Understanding Gifted Deposits: Pros and Cons for First-Time Buyers

Gifted deposit

As property prices soar and the average deposit required for first-time buyers climbs to nearly £62,500, many are turning to family for financial assistance in the form of gifted deposits. While this can be a significant boon, it also comes with its own set of challenges. This article explores the benefits and drawbacks of using gifted deposits, particularly focusing on both domestic and overseas funds, and provides practical advice for those considering this option.

What is a Gifted Deposit?

A gifted deposit is money given to a homebuyer, typically by a family member, to help cover the deposit on a property. Unlike a loan, this money doesn’t need to be repaid, and the person gifting the money doesn’t gain any ownership or legal interest in the property. This financial support can be the entire deposit amount or just a portion of it.

Why Opt for a Gifted Deposit?

Pros of Using Gifted Deposits

1. Larger Deposit, Better Mortgage Rates:

  • With a larger deposit, you’ll likely qualify for better mortgage rates. Mortgage lenders typically offer lower interest rates to those who can put down a higher deposit, as it represents a lower risk to them.
  • For example, increasing your deposit from 10% to 25% can significantly reduce your monthly mortgage payments, making homeownership more affordable in the long run.


2. Increased Buying Power:

  • A larger deposit can increase your purchasing power, allowing you to consider properties that might have been out of reach otherwise.
  • This can also give you an edge in a competitive housing market, as sellers often prefer buyers who can make a larger down payment.


3. Avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):

  • In some cases, a larger deposit can help you avoid the need for PMI, which is an additional cost that lenders require if your deposit is below a certain threshold.


4. Boosting Savings:

  • For many first-time buyers, saving enough for a deposit while managing rent and other living expenses can be challenging. A gifted deposit can provide the necessary boost to reach their homeownership goals sooner.


Potential Pitfalls of Gifted Deposits

1. Additional Costs and Checks:

  • ID Verification: Mortgage lenders require proof that the money is indeed a gift and not a loan. This involves ID verification and anti-money laundering checks on the person gifting the money, which can incur additional costs.
  • Source of Funds: Lenders will also need proof of the source of the funds. This might require the gifter to provide bank statements or other financial documents, adding to the administrative burden.


2. Overseas Funds Complications:

  • If the gifted deposit comes from overseas, the process becomes more complex. Some conveyancers may not handle transactions involving overseas funds, limiting your choice of legal representation.
  • Additionally, there can be extra charges related to currency exchange and international money transfers, not to mention the need for more stringent checks due to international anti-money laundering regulations.


3. Inheritance Tax Implications:

  • In the UK, gifted deposits can have inheritance tax implications if the gifter passes away within seven years of giving the gift. It’s crucial to consider this and possibly seek advice from an independent financial advisor.


4. Potential Strain on Relationships:

  • Financial gifts, especially large ones, can sometimes lead to tension or misunderstandings within families. Clear communication and formal agreements can help mitigate this risk.

How to Secure a Mortgage with a Gifted Deposit

1. Inform Your Lender and Solicitor:

  • Transparency is key. Inform your mortgage lender and conveyancing solicitor that part of your deposit is a gift. They will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure compliance with their requirements.


2. Gifted Deposit Declaration:

Most lenders will require a Gifted Deposit Letter. This document should include:

  • The name of the recipient and gifter.
  • The relationship between the two parties.
  • The amount gifted.
  • A declaration that it is a gift with no expectation of repayment.
  • Confirmation that the gifter will not have any stake in the property.
  • Proof of the gifter’s financial solvency.


3. Proof of Funds and ID:

  • The gifter will need to provide proof of the origin of the funds (e.g., bank statements) and photo ID (e.g., passport) along with proof of address.


Alternatives to Gifted Deposits

If a gifted deposit isn’t feasible, there are other ways family members can assist:

1. Family Springboard Mortgages:

  • Family members can place savings into an account linked to your mortgage. This can help you secure a better deal while the family member earns interest on their savings.


2. Guarantor Mortgages:

  • A family member can act as a guarantor, agreeing to cover mortgage payments if you default. This can improve your chances of getting a mortgage but comes with significant risk for the guarantor.


3. Joint Mortgages:

  • Taking out a joint mortgage with a parent or family member can increase borrowing potential due to combined incomes. However, this might have tax implications and could affect the second home stamp duty and capital gains tax.



Gifted deposits can be a game-changer for many first-time buyers, offering a way to step onto the property ladder sooner and with less financial strain. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides, such as additional costs, complexities with overseas funds, and inheritance tax implications. By understanding both the benefits and the pitfalls, and by working closely with mortgage lenders and solicitors, you can navigate the process more smoothly and make informed decisions that best suit your financial situation and home-buying goals.

For tailored advice, consider consulting with a mortgage broker or an independent financial advisor who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances. With the right support and planning, a gifted deposit can be a valuable asset in your journey to homeownership.

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