the gift funds towards your down payment or closing costs, significantly reducing the amount of money you need to pull from your own savings.

The beauty of FHA Gift Funds lies in the community spirit – someone helping another achieve homeownership. It’s a straightforward process, making the path to buying a home a little less steep.

FHA Gift Fund Guidelines

When it comes to FHA Gift Funds, there are specific rules to ensure everything is transparent and above board. These guidelines are designed to protect both the lender and the buyer. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Source of Funds: It’s crucial that the source of the gift funds can be verified. Lenders want to ensure that the gift is legitimate and legal. This means detailed documentation is a must.
  • No Expectation of Repayment: The gift must be just that—a gift. There can be no obligation or expectation for the homebuyer to repay the giver. The gift letter plays a crucial role here, as it outlines the nature of the gift.
  • Acceptable Donors: Not just anyone can give you FHA Gift Funds. The guidelines specify who is considered an acceptable donor, which we’ll cover in more detail in the next section.
  • Amount of Gift Funds: The good news is, there’s no limit on how much someone can gift you for your FHA loan down payment or closing costs. However, if your down payment is less than 20% and comes entirely from gift funds, you might face additional scrutiny from the lender.
  • Documenting the Transfer: Every step of the gift transaction must be documented. This includes bank statements showing the withdrawal of funds by the donor and the deposit into the borrower’s account. Transparency is key.

By following these guidelines, you help ensure a smooth process for using gift funds in your home purchase. It’s all about keeping everything clear and straightforward, so there’s no room for misunderstanding.

Who Can Give Gift Funds On An FHA Loan?

When dreaming of homeownership, knowing who can contribute to your journey can be heartwarming. Under FHA guidelines, donors can include:

  • Family Members: This is a broad category, including parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and even cousins. Essentially, if you’re related by blood, marriage, or law, they’re considered family.
  • Fiancés or Domestic Partners: Those who are engaged or share a life together can also contribute, even if not legally married.
  • Close Friends: If someone is a close friend with a clearly defined, documented interest in your wellbeing, they might also be able to gift funds. This requires additional documentation to prove the relationship’s significance.
  • Charitable Organizations: Certain non-profits and governmental entities can provide gift funds to help individuals achieve homeownership.
  • Employers: Some employers offer down payment assistance as part of their benefits package or support efforts.

This flexibility in who can provide gift funds is a testament to the FHA’s commitment to making homeownership accessible. Remember, whoever the donor may be, the crucial point is that the gift funds come with no strings attached and are well-documented.

The Bottom Line

Making homeownership more reachable, FHA Gift Funds decrease the financial burden of purchasing a home by permitting gifts from family, close friends, and others. The essentials to remember are ensuring the gift is genuine with no repayment expected, meticulously documenting each step of the gift, understanding who qualifies as a donor, and adhering to FHA guidelines. This pathway to homeownership, paved with the support of those who wish you well, underscores the importance of community and backing in achieving one’s dream of a home. It’s a testament to how collective effort and a bit of help can make significant strides toward securing your own space in the world.


Who is considered a family member for FHA gift funds?

FHA considers a family member to include a relative by blood, marriage, or law. This can include parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and in-laws. The definition can be broad and may include any person who is related to the borrower by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal guardianship. Additionally, a spouse or domestic partner is also considered a family member.

Can gift funds be used for reserves on an FHA loan?

Yes, gift funds can be used for reserves on an FHA loan. Reserves refer to the amount of money left over in a borrower’s account after the down payment and closing costs. The FHA guidelines allow gift funds to be applied toward the down payment, closing costs, and reserves, provided the gift funds are verified to be a true gift and not a loan that must be repaid.

Can a cousin gift funds on an FHA loan?

Yes, a cousin can gift funds for an FHA loan as they are considered a family member under FHA guidelines. The donor must provide a gift letter that specifies the amount of the gift, the relationship to the borrower, and that no repayment is expected or required.

Can a fiancé gift funds for an FHA home purchase?

Yes, a fiancé can gift funds for an FHA home purchase. The FHA considers a fiancé/fiancée as an acceptable donor of gift funds. Like with other gift funds, documentation will be required to prove the source of the funds and to confirm that the gift does not need to be repaid.

Can a friend give gift funds for an FHA mortgage?

Yes, friends can also give gift funds for an FHA mortgage, but the requirements are a bit more stringent. The borrower must provide additional documentation to prove that the gift is indeed a genuine gift and not a loan. The FHA may require the donor to provide a gift letter, evidence of the donor’s ability to provide the gift, and possibly more documentation compared to gifts from family members.

What are the rules for FHA gift funds?

The rules for using FHA gift funds are pretty straightforward to ensure the process is transparent. First, the funds must be a true gift with no expectation of repayment. The donor must be a family member, close friend, employer, charitable organization, or governmental entity that can be clearly documented. A gift letter must accompany the funds, specifying the amount, the relationship, and the declaration that no repayment is expected. Lastly, the transfer of funds should be well-documented, showing the withdrawal from the donor’s account and the deposit into the borrower’s account.

Can an FHA borrower use gift funds from an as funds for a down payment?

Yes, an FHA borrower can use gift funds for the entire down payment unless the down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price and comes solely from gift funds; in such cases, the lender may require additional scrutiny. It’s important that the gift funds adhere to FHA guidelines, including proper documentation and a gift letter.

What is the FHA 85% rule?

The FHA 85% rule pertains to the amount of gift funds relative to the property’s appraised value. When a borrower receives more than 85% of the sale price as a gift of equity, additional rules and scrutiny apply. This rule is tailored to ensure that the home purchase is financially justified and reduces the risk of inflated property sales among family members.

How does a gift of equity work for FHA?

A gift of equity occurs when a family member selling the property to the borrower offers a portion of the home’s value as a gift, essentially serving as part or all of the down payment. In an FHA loan scenario, the gift of equity must follow specific guidelines: A formal appraisal must establish the home’s market value, and a gift letter should state the amount of the gift and clarify that no repayment is expected. This arrangement can significantly reduce the amount the buyer needs to finance, making homeownership more accessible.

About The Author

Channing Moore

Channing is the owner of Bayou Mortgage. He is passionate about empowering people through education and training to own a home. In his spare time you can catch him at church, reading a book or working on his latest project.

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