Posted tagged ‘real estate’

Don’t-Miss Home Tax Breaks

January 18, 2014

By: Dona DeZube        

Published: January 10, 2013

From the mortgage interest deduction to energy tax credits, here are the tax tips you need to get a jump on your returns.

Mortgage interest deduction Private mortgage insurance deduction Prepaid interest deduction Energy tax credits Vacation or second home tax deductions Home buyer tax credit repayment Property tax deduction

Mortgage interest deduction

One of the neatest deductions itemizing home owners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A. To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can even be a house trailer or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet.

Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home.

If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit.

If you use loans secured by your home for other things — like sending your kid to college — you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.

PMI and FHA mortgage insurance premiums 

Helpfully, the government extended the mortgage insurance premium deduction through 2013. You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance as mortgage interest on Schedule A — meaning you must itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later.

What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized down payment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).

If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return). So, if you make $110,000 or more, you lose 100% of this deduction (10% x 10 = 100%).

Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service. Some of those premiums are paid at closing and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.

Prepaid interest deduction

Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is 100% deductible in the year you paid them along with other mortgage interest.
If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year.
But if you refinance to get a better rate and term or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the term of the loan. Say you refi for a 10-year term and pay $3,000 in points. You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.
So what happens if you refi again down the road?
Example: Three years after your first refi, you refinance again. Using the $3,000 in points scenario above, you’ll have deducted $900 ($300 x 3 years) so far. That leaves $2,400, which you can deduct in full the year you complete your second refi. If you paid points for the new loan, the process starts again; you can deduct the points over the term of the loan. 
Home mortgage interest and points are reported on IRS Form 1098. You enter the combined amount on line 10 of Schedule A. If your 1098 form doesn’t indicate the points you paid, you should be able to confirm the amount by consulting your HUD-1 settement sheet. Then you record that amount on line 12 of Schedule A.

 Energy tax credits

The energy tax credit of up to a lifetime $500 had expired in 2011. But the Feds extended it for 2012 and 2013. If you upgraded one of the following systems this year, it’s an opportunity for a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability: If you get the $500 credit, you pay $500 less in taxes.

  • Biomass stoves
  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (metal and asphalt)
  • Water heaters (non-solar)
  • Windows, doors, and skylights
  • Storm windows and doors

Varying maximums

Some of the eligible products and systems are capped even lower than $500. New windows are capped at $200 — and not per window, but overall. Read about the fine print in order to claim your energy tax credit.

  • Determine if the system is eligible. Go to Energy Star’s website for detailed descriptions of what’s covered. And talk to your vendor.
  • The product or system must have been installed, not just contracted for, in the tax year you’ll be claiming it.
  • Save system receipts and manufacturer certifications. You’ll need them if the IRS asks for proof.
  • File IRS Form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms.

Vacation home tax deductions

The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Those expenses get deducted using Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than 14 days and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and divide them proportionate to how often you used and how often you rented the house.

Home buyer tax credit

There were federal first-time home buyer tax credits in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

  • If you claimed the home buyer tax credit for a purchase made after April 8, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2009, you must  repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years, with no interest.
  • If you used the tax credit in  2009 or 2010 and then sold your house or stopped using it as your  primary residence, within 36 months of the purchase date, you also have  to pay back the credit. Example: If you bought a home in 2010 and sold in 2012, you pay it back with your 2012 taxes.
  • That repayment rules are less rigorous for uniformed service members, Foreign Service workers, and intelligence community workers who get sent on extended duty at least 50 miles from their principal residence.

Members of the armed forces who served overseas got an extra year to use the first-time home buyer tax credit.  If you were abroad for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April  30, 2010, and you bought your home by April 30, 2011, and closed the  deal by June 30, 2011, you can claim your first-time home buyer tax credit.

The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

Property tax deduction

You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay. If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.

If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 Settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice; tax laws may vary by jurisdiction.

Buying Your Home – Finding the Right Home

January 4, 2014

Buying your homeWhat are the pros and cons of adding on or buying new? Before  making a choice between adding on to an existing home or buying a larger one,  consider these questions:

  • How much money is available, either from cash  reserves or through a home improvement loan, to remodel your current house?
  • How much additional space is required? Would the foundation support a  second floor or does the lot have room to expand on the ground level?
  • What  do local zoning and building ordinances permit?
  • How much equity already exists in the property?
  • Are there affordable properties for sale that  would satisfy your changing housing needs?

Do we dig deep and buy a dream home or settle for a starter  home? Choosing between a smaller house in an affluent neighborhood, an  older, bigger house in a more working-class community or a brand-new home is not  easy. If you’re in this situation, start by examining your priorities and asking  the following questions:

  • Is the surrounding neighborhood or the home itself  the most important consideration?
  • Is each of the neighborhoods safe?
  • Is quality of the schools an issue?
  • Do any of the areas seem to attract  more families with children or adult residents? And where do you fit in?

As for the return on your investment, home-price appreciation is hard to  predict. In the late 1980s, and again 10 years later, the more expensive move-up  housing appreciated wildly. But during the recession that followed, smaller  homes tended to hold their value better than more expensive ones.

How  do you choose between buying and renting? Home ownership offers tax  benefits as well as the freedom to make decisions about your home. An advantage  of renting is not worrying about maintenance and other financial obligations  associated with owning property. There also are a number of economic  considerations. Unlike renters, home owners who secure a fixed-rate loan can  lock in their monthly housing costs and make prudent investment plans knowing  these expenses will not increase substantially. Home ownership is a highly  leveraged investment that can yield substantial profit on a nominal front-end  investment. However, such returns depend on home-price appreciation.

10 Breathtaking Swimming Pools from the Down Under

December 22, 2013

Looking to put in a Swimming Pool this year? Here are some great ideas!

Starting to work with your Agent

October 10, 2009

The first thing that your real estate agent will do for you is to have a relaxed, but thorough, conversation about what kind of home you are looking for. He or she will listen carefully at what you want in your new house and clarify the main details so that he/she will have a very clear picture of it. Another main consideration to be discussed is of course, your price range.
Having the right information about what you are looking for will help the agent in focusing their search, and will avoid wasting the time of both parties. Once the agent is clear on everything, including how much you are willing to spend, the search for the most fitting home will speed up.

Save Money on Homeowners Insurance

January 12, 2009

With the tough times many of us are facing today due to the economic downturn, we’re all re-evaluating the fixed costs in our lives and businesses and seeing where we can cut corners.

For those of us living in Texas, we now have a valuable resource to determine if we are paying a competive rate on our home and auto insurance. Consumers can now shop for better rates at a new state web site: www.helpinsure.com

The site, run by the Texas State Department of Insurance, offers a breakdown of premiums for areas around the state. Comparisons show that the cost of homeowner’s policies can differ by hundreds of dollars a year for similar houses within the same zipcode!

An example based upon rate from the 27 largest home insurance companies in Texas reveals, that a typical $150k brick home in Dallas County, where the owner had an average credit rating and no insurance claims for the previous 5 years…shows a range from $704 to more than $2200 a year. Now that’s a significant spread and worth looking into!

Consumer watchdog groups have contended for years that we in Texas pay rates that are far too high (one of the highest in the nation), so this service may be invaluable, especially in these penny pinching times.

Bottom line…rates can vary dramatically and it pays for people to shop around for home insurance, just like we now do with car insurance!

-Sandy Luedke
Broker
Ideal Real Estate Group

A New Opportunity For Realtors in ’09?

January 12, 2009

After about 30 years of being a successful Real Estate Agent in DFW, in late 2008 I finally made the decision to get my broker’s license and create my own Real Estate company. Thus, Ideal Real Estate Group, was born!

How many realtors have you known over the years that get frustrated by: Giving away a significant portion of their commissions to their brokers; unreasonably high monthly office rent and overhead; and not getting a significant level or training and/or on going support from their broker.

Having personally experienced all of these things at one time or another during my career, I made the call that I was going to put together a different kind of opportunity for Realtors to take advantage of that would address these issues. That’s where the name Ideal came from…for I wanted to create the ideal environment for Realtors to become successful!

At Ideal Real State Group, we provide an effective solution to basically two types of real estate agents. For the experienced agent, we offer the opporunity to greatly reduce their monthly overhead, with a pricing structure that is one of the best deals in all of DFW, while still providing them with access to a professional, state of the art and brand new office infrastructure. For the new or struggling agent, we offer something that’s hard to find in this profession…an environment that provides them with ongoing training, weekly support and mentoring sessions, while still keeping their overhead at the lowest possible level…to better faciliate them being able to build a successful business quickly.

Here’s an overview of Ideal’s Realtor fee structure.

BASIC PROGRAM FOR EXPERIENCED REALTORS:
-$200.00 a month office fee
-$200.00 per transaction
-E & O fees will be deducted out of the first closing.
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).

BASIC PROGRAM for NEWER AGENTS:
-$200.00 a month office fee.
-20% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.

INTENSIVE MENTORING PROGRAM for NEWER AGENTS:*
-$200.00 a month office fee.
-50% of each commission earned
-Unlimited use of an office and conference room in our state of the art facility, located in Flower Mound…as well as any necessary office equipment, (fax, computer, copy machine etc…).
-Weekly support meetings to discuss and develop: Managing your business; goal setting/achievement; how advertise at little or no cost; how to find listings and buyers.
-Total mentoring environment, where I will personally work with you hand in hand on all aspects of the profession, including: Writing the paper correctly; Going along with you on your listing appointments, new buyer appointments and showings.

*This package is designed stictly for either, new agents or agents who once licensed, have never gotten proper intruction on not only to the technical aspects of this business, but more importantly, how to deal with the different kind of people you’ll encounter in this profession.

Agents can start at any level that they feel they need and can switch to another to lower their overhead as their business begins to develop.

Compare these programs to what you’re paying now and I think you’ll find this is one of the most competitive in all of DFW!

If you’d like more information, or would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact me directly by phone at, 469-635-3234, or by email at: sandy@idealrealestategroup.com

I’m here to help you succeed!

Sandy Luedke
Broker
Ideal Real Estate Group

Locking Your Mortgage Rate is Crucial

November 7, 2008

Trying to decide whether you should lock in your mortgage interest rate or rolling the dice to see if they’ll drop more?  Here a must read for you:

Written by Broderick Perkins

An interest rate lock is always a good idea in any market. But it becomes a better idea when it’s crucial to lock in an interest rate and other loan costs at a level you can afford.

A changing market — especially when the change is for the worst — is one of those crucial times. During the first half of 2008, nearly a full percentage point separated the high of 6.45 percent in recent weeks and the low of 5.48 percent in January, according to Freddie Mac.

Get off the interest rate elevator ride with an interest rate lock. A traditional rate lock is a lender’s guarantee that your mortgage will come with a specific interest rate, points, other costs and terms. Most locks are designed to protect home buyers from rising rates, but those refinancing can also benefit.

A rate lock’s terms include a specified period for the lock. If you fail to complete your home purchase or refinance before the clock runs out, and interest rates rise, brace yourself for higher costs. Those higher costs could come in the form of more up front cash to keep monthly payments in line with what you can afford or what you lender will allow.

With a refinance, if your home ownership isn’t at stake, you have more wiggle room and can wait out the market, take less cash out or otherwise cope. Of course, those refinancing to stave off foreclosure could also find higher rates, without a rate lock, to be just as problematic as for home owners.

In an up-and-down interest rate market, falling interest rates are another strong reason for a rate lock. If interest rates fall during the lock period you can’t take advantage of the lower rate unless you rewrite the lock at additional cost or include a “float down” provision in the original lock.

The “float down” option grants you a lower rate if rates fall within a given window of time. Again, unless specified otherwise, float downs stick you with the higher rate if rates rise during the lock period.

All these rate lock variations underscore the importance of being sure the language of the lock contract gives you the options you need, for a sufficient term.

Get it all in writing. It’s difficult to enforce a verbal agreement. The contract should lock should lock in the interest rate, points and other costs, where possible. The agreement should include your name; the lock’s effective date; lock cost; what terms are locked; the lock’s expiration date and time; and any post-lock options.

Lock as soon as you see the desired rate or “on application” — when you first apply for the mortgage — so that your rate is locked as you spend time getting the application approved. That’s particularly important if you barely qualify at today’s rates, and an increase would make buying unaffordable.

Of course, you can choose to set the lock on approval, especially in markets where loan applications are prolonged due to heavy demand for housing. In any event, the lock period should be long enough to allow for settlement, contingencies, and other potential delays. Locks average 30 days, but can range from 15 to 60 days.

Also consider:

 

  • Locks cost money. Shop around for both the terms of the lock contract and its cost, which varies from lender to lender. Some lenders want up-front lock fees. Others take them at settlement. There are non-refundable fees, flat fees, and fees based on a percentage of the mortgage, among the variations. 
  • Before choosing a lock-in period, determine the average time for loan processing. Ask your lender to estimate the time necessary to process your loan and verify the information with other realty professionals. If the loan doesn’t close on time, lenders can extend your lock for free, charge more for the extension or charge an additional percentage of the loan amount. 
  • Once you lock-in a rate, if you haven’t already, quickly submit the application and other required documents. You should have previously checked your credit report, prepared income, job, debt, asset and other documents to back up your application information. 
  • If you have a floater, it’s your job to keep an eye on the arket.   
  • ——————————————

    I have a very strong referral list of mortgage professionals that can answer all your questions in regards to this topic.  Please contact me if you have any questions on this information.

    Sandy Luedke                                                www.idealrealestategroup.com

    Tips For Home Selling

    November 7, 2008

    In times past many home sellers held the belief made popular by the Kevin Costner Movie, Field of Dreams (http://www.fieldofdreamsdvd.com/main.html) …that if you list it they will buy!

    Truth be told in today’s crowded marketplace you can sell your home, but you’ve got to go above and beyond the norm to make sure you get top dollar for your home.  That’s where a Realtor experienced in staging your home properly and the nuances of what turns buyers on and off, is so important. 

    Here’s some information that may help you get some extra value out of your home sale:

    Don’t Let Tiny Closets Shut Out Buyers
    Experts in home staging and closet organization share their best tips on how to make the most of sparse storage space.   By Kelly Quigley

    Walk-in closets and roomy pantries are a necessity for many of today’s home buyers, who have lots of stuff and need a place to store it.  So when your listing is lacking in storage space, you have a big challenge to overcome in order to maximize buyer appeal.

    You’re most likely to encounter small storage areas in older homes, condominiums, and lofts. In many cases, the problem is compounded by cluttered living areas, as items that would normally be kept out of view become part of the décor.

    “We’re a consumer society, and we have more stuff than ever before,” says professional organizer Barry Izsak, owner of Arranging It All in Austin, Texas (http://www.arrangingitall.com/).  “Twenty or 30 years ago, people lived with less.  They didn’t have three sets of dishes and 15 pairs of black shoes.”

    “But even tiny closets and other storage problems are surmountable.  All of their hard work purging and organizing will give them a head start on packing for the move — and will go a long way in winning over potential buyers”, says Izsak, a former president of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

    Izsak suggests telling sellers: “If a closet is packed to the gills, it’s only going to draw attention to how small it is. The smartest thing you can do is weed through what you have so the closets look ample, not overflowing.”

    Apply the Two-Thirds Rule

    Whether you’re facing a jam-packed closet in the bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen, you should ask sellers to sift through their belongings and clean out everything that’s not used regularly. “A rule of thumb is to have closets no more than two-thirds full,” says Terrylynn Fisher, CRS®, GRI, a broker with Diablo Realty in Walnut Creek, Calif.

    Fisher, who’s also a trained staging expert, says prospective buyers should be able to look inside a closet and think: “I have more stuff than this. But there is extra room in the closet, so surely my things will fit.”

    Bedroom closets, which can make or break a sale, need special attention when they’re on the small side.  That means removing clothes, shoes, and bulky jackets that are out of season or worn only on formal occasions. “It’s a fact that most people wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time,” Izsak says.

    But sometimes it’s not just clothes and shoes clogging up a closet.  Ramona Creel — a professional organizer in the Washington, D.C., area who has worked with home owners and real estate practitioners to get homes in shape for sale — says purses, hats, and sports equipment also are commonly misplaced in bedroom closets — making the space seem smaller than it really is.

    Box It Up, Move It Out

    If the extra items can’t be moved to an emptier closet in the home, they should be packed away in labeled storage boxes, which can be neatly stored under the bed, in the garage, or in a basement. But if these options aren’t feasible, which often is the case in condos, consider doing what Fisher encourages her sellers to do: rent storage space.

    The cost of storage is usually well worth the improved appearance of closets and other cluttered areas of the home, she says.

    What if sellers have weeded out clothes they don’t wear and closets are still packed?  Make sure drawer space, hanger space, and shelving in the bedroom are being used wisely, Izsak says.  Jeans and tee-shirts that are hanging in the closet are prime candidates for moving to the drawers — if there’s space.

    Sellers also can consider buying an inexpensive closet organizer that can double a closet’s capacity. Many discount stores and online retailers sell rods for less than $20 that hang from the existing closet rod and create a second level of hanging space.

    Declutter Kitchens, Baths, and Beyond

    You can encounter closet challenges in virtually any room of a house. In each instance, follow the same advice given for bedroom closets: clear out the items that aren’t used often and box them up for storage, either on-site or off-site.

    In the kitchen, have sellers pack up their little-used pots, pans, and other cooking utensils that fill up valuable cabinet space. Non-perishables can be donated to a local food bank or stored in boxes in a less conspicuous part of the house. Pot racks are a viable option for some, but not for all. “You have to have nice-looking pots,” Fisher says. Otherwise, they can work against you.

    For overstuffed bathroom closets and shelves, sellers should remove extra towels and toiletries. If a bathroom lacks a closet or shelf space, you must find innovative ways to make sure sparse storage isn’t the first thing a potential buyer notices. Fisher has placed rolled-up towels in iron wine racks, while Iszak relies heavily on decorative baskets to group small items.

    “It looks pretty to the eye, but it serves a very functional purpose,” Izsak says.

    An excess of toys can be a big problem in kids’ closets. Under-the-bed trundles can store toys out of sight, as can attractive storage bins and toy chests — which can double as benches or tables in the bedroom or playroom. Parents can work with their kids to cut down on the number of toys in the room by donating them to charity or boxing them up.

    Details That Make a Great Impression

    Your next task is to attend to details that make a storage area go beyond looking ample to truly shine.  Experts say it helps to paint the inside of closets a bright, neutral color and to clean the lighting fixtures so the space won’t appear dark and dingy.

    Creel, who runs the Web site OnlineOrganizing.com, says quality hangers also improve the look. “It’s amazing what a difference consistently sized and shaped hangers can make,” she says.

    Toss out the wire hangers and put those big bulky suit hangers in storage, Creel says. Instead, use plastic tubular hangers, which can be purchased in bulk from almost any discount retailer.  Izsak suggests taking it a step further by grouping similar clothing items together and facing the same direction.

    If a seller decides to empty out closets entirely before showings, it’s smart to add a few decorative touches by hanging a dress and placing a hat box on the top shelf, Fisher says. Just as it’s smart to make sure closets are no more than two-thirds full, it’s also important that they’re not completely barren.

    Always Think Creatively

    One thing is certain: it’s always better to show off a home’s closets in their best light — even if they’re small — than it is to act as if the storage space is a downside of a property. As popular as walk-in closets are, some buyers may not be put off by smaller storage spaces.

    As is the case in any other room of the house, if a small closet is “too cluttered and too personalized, buyers won’t be able to picture their belongings in your space,” Fisher says.

    But by putting the best face on any small space, you should be on track for a successful home showing.

    Sandy Luedke-                                                               www.idealrealestategroup.com

    Want a $7500 Tax Credit for Buying A Home?

    November 7, 2008
    If you’re considering taking advantage of this incredible buyers market to purchase for your first home, here’s some more good news that will help lesson the financial sting.  The $7,500 home ownership tax credit, which the federal government created earlier this year as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221) is a tool created by our government to encourage buyers, who may be sitting on the fence, to jump off and get into the real estate market.   

    When you combine the tax credit with today’s low interest rates, wide selection of for-sale inventory, and affordable home prices, many of the pieces are in place for you to buy now.  But I understand that our tax codes and system of tax credits can be confusing. So, to help you understand how the credit works and why it would help you…you must learn the details.  

    HERE ARE 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CREDIT

    1. Buyers have until July 2009 to make a purchase that qualifies. 

    The tax credit was passed in July of this year (2008) as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 3221). It’s worth up to $7,500 and can be taken in a single tax year. Authorization for the credit ends July 1, 2009, so if you wait to buy in the first half of 2009 they can take the credit on your 2009 tax return. Taxpayers can take the credit on their 2008 tax return if you bought your house this year after April 9. 

    2. Buyers don’t really have to be “first-timers.”

    The tax credit is actually available to any individual or household that hasn’t owned a home for at least three years. And the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) has asked Congress to expand the credit to all buyers, not just those who haven’t owned a primary residence in recent years. 

    3. Even if buyers exceed the income limit, they can benefit from the credit. 

    The actual credit amount is set as a percentage of the home purchase amount. That percentage amount is 10 percent, so you can get 10 percent of the home price credited against you tax liability, up to a maximum $7,500.  Sounds like a great deal.  But what if you make more money than the income limit of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for households?  Good news: Individuals whose income exceeds the $75,000 limit but don’t make more than $95,000 can still take the credit but on a reduced basis. The same thing applies to households earning up to $170,000.  By the way, any house is eligible as long as it’s a primary residence and is in the United States. 

    4. Think of it as an interest-free loan.  

    The federal government requires the tax credit to be paid back in small, 6.67-percent increments over 15 years, although repayment will be no more than $500 yearly and payments will not start until 2011. For that reason, some analysts have likened the credit to a 15-year, interest-free loan to help make home buying affordable.  NAR is pushing congress to remove the repayment provision, making this tax credit a true tax credit rather than an interest-free loan.  

    5.  You don’t have to be authorized before making a home purchase. 

    There is no pre-purchase authorization, application, or other approval process. Eligible buyers simply have to claim the credit on their IRS Form 1040 tax return and/or any form that the IRS might devise.  Check with your tax professional at Tax time to make sure all the i’s and dotted and t’s crossed. 

    6. New-home construction qualifies. 

    For a home that a you construct, (or contract for), the purchase date is the first date the buyer occupies the home.  However, any home that is not a primary residence, such as a vacation home or income property, does not qualify.    

    NAR Asking Congress to Expand Credit   

    As mentioned above, NAR has asked Congress to do away with the repayment provision of the first-time buyer tax credit and expand the credit to all home buyers, not just first-timers. The proposals were part of a four-point housing stimulus plan the association submitted in mid-October.  “Housing has always lifted the economy out of downturns, and it is imperative to get the housing market moving forward as quickly as possible,” said NAR President Richard F. Gaylord.It is vital to the economy that Congress take specific actions to boost the confidence of potential homebuyers in the housing market and make it easier for qualified buyers to get safe and affordable mortgage loans.”

    For more information about this, Here are some resources to check with:  

    Sandy Luedke-

    www.idealrealestategroup.com

    There is Money to Lend!

    November 7, 2008

    Hey gang!   I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that while all we’re are hearing from the media is doom and gloom in the financial and credit markets, there is business being done and money to lend out there for home buyers.

    Take for example people interested in buying a single family home or townhome in certain rural areas around DFW, TX (including: Corinth, Lake Dallas, Little Elm, Sanger, Justin and Ponder).  There is a lender in this area who has a program that allows for 100% financing, which is not credit score based and can even provide you with 6 months of no interest payments!  If this is an area you’re interested in, than by all means contact Kevin Harrigan today (@ Executive Home Mortgage) 972-355-4423 x222.

    So the key is, that this is a tremendous buyers market right now in most parts of the country, as home values are down and inventories are up.  It may be a bit more difficult to get a home loan as restrictions have tightened up, but if you have a solid credit score and good payment history, don’t think that it is not possible to get a mortgage right now.  That just is not the case!

    The current environment provides an excellent opportunity to pick up that ideal home of your dreams, that just a year ago might have been beyond your financial means, or to start to build a portfolio of rental properties that can fund your retirement or children’s college funds.  Get in contact with me, if you have questions on how that can be done with the least money out of pocket.

    Sandy Luedke-

    www.idealrealestategroup.com


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