3 Places to Come With Downpayment Money

Buyers who don’t have a 20 percent down payment are finding it harder and harder to buy a home. Here are some sources of money that are still available and the pluses and minuses of using them.
  • Borrowing from a 401(k). Only some companies allow this. The maximum available is $50,000 ($100,00 if both spouses have 401(k)s) and the loan must be repaid within five years. Failure to do so and the loan will be considered a withdrawal, leaving the borrower liable for penalties and federal income tax.
  • Withdrawing up to $10,000 from an IRA for a purchase of a first home. Spouses who both have IRAs can withdrawal a total of $20,000. A potential borrower who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years is considered a "first-time buyer" for this specific purpose and can make a withdrawal. Federal taxes must be paid on the withdrawal at the borrower’s current marginal tax rate.
  • A gift. If buyers are comfortable asking for money, their parents, friends, and relatives can give a gift toward the down payment. But for the lender to approve it, the giver must sign a gift letter stating that the money doesn’t need to be repaid.

Source: ThinkGlink.com, Ilyce Glink (12/07/2007)