The homebuying season is starting early this year, thanks to the expanded first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit.
Typically, the busiest time for home shopping starts in March and continues through May, but this year buyers who want to take advantage of the tax credits have to have a signed contract by April 30 and close the deal by June 30.
That is getting people off the couch.
“The tax credit will absolutely have an effect,” says Pete Flint, CEO of residential real estate search engine Trulia.com. “It is going to shift demand from the later part of the year to the first part. January and February will be very strong. The next three months, there will be a surge in demand.”
Read more about the Tax Credit here.
Source: USA Today, Stephanie Armour
Sensible home remodeling is still worth the investment, according to Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. Uncertainty and restraint are the order of the day in this economy, and that sense of caution is reflected in home owners’ return on their investment in remodeling projects, according to REALTORS® in 80 metropolitan markets surveyed by Remodeling magazine for this year’s Cost vs. Value Report.
Many of these stats reinforce the notion that boosting the amount of livable space in and around your home will attract buyers who are increasingly looking for more room for their buck. In past years, converting an attic into a bedroom was a project that landed squarely in the middle of the rankings, but this year it leapfrogged over other categories into third place. It’s an admittedly pricey project, with an average national cost of nearly $50,000, but it generates an average national return of 83.1 percent and a better-than-100 percent return on investment, according to REALTORS® in 14 of the 80 cities surveyed. Adding a wood deck is much more economical, with an average national cost of slightly more than $10,000. Its average national return is 80.6 percent, but in six cities, its return is estimated at 100 percent or greater. Continue reading…
Bringing the Dream of Homeownership Within Reach
As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress has passed new legislation that:
- Extends the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers until April 30, 2010.
- Expands the credit to grant up to $6,500 credit to current home owners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
Here is a little more information about how the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit can help prospective home buyers become part of the American dream.
Who Qualifies for the Extended Credit?
- First-time home buyers who purchase homes between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
- Current home owners purchasing a home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, who have used the home being sold or vacated as a principal residence for five consecutive years within the last eight.
To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.
Which Properties Are Eligible?
The Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.
How Much Is Available?
The maximum allowable credit for first-time home buyers is $8,000.
The maximum allowable credit for current homeowners is $6,500.
If you have specific questions or need additional information, please contact a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040.
First-time homebuyers dominated the U.S. real estate market in 2009, accounting for roughly half of all residential transactions, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
That trend is likely to continue well into the new year. That’s because interest rates are hovering near all-time lows, home-price affordability is near all-time highs and a third factor – Congress’ extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit until April 30, 2010 – make conditions quite favorable for those considering homeownership for the first time.
Still, with the prospect of making one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Some of the questions you may be asking are: Will I be able to afford the home of my dreams? Do I have enough money for a down payment? Will I qualify for the tax credit? Will I make smart home buying decisions? If you go into the process prepared, your first purchase – like the current timing – can be just right.
A recent HomeGain survey shows the top do-it-yourself home improvements that Realtors recommend to home sellers. Based on responses from nearly 1,000 Realtors nationwide, they configured a list of the top 12 do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements that cost under $5,000 and benefit sellers most when they sell their homes. Continue reading…
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