Real Estate Category

Don’t miss out on the first time home buyer tax credit!

At the rate we’re going November 30th will be here before we know it! That date is the deadline for first time home buyers to take advantage of the $8000 tax credit currently offered by our government. This credit is refundable, which means if your total tax liability for 2009 is less than $8000 (which is typical) the IRS will issue a refund for the balance. What an amazing opportunity! In order to be eligible for the credit you must be a first time home buyer or someone who has not owned a home within the last 3 years, a single filer making less than $75,000/year or joint filers making less than $150,000/year and use the home as your primary residence. Your new home must be purchased and settled by November 30, 2009 and you have to own the home for a minimum of 3 years. Check out this link to watch a short video that clearly describes how the program works
In addition to the tax credit there are many reasons why our current market significantly benefits first time home buyers:

  • you have no home to sell, putting you in a choice position for negotiation
  • the inventory of homes for sale is still very large, so there is a lot to choose from
  • prices have declined in many areas
  • rates are still near historic lows
  • excellent loan programs are available, such as FHA which allows as little as 3.5% down, you can obtain money from parents as gift funds, lower credit score requirements than conventional loan programs, and a possible seller assist of up to 6%

If that isn’t enough to get you excited about purchasing a home how about these 7 additional reasons to buy a home, and these apply in any market:

  • Tax breaks- mortgage insurance, property tax and some closing costs are tax deductible
  • Appreciation- real estate has long-term stable growth in value. while year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing home sale prices have increased on average 6.5% each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5% in the last ten years (NAR statistics)
  • Equity- money paid for rent is money you will never see again, I often liken it to being thrown down the toilet, whereas mortgage payments let you build equity in your home
  • Savings- building equity in your home is like a ready-made savings plan
  • Predictability- unlike rent, fixed mortgage payments don’t increase over time
  • Freedom- after years of living with rented white walls, you can have color in your life- paint each wall a different color of the rainbow if you like, you can because it’s yours!  paint the walls, plant a tree, do whatever you want
  • Stability- Living in one neighborhood for a number of years gives you a sense of community and offers educational stability for children

This is a fabulous time to take this big step in your life, if you feel that you may be ready I would love to help!

Categories: Real Estate

Recent economic news

Overall economic trends continue to be down, but offset this past week by some positive news:

  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s release of the details of the government’s plan to reduce toxic assets held by banks is an important step in stabilizing the banking system
  • The S&P 500 stock market is up 21% since March 9, 2009
  • The Fed’s investment of another trillion dollars to purchase mortgage backed securities and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt prompted mortgage interest rates to fall yet again
  • The National Association of Realtors announced that exisiting home sales rose by 5% in February
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly housing price index estimated that home prices rose 1.5% from December to January

The paradox of our sagging economy is that there hasn’t been a better time to buy a home in a decade.  Buyers who are able to see past the immediate future will take advantage of a golden opportunity.  In a few years, they will look back and realize they made an excellent decision.

Buyer activity is increasing, which is great, but it won’t lead to immediate price appreciation.  There is too much inventory to get through.  That’s why it is more important than ever for sellers to price their properties right from the outset.  If they do, they will benefit from the increased optimism of buyers venturing into the market.

Whether these events represent an uptick in a still-decreasing trend line, or the start of a stabilization of our economy is yet to be known.  But after so many months of negative trends, it is welcome news for our economy and our local market.

Categories: Real Estate