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Step 20 to Buying a Home: Down Payment

Now that we’re getting closer to your closing date, it’s time to get your down payment ready!  Remember that in addition to the down payment you need approximately 3 to 6% of the purchase price on top of the down payment available in cash for the closing costs.

If any of these funds are going to be gifted to you from a family member, you need to let your mortgage lender know right away so he or she can get approval from the underwriter for the funds. Often your mortgage lender will ask for a gift letter from the person gifting you the funds.  This letter simply acknowledges that the money is considered a gift and does not need to be repaid. (NOTE: Gift letters are most common with government backed loans such as FHA, VA or USDA).

It’s best if the down payment and closing cost funds are transferred into one account.  This account must be disclosed to your mortgage lender and you must let him or her know this is the account you’re going to be using for the down payment as the funds have to be tracked.

One business day before your closing date, either your mortgage lender or title company will email you a close estimate of the amount of money needed to close as well as the wire transfer instructions.  Unfortunately, the total amount usually is not available farther in advance as the title company needs to receive final figures from both your lender (if utilizing a mortgage) as well as both attorneys. Amounts under $50,000 can be paid for with a cashier’s check, however, amounts over $50,000 must be wire transferred. He or she will also ask you to transfer extra money, usually $1,000 – $2,000 on top of the estimate, just in case there are any surprises or mistakes found at closing in regards to the numbers, which happens frequently.  You’ll wire transfer these funds in one lump payment the DAY BEFORE CLOSING. It is crucial that these funds be wire transferred the day before closing at the latest as the Title company cannot accept it the day of closing. (NOTE: You may also obtain a certified bank check, sometimes called a cashier’s check, at the bank to bring to closing.  There is usually a small bank charge for the service).

If the mortgage lender is unable to give you the exact amount due you will need to obtain a cashier’s check (or wire transfer) for the estimated amount and bring a checkbook with you to closing.  Typically, the title company will allow you to write a personal check for any overage as long as the amount is less than $1,000.

While it would be nice to wire transfer the funds several days in advance, often the title company doesn’t have the exact figures until the day before.  Therefore, call your bank now and find out what you need to do to make a wire transfer. Most of the time you have to go into the bank personally to initiate the wire transfer.  Also, find out what their cut off time is for wire transfers. Usually it’s around 4pm. That means you’ll have to do the wire transfer by that time the day before closing in order for it to go into the title company’s account on time. Once you’ve done the wire transfer, email myself as well as mortgage lender so we can make sure the title company received the funds.

Lastly, explain to your work that you need to leave for a little while the day before closing in order to initiate the wire transfer and make sure that is OK with them.

At closing, any overage/extra money you paid will be refunded back to you at the very end of the closing via a check.

PLEASE NOTE: There have been a number of hackers and scammers lately trying to divert (ie. steal) closing funds to their personal accounts and away from the title companies. Generally, the wire transfer instructions will be emailed to you from your mortgage lender, however, occasionally they will be sent to you from your attorney or from me. DO NOT FOLLOW WIRE TRANSFER INSTRUCTIONS SENT FROM ANYONE ELSE. ONLY FOLLOW WIRE TRANSFER INSTRUCTIONS SENT TO YOU YOUR MORTGAGE LENDER OR TITLE COMPANY.  If you want to verify that the wire transfer instructions you received are legit, call the title company and they can verify them with you via phone.

Please let us know at if you have any questions.

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Gina Casner

In 2016, I began my tenure in real estate as a licensed Executive Assistant for a leading real estate training coach and subsequently for high-producing real estate teams. I very quickly fell in love with real estate and by 2019, I transitioned into personally helping clients turn their dreams into keys. After dozens of transactions, I have been dubbed the “unicorn hunter,” finding out-of-the-box solutions for clients looking for a home with unique requirements. In addition to managing my real estate practice, I am involved in providing community education on responsible home ownership through my exclusive Path to Home Ownership workshop series. I also am the founder of Chronically Strong, an organization that promotes mental health awareness and suicide prevention in our local communities. I take a holistic and individualized approach to real estate. Buying or selling a home in Central PA can be complex, sophisticated and often a deeply personal endeavor. Your experience should mimic the high level of customer service all of my clients have, while being very specific to your own individual needs. I work with a team of experts to provide a full, complete experience that only a cohesive team can consistently provide. Working with us, you will be given personal attention in every aspect of your home buying and selling experience with the professionalism and consistency of a thoughtful business model. And yes, superior results will follow! On a personal note, I attribute my success not only to my passion for helping clients execute on their next “big move”, but also to my knowledge regarding the psychology of buying and selling. My clientele works in diverse industries with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, and business. My real estate practice has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to friends, family and neighbors. This track record is only possible because we deliver both results AND an enjoyable experience. Growing up, my family moved frequently all across the continental U.S., but you will hear me say that I am from California because that is the longest place that I lived during my formative years. Moving became a way of life for my family and each place I lived became a part of my story. It taught me that our home truly is the foundation of everything in our lives, and it is this belief that compels me to work hard for my clients when they are buying or selling their home. In many ways, our home becomes a part of our identity, an identity and memory that should be honored. I have been accused of being tenacious and super honest. I like to win (for my clients) but do so with a calm demeanor and a smile. I live in a raised ranch home in Lower Paxton Township with my main squeeze, my teenage son, and our very spoiled dog, Ginger. I have mad faith, and truly believe that each and every one of us is capable of great things. I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors’ in Sociology. There is a running joke in my family that every day I go to real estate school because every day my clients teach me something new. I continually invest time, money and thought into the latest sales, marketing and negotiation techniques. Why? Because I believe that you deserve to have the best working for you. I want to live life on my own terms, and am committed to helping you do the same. Would you like to work together? Please reach out. I look forward to hearing from you! Gina

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