When it came time to buy our first house, my parents did an amazingly generous thing: They gave us a big chunk of money for our down payment. We truly appreciate the gift, and wanted to find a great way to say “thank you.”
Unfortunately, our mortgage company made us do the opposite. Instead of making it easy for them to be generous, I had to call my parents and ask for “just one more favor” as the bank made them jump through hoops and intruded into their personal finances.
Little did I know, that the hoop-jumping could have been avoided if I’d known two simple things:
- Deposit the Money Prior to Closing: I’m so new to this home-buying thing that I didn’t know when the gift was supposed to be given — present a check from my parents at closing? Deposit it beforehand? Just a few days before the mortgage company’s final underwriting deadline, they told me to show them my transaction history where the funds were deposited. Deposited? Like, in past tense? Oops. Ensue scramble to get the check from my parents.
- Get a Personal Check: A personal check allows the mortgage company to immediately verify the source of the enormous deposit into our checking account. We thought a bank check would be best, but it does not have their name or account number on it, so our mortgage company was unable to identify where the money came from. For all they knew, we took out a personal loan. After I deposited the bank check, the mortgage company asked for verification from my parents’ bank that the money had come from their account.
Lessons learned. Hopefully we’ll never need to know these things again, but I thought I could do some good by sharing and preventing someone else from having to jump through hoops.
Now, how can I ever thank my parents enough?