Should you give your Child a Boost to Home Ownership?
Posted by Brad Speniel | May 22, 2015 at 1:05 am
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 minutes
With the financial demands of school loans, living expenses, and finding a career path, many young people struggle to
purchase their first home. Often, parents and grandparents are very sympathetic. They’ve enjoyed the financial benefits of long-term home ownership themselves, and see how hard it is today to make that important first step into the real estate market. So should you give them a boost?
Consider your own financial situation
Your first responsibility is to your own financial security, so you
need to consider what kind of help you can afford. If you loan the money
and it is never repaid, will it affect your own financial security? Can you afford to gift the money, and if so, how much?
Think about family dynamics
Are there siblings or other family members to consider? Will there be an issue of fairness that you need to manage? Some families work well
with a structured loan arrangement with a modest interest rate that gives the young family member an opportunity to buy the home – but also
sets out the expectations for loan repayment. It can foster good borrowing habits and minimize family friction later.
Home ownership is a big financial responsibility
You know there are more costs to home ownership than just paying the monthly mortgage payment: like heat, hydro, insurance, cable, taxes, and
of course repairs and upkeep. Before you offer your child a boost to home ownership, consider whether they’re ready for the financial
responsibility. Sometimes, the best advice is to keep renting for a while and take more time to get ready for the responsibility of a large
Consider property law
Experts advise parents to structure a loan to a child if there is a spouse or partner to consider. Should a marriage break up, for example,
you may discover that 50 per cent of the money went free and clear to your child’s partner as part of a settlement of family property. A
fairly simple fix is to structure a loan – even with 0% interest or with no regular payments – but with the ability to call the loan at any time. In that way, the loan would be subtracted from the family property before being divided.
Always put it in writing
If it’s a loan, you’ll want a written record of your shared expectations. If it’s a gift, you must put it in writing for the lender
that the child is not required to pay the money back at any time.
Talk to a mortgage broker
Your child is preparing to embark on an important financial journey, and you want to do your best to help get them on the right path. The best place to begin is with sound, expert advice. Start them on a good financial habit and send them to a mortgage broker for access to the most mortgage options and advice.