29 April 2010

The Tax Credit and YOU

The $100 million allocated for California's first-time homebuyer tax credits may be depleted in about 10 to 20 days or sooner, according to C.A.R.'s Economics team. California's Franchise Tax Board (FTB) plans to begin accepting applications on May 1, 2010 for tax credits up to $10,000 for first-time homebuyers and for homes that have never been previously occupied. However, the total tax credit allocation for all taxpayers is $100 million for first-time homebuyers and $100 million for new homes, both on a first-come, first-served basis.

C.A.R.'s forecast of 10 to 20 days to deplete the $100 million allocation for first-time home buyers is based on estimated May sales figures and other parameters. It does not take into account the possibility that buyers scheduled to close escrow in April may delay closing until May to take advantage of the tax credit. If a shift in closings from April to May occurs, the first-time homebuyer tax credits may be depleted even more quickly than indicated above.

Applications for the California tax credit must be faxed to the FTB after escrow closes. The FTB will update its website when the 2010 application form and other information become available.

REALTORS® are reminded not to give their clients any tax or legal advice, such as the availability of funds under the California tax credit program. Agents should encourage their clients to seek specific advice from an accountant, attorney, or other professional as they deem appropriate.

For more information, please refer to this very valuable chart brough to you by C.A.R.: 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credit Chart

Thank you for reading.....wishing you all the best!

27 April 2010

5 Key Steps to Buying Your First Home...Tax Credit or No Tax Credit

With the spring buying season in full swing, first-time home buyers are driving much of the current sale activity - lured in part by low prices, interest rates around 5%, and a federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for those who can sign a contract by April 30 and close by June 30.

But it can be a confusing process, even for veteran buyers. Below are five tasks that REALTORS, brokers, and other housing experts say first-time home buyers should know how to do before getting into the market:

Get the financials in order. Buyers should check their credit score, taxes, 401k's and other aspects of their financial situation to determine the maximum they're comfortable affording for their monthly mortgage, utilities, maintenance, taxes, and insurance.

"If your credit score is a mess, clean it up before applying for a mortgage," says Ed Mermelstein, a New York-based real estate lawyer and developer. "A bad credit score may not just affect your rates, but may prevent you from getting a mortgage."

Buyers need to get preapproved by a mortgage broker or lender - that means they get an agreement by a bank to lend the buyer up to a specific amount for a home. This tells sellers that financing in already lined up.

Find a REALTOR to represent you, and start looking. Make sure your choice in a REALTOR is someone who has experience, and is a good negitiator.

Before buyers start looking, it is important to make a pro and con list of things they must have in a house and prioritize what is most important. I encourage my clients to make a list of "wants and needs" to define direction.

"Try not to treat your home like you're living in the stock market," Diann Patton, a consumer real estate specialist, says. "It's a lifestyle, not about flipping. Don't try to time the market. We never know if it's going to go up or down."

Investigate, Investigate, Investigate. When in contract on a home, be sure to conduct your buyer investigations. Research the homeowner's association, when applicable. Home inspectors are highly encouraged.

"Definitely do an inspection. A lot of homes are sold 'as is' now, but you can get a credit from the seller is there is something big," says Cindy Royall a REALTOR with Sotheby's International Realty.

To help determine an offering price, your REALTOR will assist you with looking at comparable home sales.

Make an Offer and Apply for a Mortgage. Have enough cash for a down payment, and extra funds for closing costs, including appraisal costs and deposit (traditionally 3%).

Prepare for Closing. Upon closing, buyers get the keys to their new home. But there's a lot to prepare first. They'll have to get certified funds to cover closing costs and down payments (a settlement statement provided a day or two before closing will tell the buyer how much is needed). Homeowners insurance policies must be secured prior to closing as well.

(Adapted from an article by Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY)

All of this information can be overwhelming...especially if it is your first time. That is why I am happy to guide you through every step of the process and make your experience enjoyable. Buying your first home is a big deal....and should be memorable and exciting!

Contact me for any questions, or for a "Getting Started" package.

Thank you....and very sincerely,

26 April 2010


Thank you for taking the time to read my inaugural post! I hope you will find my blog useful, informative, and entertaining...something you can look forward to reading.

In the future, I will be posting valuable market updates and the latest California real estate news so you can be up to date on how this information affects you. Additionally, I will include info on my favorite Visalia hotspots, local events...making the most out of life in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.

Do you have a REALTOR you feel you can trust? If not, I would love the opportunity to earn that trust. Please let me know if I can assist you, or anyone you know, with any real estate needs...I look forward to meeting you.

All the best,