Blog Category: first time homebuyer

1st Time Homebuyers Tax Credit

There’s a $8,000 1st Time Homebuyers Tax Credit? The Homebuyer Tax Credit was passed earlier this year as part of the government stimulus package. Credit for those purchasing a home as their primary residence is worth 10% of the purchase price, up to $8,000. This credit is only available to those who have not owned a home for the previous three years. It can be claimed on your 2009 tax return. If the credit exceeds your tax liability, you will be refunded the difference.

If you move out of the residence within 36 months or cease using it as your primary residence, you have to repay the credit in full on your tax return for the year you move out.

The purchase of your home must be completed by November 30, 2009 when the Homebuyer Tax Credit will expire.

Many analysts fear that with the end of the tax credit, any resurgence in the housing market will slow down significantly or come to an end. So, it is worth noting that there is support in Congress and in the industry for an extension of the tax credit through next year. Rep. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, is leading the push in Congress for legislation which would include not only an extension, but also would raise the credit to $15,000, remove income restrictions and include non first time home buyers. Stay tuned to this blog for more.

shock and surprise

Renters becoming homebuyers. Sometimes We Take On More Than We Can Handle

Renters becoming homebuyers is an interesting process. All homeowners have been renters at one point. Before a renter will make a move up to home ownership and become a first time homeowner, they will talk to a mortgage lender. They need to see what they are qualified for. What do you think the rules are for a renter as far as how much mortgage they can qualify for? They are the same rules as anyone else. The debt ratio limits are the same. The income requirements are the same. The credit score requirements are the same.

Renters becoming homebuyers – What is different for a renter?

The one thing that is different is that an underwriter will look for something called “payment shock”. They will try and determine if the monthly payment on a new loan amount is too much for a former renter to handle because it is too large of an increase from their former rent payment. If there is payment shock the underwriter will look for compensating factors that suggest that a renter can handle the payment shock. Compensating factors would be having extra cash reserves, or an exceptional credit score, or a very stable employment history. As you can see, renters becoming homebuyers can be tricky.

Renters want their mortgage payment to be the same as their rent

Most renters will say, “I want my mortgage payment to be about the same as my rent payment.” That will almost never happen. You cannot make an arbitrary decision on what your mortgage payment will be based on your comfort level with how much you have paid in rent. You would be comparing two completely different entities. Market rental prices and the square footage you were comfortable living in when in a rental are almost always completely different than those that you will look for when buying. And even neighborhood, amenities, views, level of finish, and other things will also be different. So the price is going to be different. Also, renters need to remember that they’re going to pay property taxes when they own a home, which you don’t do when you rent one.

My own first homeownership story

Speaking of Renters becoming homebuyers, let’s talk about when I bought my first house. I had been living with a childhood friend for 2 years. I was right out of college. My friend Doug told me his parents had divorced, had each moved into a new home, and that left him living in the home he had grown up in. And he was living there alone. His parents had paid off the mortgage and had decided to let Doug live in it rent free. It was a 4 bedroom house! So Doug asked me to live there as well.

He said all I had to do was split the utilities with him. So from 1986 through much of 1988 I had a place to live for $150 a month! But then I wanted my own space, and bought a townhouse. The payment was going to be $1,118 a month. I panicked! How could I afford this? I had been living in a place for $150 a month! But I could afford it easily. I was qualified, I made enough money, I had good credit. It was all going to be fine. My reaction was based on emotion and what I had been comfortable with. My reaction was not based on any fiscal reality.

The bottom line is to buy what you are qualified for, and not what you formerly rented for. You will never stop renting if this is your prerequisite for home ownership.

To contact me to discuss your local housing market, mortgage rates, or other mortgage questions, click here to schedule a call or you can email me directly.

team of people in a meeting

Working With One Realtor or With a Team

Real Estate Teams vs. Real Estate Agent

The real estate business is one of the most highly competitive job markets. And all real estate agents are in fact small business owners. They have an ever-growing client list, new leads, open houses, scheduling, marketing, budgeting, mailers, and websites. It is a never-ending list of responsibilities that seems to demand more and more time. It’s a fast-paced competitive housing world out there. Without the best tools and resources it’s possible to lose your clients to a more established realtor or realty team machine. Read More