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How Does Gift of Equity Work?

sometimes, it’s nice to know your loved ones have your back. And when it comes to one of the largest expenses of your life—buying a house—it can be doubly sweet. When a family member or close associate sells you their home at a discounted rate, that is called a gift of equity. A gift of equity is the difference between the home’s market value and the price offered to you by your family member or loved one.

There are a lot of reasons that family members do this. It is common for parents to ‘gift’ a house to their children—whether it be so they can upgrade themselves or keep it in the family. This gift of equity acts as a down payment, making it easier for you to get a home mortgage. It is different than, say, if a family member paid your down payment for you because there already exists some equity in the house.

What is the gift of equity?

A gift of equity is selling a house below its market value, usually to a relative or close associate. Most lenders count a gift of equity as a down payment on a home for the buyer. No physical money changes hand. A gift of equity helps buyers by reducing (or entirely eliminating) the down payment required making it easier to get a mortgage to purchase a home.

Most of the time, it is made by parents or relatives, but not required. A friend or close associate can also give gifts of equity.

How does a gift of equity work?

So, if no money is exchanged, how does it work? Why is it called a gift? In a gift of equity, the sale price of a home is much lower than the market price. Say you wanted to sell your home to a family member and cover a 20% down payment. Instead of just cutting a check for that amount of 20%, you would just reduce the house’s sale price by that amount.

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