The Daily Mortgage Advisor

Practical Mortgage Advice for Valued Clients

Browsing Posts in Homebuyer Tax Credit

Post to Twitter

Tax credit extended for military householdsFor certain members of the military, and for certain federal employees, there’s just 2 months remaining to get use the federal home buyer tax credit.

Eligible persons include members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service, and intelligence community employees who served at least 90 days of qualified, extended duty service outside of the United States between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Spouses of persons meeting the above criteria are eligible as well.

The federal home buyer tax credit ranges up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers, and up to $6,500 for existing homeowners. Existing homeowners must have lived in their “main home” through 5 of the last 8 years to be eligible.

Claiming the federal tax credit is a two-step process. First, eligible persons must be under contract for a new home on or before April 30, 2011.  The home’s closing must then occur on or before June 30, 2011. 

The IRS does not make date exceptions.

Furthermore, both the buyer(s) and the subject property must meet certain minimum eligibility requirements:

  • The home may not be purchased from a parent, spouse, or child
  • The home may not be purchased from an entity in which the seller is a majority owner
  • The home may not be acquired by gift or inheritance
  • Each buyer must meet tax credit eligibility standards
  • The home sale price may not exceed $800,000
  • Buyers may not earn more than $125,000 as single-filers; $225,000 as joint-filers

The complete program description is published on the IRS website.

Another important note is that the IRS is giving eligible buyers a tax credit as opposed to a deduction.  This means that a taxpayer qualifying for the full $8,000, and for whom the “normal” 2011 federal tax liability is $8,000, will have zero federal tax liability in 2011.

For additional information regarding your tax credit eligibility, call an accountant. Speaking with a tax professional is often worth the cost.

Post to Twitter

3-day weekends can make closings toughThe federal home buyer tax credit expires April 30 and the deadline is sparking a home sale surge. It figures to burden real estate, mortgage and title offices nationwide over the next 60 days so plan your closing date accordingly.

Especially because the last Friday in May is the Friday before Memorial Day.

Now, if the connection between the tax credit and Memorial Day is not immediately clear, think of your own office on a 3-day weekend’s Friday. Some of your colleagues take a half-day at work, others take the entire day off.

Office-wide, productivity drops.

The same is true in the real estate space. Offices are short-handed ahead of a holiday so, if you’re under contract for a home and plan to close in May, consider a closing date other than Friday May 28, 2010. 

And meanwhile, with 6 weeks until Memorial Day, here’s some steps you can take today prepare for other people’s time off later. 

 

 

  1. Notify your lender of your planned vacation time between now and your scheduled closing
  2. Purchase a homeowners insurance policy and prepay the first year. Send proof of payment to your lender.
  3. Have Power of Attorney forms lender-approved and signed by all parties in advance, if applicable
  4. Deposit gift monies and/or retirement fund withdrawals into an acceptable bank account, if applicable
  5. Schedule your final walk-through as far in advance as is realistic so there’s time to make “fixes”, if needed
  6. Have your closing funds ready at least 1 day in advance

The tax credit’s expiration is around the corner and as it gets closer, real estate-related businesses are taking on more work. Basic title and mortgage tasks are taking longer to complete and that should persist for a while.

Get ahead of the curve and beat your contract dates handily. Use the checklist above and be responsive to your lender’s requests.

 

And, if at all possible, avoid closing on the Friday before Memorial Day and even the Tuesday after — it’s when office staffs are at their smallest.

Post to Twitter

Federal home buyer tax creditThere’s just 30 days remaining to use the federal home buyer tax credit.

The credit ranges up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers, and up to $6,500 for existing homeworkers who have lived in their main home for 5 of the last 8 years.

Claiming the federal tax credit is a two-step process. First, you must be under contract for a new home on or before April 30, 2010.  Then, you must close on said home on or before June 30, 2010. 

There are no exceptions on the dates.

Timeline aside, homebuyers and the subject property must also meet minimum requirements in order to be tax credit-eligible:

  • You can’t purchase the home from a parent, spouse, or child
  • You can’t purchase the home from an entity in which the seller is a majority owner
  • You can’t acquire the home by gift or inheritance
  • Each buyer in the purchase must meet eligibility requirements
  • The home sale price may not exceed $800,000
  • Buyers may not earn more than $125,000 as single-filers; $225,000 as joint-filers

The complete eligibility checklist is published on the IRS website.  Or, if you find IRS-speak too difficult, make a phone call to your accountant.  Asking a tax professional’s advice on a tax-related matter is never a time-waster.

And lastly, don’t forget that if you’re claiming to federal tax credit for home buyers, it’s a tax credit and not a deduction.  This means that a tax filer who qualifies for the full $8,000 and for whom the “normal” federal tax liability is $8,000, will owe no federal taxes in 2010 to the IRS.

If you’re an active buyer in Orange County, or anywhere else in the country , mark your calendar for April 30, 2010. It’s 30 days from now and, as the date gets closer, buyer traffic will increase. The likely result is higher home prices and more difficult negotiations.  The best time to act may be today.

Post to Twitter

7 weeks remain for the Home Buyer Tax Credit ExpirationIn November, Congress extended and expanded the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit program to include a subset of “move-up” buyers — homeowners that have owned and lived in their home for 5 of the last 8 years.

The credit ranges up to $8,000 per buyer. There’s now just 7 weeks left to take advantage.

To be eligible, home buyers must be under contract for a new home no later than April 30, 2010, and must be closed no later than June 30, 2010.

In addition to meeting the deadline dates, there’s a basic set of requirements to be tax credit-eligible:

  • You can’t purchase the home from a parent, spouse, or child
  • You can’t purchase the home from an entity in which the seller is a majority owner
  • You can’t acquire the home by gift or inheritance
  • Each buyer in the purchase must meet eligibility requirements

There’s other criteria, too.

For one, the sales price on the subject property cannot exceed $800,000. Homes sold for more than $800,000 are ineligible for the tax credit. Furthermore, households earning more than $125,000 as single-filers, or $225,500 for joint-filers, are ineligible.

You can read the complete eligibility requirements at the IRS website, or, you may just find it simpler to speak with your accountant about it. There are some nuances in qualifying for and claiming the tax credit on your returns and getting a professional’s opinion is always wise.

And lastly, don’t forget that government’s tax credit program is a true tax credit. It’s not a tax deduction.  This means that a tax filer whose “normal” tax liability is $3,500 and who is eligible for $8,000 in credit will receive a $4,500 refund from the U.S. Treasury.

If you’re currently in the House Hunt, mark your calendar for April 30, 2010. It’s 7 weeks away and you can be sure that as the date gets closer, buyer traffic is going to increase.  You may find sellers more willing to negotiate today than several weeks from now.