Once Bitcoin, Twice Shy: Can You Buy a Home with Bitcoin?

Mortgage and Lending with Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA NMLS: 22343

Once Bitcoin, Twice Shy:  Can You Buy a Home with Bitcoin?


Let's talk about what this post will NOT cover:


  1. How bitcoin works.
  2. Whether or not you should invest in bitcoin.
  3. Is bitcoin the modern day equivalent of tulip bulbs?


What will we cover?  


  1. Using bitcoin to buy real estate.  In other words, can you use bitcoin for your down payment? 
  2. What will a mortgage lender ask for if you obtain a loan for your purchase? 
  3. What else do I need to know before I cash out of the investment that's kept me sleepless for the last few months?


Using Bitcoin to Buy a House

In short and in summary, a number of our jumbo investors WILL allow bitcoin to be used for the down payment and closing costs so long as the source of the bitcoin asset can be acceptably documented.  This typically translates to "paper trailing" the statement from the bitcoin account or "wallet," then seeing the sale evidence itself.  We will require that the bitcoin funds have been liquidated and transferred into a cash-equivalent account.  There is an important distinction here.  Bitcoin funds will, at the time of this writing, almost universally not be allowed for the other requirements of attaining a loan, such as asset reserves.  What I'm witnessing is that bitcoin is permissible as a source of cash-equivalent funds once it has been sold.  But as an "asset" itself, mortgage lenders will not accept it like stocks, bonds or retirement accounts when considered for the loan's reserve requirement.  Let's look at an example:


Our borrower has an investment portfolio with $500K of a publicly traded stock in it.  He will liquidate $300K for his down payment and would then have $200K in reserve.  We would "discount" the $200K to 70% of its market value, or $140K.   This borrower has $140K in reserve by way of that same account.


Now let's say that instead of stock, our same borrower has a bitcoin account worth $500K (but check back in five minutes --- this could change...).  If he liquidates $300K and has $200K in the account, we will not count any of that remainder towards reserve.  


As a mortgage lender here in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, I can attest to the fact that questions about bitcoin are becoming more frequent.  Some lenders, including those who make jumbo loans, will not allow any use of bitcoin.  If you're planning to buy a home and need guidance on this specific aspect of the purchase process, don't hesitate to get in touch.


Mine your own business, 



Robert J. Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 Fax: 415-366-1590

Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood ChicagoIL 60613 - (866) 934-7283


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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Rob, how interesting! You are tackling a conversation that has many of us mystified...with humor AND intellect. I think your examples really made it quite easy for me to comprehend. 

1031 exchanges I can handle, this one...not so much! 

Jan 16, 2018 08:50 AM #1
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Rob Spinosa,

I echo Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate comments..it's a hot topic that have left many of us clueless. You have managed to write this with humor and intellect but I'm still not rushing out to get in the frenzy!

Jan 16, 2018 11:26 AM #2
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Rob Spinosa

SVP of Mortgage Lending, Marin County
Can I Get a Jumbo Loan with 10% Down?

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