Options for gift wedding and baby gift registries have really evolved in the last few years. Gone are the days of having to ask for a twelve piece fine china setting so take this opportunity to ask for what you REALLY want on your gift registry. This is a big opportunity – the average gift registry is worth about $5,000 – so think outside of just the traditional retailers to help fund something you have always dreamed of – a home.
If you are renting and struggling to save for a home, your wedding gift registry is the perfect opportunity to accelerate your house savings with gifts from family and friends. Here is how to set up a house or down payment registry:
There are only a few different sites that offer down payment registries like Feather The Nest, Hatch My House and Down Payment Dreams. Feather The Nest is our recommendation (surprise, surprise) but here is why – they have the best design, there is no set up fee and they give you the highest percentage of your money super fast.
You are notified when your receive gifts AND you have a log of all the gifts you have received and how much so you can write your thank you notes later.
To determine the amount you want to ask for as a house registry, first think about how much you will need to put down to buy the house you want. Typically a down payment on a house is 20% of the purchase price but there are programs available like FHA loans that will allow you to put as little as 3.5% down if you qualify. You don’t have to ask for the whole amount that you are looking to save to buy your house in your registry. In fact, its better if you don’t.
We suggest setting your goal at somewhere between $5,000-$10,000 for your down payment registry. This might not cover the entire down payment but that’s ok. Setting an achievable amount for your goal factors into people’s willingness to contribute. If you make the goal too large then people are less likely to donate.
Now you’ve registered for your down payment but to get donations you have to tell people about – online and off.
Online you should add the link to your down payment registry to your wedding website (if you have one), or send an email out to your family and friends letting them know donations in any about would be much appreciated as a wedding gift. You can also use your social media accounts to get the word out, posting the link on Facebook, Twitter etc.
Offline be sure to include your link in any printed bridal shower invitations. And mention it to your family and friends as you are talking about the wedding planning process. It might be a non-traditional registry for some of your family so make sure to tell them that this is important to you and that will help them get over any cache they have associated to giving cash.
If you haven’t already set up a dedicated account for your down payment, do.
Make sure that is the account you connect to your down payment registry so that funds will automatically be transferred there once they are received. That way you don’t mistakenly spend the money you received on groceries
Donations to your down payment registry are online gifts, but they deserve a traditional thank you note.
Make sure to email to or mail a thank you note within a month of receipt of this gift. For wedding presents you typically have 3 months after the wedding to send out your thank you notes, but because this gift is transferred to you almost immediately it is nice to write the note sooner.
Good luck and happy fundraising for your own home!