Many of the first-time homebuyers that I work with end up getting help with the up-front costs involved in purchasing their first home. The luckiest of them have parents or relatives who can help them out with cash up front for a down payment, closing costs, or home improvements. Most often, the grateful new homeowners will pay that money back over time, and often the parents won't even charge interest for their assistance.
Last week, this kind of opportunity was opened up to even the most independent of buyers when the President signed the housing stimulus bill.
The housing bill will, among other things, provide first-time homebuyers (those who haven't owned in three years) with a tax credit of up to $7500. The credit is available to those who bought within the time frame of April 9, 2008-July 1, 2009. It is in the form of an interest-free loan, wherein the $7500 credit would be paid back over 15 years in installments of $500.
Here are 26 ways in which new homebuyers can use the credit:
Add a deck
Buy new appliances
Create a built-in bookshelf
Drop your PMI by applying the credit to your loan's principal amount
Extinguish your credit card debt
Fertilize your lawn
Grow a botanical garden
Hire a feng-shui specialist to maximize your chi
Invest it and watch it grow
Jam out to a new surround-sound system
Keep it for a rainy day
Lay some hardwood
Mitigage radon, or take care of other building-inspection issues
Need new windows? Buy them!
Open a cushion account for property-related expenses
Quiet down your parents by paying them back
Renovate your kitchen and baths
Stimulate the economy via your local antique dealer
Take a vacation
Upgrade your furnishings
Vinyl-side your house for lower maintenance down the road
Warm up to a new gas fireplace
X-Ray your home to diagnose insulation problems
Yank out that pea-soup shag carpet
Zennify your surroundings