Blog / Surprise Holiday Gifts: Does Buying a House Go Too Far?


Surprise Holiday Gifts: Does Buying a House Go Too Far?

We’ve all seen the Christmas season television commercials in which one spouse surprises another with the lavish gift of a luxury car. This kind of expensive, big-deal gift can be a gamble, particularly for people who like to have a say in things and don’t like surprises. With that in mind, would you buy a surprise house as a holiday gift for your partner? 

Why a House Isn’t Like Any Other Holiday Gift

Some people are so hard to shop for that every gift is a gamble. If you have someone like this in your life, you’re probably used to checking return policies and holding onto receipts for the gifts you buy just in case they need to be returned or exchanged. Most of the things we’d give as gifts during the holiday season are easy to return. Even a diamond ring worth several thousand dollars can likely to back to the store if you have the proper documentation and the return policy allows it. 

Not so with a house. Once you’ve closed on a property and the title is in your name, you can’t undo that transaction for the sake of buyer’s remorse. You may be able to walk back your purchase if you can prove you were lied to or misled or some way by the seller, but you’d likely have to hire a lawyer to help you with that. This isn’t a gift you can easily take back, and that’s one major reason to avoid surprising a loved one with a new house.

When Giving a House is a Good Idea

That doesn’t mean you should never give a house as a gift. After all, this would be an incredibly generous gesture. There are some circumstances in which a buyer can be reasonably certain that the person they intend to gift with a house will be happy with the present. For example, if your parents are currently living in a home they love but rent from a third party, you could purchase that home from the landlord. The only thing that would change in that circumstance would be the ownership of the house. Other circumstances of near-certainty, such as a spouse’s childhood home or a vacation property your family has stayed in multiple times, can also come with the confidence that should accompany this kind of purchase. 

What to Do When You Aren’t Sure but Still Want to Give a House

When you aren’t sure whether the gift recipient would like a house you pick out without their input, choose a middle option that allows you to give the gift you want to give without making a major gamble. In this scenario, you could place a record of mortgage pre-approval in a gift box and create an open house visiting itinerary for the gift recipient. Use to create your route and schedule so the person you’re buying for doesn’t have to lift a finger. This way, you’ll get to give a lovely and substantial gift without making a major life decision for someone else.