2 Clever Ways to Gift Your Home to Your Kids

Be sure to consider the taxes you'll owe if you want to give the family home to an adult child.

A happy couple holds the keys to their new home.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Transferring a home to adult children is not quite as easy as giving them the keys and letting them move in. No matter how you do it, the taxman wants his cut, whether through estate and gift taxes or those for property and income, both federal and state.

The most common way to transfer a property is for the kids to inherit it when the parent dies. Some parents will also make an outright gift of the home to their child, who can incur higher property taxes in states that treat the gift as a sale. It's also possible to finance the child's purchase of the home or sell the property at a discount, known as a bargain sale.

These last two options might seem like a nice solution, as many adult children struggle to buy a home at today's soaring prices, but crunch the numbers with an accountant or financial adviser first. These transactions can get complicated fast, says Lawrence Pon, an enrolled agent and a certified public accountant in Redwood City, Calif.

Here's how they work.

Joy Taylor
Editor, The Kiplinger Tax Letter

Joy is an experienced CPA and tax attorney with an L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. After many years working for big law and accounting firms, Joy saw the light and now puts her education, legal experience and in-depth knowledge of federal tax law to use writing for Kiplinger. She writes and edits The Kiplinger Tax Letter and contributes federal tax and retirement stories to kiplinger.com and Kiplinger’s Retirement Report. Her articles have been picked up by the Washington Post and other media outlets. Joy has also appeared as a tax expert in newspapers, on television and on radio discussing federal tax developments.