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Gifted Deposits

a person putting money in a money bank

What is a gifted deposit?

A Gifted deposit is a cash gift given with the intention of being used for a mortgage deposit. They are commonly gifted by close relatives, but theoretically they can be given by anyone. This is a great way to increase your borrowing options as your deposit size is increased.

For example, you may have a 5% deposit for a £200,000 property. Not all lenders would offer you a deal with only 5%. Therefore, you are gifted another 5%, so you now have a total of 10%. This would make you more attractive to lenders and potentially increase your chance of a deal.

However, you must remember this money cannot be paid back, it must be gifted. Otherwise, lenders may see this as a loan rather than a gift.

How do gifted deposits work?

Its essential that the money is gifted and not given as a loan. This is what classes it as a gifted deposit.

Once this is established between you and your donor, you will need to calculate what you can afford with your deposit amount. Do you have additional capital that can be added on top of the donor’s amount? This could open up your borrowing options, as larger deposits are typically more attractive to lenders.

You can then begin to speak to lenders. They’ll require a letter for a gifted deposit, or you may need to fill out their gifted deposit form. This is to prove that the money is being gifted and not being loaned.

If the lender believes you meet all requirements, they may then offer you a mortgage deal.

Who can give a gifted deposit?

There are no restrictions on who can gift you money for a house deposit. The person that gifts you the money is a called a ‘donor’.

A lender typically prefers the donor to be a relative – a parent or grandparent for example. However, the capital can come from anyone, providing they pass all the lender’s checks. These checks are likely to be more in detail and lengthy for someone who isn’t close family. Therefore, you could have some difficulties during the application process.

Do you have to declare a gifted deposit?

It is essential that the gifted money for a mortgage deposit is declared. This is because your lender and solicitor will need to know you are not required to pay the money back. Otherwise, it could be seen as a loan, which would make it harder to get approved.

Both you and the donor will need to sign a declaration to prove this.

What’s a gifted deposit letter?

A gifted deposit letter is what you write to your solicitor and lender to prove that you are not paying back a gifted deposit. Of course, every lender will require different information on the letter, but they usually include:

– Your name and address
– The donor’s name and address
– The relationship between you and the donor
– The amount that is being gifted
– Confirmation you are not required to pay it back
– Proof the donor is financially stable
– Confirmation that the donor will not own any of the property

You can always consult with your conveyancing solicitor to help you put together a letter. They can help you prove all the information you are stating on it.

There are also various free gifted deposit letter templates available online, which can make writing.

Which mortgage lenders accept gifted deposits?

The majority of lenders offer gifted deposits. When looking to accept individuals, they look closely at the donor and applicant’s relationship. Your options will become limited when the donor is not a close relative.

Furthermore, gifts between couples also raise concern. Especially when they both live in a property, but the term is only under one name.

What alternatives are there to a gifted deposit?

Not everyone is able to be gifted money for a mortgage. However, don’t worry, there are plenty of mortgage schemes designed to help you step onto the property ladder. Some the most common are:

  • Shared Ownership involves you buying a percentage of the property and paying rent on the remaining share. As you are taking a mortgage out on a certain share of the property, your deposit doesn’t need to be as big, making it perfect for individuals with a smaller deposit. Through a process called ‘staircasing’ you can also buy more shares of the property in the future.
  • Guarantor mortgages require you to have a guarantor that will guarantee mortgage payments will be made. So, the lender has an extra level of security if you are unable to make payments.
  • Lifetime ISA’s are a government scheme where 25% is added on top of any money invested, up to £1,000 per year. Then when you are ready to buy a house you can use the capital for a house deposit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there problems with gifted deposits?

One downside is you could be subject to inheritance tax if the donor dies within 7 years of gifting you. At the time of writing* the standard rate for inheritance tax is 40%.

Another potential downside is that if the donor faces financial difficulty, they could expect you to help them out – essentially returning a favour, and this could cause arguments or a falling out. However if all the correct paperwork is completed, you’re not required to pay anything back.

*October 2023

Is there a limit on what can be gifted?

You’ll be pleased to know that there is no limit imposed by lenders. Although, it’s always worth checking with your lender and/or solicitor initially to be safe.

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