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Family Loans How to Borrow from and lend to family members

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Family Loans How to Borrow From and Lend to Family

Family loans offer a lower boost, but they also put at risk the relationship. Carefully weigh the benefits and cons.


Updated on January 31st 2023.

The majority or all of the items featured on this page are from our partners, who pay us. This affects the products we write about and the location and manner in which the product is featured on a page. But, it doesn’t affect our opinions. Our opinions are entirely our own. Here’s a list of and .

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Table of Contents

The family loan may appear as a cost-effective option when you require money to pay to pay for a downpayment for a house, begin a business, or to pay off high-interest loans.

But mixing money and family is tricky.

A family loan can cause your relationship with the lenderas well as their financials to risk. A successful loan will require clear communication and perhaps an agreement in writing that outlines the loan conditions. Family lenders also need to consider IRS guidelines.

This article will provide information on receiving a loan from a family member, including the pros and cons, how to formalize a family loan and alternatives to consider.

What exactly is the definition of a family loan?

A family loan is a loan among family members- but it’s up to lenders and you to decide how it’s constructed. A family loan could be subject to either interest, or it can and be paid in installments or as an all-in lump sum. You might even be able to provide collateral. This type of loan could be formalized or informal by an loan agreement.

Family loans are a great way to fill in the gap between your income or pay for an unexpected expense. They can save you from costly and have no hurdles to be approved, but the possible downsides are tax implications as well as a touch of a snark.

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Family loans


Easy approval: There’s typically no formal application procedure for credit checks, credit checks or verification of income when borrowing from your family. Traditional lenders typically require documentation such as W-2s, pay stubs and tax forms to be an element of .

Low-cost loans: Since the loan comes from a family member instead of a corporation that is for profit You could get a loan at a much lower interest rate than what a bank, credit union or online lender could provide. Families are also less likely to charge early fees or the upfront fees charges that lenders can charge.

Hardship options family members could be more accommodating than other lenders if you encounter a hardship, like a health or job loss and allowing you to pause or even stop payment for a time.

Helps you avoid dangerous loans The family loans will help you avoid payday lenders and payday lenders who have unfeasible interest rates.


Conflict potential: If the loan isn’t repaid or the terms of the agreement are violated, it could lead to arguments and strain relationships between families. The family member loaning the money needs to take into consideration the likelihood of not receiving the loan back and whether the loan will impact their own financial goals, such as retirement.

Tax implications If the family loan has no interest and is over $17,000, the member of the family who borrowed the money might need to file a return. If the loan has interest, the lender has to follow IRS guidelines for interest rates and possibly declare it as income.

No credit building: Payments towards the household loan aren’t reported to the credit bureaus, thereby removing the opportunity to improve the credit score of the borrower. A good credit score could help you get later on credit, like a mortgage or car loan.

Nerdy Tip

A could be a credit-building alternative to family loans. These are circles of trustworthy family members, friends or neighbors who take turns in raising funds for one’s expense.

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How do you create an agreement for a family loan agreement

Use the family loan agreement to prevent any problems that might occur during the repayment. It’s a contract which sets out the terms and conditions that apply to the loan.

Having a notarized and signed agreement with a family member may seem impersonal however, having the agreement written down can help avoid misunderstandings and frustrations. Make sure that both participants in the process of making decisions.

Here’s what you should add to your family loan agreement:

The amount borrowed and how it will be used.

Repayment terms, which include payments amounts, frequency, and when the loan will be repaid in full.

The interest rate of the loan. The IRS establishes an annual rate that is the minimum interest rate that is allowed for private loans greater than $10,000.

If the loan is able to be paid off early at no cost, as well what interest will be saved by an early repayment.

What happens when the borrower ceases paying? It doesn’t matter if it’s temporary due to an emergency, or completely.

A trick to make life easier for the lender Make a list of the amount you’ll need to borrow, the purpose of the loan and the time and method you’ll use to pay back the loan whenever you speak to them about borrowing.

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Options to deal with family loans

When weighing the pros and cons of the family loan Also, think about alternatives that could offer more money and less risk to the family relationship.

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It is possible to take out the personal loan from an institution like a credit union, bank or an online lender. You receive a lump sum of money and pay it back in monthly installments over a time of two to seven years. Personal loans can be used for almost any purpose, including or .

Personal loan rates vary from 6% to 36 percent, with the lowest rates reserved for borrowers who have excellent to good credit (a score at least 690 or better). Some lenders, including online lenders and credit unions offer loans to borrowers with lower credit scores. Credit-based loans could have rates that are on the top of a lender’s APR but they’re also much less expensive than payday and other non-credit-check loans.

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See if you pre-qualify for an individual loan without impacting your credit score

Simply answer a few questions to receive personalized rate estimates from multiple lenders.

Certain lenders allow the addition of family members as a co-signer to the loan application. Doing so can increase your chances of obtaining a loan and put less pressure to the member of the family, since they’re not providing the cash.

There’s no denying that there’s a risk of damaging your relationship. Failure to repay a co-signed loan could affect both of the credit score of yours. Co-signers must pay back the loan if the borrower can’t.

Cash advance apps allow you to take out loans of up to one hundred dollars, and then pay back the loan at the time of your next payday. These apps don’t charge interest, however, they might charge subscription fees or fast funding fees — and they usually require a tip. If you’re using an app, you should make a plan to pay back the advance in time.

The definition of a “buy now, buy now, pay later” loan is an at-checkout financing option that allows you to split the cost of a single shopping trip into several (usually four) smaller installments. These types of plans are available at major retailers and are suitable for major purchases such as a new mattress or laptop. You can only use one plan at one time to avoid spending too much or losing track of the due dates for payments.

Gifting: If family members accept that a loan doesn’t need to be paid back It’s considered to be a gift. This may be a choice in cases where there’s a concern that a loan could compromise the relationship, and in the event that the family member is able afford the loan.

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Authors’ Bio: Steve Nicastro is a former NerdWallet authority on personal loans as well as small business. Its work was featured by The New York Times and MarketWatch.

Annie Millerbernd works as a personal loans writer. Her work has appeared on The Associated Press and USA Today.

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