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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Expanded First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Becomes Law

1. For first-time home buyers:..... as high as $8,000. The legislation defines "first-time home buyers" as anyone who has not owned a principal residence in the three years prior to making the purchase.
Old law:  buyers needed to close by Nov. 30.
New law:  contract before May 1, 2010... the new law raises the annual incomelimits from $75,000 to $125,000 for singles and from $150,000 to $225,000 for married couples.
2. For current home owners: In addition, the new law makes most current homeowners eligible for a tax credit of up to $6,500 when they purchase their next primary residence. Under the terms of the legislation, current homeowners must have lived in their home for five consecutive years over the previous eight to be eligible. Qualified home buyers can obtain the credit on homes purchased between Nov. 7 and the end of April 2010. That means they need a signed sales contract on a home before May 1, 2010, but they have until the end of June to close the sale.
3. Additional specs: And as long as they use the property as their primary residence for three or more years after the purchase, buyers don't have to pay it back. Furthermore, buyers can claim the credit on their 2009 taxes, even if the purchase was made in 2010 by filing an amended return...we can help with brokerage and amending

4. Fighting fraud: he new law includes measures designed to limit its abuse. Anyone claiming the credit must now provide documentation to prove that the sale has closed.
5. Price tag: First-time home buyer tax credits have cost the government around $10 billion in lost revenue through Aug. 22. The expanded credit program is projected to cost an additional $10.8 billion or so.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cheap Home Renovations That Pay Off

Remodeling magazine's "2008-2009 Cost vs. Value Report" confirms that the home renovation projects that will add the most value to your home (meaning that you are most likely to recoup the highest percentage of the project cost when you go to sell your home) are pricey big-ticket items such as replacing siding with fiber-cement ($13,177 with 87% cost recouped) or vinyl ($12,528 with 80% cost recouped) and adding a wood deck ($10,601 with 82% cost recouped).

But if those home renovations are beyond your price point and you're looking at a budget of just $1,000 what should you invest in to get the most bang for your buck?........

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homes: About to get much cheaper // Why Obama's Housing Rescue Hasn't Prevented Record Foreclosures

Homes: About to get much cheaper

  • On 11:07 am EDT, Tuesday October 20, 2009

If you thought home prices were bottoming out, you may be wrong. They're expected to head a lot lower.
Home values are predicted to drop in 342 out of 381 markets during the next year, according to a new forecast of real estate prices.

 U.S. News & World Report 

After taking withering criticism for the Department-of-Motor-Vehicles pace of its initial efforts to keep struggling borrowers out of foreclosure, the Obama administration proudly announced last week that it had hit its goal of 500,000 trial loan modifications almost a month ahead of schedule. But with the foreclosure rate hitting a new record in the third quarter, the government's ability to put a meaningful dent in the tally of housing-crisis victims faces renewed skepticism.
Foreclosure filings were reported on 937,840 homes in the three-month period, a 23 percent jump from a year earlier, according to a report real estate firm RealtyTrac released Thursday. Home foreclosures in September, meanwhile, decreased 4 percent from August but remained 29 percent higher than a year earlier.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Answering the 25 Biggest Real Estate Questions -Business Week

What you need to know

........everyone has questions about the real estate market. When will housing come back? How can I stay in my home? What is the government doing? Will I ever be able to sell my house? Despite some positive signs, many people remain scared and uncertain about what is really going on. To help answer some of the biggest questions, BusinessWeek reached out to readers, experts and our own editors........

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Reluctant Landlords

"With housing prices still in the dumps, many Americans are finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of landlord.........Experts generally advise against becoming a landlord in hopes of recouping lost home value......................The calculation isn't the same for all homeowners. Those who have paid off their home or have a small mortgage balance may be able to wait out the market. And there are pockets of the country—Houston is one—where home prices haven't fallen as hard. Some homeowners may want rental income to supplement retirement savings...............a landlord policy covers the loss of rental income if a fire makes the house uninhabitable. It costs about 25% more than a standard homeowners policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute.................Renting for an extended period can eliminate or diminish the value of capital-gains tax exclusions. Federal tax law requires you to live in the house at least two years of the previous five in order to qualify for the full capital-gains tax exclusion upon sale of $250,000 for a single person or $500,000 for a couple, with some exceptions." ( Realty note: I recommend reading the "Comments" tab on any of these WSJ articles of interest - the round table like discussions will help you digest the jest of the column )

Saturday, October 03, 2009

10 Hard-Hit Housing Markets That Are Ready to Rebound

Luke Mullins, Oct 1st, 2009

As the historic housing crash continues to hammer real estate prices from coast to coast, many homeowners probably can't remember the last time their property's value actually increased. But even with home prices still falling at the national level, a number of hard-hit housing markets are gearing up for a rebound. ...including 2 markets in Michigan.