I recently wrote about the fantastic $7500 tax credit opportunity that was offered by the US Government. Just when it was thought that it couldn’t get any better the Feds announced a full $8000 credit for First time home buyers. It’s more than the previous version and has much better terms. The initial option was actually a long term loan that had to be paid off. Now it doesn’t have to be paid back. It’s actually a tax credit of up to $8000 that you get directly if you qualify as a first time home buyer and close on a house during the allowed time period.
The website www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com explains some terms needed to qualify.
A few main points are:
- The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only. For the tax credit program, the IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
- The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
- The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
- The credit is available for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
- Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax credit.
In addition to these main points there is an extensive list of questions and answers on www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.
So what does that mean for the market here in the South Puget Sound area? Well, it means a lot of things. First, it further magnifies the thought that this might be the best time in our history to be a first time buyer. With interest rates being at historic lows, inventory of homes for sale being higher than usual, and this tax credit, the time is now to buy a home if at all possible. Second, our area has many great homes at affordable asking prices. Getting out there to take a look has never been easier. There are so many great sites out there to search real estate. Take a look online or get in touch with a real estate agent to begin the process.
Pierce County has a lot to benefit from with this tax credit. Hopefully, it will stimulate the housing market allowing people close to foreclosure to get out of a bad situation. In addition, allowing qualified buyers to step in and move forward. That will be good for the local economy.
A lot of people have approached me with the thought that getting a loan was now next to impossible and that was why these incentives are popping up. That can’t be further from the truth. Its not that loans aren’t available, it’s that exotic or risky loans are no longer available. To get a home loan these days you must be qualified with a bank or mortgage broker. Banks are a little more stringent in their rules to qualify. If you have a job, some money saved for a down payment, and the desire to buy…Odds are there will be a good loan available for you.
Recently I’ve seen a significant uptick in the local real estate market. The days are getting longer, school is close to getting out, and people are excited about the interest rates and this tax credit opportunity. If you’ve been thinking of buying a home I suggest you move forward sooner rather than later. Nobody is sure how long this will last.
Steve Sloboda is Associate Broker at Windermere Real Estate/Paragon Co. in the University Place office. Steve lives in the Oakbrook neighborhood of Lakewood with his wife Amity, and their two young children. For more information or to contact Steve direct please go to www.stevesloboda.com.