How family can help with your deposit

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.

Sitting with her family, Sarah and her parents started talking about her home buying journey. Then they brought something up, out of the blue: what if they could give her a hand?

It wasn't something she considered, but then, she started thinking about it. It's not the strangest idea in the world. Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you can do, and sometimes family want to get in on the action. If your relatives are willing to give you a hand in getting your first home, there are plenty of options.

Sarah and her parents discussed a few options:

  • Sarah’s parents could possibly provide an interest-free loan. Not everyone can do this, but obtaining finance from parents or relatives can be a good way to get in the door. Plus, you’ll obviously get better terms.
  • Sarah discussed living at home for a while. Help doesn’t always need to be in the form of cold, hard cash. Sarah’s parents said they would be willing to let her stay at home, rent free, for up to a year. That’s a significant amount of money she could have put away.
  • Sarah’s parents thought about giving some money as a gift. Again, not always an opportunity for everyone – but giving some inheritance money early at least allows parents to see how the money is being spent and enjoyed. (This must be a non-refundable gift and acknowledged in writing.)

Of course, Sarah and her parents talked to a tax professional about all of these – particularly about receiving a cash gift. All cash gifts need to be declared, and at least 5% of the deposit can't come from a gift. It has to be genuine savings. 

With a few options in mind, at least Sarah can continue looking for a home knowing that she has some family support.

SARAH'S TAKEAWAY:

Sarah didn't love asking family for help. But even a little bit can help Sarah get in her home. It's going to help her out a lot.

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