With the gift-giving season in full swing, some parents are considering a sizable and meaningful present for their children and/or grandchildren - real estate. This is the sign of a solid trend, with a growing number of parents are currently helping their children purchase homes, whether they’re buying these homes for their sons and daughters outright, helping them pay for closing costs, or coming up with the money for their down payments.

While such a gift is certainly in keeping with the spirit of the season, those who are giving or those relying on monetary donations from their parents or family members to buy real estate should follow some fairly simple underwriting and IRS rules.

  • You can gift a total of $13,000 a person without being taxed on that money.
  • The person giving the gift must file a form 709 (gift tax return) for any gifts over $13,000 per year per recipient.
  • Buyers applying for a conventional mortgage loan must use their own funds for at least 5 percent of their down payment.
  • When buyers are providing a down payment of at least 20 percent of their home’s purchase price, they can rely on gift funds for the entire down payment.
  • Mortgage lenders will need to see documentation showing the origin of gifted funds.
  • A gift of real property is accomplished through a deed. A warranty or grant deed is normally used, but in some cases a quitclaim deed may be appropriate. You will identify the property being transferred and sign, notarize, and register the deed as clear evidence that the property has been given to your children.

As with all major financial decisions, you would be wise to consult your accountant and/or tax attorney before gifting monetary assistance for the purchase of real estate or the property itself.

Take a look at sales figures in our local real estate market for November. Unfortunately, Midtown Montgomery has yet to "jump on the upswing bandwagon." Our numbers continue to disappoint.

Midtown Montgomery real estate sales statistics for November show the number of homes sold decreased by 90% when compared to November 2011. The average sales price increased by 23% to $156,890 during the same period. The median sales prices increased by 14%, and market times increased by 19% or 31 days. The highest selling home price decreased by 27%, and the lowest selling home price was the same.

Midtown Montgomery Nov 2012 Nov 2011
Homes Sold 37 366
Average Selling Price $ 156,890 $ 117,500
Median Selling Price $ 117,500 $ 101,250
Days On The Market 163 132
Highest Selling Price $ 575,000 $ 785,000
Lowest Selling Price $ 3,000 $3,000

The good news is that the level of buyer activity in the Midtown Montgomery market is up substantially, which may mean and upturn ahead.

For the latest Midtown Montgomery real estate market conditions in your area, please call me at 800-HAT-LADY or visit HomesForSaleInMontgomeryAlabama.com.

Information is provided by the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors and is deemed accurate but not guaranteed.