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HomeFundMe: Crowdfunding for a down payment

FILE - A new home under construction. (MGN)

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - You've likely heard of GoFundMe, the crowdfunding website, but have you heard of HomeFundMe?

It's a website aimed at raising money for the down payment on a home.

"There is no repayment! This is a true gift and anyone can contribute," said Christopher M. George, president and CEO of CMG Financial, the company behind HomeFundMe.

In the past, accepting money from non-family members for a down payment wasn't allowed.

Through HomeFundMe, users can accept donations from anyone.

It's pretty simple, here's what you do:

  1. Create an account
  2. Apply for prequalification
  3. Build your campaign
  4. Share it with friends
  5. Meet with your HomeFundMe coaches
  6. Buy your home

Users have a year from the time they receive their first donation to close on a house. If enough funds aren't raised within the 12-month timeline, the fundraising coach will assess their campaign to figure out if the goal is still doable. In some cases, an extension will be given. If they decide the goal is unattainable, non-conditional funds will still be gifted and conditional funds will be returned to the contributor.

Right now, HomeFundMe is in its proof of concept phase.

It's a first-of-its-kind concept, but George believes that it could soon become the normal way of making a down payment.

"Today, a lot of folks view their social network as their net worth. So, being able to leverage those folks that are around you, that care for you and want the best for you, in a form of crowdfunding, [is] allowing folks to look at home ownership in a completely different light," said George.

KBOI 2's Abigail Taylor asked, "at risk of sounding crass, what would (you) say to people who might say, 'Whatever happened to doing it yourself?'"

George replied, "You could make the argument [that] the whole concept of GoFundMe could be centered around 'Why don't they do it themselves?' Inherently, people want to help other folks. When asked, as long as you believe in the project you're asked to help with, most people step up and say, 'You know what, I will help you!'"

CMG Financial is also offering a two-for-one grant opportunity where it will give qualifying home buyers $2 for every $1 they raise, up to $2,500.

George said the company's next step is to begin partnering with other companies as a way of incentivizing their employees. Employers would offer to match the fundraising of an employee who is looking to buy a home in the area as a way of acquiring and retaining talented employees.

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