Tag Archives: 6500 tax credit

Tax Credit CLOSING Deadline Extended!!

Can you say “whoopee?”

Late Wednesday night (June 30th), the Senate took the lead of the House of Representatives and passed the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act which extends the CLOSING date for those eligible to receive the federal tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This is part of the bill that was presented.  You can see other details of this bill here.

signing registerFirst time buyers, those who haven’t owned a home in the last three years, as well as current owners who have owned a primary residency 5 of the last 8 years, were eligible for a tax credit if they purchased a primary residence — up to $8000 or $6500 respectively.  The guidelines required buyers to have a signed purchase by April 30th and CLOSE on the home by June 3oth.

The problem was that many of these home purchases were being held up buy a multitude of things — the banks that own the homes, the banks that are considering a short sale for the sellers and even title and mortgage companies.  The argument was that the buyer was not at fault for this delay if they had the signed agreement by April 30th so they shouldn’t be penalized.  Low and behold, buyers now have until September 30th to close on their house to still get the federal tax credit!!

So, if you are one of those people that thought you missed out on the credit because something was preventing you from closing on your home prior to June 30th, yesterday, then you can breathe a sigh of relief!  Good luck with your process and enjoy this awesome gift from the government!

B’ Bye or Should I Say Buy, Buy?

Last weekend on the radio show we co-host with the MN Real Estate Team and WE Teams of Re/Max, I hosted a fun and informative segment.  Our regular hosts, Ryan O’Neill and Scott Wollmering, were in Florida winning awards from Re/Max.  It was my normal week to be on the air, but I got a bonus … running the show.  Kelly and I presented a busy segment.  Luckily, we had you, the public, call in and make our show way more interesting than we ever could have on our own.

Needless to say, we still needed a topic so we weren’t just babbling away for an hour live on air!  I invited a couple of awesome Realtor partners to join in our fun to help educate our audience.  My partner in crime with the first time buyer seminars, Steve Howe, was there to enlighten the audience on first time buyer topics.  We also had Zach Skattum “in the house” talking about the ever-so-popular REO sales — real estate owed, aka foreclosures. 

On Saturday, our topic was “B’ Bye or Buy Buy”.  It was all about what was going away, or going Ba Bye in the near future making it so you should Buy Buy.  The tax credit is going away the end of April.  As a first time buyer or repeat buyer, you need to have a signed and accepted purchase agreement.  Here’s a cool thing.  If you’re brave and make an offer on a short sale, you only need to have the seller sign off on the offer.  You do not need the bank to sign off in order to meet the April deadline.  The main caveat is that short sales still take awhile, so there is no guarantee that you will get your sale closed by the second part of the credit requirement — closing by the end of June.

Another thing that is going “B’ Bye” — low interest rates.  Back in January of 2009, the Federal Reserve began a plan to purchase $1.25 trillion dollars of mortgage backed securities (MBS) in an effort to keep the housing market afloat.   Trillion?  How much is trillion?  That is such an incomprehendable number to me.  Anyway, MBS’s are bonds backed by mortgages.  Who knew?  If the bonds sell low, then rates go up.  Invertly, if bonds sell high, rates go down.  So, with the Federal Reserve buying bonds, they’re selling high, keeping the rates artificially low.  During the first week in March, the Fed had already purchased $1.2 Trillion.  At the end of March, they are supposed to be tapered down to zero — no more buying of MBS’s.  With that said, rates are anticipated to rise — to what level, we don’t know.  The guess is somewhere between .5%-1%.  And no one really knows when that will happen.  Will it be immediate or lag a little?  A lot of uncertainty. 

So, with these to LARGE ticket items waving B’ Bye, it’s definitely time to ” Buy Buy” a home.  You don’t want to miss out on free money from the government for the tax credit and for sure you’ll want to take advantage of the low interest rates.  Remember, these are at an all-time 40 year low.  It’s just not going to get better than this.  Now, partner these up with some incredible first time buyer programs and low home prices … and you’ve got the recipe to “Buy Buy”.  Don’t miss out!

Federal Tax Credit — Things You Need to Know

The last few years have been plagued with first time buyer programs.  This is a very good thing.  In 2008, the first time buyer tax credit was first introduced.  It was quite a bit different than the tax credit now.  “Back then” the program wouldn’t let the buyer take advantage of the federal tax credit AND a first time home buyer program, such as one with a lower rate or down payment assistance. 

Then the second credit was introduced in 2009.  Every year, it’s been getting better.  In 2009, the two programs could be combined which gave buyers the best of both worlds.  Money for purchasing and money to help after the fact.  Thousands of people took advantage of this credit and quite a few of them “took advantage” of the credit — meaning, people cheated the system — there weren’t enough stop guards in the system.  I even heard someone had their child apply for the credit.  Hmmm, think you need to be 18 to buy a home.  In any case, people scrambled to take advantage of the credit by closing on their home prior to December 1.  First time buyers were coming out of the woodwork.  It was a mad rush to buy, close and amend the 2008 taxes to get the money. 

Psych!  Guess you really didn’t have to buy and close by the end of November.  Hail to the government; they extended the credit.  Not only that, they made it current homeowner “friendly”.  The new rule, as you probably know, is you must have a signed/accepted purchase agreement by April 30th and must close on the house by June 30th.  The credit is equal to 10% of the sale price or $8000, whichever is less, for a first time buyer.  The current homeowner can qualify as long as they have owned their primary residence for a consecutive five of the last eight years.  Similar situation — 10% of the sale price or $6500, lesser of the two. 

Here is what you NEED to know.  We all like to get our refunds as quickly as possible!  Who wouldn’t?   So, e-filing is the way to go.  And many people have done that.  First, you can amend your 2009 taxes anytime after you close on the home.  You’ll need to file a 1040x (form for amending) and the 5405 (form for the credit).  The urgent piece of information is you CANNOT e-file.  Here is information from the Minnesota Homeownership Center:

“Because of the documentation requirements for claiming the credit, taxpayers who claim the credit on their 2009 tax return must file a paper — not electronic — return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit”

So, thanks to people falsifying taxes and taking advantage of free money, you’ll have to do the lengthy step of filing by paper.  And timing on these refunds?  I have heard anywhere from 14-16 weeks.  It doesn’t help that it’s tax time.  Oh and thoughts about whether they’ll extend the tax credit.  I really don’t think so.  But, hey, I could be wrong.  If they do extend it, you can count on a new blog!

Get Paid to Buy a Home with the First Time Buyer Tax Credit

Okay, so this isn’t new news.  This is the third go-round with the first time buyer tax credit.  The subsequent tax credits have been “bigger and better” with new additions, making the most recent credit the “best”.  Remember last year — the tax credit that would expire at the end of November?  Wow were people hustling to get their home loans closed by that date. There was a call to action, an actual deadline.  Buy your first home now or lose money!  Let’s get real — you can’t lose money you don’t have, so that wasn’t a great way to get people off the fence and buy.  It was funny how first time buyers were coming out of the woodwork last fall to “cash-in”.  Many of those buyers are still waiting for their “check in the mail”.   It will come and that’s the good news.

But here’s the better news.  The government is willing, yet again, to pay you to buy your first home.  Oh, and if you’re not a first time buyer, no problem.  You get to reap the benefits too if you meet a few qualifications — you must have lived in your home for at least 5 consecutive years out of the last 8 years.  For the non-first time home buyer, you can get up to a $6500 tax credit!  For the first time buyer, you could pocket up to 10% of the sale price with a maximum amount of $8000.  Seriously, I wish I was in the market to buy a home.  There are income restrictions, which most people will fall under, so it’s a mute point.  There has been some talk out there that you can use this tax credit as down payment for your home.  Hmmmm, wouldn’t that be nice … getting money for buying a home prior to actually buying it.  Essentially, this was ixnayed by most, if not all, non-profits because it was too risky to be fronting that kind of money.  Makes sense to me.

The current tax credit is the last tax credit, so they say.  When it’s done, it’s done.  No more Mr. Nice Government.  So what do you have to do to qualify?  Buy a house.  Yep, for the most part, it’s that simple.  Get an offer accepted on your first home, or subsequent home, by April 30th, 2010 and close by June 30th.  My guess is you would have already filed your taxes by the time you close.  Well, I hope so since taxes are due April 15th.  No worries.  You can complete a few forms, the 1040x amendment to your personal taxes and the 5405 which is the specific form for the home buyer tax credit.  This way, you won’t have to wait to file your 2011 tax returns.  Oh, the stuff you can buy to fix up your first home!  Not that you have to use it this way, but the government’s philosophy behind all this is that you will go out and “stimulate” the economy by buying goods and services.  It would sure help me if you did, but there is nothing wrong with using that money to pay off some debt or set aside savings — all are good uses of FREE money!!

But wait; there’s more — can you hear the infomercial music?  If you are a first time buyer, you can use a down payment assistance program and STILL get this credit.  There is plenty of money out there just waiting for you to use.  Best part about this money … it’s totally forgiven if you live in your home for three years as your primary residence.   That’s another blog on it’s own.

So, assuming the government keeps their word and doesn’t extend this tax credit, you do need to act NOW.  I mean, come on, houses at all time lows, rates at all time historic lows and money to help you fund your down payment.  Wowsers, can you say “incentive”?  I think I have beaten this topic a bit too much.  My advice is to ONLY buy if the time is right for you.  Sure, the call to action couldn’t be stronger.  But, if you’re not financial willing or able or have commitment issues, then wait.  There is no reason buying your first home or buying another home if your conscience is saying “don’t”.  I would hate that the pressure to “act now” pressures you to buy.

Feel free to give me a call or email if you want more information on this.  And please, only “act” on this if you won’t regret it later.