Steps To Selling A House To A Family Member

Jul 27, 2023 By Susan Kelly

Sometimes, when it comes time to sell a house and move on, the buyers can be very close! If you’re in a situation where you need to sell your home to a family member, then there are some things you’ll want to consider.

Whether they are siblings, parents, or extended family members involved, certain steps must be taken so that the entire process goes smoothly for all parties involved. We will provide insight into how one might sell their home to an immediate family member from start to finish.

Why Is a Family Home Sale Different?

First, it’s important to understand why such a transaction differs from any other sale. Selling a home to a family member can become complicated, and emotions can come into play in ways that they wouldn’t with a typical buyer.

Family members often want the best deal possible while being fair to those involved. These transactions should also be handled delicately, as all parties' relationships should remain strong throughout the process.

What is a Gift Price?

To keep the process fair and equitable, it is important to factor in a “gift price” when selling your home to a family member. This gift price means that you should subtract an amount from the market value of your home when setting the sale price to account for potential discounts that may be given during negotiations. This gift price will ensure that neither party feels taken advantage of or disadvantaged during the sale process.

What is a Gift Tax?

A gift tax is a federal or state tax imposed on transferring money or property given as a gift. It is important to know about any potential taxes that may be due when selling a home to your family member. For gifts above certain value thresholds, the giver may have to pay additional taxes for the transaction to be legally binding.

Steps To Selling A House To A Family Member

Research Your Local Laws

Before approaching potential buyers, you will want to research local laws that could affect your ability to sell or transfer property ownership. Every state has laws surrounding sales within families, so ensure you understand them before moving forward.

Agree on a price but stay flexible

It is important to agree on the price of the home. However, remaining flexible and open-minded for a smooth process can be beneficial. While you may want as much money as possible for your home, remember that this is still the family we’re dealing with – so be prepared to entertain some negotiation if necessary.

Get Everything In Writing

Once a price has been agreed upon, all parties must get everything down in writing regarding the terms of sale - including any payment plans or agreements between buyer and seller. This writing will help ensure that no matter what happens throughout the transaction, everyone involved will have something they can refer back to.

Selling below market value can get tricky

If you plan to sell the property below market value, understand the repercussions of such a move. You may be subject to gift taxes and capital gains if the sale price falls below fair market value, so do your research.

Stay on the IRS’ good side

When selling a home to a family, you must follow all IRS rules and regulations. Make sure to file the correct paperwork, as failure could result in hefty fines.

Swap your realtor for a lawyer

Remembering that a realtor isn’t necessarily the best choice when selling a home to family members is important. Instead, consider hiring a lawyer specializing in real estate law to help guide you through the process and ensure your bases are covered.

They can be invaluable in helping you understand local laws, and they will provide legal advice regarding any potential issues that may arise. With a lawyer on your side, you can avoid setbacks and move forward with the transaction more smoothly. A lawyer’s legality assurance adds an extra layer of trust for everyone involved.

Are There Downsides to Selling to a Relative?

While there are many benefits to selling a home to a family, it isn’t always the right choice. It is important to remember that emotions can play a big part in these transactions, and not everyone involved may be satisfied with the result. In addition, some states require additional paperwork when selling a home between relatives - such as gift tax forms or other documents - which can complicate things further.

Additionally, selling to family members often requires extra trust on both sides. While you don't necessarily need to worry about integrity issues like when dealing with strangers, ensure you understand what's at stake if things don't go according to plan.

Explore Your Options With Total Mortgage

Selling a home to relatives is a complex transaction that needs to be handled with care. If you’re considering such an option, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities as both a buyer and seller.

Total Mortgage can help you explore your options and provide insight into what could work best for your situation. We are here to answer any questions and guide you through the process from start to finish. Contact us today to get started.

Disadvantages of selling a house to a family member

Emotional Complications

Selling a house to a family member can become complicated, as emotions can come into play in ways they wouldn’t with a typical buyer. It is important to factor in the relationships between all parties involved and work to ensure they remain positive throughout the process.

Gift Taxes

When selling a home to your family member, you may be subject to gift taxes or other liabilities if the sale price falls below fair market value. Ensure you are familiar with any tax implications before agreeing to terms of sale.

Potential Unhappiness

Not everyone will necessarily be pleased with the outcome when selling a home to a relative, so it is important to factor this into your decision-making process. It is important to weigh the risks and rewards before jumping in, as potential pitfalls could come with selling a home to family members.

Additional Paperwork

Not only will you need to familiarize yourself with local laws regarding these types of transactions, but you may also be required to submit additional paperwork for the sale due to it being between relatives. This paperwork can result in added hassle - and additional costs - during the transaction.


How do you approach someone to sell their house?

When approaching someone to sell their house, respecting and understanding the process is important. Start by discussing their reasons for wanting or needing to sell, as this will help you gauge what type of terms they may be looking for. Offer information about the current local real estate market and provide a fair offer by recent comparable sales.

What can you ask the seller to pay for?

When selling a home, there are generally certain costs that the seller should cover. These may include closing costs, pre-closing inspections, and other fees associated with the sale of the property. It is important to have these costs outlined in writing before agreeing to any terms.

How do you negotiate between buyer and seller?

Negotiating between a buyer and seller can be tricky, so it is important to set expectations early on. Be sure to inform both parties of all local laws that could affect the transaction, such as gift taxes or capital gains implications.


In conclusion, it is important to understand and consider all the necessary steps when selling a house to a family member. From setting expectations and understanding the legal implications to negotiating terms and completing paperwork, many considerations go into this process. Take some time to weigh your options carefully before you make any decisions. Doing so will help ensure that everyone involved is prepared and on board for what lies ahead.

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