Real Estate Blog
Monday, February 23 2009
Gen X-ers, boomers, young parents or empty nesters, students or retirees, renters or homeowners, buyers or sellers....Though no one is immune to the current economic climate, it affects us each a bit differently. So to get the most out of the federal government’s new economic stimulus plan, we all need to read between the lines and take advantage of the features that most benefit our own situation.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most significant real estate provisions of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law on February 17, as well as other recent changes, that merit consideration. You may be able to use them to begin to enact your own economic recovery!
The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: The new law has expanded the benefits of this popular tax credit. In fact, as reported at CNNMoney.com, the National Association of Realtors has predicted that this credit could stimulate up to 300,000 home sales by enticing first-time buyers to get off the fence and into the market. The maximum credit is now $8,000, up from the original $7,500, for homes purchased between January 1, 2009, and December 1, 2009. First-time buyers can claim a credit of up to $8,000 or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less. The credit can be taken on the 2008 or 2009 tax return. As long as the buyers remain in the home and continue to own it for at least three years, the credit need not be paid back. The income limitations are the same as in the original version of the credit. Individuals with adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 (or less than $150,000 on a joint return) may take the full amount of the credit. This tax credit expires December 1, 2009, so take advantage if you can.
Reverse Mortgage Loan Provisions: Reverse mortgages, which have been steadily increasing in popularity with the increasing age of the Baby Boomer generation, now have some new benefits. The limit on the amount of the FHA-insured reverse mortgage has been increased to $625,000. This applies nationwide, not just in high-cost geographical areas.
In addition, there is now a very attractive opportunity for senior citizens to use the reverse mortgage strategy to purchase a new home, without having to wait for the old home to sell. The old home can even be used to generate rental income.
Changes in Loan Limits: Higher cost homes became more affordable with enactment of the new law. The limit for FHA and conforming loans increased to $729,750. This especially helps people in high-cost areas of the country.
The Home Improvement Tax Credit: Some people are deciding that they would rather make improvements to the home they currently own rather than sell in the current market. This can make sense, depending on your situation. The improvements you make now can increase the profit you eventually realize on the sale of your home, so it is in your best interest to take advantage of the tax credits available for such items as energy-efficient windows, furnaces, and air conditioners. The credit was raised to 30% for eligible items.
To see the entire text of the new Act, visit my website, www.Ardolino.com, go to "Visit Our Blog," and see “The Stimulus Plan” entry for a link to the Library of Congress website. And as always, be sure to consult a qualified professional for advice regarding any legal or tax issues related to the above general discussion.
I am committed to keeping you abreast of market conditions, and I’ll continue to provide updated, pertinent information. For additional data, visit my website at www.Ardolino.com, where you’ll also find my new blog. Please take a look, and let me know what you think! If you have any questions, call me at 631-941-4300 or e-mail: Michael@Ardolino.com.
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Copyright © 2009 by Michael Ardolino