Just when you think you've registered with all the right bridal registries, another pops up. Only this one's for a mortgage loan, and won't require any merchandise returns!
In late 1996, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced a program to help buyers accumulate home down payments. Even though it's called “Homeownership Bridal Registry Accounts” it can be used by anyone to accumulate funds from relatives, friends -- ideal for wedding, graduation, or other special gift occasions.
Here's how it works.
Prospective home buyers contact lenders who originate FHA insured loans to set up individual federally-insured depository accounts in the parties' names. Funds may be deposited by friends and relatives directly into the account, or given by cash or check to the couples or individuals for deposit.
Depending on how they wish to market the Homeowner Bridal Registry program, lenders can provide information about the program directly to friends and relatives of the potential home buyer(s) using FHA's promotional brochure, or one designed by the lender. In addition, lenders can provide “gift cards” that reflect the gift-giver's name for the purpose of documenting the gift. Not only will the program help buyers obtain a down payment, the monies will be tracked and accounted for using FHA guidelines, ready as part of the loan documentation when the buyers are ready to apply for the loan.
The funds remain under the control of the individuals for whom they're deposited. The funds can be withdrawn at any time and aren't required to be used to purchase a home. (But don't tell the parents paying for the wedding -- they might get ideas on other ways to apply the money!) In addition, engaged couples don't have to be married before they use the monies to close on a home loan.
If you've spoken previously to a lender about obtaining a home loan, call him/her back to ask about the Homeowner Bridal Registry account. If you need to find an FHA lender, the best source will be to ask people you know for referrals to lenders they've been pleased with.
If those aren't possible, other real estate professionals (appraisers, real estate agents, title companies) are also a good source. Display ads in the yellow pages of the phone book under the headings of “real estate loans” and “mortgages” will also state which lenders make FHA loans. So bring on the wedding cake -- and watch your down payment accumulate!