The National Association of Realtors reports that in 2015, roughly 14 percent of all home buyers used a financial gift from a relative or friend for the down payment on their home. Of those who did this, a majority were under age of 34 and most often first-time home buyers.
This financial help might come in the form of a wedding gift bestowed to a young couple just starting out or as support for a recent graduate balancing student loans while building a career. The idea of being able to help your children achieve the American dream of owning a home is one that parents are often excited about.
But before you gift a down payment, check with your financial adviser to make sure you are aware of all of the tax implications and figure out the best way to incorporate this into your overall financial plan.
Here are a few things you should know:
- Mortgage lenders are fine with this practice but only if it is for a home and not an investment property.
- You may be able to cover the down payment but the giftee must still show that they can qualify for the entire mortgage.
- This can’t be a loan in disguise.
- You’ll need a formal “gift letter.”
- You should also be ready to show how the money was gifted from your account to theirs with a paper trail.
Along with your financial adviser, a qualified mortgage expert should also be able to help you through the process.