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First time buyers? How to help your child buy a property

12th October 2023 by John Munro

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Stepping onto the property ladder can be a challenge for first time buyers. We take a look at how parents can help their children buy a home.

The so-called Bank of Mum and Dad is considered to be a major lender when it comes to financing first-time buyers. There are several implications to be aware of however and it is not as straightforward as simply handing over a deposit.

Gifting money for a house purchase

Giving money is a popular option. The lender will need to approve the gift and you will need to confirm in writing that the sum is a gift and you do not expect it to be repaid. You need to disclose to your child’s lender if you have borrowed the money yourself in order to make the gift. In some cases, this might not be acceptable to the lender.

You will also have to verify your identity and provide evidence of the source of the funds to comply with money laundering regulations.

There can be Inheritance Tax implications in giving a sizeable gift. Should the donor die within seven years of giving the gift, Inheritance Tax may be payable on it.

You may want to protect the gifted money for your child if they are buying the property jointly with someone else. This can be done by them owning the property as tenants in common. Each owner can hold a specified percentage, meaning that your child could own a larger percentage of the property if they have contributed more towards the purchase price than the other owner.

Other options for helping your child buy a property

There are a number of other ways in which parents might be able to help their offspring buy a home, including:

  • Lending them money – which would need to be disclosed to the lender. The loan should be dealt with formally, particularly if they are buying jointly with someone else
  • Acting as a guarantor on their mortgage – your child may be able to borrow more if you guarantee their mortgage. This means that should they default on the payments, you will be liable for repaying the mortgage yourself
  • Taking out a joint mortgage with them – you can co-own the property with your child and take out a joint mortgage with them. This is likely to allow them access to a larger loan and potentially better interest rates. One point to beware of is that if you already own a property, then you will have to pay an additional 3% Stamp Duty when you buy the new property as it will count as a second property. You will also be liable for Capital Gains Tax when the property is sold if it is still your second property. An alternative is a joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage, where you would not be an owner of the property but would be liable for the mortgage
  • Putting savings into an account linked to their mortgage – family offset mortgages allow parents’ savings to used as security against the mortgage. You would not be able to access your savings if this option is used
  • A springboard mortgage is similar to a family offset mortgage and allows your savings or your property to be used as security for the purchase

If you are considering what option is right for your situation, you may want to discuss the implications with a financial adviser before deciding as this is likely to tie your money up for some time.

Contact us

To speak to one of our property experts, please contact Kelly Howe on k.howe@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or 01202 377800.

John Munro

Partner — Commercial and Residential Property

Direct dial: 01202 377839

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John Munro, head of Property, Laceys Solicitors
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  • “Changing solicitors is not to be undertaken lightly. However really impressed with the way that John Munro and his associates have dealt with us over the last couple of years in a variety of complex property related transactions and on the commercial and personal front as well. We look forward to working with them going forward.”

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John joined Laceys in 2001 on a training contract, having completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Law in 2000, and qualified as a solicitor in 2003. He is now the Head of the Commercial and Residential Property Departments.

He is also the firm’s Senior Responsible Officer under the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) with overall responsibility for the management of the property team and their delivery of the excellent service that our clients have come to expect.

John acts in his own capacity for a number of commercial property owners, developers and investors, but also allocates time to ensure his team are up to speed with changing law and professional regulations and clients are provided with members of the team who possess the right skills to deal with their individual requirements, delivering projects in the most time and cost-efficient manner.

Outside of work John seems to spend a great deal of time ferrying his children around but occasionally gets to put his feet up and listen to his eclectic collection of vinyl. He is also not averse to a good cheeseboard and a glass of IPA.

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