Here’s an idea for those about to join the ranks of the newly-weds: forget the department stores, and set up your bridal registry at the bank. When you’re ready, use the funds for the down payment on your new home. This could be perfect for people getting married who already have their household items and really need help getting into a home.
FHA has had this little known program that allows cash gifts since 1996. It’s not difficult to set up and it’s available with any FHA lender. Sellers, builders, real estate agents or anyone with a financial interest are restricted fom making a gift contribution, but that’s usually not much of a limitation. Here’s how to do it:
- Open a savings account at your bank named “bridal registry account.”
- Give your friends and family the account deposit information.
- Inform your mortgage professional early of your intention to obtain all or part of your down payment from gifts to the FHA homeowner bridal registry.
Gift registries are commonplace and really benefit both the giver and recipient. Etiquette websites like Emily Post state that alternative registries are acceptable. Couples are now suggesting to friends and family that they want help with their honeymoon, education or furnishing a home.
Of course, this program is not limited to people intending to be married. It is available for other situations where gifts are typically received by individuals. Other occasions could include graduation from college or graduate school, or the arrival of a new baby (which sets up a whole new scenario about how to pay for college, but that will be the subject of a different post).
If you have any questions, just let me know. Remember that I have a whole bunch of financial calculators available on this website to help you with your “what if” planning.