0 Items

Down Payment Gifts

Down Payment Gifts

Facts About Down Payment Gifts

Lenders have many rules and regulations when buying a home with down payment assistance. If you are considering giving or receiving any down payment assistance, here’s a breakdown of standard rules and requirements.

What Are Down Payment Gifts?

A down payment gift is money a buyer receives from someone else to use toward a down payment or closing costs during a home purchase. Down payment gifts do not need to be paid back.

Gift Rules

Each type of loan has different restrictions about how those gifts can be used, and how the gift should be documented, and who can provide financial gifts.

What Are Gift Letters

Most lenders require a gift letter that documents the details about how much is being given, who is gifting the money, and what their relationship is to the buyer. This letter also states that money does not need to be repaid and must be signed by the donor. Verification of sufficient funds and documentation of fund transfer is also often required.

Gift Types

Conventional Loan Gift Rules

Conventional loans rules often allow buyers to use gift money for down payments, closing costs, or financial reserves. Down payment gifts on conventional loans cannot be used for investment properties. Restrictions state that only romantic partners and family members can gift this money.

FHA Loan Gift Rules

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans allow buyers to use gift money to pay closing costs, mortgage expenses, or down payments. In addition to a gift letter, you must provide evidence of both withdrawal from the source account and evidence of the deposit to the receiving account. Friends, family, employers, and other entities can gift this money.

USDA Loan Gift Rules

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans offer unique benefits to buyers in rural areas by requiring zero money down on the purchase of a property. As a result, gift funds aren’t often used toward a down payment. These funds can be used to pay for some or all of the loan’s closing costs. However, this money cannot be used as financial reserves to help you make mortgage payments. Gifts for a USDA loan can come only from family members, employers, a labor union, a charitable organization, or a homeowners assistance program.

VA Loan Gift Rules

Like USDA loans, you are not required to make a down payment when applying for a Veteran’s Affairs (VA) loan. Funds can be used for a down payment or to cover closing costs. This money can also be used to pay the funding fee often required with this type of loan. Almost any person can gift this money.


If you are considering using a financial gift to purchase a home, speak with a lender about their gift rules before applying. This information was verified by one of my favorite lenders, Greg Giokas, Senior Loan Officer, Guild Mortgage, NMLS#1760. Contact Greg.

I hope this information is useful to you or someone you know. Please feel free to pass it on. Ask me your real estate questions anytime. I’m here for you. Contact Janet.

4 + 1 =

What Do Real Estate and Taxes Have in Common?

What Do Real Estate and Taxes Have in Common?

They both have significant financial implications and can cause you a lot of stress. But it doesn’t have to be so.

The overwhelming feelings brought on by the impending tax deadline can lead to high anxiety. Becoming aware of your tax-time stress triggers is the first step in reducing that stress. Once you do, you can shift your attitude and consider the solutions.

Almost everyone procrastinates.

Is your paperwork disorganized in piles everywhere, causing your cortisol hormones to rise and pushing you into a stressful state? Or are you a worrier constantly thinking about what you may owe, which makes you avoid the whole process? Experts define procrastination as a self-defeating behavior pattern marked by short-term benefits and long-term costs. Stop worrying and start making a plan…and write it down.

Does math anxiety contribute to your stress factor?

Investing in tax software or one of the many tax services may be helpful. Free tax services are available to help with cost and preparation. And did you know the IRS offers free tax counseling for the elderly?

Preparation is key.

Divide the job into manageable chunks.” Then, make appointments with yourself in writing on your calendar. Keep the appointments and avoid procrastination (there’s that word again!) While you’re at it, think about next year. This is a great time to find an improved method for tracking your expenses and monitoring your money. Plan ahead by reading the IRS sheets on tax planning.

The IRS is your friend.

Ironically, in the IRS Tips to Help Take the Stress Out of Tax Season, step 9 says, “Avoid errors.” Reading this brings up my stress level, especially since I went to Catholic school and, oh, those nuns, they made an impression. As some experts explain, people can have unresolved issues around authority figures, and that can cause anxiety and fear. But there are many great tools provided by the IRS including the Interactive Tax Assistant, also known as ITA.

Get the information you need.

Review the IRS Credits and Deductions page to find out about new provisions.

Read What You Need to Know for the 2024 Tax Season from the New York Times.

How did the Buddha get through tax season?

There is a reason why there are many statues of the Buddha laughing. If working on your paperwork puts you on edge, listen to music while organizing your data. Or reward yourself with something fun as you complete each step. During any stressful period, taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep, and relaxing is essential. “Find something that makes you laugh and smile, get a massage, or just breathe deeply.” And again, plan for next year and start “cultivating financial mindfulness.”

Wishing you the best this tax season. Remember, to take the stress out of your real estate decisions, stay calm and call me at 617-797-9497. If I don’t pick up, I’m probably relaxing and I’ll call you back as soon as I’m done.

3 + 15 =

Five Star Service Provider: Peter Yesair Home Improvement

Five Star Service Provider: Peter Yesair Home Improvement

I am writing to sing the praises of Peter Yesair Home Improvement. Peter designed a beautiful home entertainment cabinet for one of my clients and did a beautiful job. And although Peter’s main area of expertise is remodeling projects, especially kitchens and baths, he is a brilliant finish carpenter. Peter is reliable, fair-minded, resourceful, and exceptionally talented. 

Peter came to my rescue recently when I ran into a big problem when expecting sixteen for a holiday dinner. I had prepped the brisket, cooked the soup, and was beginning to set the table. I have a beautiful jupe dining table with an intricate mechanism for expanding and opening the built-in leaves to seat more people. To my horror, two of the table’s leaves were stuck. I couldn’t open or close the table. I had a big problem.

I called Peter, and he gracefully showed up quickly on a Saturday, and within a few hours, he was able to repair the table. This was not an easy fix, but Peter did it and, smiling, said he enjoyed the challenge.

I highly recommend him for any project.

Peter Yesair Home Improvement

Table with a problem

Table repaired

Peter Yesair, my hero!

Ready for dinner

Woody Allen says, “Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.”

Any time you are looking for a 5-Star service provides, give me a call. I’m here for you.

Life is Good on the Right Side of the Bridge!

Welcome to 29 Monomoy Road, Harwich Port, MA 02646



Enjoy the beach! The wooded path to the beach is before the bend in Monomoy Road.  In the Summer, the beach guard should check in with you. Tell them you are guests at 29 Monomoy Road and give them your name.
FYI: launching a boat is not permitted. 


Beach chairs, beach floats, toys, and the beach cart are there for your enjoyment. Please rinse sandy items before returning to the garage. Bicycles are available for your enjoyment. There are two adult bikes and one child’s bike.

Please water the plant on the deck! If you are interested in glimpsing some hummingbirds, please refresh the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder.  1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water.


Plenty of sheets and towels for your convenience. Please put your dirty towels and sheets through the laundry. If you run out of time on checkout day, you can leave the last load of laundry in the washer for the cleaning people to put in the dryer. 


The 2017 kitchen is fully equipped. The coffee maker is a combo espresso maker and coffee pot.  The toaster oven is also an air fryer. There is an old sandwich press in the corner cabinet. The lobster pot and other large pots are in the garage. Swan River Fish Market (see below) will cook to order. Lobster utensils are stored in the cabinets. The 2023 gas grill is on the deck. Please feel free to use pantry items. 


Comast Internet access is installed. The password is on the desk when you arrive. The television is set up with streaming.

Trash Pickup and Landscaping 

Trash pick-up is on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Rubbish is removed from the driveway. Please leave the bins out in the morning. During the week, the garbage bins are kept in the front of the garage. The lawn is mowed on Wednesdays. Please keep the lawn clear of beach items, balls, etc. If the Property Manager needs to clear the lawn to mow, we will be charged for the time.


  • After beach visits, please rinse off sandy feet and legs with the hose or outside shower. This will protect the hardwood floors and keep sand out of your sheets. 😉
  • This home has a septic system, so please put all garbage in the trash and avoid using the garbage disposal.
  • Please keep garage doors closed, especially at night, to avoid raccoons, chipmunks, bunnies, etc.
  • Make sure you turn off the hose after use.

Contact Janet Porcaro for any questions at 617-797-9497 or Janet@Janetporcaro.net


  • Leave the garage door opener on the hanger in the kitchen. 
  • Return the key to where it was left.
  • Please strip all beds and put all linens and towels through the laundry.
  • Run the dishwasher if there are any dirty dishes.
  • Leave the deck umbrella down.
  • Make sure the heat/cooling is set to Econ.
  • Make sure the windows are closed.
  • Ensure the hose is turned off and the gas on the grill is turned off.
  • Please return any furniture you may have moved to where you found it when you checked in. 
  • Leave deck pillows inside in case of rain.

ONE MORE REMINDER:  Please leave the garage door opener and the key.


This is only a partial list. You could spend days strolling Harwich Port Center. There are many local shops and places to find food and drink. Please let me know if you try something spectacular that I should add to the list. By the way, Harwich Port is only one part of the Town of Harwich. There are plenty of areas to explore.



Swan River Fish Market


  • Sunday School offers two locations, Harwich and Dennis – best ice cream around!
  • Woolfies – This small, primarily to-go seasonal family breakfast bakery serves delicious muffins, breakfast pastries, and grilled breakfast sandwiches. (Order one of their fantastic breakfast sandwiches online a day in advance, I’m not kidding, people line up for these sandwiches. Same with the muffins.)
  • The Weather Deck – Fresh seafood, burger, excellent sweet potato fries, on-site mini-golf course
  • Kream and Kone – Great fried and broiled seafood and more
  • Brax’s Landing is casual dining with many tables overlooking the water
  • Clancy’s Restaurant – great food with outdoor dining overlooking the river
  • Wee Packet Family Restaurant has awesome breakfasts and great food!
  • Mad Minnow Bar and Grill – The Gullottis and Strangfelds partnered together in 2015 with a goal to bring high-quality, local products to Harwich Port. With a passion for the community, their aim for the Mad Minnow is to join people together for amazing food, scratch cocktails, and awesome beer.
  • The Port Restaurant and Bar – Contemporary Bistro Dining in the heart of Harwich Port
  • Bucas Tuscan Roadhouse – Italian Trattoria – make your reservations well in advance
  • Cape Sea Grille – Located in quaint Harwich Port, Cape Sea Grille offers the freshest creative American cuisine
  • Ocean House named one of the top 100 scenic restaurants. reservations must be made 30 days in advance


The Trampolines – We are an outdoor, seasonal, recreational facility. This is our 61st season of making memories that last a lifetime! Pure fun for the whole family!

The Bumper Boats, Batting Cages, Rock Climbing, Zipline – Open for our 33rd Season – Open 10 am – 9 pm Every Day


Scenic Shopping has the full list of shops in Harwich Port Center.

Sativa – Boutique gift shop located in picturesque downtown Harwich Port. Open year-round, 7 days a week. Offering something for everyone!

Dr. Gravity’s Kite Shop – More than kites, floaties, beach toys, and accessories.

Whimsey – New and Consigned women’s clothing – Whimsey carries an assortment of new merchandise consigned by regional clothing boutiques and designers and unique items purchased directly from artists and wholesalers.


Paradise! This was the perfect home and location for a wonderful Cape getaway. Great location to so many Cape experiences. The house was spacious, immaculate and had everything we needed including a beautiful kitchen and wonderful deck and outdoor space as well as all the beach apparatus you would need. The close, private beach access was perfect and we enjoyed many walks looking for treasures and enjoying the view. The owner was so responsive and receptive. My 6 year old daughter especially enjoyed the “seashell” bedroom with the assortment of books and the little dollhouse. Overall just a fantastic experience!” ~Amy M. VRBO 7/25/2023

“Great house close to the beach! Well maintained property, comfortable, great kitchen and deck, with responsive owner.” Gary H. VRBO 7/4/2023

Perfect Cape Cod Vacation We enjoyed a wonderful stay at this lovely Harwich Port home. It is just as pictured with a spacious updated kitchen and comfortable furnishings throughout. The property is very well maintained and the beachside location can’t be beat. The host responded immediately to any questions and was a pleasure to deal with.” ~Janet VRBO – August 27, 2022

“Great house and beach! Enough said!! We loved our Cape stay. We have been coming to HarwichPort for 25 years. Watched our children grow up here. And it was great to return after a few years off for graduations and pandemics. The house and host were lovely and helpful. And the beach was special. Would happily return!” ~Peter VRBO 8/23/2022

“Great house in a great location! Our family had such a great time in this house. It is a super short walk to a PRIVATE beach. We came the 2nd week of August and had the private beach to ourselves the entire week, it was amazing. The house also has tons of items to bring to the beach, chairs, sand toys, boogie boards, etc. The house was very clean, and had tons of amenities that we made use of on a regular basis. The kitchen was amazing, fully updated with a huge island and lots of counter space. The oven wasn’t working at the time of our visit, but there was a toaster oven / air fryer available for use that met our needs. The living space was great, there was one room with a TV and another room with games and a large table and couch for the games and puzzles. It would be nice to have another TV in one of the bedrooms, but we made due with our phones / ipads on the rainy day when we exhausted the games and puzzles. The outside shower was very nice, and you could use separate faucets for just washing your feet off after the beach. The inside bathrooms were nice, although a bit outdated, and the toilet in the master bath was very small with a slow flush that you have to hold the handle down to get it to flush. However, this is nothing that would hold us back from renting this property again. The bedrooms were very spacious, which you can’t tell from the pictures. We would absolutely stay here again, the location is amazing, close to the grocery store, mini golf, go carts, restaurants, and walk to beach. Thanks for the great week!”
~Tara VRBO 8/17/2022

“We had the best experience staying here – the beautiful home was truly better than we could have expected. Beautiful kitchen and open layout and huge yard for our kids. The location was great and such an easy walk to the most beautiful private beach.” ~ David B. VRBO July 2022

Great House / Great Location
“Nice clean and bright house with a short walk to a private beach. Roomy 3 bed room ranch and great outdoor space. We had a nice week.” Gary VRBO July 2022

“5-Star All Around”

“The only bad thing about this house… is that it’s not ours! We loved our stay: the welcoming and spacious layout, the sleek kitchen, comfortable furniture at every turn, birds in the beautiful yard, the quiet & privacy, and (of course) proximity to the beach. It was a treat every single day to walk down the path to the ocean. Janet is also the ideal host: thoughtful, friendly and responsive from start to finish. Thank you again for opening up your beautiful home. You made our summer!” Eric R.  August 28, 2021

“Hydrangea Heaven”
“A comfortable house, clean, well-stocked, nicely decorated, with a new kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. The large yard is beautifully landscaped with gorgeous hydrangeas and other plantings, in a quiet neighborhood, an easy walk to a private beach. The owner was responsive, helpful, and easy to deal with. We’d rent here again.” Mary S. VRBO

“Great Stay”
“Wonderful house and very convenient location to private beach!” ~Joe H. VRBO

“Perfect Family Vacation Property”
“The property far exceeded all of our expectations. The expansive gourmet kitchen is connected to the dining room and two great rooms enabling our family to do different things but still be around everyone. The Master bedroom has a private deck accessed by a sliding door. Very private and great for viewing the many foxes chasing rabbits. The other two bedrooms were fine. The yards are professionally manicured with beautiful flowers. Tons of beach chairs, beach towels, games, bikes, beach games, and more. The second deck off the kitchen was quite large and has appropriate furniture. The hammock is a nice touch. In summary, we would absolutely recommend the property and will come back next year.” ~Jeffrey S. VRBO

“Perfect Summer Getaway Minutes Walking from a Beautiful Sandy Beach”
“Our family had a wonderful week staying at this amazing house in Harwich Port, conveniently located off the beaten path yet close to everything at the same time. It has all the creature comfort we ever wanted in a summer house. The kitchen is well stocked with all the amenities, including a wide variety of seasonings for at-home cooking. The coffee-and-expresso machine was incredibly convenient for our daily use. The house comes with 3 spacious bedrooms with comfortable beds and clean linens. It was wonderful to see a closet full of bath and beach towels. The private beach was a short walk from the house; kids really enjoyed swimming in the ocean. We went biking a couple of times, once around the rail trail nearby, then drove to P Town to ride around the sand dunes. We brought 4 bikes; our daughter got to use one of the bikes from the garage. Our kids rated this as one of the most comfortable stays and they are picky!” ~Jing M. VRBO 7/31/2021 at 10:03 PM



Shred and Shed

You are invited to a free, live paper shredding event at the beautiful new state-of-the-art Wells Avenue Y!

Watch your old documents disappear, reduced to tiny scraps of recycled pulp…

then, explore the Wells Ave Y, come dressed for a workout…

shred and shed, get it?

Day passes will be provided, and staff will be offering tours of the facility.

If Zumba makes you smile, enjoy a fun and free Zumba class which starts at 10 am.

A fantastic gift basket will be raffled off on the day of the event.

  • Shred your old papers safely and securely with an on-site Shred-It truck
  • Free day pass to the Y
  • Tours of the beautiful new facility
  • Free Zumba class at 10 am
  • Raffle prizes

Call me at 617-797-9497 with questions. I hope to see you on April 29 from 10 to 12:30 at the Wells Avenue Y!