Finance and Lending

Important Changes in Lending and Tax Credits-Home Buyers Take Note!

(NOTE: Today I welcome Otilia Sullivan of Princeton Capital, as a first time contributor to Wine Country and Horses. Otilia has provided sage mortgage advice to many of my clients and I trust her ability to find the right mortgage for my clients in a timely manner. She is extremely knowledgeable about the mortgage markets and what it takes to qualify for a home, or to refinance. Since there are so many changes on nearly a daily basis, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have.) Welcome Otilia! Don't forget that the end of the federal home buyer tax credit is in sight. This credit provides $8,000 to first time home buyers. First time buyers are defined as those who have not owned a home in the previous 3 years, so the government's definition might be different than yours. The credit also provides $6,500 to current home owners. We have heard nothing about any extensions. Borrowers need to be in contract by April 30 and close by June 30. Click here to find the details of the federal tax credit, or ask your CPA if you qualify. Also the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) is increasing from 1.75% to 2.25% with case numbers issued after April 5. Many first time buyers in the North Bay are using FHA loans since the credit restrictions are not so steep, and the down payment can be as low as 3.5%. So if your loan is $200,000.00, your MIP would have been $3,500.00 last through April 5th. From today on it will change to $4,500.00. This is not an out of pocket cost. It is rolled into the loan payments, but nonetheless it is an expense of the loan. There is a lot of talk about how people can take advantage of the newly revised $10,000 California State Homebuyer Tax Credit. We will discuss the pros and cons in our next post! If you can't wait till then, here is a link to the California State Franchise Tax Board's latest memo on the revised credits....

Are you a Property Virgin? $8,000 $Reasons to find why now might be the time to buy your first home

I have got to give credit where credit is due..Krisstina Wise is an Austin real estate broker, head of the Good Life Team. Earlier today she followed me on Twitter. I decided to check out the website of her self-described "hip" Austin real estate brokerage. I found it engaging, well-thought out, informative and professionally done. They use video judiciously and well and have some good tools for buyers and sellers. Their blog had a post on the new federal tax credit for first time home buyers. It wasn't the feds who coined the "Property Virgin", nor did I, so I MUST give credit where credit is due. Thanks to Krisstina and the Good Life team. Here is a bit of their post: No joke. The 8,000 reasons to buy today are quantified in terms of real dollars — $8,000! That’s right. As part of the stimulus package, Uncle Sam is offering “First-Time Homebuyers” (Let’s call you Property Virgins) up to $8,000 in the form of a tax credit for purchasing a home in 2009. If you have been on the fence or if you are considering buying a home in the next year or so – you must learn about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – The First-time homebuyer tax credit. This is a special opportunity that enables you, as a Virgin, to be one of the few who can BENEFIT from this crazy economy. What is it? As part of the Stimulus package, a Property Virgin who purchases in 2009 is eligible to receive up to 10% of the cost of the house –up to $8,000– in the form of a tax credit on their tax return (did we just use stimulus and virgin in the same sentence?). A tax credit means that the $8,000 is a dollar for dollar reduction in what you owe in taxes. This means that if you owed $8,000 in income taxes and you received the $8,000 tax credit, you would owe nothing to the IRS. If you are owed a refund of $1,000, after the credit you would receive a refund of $9,000! And no, you don’t have to pay it back if you live in your new home for at least 3 years. Actually both the term property virgin and first time buyer are not really accurate. Eligibility for this tax break really focuses on your...

The Credit Crisis Simplified

Kudos to blog buddy Gretchen Merrick, writing from the South Bay, for calling my attention to this wonderful animation which explains the origins of the current credit crisis in clear and simple fashion. Her post contains a link to an interview on Terry Gross's Fresh Air Show on National Public Radio, which offers more detail. The Credit Crisis Simplified | South County Real Estate Today I thought I would offer the video here. I love this form of visual communication when done well! The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo....

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