Sometimes it makes sense for real estate to be kept in the family. If you're wondering whether you should buy a house from your parents, you're in luck. We've outlined everything you need to know about this unique type of real estate transaction, from how to handle the financial aspects of closing the deal to what you need to consider when thinking about how this could impact your relationship.
How to determine whether you should buy a house from your parents
Do you want to buy your parents' house?
When you're thinking of buying your parents' house, the first thing you want to consider is whether you actually want their real estate. Sometimes buyers, especially first-time homebuyers, find that they do want to purchase a home from their parents because it's familiar. They know the property's location as well as its quirks and selling points.
On the other side of the spectrum, sometimes buyers will decide that they would rather have a fresh start, particularly a house that is their very own and is not caught up in family ties. They may find that they would rather be involved in a traditional arm's-length transaction, where the buyer and seller are strangers to one another.
Are your parents ready to move?
The next factor to consider is whether your parents are ready to make a move. Often homeowners can be attached to their property, especially if it has been their primary residence for some time.
If, for example, your parents are sick of paying their mortgage and property taxes, you may be doing them a favor by offering to take the property off their hands. However, if they were planning on aging in place, asking to buy their home may be putting pressure on them to make a decision that they aren't ready to make.
However, sometimes there is a happy medium. Occasionally children will buy the house that they grew up in as an investment property and rent it back to their parents. Then, when the parents are no longer capable of living in the home, the children keep the property as part of their portfolio.
Is your relationship in a good place?
The last factor to consider is whether your relationship with your parents is in a good enough place to handle being involved in an important financial transaction together. You may come at this venture with separate goals. For instance, the child may be looking to get a deal on the property while the parents could have been planning to use the funds from the sale of the house for their retirement.
In any case, before starting this process, you need to be sure there's open and honest communication between both parties and that your relationship is in a good place. After all, family is much more important than real estate.
Pros and cons of buying a house from your parents
You could save money
It's likely that the biggest benefit of buying a home from your parents is the ability to save money. On the one hand, while you'll still have to be able to prove that you have enough income to get a loan, you won't necessarily need to have the funds for a down payment. Your parents can give you a gift of equity, which can take its place.
On the other, your parents could potentially save money on closing costs. Typically, in a real estate transaction, the seller is responsible for paying the real estate agent's commission fees. Since this is not an arm's-length transaction, you don't necessarily need to use an agent, which can save your parents thousands of dollars.
The transaction can be more flexible
Families often work together and help each other out when needed. It's likely that the same will happen if you enter into a real estate transaction with your parents. For example, if you need a specific closing date, odds are your parents will be willing to accommodate that request. On the other hand, if your parents don't have the funds necessary to cover repair costs, odds are that you may be willing to accept the house in "as-is" condition.