How Newlyweds Should Handle Cash Wedding Gifts When Buying a House

The standard bridal registry contains an array of home goods, typically ranging from stemware to linens, decorative items, and even electronics like televisions. However, couples today are not tied to tradition. For them, cash wedding gifts are most appreciated especially for the couple that plans to use these monetary wedding gifts as part of a down payment on a house.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average cost of a new home in the United States is $380,000. For just a 3-percent down payment, newlyweds would need $11,400, while a 5-percent down payment would be $19,000. Creating a home fund as part of your wedding registry can help.

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Types of Gift Funds

It’s not uncommon for couples to shy away from the traditional bridal registry. Many engaged couples already have the home goods they want or need and often these couples simply don’t have room for a full set of china or a pair of fancy serving trays. One option is to ask for cash as a wedding gift. While couples do run the risk of offending some wedding guests with a cash request, there are others that will understand and be happy to oblige.

However, gift funds offer another way to help build up a home fund for a couple. Sites like FeatherTheNest.com are where friends and family can place a monetary wedding gift designed to help with the down payment or any other costs associated with the purchase, such as the inspection. Working with a site designed specifically as a “registry” for home down payment gifts can offer an advantage to the future homebuyers.

Handling Cash Wedding Gifts for Home Down Payment

Whether the cash wedding gift is received via a PayPal fund, crowdfunding site like Go Fund Me, or a site like Feather The Nest, couples need to be aware of certain rules for using this money as part of a home loan down payment. Realtor.com recommends it’s always important to “leave a paper trail.” They state, ” When applying for a home loan, you’ll need to verify that your down payment is yours, free and clear, and not the result of another loan.”

Fortunately, crowdfunding sites and sites like Feather The Nest provide documentation of the monetary gifts received through their platform. If you’re keeping track of cash gifts that will later be used for a home down payment specific information is needed. This information may include but is not limited to:

  • Amount of cash gifted
  • Name and contact information of the gift giver
  • Name and contact information for the depository (ie: name of the bank, crowdfunding site, PayPal)
  • Date the cash gift transferred to your account/depository
  • Signatures: the gift giver and recipient (you and/or your partner)

You may also need to provide the address of the home being purchased and the nature of your relationship to the gift giver. Different lending institutions have different requirements, so newlyweds may be asked to provide additional information or documentation. For the gift giver, it may be important to know that there can be taxes on certain gift amounts.

In general, it’s always best to consult a mortgage lender or banker first before setting up a crowdfunding or cash registry for wedding gifts. These professionals can help you avoid missteps and help determine what may be the best way to handle cash wedding gifts when purchasing a home.

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