Where Parents Can Find Money to Help Their Kids Buy a Home

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There are many ways parents can help their children buy a home: contributing to a down payment, helping with closings costs, co-signing a mortgage or allowing their kids to move back home so they can save money, among others.

Most involve giving their children money, and deciding where that money should come from is an important decision. For parents nearing retirement, pulling money from a savings account or a 401(k) retirement account can be problematic if they’re going to need the money to retire.

Without it, they could end up moving into the house they helped their children buy.

A poll by loanDepot.com found that more parents are planning to help their Millennial-generation children buy their first home. Sixty-seven percent said they planned to pull the money from their savings account.

Here are the percentage of poll respondents who planned to use other sources of parental support:

  • Refinancing their own home: 8%
  • Taking out an unsecured personal loan: 8%
  • Selling equities: 5%
  • Borrow from 401(k): 4%
  • Sell primary home: 2%

For the parents who do pull money from their savings account to help with a down payment, there’s some disagreement with their children over whether the financial support is a gift, loan, inheritance or something else, the poll found.

Most parents (68 percent) view it as a gift, while more Millennials (36 percent) viewed the financial support as a loan to be repaid (29 percent).

A down payment on a home is the most common form of assistance from parents, with half of those polled planning to help in that way on future purchases. The other methods were:

  • Allowing their kids to continue living at home to save money: 33%
  • Paying other expenses so the children could save money: 30%
  • Kids moved back home: 22%
  • Help with closing costs: 20%
  • Co-sign the mortgage: 20%
  • Help pay down student loan debt: 18%
  • Help pay their rent for a while: 8%

Allowing an adult child to move back home so they can save money may be the least costly option for parents wanting to help their children buy a home, as it shouldn’t require parents to pull money from their savings or retirement accounts that they will surely need down the road.

Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance topics.

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