Providing financial support for a child’s future is often a priority for most parents. One of the most obvious approaches is to invest in a property asset for them whilst they’re young.
But is this really possible? If so, is it the most sensible approach – and how might you go about doing it?
Every so often, the ‘We Buy Any House’ specialists at Property Solvers help people considering buying a house for their children (from the proceeds of their existing house sale).
We’ve therefore explored some of the legal and financial aspects of this subject and highlighted some key points below.
Can I Buy a House for My Child?
Under 18s cannot be registered as the legal proprietor of a property in the Land Registry. It’s highly uncommon for any young adult to have the financial means to buy a home. However, many parents wish to help them get on the property ladder as early as possible.
Of course, if your child is under 18, you would need to keep the property in your name. Once they reach that age, you could execute a “Deed of Gift”. Executed correctly, this would allow you to transfer the property to their name in the Land Registry.
Note that this is a different process to transferring property to a child or other family member as it involves the exchange of money.
It is entirely possible to purchase property to give to a younger family member. However, this seemingly direct approach is very costly and complex relative to certain alternatives.
For a start, purchasing a “second home” requires the payment of Stamp Duty plus the additional surcharge. This is because you are acquiring property on behalf of someone else (even family) and you would be in possession of more than one property.
What’s more, there would be a lengthy conveyancing process when they were ready to take on the property. This in turn will incur extra conveyancing fees.
How to Buy a House for Your Child Without Paying Too Much Tax
A more practical alternative may be to give your child money to purchase a house when they are older.
Perhaps you could invest yourself and use the accumulated proceeds over the years for them to buy. This also gives them the tangible and invaluable experience of property buying and investment.
What’s more, if you give money rather than property, your child will have the opportunity to choose a home that suits their tastes, requirements and lifestyle.
When the time comes for your child to buy their house, assuming the legislation remains the same, they will not need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax or Capital Gains Tax. There will also be no transfer process or related fees to pay.
In addition, it’s important to consider that if your child went through a divorce, they may lose part of the value of the asset. Unfortunately, however, this is part of the uncertainty of everyday life.
Inheritance Tax Obligations
Whatever you decide, there is likely to be Inheritance Tax payable on your gift, unless you are able to build up the amount year on year – giving your child an amount below the current “annual exemption” each time – until there is enough for what they need.
It is worth noting that there will be no Inheritance Tax payable on any amount if you live for more than seven years after giving the gift to your child (or any other family member).
To help your child receive the best mortgage deal possible for their new home, it’s best to provide them with money as a gift rather than a loan.
This is because when a mortgage lender is told that the amount they are using will need to be repaid, they will recognise it as an additional risk.
If it is a loan, it must be declared as such – otherwise, your child’s activities will be considered fraudulent.
Trusts as a Means of Transferring Property Rights to a Child
There are two methods in which a property can be held in a trust:
A Bare Trust
This is where you would hold the title of the property as a nominee until your child reaches the age of 18 (when he/she will take full title).
The title will appear on the Land Registry ‘in the name of’. For example, Mr Smith as bare trustee for Ms Samantha Bloggs.
A Constituted Trust
This is a more formal agreement that requires a Trust Deed.
This will lay out the various components of the trust – including the names of trust beneficiaries / trustees, distribution of the income / proceeds / assets amongst the beneficiaries.
The trust effectively acquires and owns the property. The title will appear on the Land Registry in a more specific form, such as: Mr and Mrs Smith as trustees for the Smith Family Trust.
For further guidance and information relating to the sale, purchase or management of property, contact the team at Property Solvers today.
We will be happy to assist you with anything you need. We can also offer an upfront cash offer or auction options for any property you are planning to sell.