The holidays bring families back together. Here is how you can help them celebrate in a new home. 

“Having somewhere to go is home. Having someone to love is family. And having both is a blessing.” – Anonymous

Taking care of one another is what family is all about. The ties that bind between blood and the families that we build over time are vital to our shared success. Many of us now find ourselves leading better lives through the efforts of others, and we do our best to pass on that same tradition by taking good care for those around us. As the holidays draw near, we are provided many opportunities to celebrate and share that mutual love with one another, and those celebrations are best enjoyed in places we call “home”. 

Supporting family members during times of great transition is an excellent example of that love and commitment to family, especially as the physical locale of a home changes. Our living situation will change during our lifetime, as all things in life are want to. Some of us may need to move into larger homes, some of us may need to move to smaller homes, and some of us may need to move to homes that are better adapted to our needs and wants. In ideal conditions, we will be able to get into our homes by ourselves. However, there are times when we may need a little help, or a family member may need our assistance.

Working on a family budget
for a common goal.

Many friends and families are very comfortable working financially together. Some are not, as pride and history may come into play. Money can be a very sensitive and personal issue for many people. It’s important to remain unbiased and non-judgmental so the other person feels comfortable opening up to you about their money problems. 

Here are some tips:

  • Only ask them about relevant information that you need to know in order to work out how to help them. Avoid prying into irrelevant personal details.

  • Put yourself in their shoes and show compassion for the situation they’re in. 

  • Accept the person for who they are and don’t try to change them.

  • Let them know there is support available for them.

When the situation for creating a source of funding for an endeavor finally becomes reality, there is a need to make sure that a solid plan is put in place and that benchmarks are achieved in order not to add strains to the family bonds.

Think carefully before lending money to friends and family

It can be really hard to refuse a friend or family member when they ask for financial help. But it’s important to ensure that the person who may need help is not putting the benefactor  in a difficult financial position. You also don’t want to risk losing a good friend or falling out with a family member because of money. 

Before lending money consider the following questions:

  • Can you/they afford it? Check your budget to see if you can afford to lend them the money and factor in the chance that they won’t pay you back in time.

  • Can you/they afford to pay you back? Don’t be afraid to ask them how they intend to pay you back and agree a time period.

  • What will you/they do if they don’t pay you back? While it is a sensitive topic, ask them upfront before you lend them money what will happen if they don’t pay you back on time. Make sure you are comfortable with their response and seriously consider how not getting the money back will affect your budget.

Are there other ways you can help? It’s ok to say no to a friend or family member who asks to borrow money. There may be other ways you can help out. For example, you could offer to babysit their children or help cook or clean so they can attend work or meetings, or you could lend them tools, appliances or even your car so they can save money by not having to buy them.

Why it is important to properly set up a solid plan when financially assisting within the family

When friends and family come to terms about what they want to achieve and how they will go about achieving it, there needs to be a well organized paper trail for lender(s) to follow. Lenders will ask for details about the sources of income in order to qualify a candidate for a new home, or for renovations that may be needed for a home that needs to be sold.

Lenders may ask for a co-signer or help as a “gift” from a family member before they can proceed on a loan, and these transactions need to follow local, state and federal guidelines. All the documents and moneys need to be provided and moved into the proper account(s) by the proper parties, or complications may arise. The best of intentions may cause long delays or outright refusal on a transaction, and may lead to enmity.

Here are some of the items a lender will ask for:

  • A gift letter for the additional fund.

    • The donor’s name, address and phone number.
    • The donor’s relationship to the client.
    • The dollar amount of the gift.
    • The date the funds were transferred.
    • A statement from the donor that no repayment is expected.
    • The donor’s signature.
    • The address of the property being purchased.
  • As a co-signer on a loan, the family member must meet the following:

    • A good to great credit score.
    • Documentations stating a source of consistent income.

You and your family are committing to this financially out of love and shared desire to benefit everyone, you do not want to add strains on those bonds. In order to avoid many of the headaches, you may need an experienced Agent with the right support team behind them to help guide you over the pitfalls of helping a family member out.




This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.