The real estate business can be creative at times. It’s not always ‘write up an offer, get an inspection, and wait for the lender to send out an appraiser and finish your loan’ kinda thing. For example, I had friends (a social worker and a librarian) wanting to purchase their first home but had little in the bank for a down payment. Except…the husband had his original baseball card collection which had value. We went to a creative lender that I liked and presented the idea of buying a home with old printed pieces of cardboard, and the lender simply said “I think I can get you a loan, but let me talk to the underwriter”. So, a day later, the lender came back and said my buyers could use the cards as a down payment but would have to a) sell the cards for the appropriate amount for the down payment and b) provide a receipt for the sale. My buyers figured out what they needed to sell and we found them a great house where they still live today. If I recall, one of the cards was a Micky Mantle. A mint condition Mantle Card just sold last month for $12.6 million-the most ever paid for a sports memorabilia card and possibly the most for any kind of sports memorabilia to date. A Honus Wagner card recently sold for $7.25 million, which was the second highest amount for memorabilia in all of sports-so far. Something tells me that the legends of the all American game of baseball would not have minded that their faces were used to buy housing for first time buyers.
Clients I worked with presented a slightly different problem to me when they handed me a neatly wrapped piece of tissue paper to say they would use ‘emeralds’ as their earnest money and down payment. When I opened the tiny packet I saw ten green pieces of what looked like jujube’s (candy). I had no idea if they were real stones or their value, and neither did my broker. In this case, the seller of the home they wished to buy didn’t have a problem with them using emeralds but wanted assurance the stones were real and of value. My broker went to O.C.Tanner and had the gems appraised and they found that they did have appropriate value, which satisfied the seller.
I asked our favorite mortgage broker, Julie Brizzee with Intercap Lending, if a buyer could use cryptocurrency as a down payment. She replied, “It’s like selling a car for the down. I would have to provide documentation of value-an appraisal of value, then a bill of sale and receipt of funds.” My own real estate brokerage is not set up to accept cryptocurrencies as earnest money and regardless of that I would still have to prove a buyer’s earnest money (cash, check or wired funds) was valuable currency that could be transferred into an escrow account once the buyers offer was accepted