Who Says You Can’t Crowdsource Your Dream Home?

November 6th, 2017

These days, you see crowdfunding for everything. People are using crowdsource sites such as GoFundMe to help families who are down on their luck. Other sites, such as Kickstarter, provide a way for individuals to obtain the money needed to start up a business or fund a short film. But all you really want is a down payment for the house of your dreams. Is there crowdfunding for that?

As a matter of fact, there is.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Approved

According to a recent Marketwatch article, the privately-held mortgage banking firm CMG has started a pilot crowdfunding service called HomeFundMe. Each donor to the HomeFundMe campaigns can give up to $7,500. For those who earn less than their area’s median income, CMG will match $2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,500 or one percent of the home’s purchase price. Those earning more than the median income can receive a match of up to $1,000. The service is free to homebuyers who have pre-qualified for a Fannie or Freddie loan from CMG Financial and have undergone housing counseling from an independent agency.

The service is planned to run through June of next year, at which point Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may allow other lenders to explore the crowdfunding option.

Not the First of Its Kind

Though HomeFundMe is the first crowdfunding program to receive approval from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it is by no means the first – or only – site to offer the service. The co-founders of Hatch My House started their business of crowdsourced down payments several years ago, when they were planning their own wedding. Through the next seven years, they helped thousands of other people do the same thing, raising over $3.5 million in gifts. They even helped their children buy homes. Unfortunately, the business closed in December of 2016. However, the idea remains and remains a viable one.

Feather My Nest exists for a number of home-related crowdsourced ideas, including renovations and even raising money for a down payment. According to the site, a fund for your down payment can replace birthday gifts, Christmas presents, or even the traditional wedding registry. The site states you can “start a nest” by simply telling your story, explaining your need to those around you. You can then share the link to your story with family and friends via social media or through your wedding website. Donations can be made via major credit cards and, when you’re ready to put the money to use, you simply cash out.

HomeFunded is another crowdsource site where those who dream of owning a home can raise money for the down payment. While having a home already picked out isn’t a requirement to begin a campaign, HomeFunded suggests those using the site talk to a real estate professional first and get a good idea of how much the down payment will need to be to qualify for a loan before starting the funding process. The site urges you to not only share your campaign with others, but to ask family and friends to share the link as well, as more shares means an increased likelihood of a successful campaign. Donors can contribute in $5 increments, with a maximum of $1,000 per contribution. The site enables more money to be raised than the goal, but once you meet your goal, the project is considered funded. If, however, you fail to meet your goal within the campaign’s timeframe, the money raised will still be provided to you, but you will be responsible for coming up with the rest of the funds needed.

Considerations

As explained by MarketWatch, funds collected through other down payment crowdfunding sites that don’t have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac approval are considered gifts and are subject to requirements from Fannie and Freddie loans, as well as FHA loans. Generally, only gifts provided by family and close friends are allowed by these agencies, and the borrower must document the source of funds received as gifts. Due to the Fannie and Freddie approval that CMG has received, the platform is able to process the documentation required from donors an open the doors to other sources of donations.

Are you looking for a new home – maybe one you can consider crowdsourcing – in Orange County, Long Beach or the Los Angeles metro area? Brandywine Homes is opening six new communities over the next year offering a combined 265 single-family homes and townhomes. If you would like more information, sign up for our interest list here.

  • Share