When the weather outside is frightful, you can usually count on the real estate phone going to sleep. Not this year! I worked with three different buyers yesterday during the raging snow storm. And of the 7 houses I showed, three of them were new to the market this week. That's not a typical December day for Rochester, NY.
With less than 140 days to be under contract to qualify for the home buyer federal tax credit, it seemed like a good time to highlight the program. Of course, you will want to consult with your tax advisor or attorney for more specific advice, as the following points are very general.
· Your purchase agreement for a home must be signed no later than April 30, 2010, and the transaction must close before July 1.
· First-time buyers receive a credit of 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $8,000. A first-time buyer is defined as an individual and/or spouse that has not owned a principal residence in the U.S. within the last three years.
· Buyers who owned and lived in their principal residence for at least five consecutive years of the last eight can receive credit of up to $6,500 when they contract to purchase a home before April 30, 2010, and close before July 1.
· The upper income limit to receive the full credit is raised to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for couples.
· If the purchase price is more than $800,000, the buyer is not eligible for the credit.
· There is no minimum income for claiming the credit. You qualify for the full credit even if you won't owe any taxes for 2009 or 2010.
· You can claim the credit when you file your 2009 or 2010 tax return. The law does allow you to apply the credit to your down payment but currently, I know of no bank in New York that will provide such a loan.
If you or someone you know is considering a purchase in time to qualify for the tax credit, please call me as soon as possible. We anticipate an early spring rush this year with lots of competing offers and so now to the time to get pre-qualified and define your search criteria.