Posts Tagged ‘tax breaks’

Tax Credit Extended

October 29, 2009

Lola and meYeah

a REMAX logo Senators agreed Wednesday to extend a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers and to offer a reduced credit to some repeat buyers. The tax credit provides up to $8,000 to first-time homebuyers but is set to expire at the end of November. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales fell 3.6 percent in September, and some industry representatives blamed uncertainty about the tax credit. Senators agreed to extend the existing tax credit for first-time homebuyers while offering a reduced credit of up to $6,500 to repeat buyers who have owned their current homes for at least five years, said Regan Lachapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. The tax credits would be available to homebuyers who sign sales agreements by the end of April. They would have until the end of June to close on their new homes, according to a summary of the legislation being circulated among lawmakers. House leaders have said they support extending the tax credit for homebuyers. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., has been negotiating for several weeks with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to craft an extended tax credit for homebuyers that would pass the Senate. Lawmakers didn’t release a cost estimate for extending the tax credit, though similar proposals were projected to cost about $10 billion. Industry representatives said uncertainty about the tax credit is hurting new home sales. September’s decline was the first since March. It takes 45 days to 60 days to close on a house, making it unlikely a sale made today would be consummated by the end of November, said Lucien Salvant, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. “Buyers right now have an incentive to hold off, not knowing whether the credit will be extended,” Salvant said. About 1.4 million first-time homebuyers have qualified for the credit through August. The National Association of Realtors estimates that 350,000 of them would not have purchased their homes without the credit.

First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit Closing in on Deadline

September 24, 2009

Lola and meThe Clock Is Ticking as First-Time Buyers Intensify Their House Hunting a REMAX logo

By Amy Hoak Print Article RISMEDIA,

September 18, 2009—(MCT)—Tired of paying rent and enticed by a first-time home buyer tax credit, 25-year-old Garrett Rebel began his search for a home in August, scouring the suburbs of Dallas for a house to meet his current and future needs. And he’s already running out of time. The federal tax credit for first-time buyers is “a huge motivator” for Rebel, and he may end his search if the Nov. 30 deadline arrives and he still hasn’t closed on a deal. He unsuccessfully submitted an offer on one house; after going back and forth with the seller couldn’t come to a price agreeable to both parties. “I haven’t found anything that I’ve fallen in love with,” Rebel said. Timing is everything for many first-time buyers today. For those who purchase a home this year, the tax credit is for 10% of the purchase price, up to $8,000. Those who have owned a home in the past three years aren’t eligible. Buyers also have to meet eligibility requirements regarding income; the current credit begins to phase out for singles who make more than $75,000 and couples who make more than $150,000. Unless it is extended, this credit will expire on Nov. 30. “We are seeing an increase in buyers wanting to get closed prior to the tax credit closing deadline,” said real-estate agent Amy Downs, who represents Rebel. “We are seeing an increase in sellers wanting to get their homes on the market and closed by this deadline. I feel that if we can get the homes priced accordingly and a strong offer by mid-October, we can beat this deadline with a reputable lender working the buy side.” Some real-estate agents and mortgage brokers are recommending that first-time buyers close no later than the week before Thanksgiving to ensure that no holiday-related office closings or abbreviated schedules interfere with the process. That means finalizing a purchase on or before Nov. 20. In fact, to make sure you can take advantage of the credit, it’s probably best to go under contract no later than the first or second week of October, said Jim Sahnger, mortgage planner with Palm Beach Financial Network in Florida. The National Association of Realtors reports that it’s taking about two months to complete a home sale in the current market, as lenders scrutinize borrower paperwork and issues with appraisals pop up. In short, first-time buyers probably need to select a property and make an offer by the end of this month. But rushing to meet the deadline is a double-edged sword. The purchase of a home—let alone your first one—isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. “For anyone, the decision to buy a house has to be a right one,” Sahnger said. “While the $8,000 can be great to have, I wouldn’t let that force you into a decision. But there is something that works and you want to take advantage of the credit, you can’t afford to delay the decision.” For buyers who don’t make the deadline, there is a chance the credit will be extended. There are at least 20 bills drafted regarding the credit; one-third of them have been introduced recently, said Lucien Salvant, managing director of public affairs for NAR. Some proposals would not only extend the first-time buyer credit into next year, but would also expand it to include all home buyers, remove income restrictions and raise the maximum amount of the credit, up to $15,000. By including all buyers, there could be more of a ripple effect as more Americans spend money on moving vans, lawn equipment — any items or services associated with making a move, said Jerry Howard, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB and NAR have been lobbying heavily for the extension. “The first priority is going to be to renew the $8,000 credit, but we have some good arguments for expanding it,” said Jerry Giovaniello, senior vice president and chief lobbyist for NAR. He argues that the credit doesn’t cost much but has a huge impact. If you’re a first-time buyer, however, waiting is a gamble. “What you have in front of you now is a tax credit. After that, you don’t know what you have,” Salvant said. “This thing can go all different kinds of ways.” NAR estimates that about 1.8 million to 2 million first-time buyers will take advantage of the tax credit this year, and says that roughly 350,000 sales wouldn’t have taken place without the credit. But the effectiveness of the credit will eventually peter out because there are only so many potential first-time buyers, said Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California. He said that the credit is likely getting many first-time buyers to make their purchases six months to a year earlier than they would have anyway. “In terms of how effective it is, I don’t think it does any harm at this point. It’s pushing sales forward that would have happened anyway,” he said. “You’re giving money to people who were going to buy anyway.” Increasing the credit amount to $15,000 and expanding it to everyone, however, could end up translating to higher home prices, he added. Still, there is growing Capitol Hill support for the extension of the credit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it needs to be extended by the end of the year, according to a spokesman from his office. And Washington Research Group, a unit of securities firm Concept Capital, recently put the chance of extension at 60 percent. Yet with Congress currently focusing on other issues, and concerns about the country’s rising deficit, some wonder how difficult it will be for housing to garner attention anytime soon. “All eyes are on health care,” said Bruce Hahn, president of the American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance. According to, first-time buyers on average search 12 weeks to find a home. But there are ways for buyers to expedite their journey to closing: Sign up for automatic alerts for properties that fit your criteria. Many buyers start their search online, and it’s possible to sign up for e-mail alerts when properties that meet your criteria are added, points out. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she also may be able to register you for automatic alerts when homes are listed. But make sure the information you receive is fresh — you don’t have time to look at unavailable homes. Do all you can to ensure a smooth mortgage process. Collect pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns to prove income. Get prequalified. And while your loan is in process, don’t make major purchases on credit cards — that could delay closing, said Julie Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Prepare for closing costs early. Get your insurance company and, if applicable, your homeowner association, to forward a cost estimate to the escrow company early, recommended in a news release. In many states, closing costs must be paid — in cash — at closing. Read more:

I am backkkkk

August 20, 2009



Have you missed me?  It has been a hectic 3 months.  I finally closed on the short sale last week.  That took eight months, whew!  Glad that’s over, so is my client.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears.  Now I just put another one into escrow.  I hope that does not last eight months.  Here is some news about the tax credit:

This from the Los Angeles Times:

 Start house-hunting now to qualify for tax credit for first-time home buyers

First-time homebuyers—those who have not owned a home for at least three years—may be eligible for the $8,000 federal tax credit, but the window of opportunity is closing rapidly.  To qualify for the credit, the buyer must close escrow by midnight on Nov. 30, when the tax credit expires.  Buyers hoping to take advantage of this benefit are advised to start house-hunting early, as the buying and lending processes takes time.

e you missed me? It has been a hectic 3 months. I finally closed on the short sale last week. That took eight months, whew! Glad that’s over, so is my client. A lot of blood, sweat and tears. Now I just put another one into escrow. i hope that does not last eight months. Here is some news about the tax credit:

This from the Los Angeles Times: Start house-hunting now to qualify for tax credit for first-time home buyers First-time homebuyers—those who have not owned a home for at least three years—may be eligible for the $8,000 federal tax credit, but the window of opportunity is closing rapidly. To qualify for the credit, the buyer must close escrow by midnight on Nov. 30, when the tax credit expires. Buyers hoping to take advantage of this benefit are advised to start house-hunting early, as the buying and lending processes takes time.

Playa del Rey Beach House Comes up for Sale

June 24, 2009

It’s summertime and the livin; is easy.  Walk to the beach and surf all day with friends and family, head back and have a cocktail in your relaxing backyard.  Everyone is mingling in your beautiful remodeled kitchen with center isle and granite counters, which looks at the fireplace and dining room.  Children are running in and out and playing on the wood floors, everyone’s dogs are rough housing and happy to be with their family.  As the evening cool air arrives, you light the fireplace in the living room and master bedroom.   This warms up the crowd as they dine under the moonlit sky.  Old friends are mingling and catching up on their lives.   Teenagers are crammed  into the loft of the guest house whispering their secrets.  Giggles and laughter waft through the night air.   This couldn’t get any better.

For more info on this  Playa del Rey home contact Donna Benton-RE/MAX Westside Properties 310-398-2332.             License #00983738     

3 bedrooms, 2.25 baths, guest house


$8,000 Tax Credit Toward Purchase of New Home

May 29, 2009

a REMAX logoDONOVAN ANNOUNCES RECOVERY ACT’S HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT CAN IMMEDIATELY HELP THOUSANDS OF FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS TO BUY A HOME FHA plan will stimulate new home sales and help stabilize housing market WASHINGTON – Speaking to the National Association of Home Builders Spring Board of Directors Meeting, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will allow homebuyers to apply the Obama Administration’s new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit toward the purchase costs of a FHA-insured home. Donovan said that today’s action will help stabilize the nation’s housing market by stimulating home sales across the country. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 offers homebuyers a tax credit of up to $8,000 for purchasing their first home. Families can only access this credit after filing their tax returns with the IRS. Today’s announcement details FHA’s rules allowing state Housing Finance Agencies and certain non-profits to “monetize” up to the full amount of the tax credit (depending on the amount of the mortgage) so that borrowers can immediately apply the funds toward their down payments. Home buyers using FHA-approved lenders can apply the tax credit to their down payment in excess of 3.5 percent of appraised value or their closing costs, which can help achieve a lower interest rate. To read the FHA’s new mortgagee letter, visit HUD’s website. “We believe this is a real win for everyone,” said Donovan. “Today, the Obama Administration is taking another important step toward accelerating the recovery of the nation’s housing market. Families will now be able to apply their anticipated tax credit toward their home purchase right away. At the same time we are putting safeguards in place to ensure that consumers will be protected from unscrupulous lenders. What we’re doing today will not only help these families to purchase their first home but will present an enormous benefit for communities struggling to deal with an oversupply of housing.” Currently, borrowers applying for an FHA-insured mortgage are required to make a minimum 3.5 percent downpayment on the purchase of their home. Current law does not permit approved lenders to monetize the tax credit to meet the required 3.5 percent minimum down payment, but, under the terms of today’s announcement, lenders can now monetize the tax credit for use as additional down payment, or for other closing costs, which can help achieve a lower interest rate. Buyers financing through state Housing Finance Agencies and certain non-profits will be able to use the tax credit for their downpayments via secondary financing provided by the HFA or non-profit. In addition to the borrower’s own cash investment, FHA allows parents, employers and other governmental entities to contribute towards the downpayment. Today’s action permits the first-time homebuyer’s anticipated tax credit under the Recovery Act to be applied toward the family’s home purchase right away. Unlike seller-funded down-payment assistance, which was a vehicle for abuse, this program will allow homebuyers to shop for the best home price and services using their anticipated tax credit. According to estimates by the National Association of Home Builders, the Administration’s homebuyer tax credit will stimulate 160,000 home sales across the nation – 101,000 of which will be first-time buyers who will receive the credit. Another 59,000 existing homeowners will be able to buy another home because a first-time buyer purchased their home. Given FHA’s current market share, it’s estimated that thousands of families will be able to purchase a home by allowing the anticipated tax credit to be applied toward their purchase together with an FHA-insured mortgage. Homebuyers should beware of mortgage scams and carefully compare benefits and costs when seeking out tax credit monetization services. Programs will vary from organization to organization and borrowers should consider whether the services make sense for them, as well as what company offers the most suitable and affordable option. For every FHA borrower who is assisted through the tax credit program, FHA will collect the name and employer identification number of the organization providing the service as well as associated fees and charges. FHA will use this information to track the business closely and will refer any questionable practices to the appropriate regulatory agencies, as necessary.

Avoid Foreclosure Press Release

May 16, 2009



Donna Benton “D.B.” of RE/MAX Marquee Partners has earned the prestigious Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, having completed extensive training in foreclosure avoidance and short sales. This is invaluable expertise to offer at a time when the area is ravaged by “distressed” homes in the foreclosure process.

Short sales allow the cash-strapped seller to repay the mortgage at the price that the home sells for, even though it is lower than what is owed on the property. With plummeting property values, this can save many people from foreclosure and even bankruptcy. More and more lenders are willing to consider short sales because they are much less costly than foreclosures.

In the Los Angeles area, a number of homes are in danger of foreclosing. It is happening in all price ranges. Local experts say that even high-priced homes are not immune.

“This CDPE designation has been invaluable as I work with sellers and lenders on complicated short sales,” said Benton. “It is so rewarding to be able to help sellers save their homes from foreclosure.”

Alex Charfen, founder of the Distressed Property Institute in Boca Raton, Fla., said that Realtors® such as Donna Benton with the CDPE designation have valuable training in short sales that can offer the homeowner much better alternatives to foreclosure, which virtually destroys the credit rating. These experts also may better understand market conditions and can help sellers through the emotional experience, he said.

The Distressed Property Institute opened in January 2008 and provides training on-site and online. The CDPE is the premier designation for Realtors helping homeowners in distress and handling short sales.

Our goal is to educate as many people as possible so we can help as many homeowners as possible,” Charfen said.

For a confidentional and FREE  consultation contact Donna directly at 310-398-2332.

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Calif and Fed benefit to 1st time home buyer

March 12, 2009

Here is an article on the tax breaks for first time home buyers, I would suggest speaking with your accountant about what you can do to prepare to take advantage of this tax break. I am not an accountant and cannot advise you, but one idea might be to change your deductions.