Today, the world's most famous weather forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his den, saw his shadow, and scurried back to rest for six more weeks. If you missed this landmark event, you can find the story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35194650/ns/us_news-life/
The contrarian pretender, Staten Island Chuck, did not see his shadow, and thus, predicted an early spring. http://news.puggal.com/staten-island-chuck-21209/ So it always is: To paraphrase an old economist joke, "If you took all the forecasters in the world and laid them end-to-end, they wouldn't reach a conclusion."
Opportunity occurs when everyone else is playing it safe. By the time Phil emerges, the rewards of an early Spring will be gone. Here are the opportunities available as we see them:
1. First-Time home Buyer Tax Credit - Expires on April 30, 2010 To take advantage of this gift of $87,000 TAX FREE CASH, one must have not owned a home for the last three years, and meet certain other requirements and income tests. See the IRS Website for all the details. One must be under contract to purchase a house by April 30, and close and fund before July 1.
If you know someone who may qualify and wants to see if they can buy a home in San Antonio, please let us know, and we will explain the program to them and help them achieve their dream.
2. Move-up (or down) Tax Credit - also expires April 30 - for those who have owned their home for at least 5 of the last 8 years, a $6,500 Tax Credit if you sell your existing home and move up or down,. Perfect for down-sizers or growing families. Of course, consult with your personal Tax Advisor to see if this works for you. If it does, $6,500 TAX FREE CASH can certainly pay for that move to the home you've always wanted.
3. Low Interest Rates - Last year we were delighted if we could lock-in a rate of 6%. Now rates are bouncing between 4.75% and 5.5%. The Federal Reserve has announced that they will stop buying Mortgage-backed Securities in March. We think that will cause rates to climb once again. If you haven't re-financed, perhaps you should check on it. We have a good calculator available at http://TellEllen.com. Money saved is money earned.
Also, if you buy now, before rates start to climb, you scan buy a nicer home for the same payment. A ½% change in interest rates affects the house payment the same way that a 5.8% price change does.
4. Investment properties - San Antonio still has lots of investor homes available at low prices. Some need work, but some are ready to go with very little fix-up. A rental home, bought right and managed professionally should be able to cash-flow (cover the payment and generate a little extra), and generate significant appreciation and tax benefits. It's a solid way to supplement your retirement income, when that day comes.
If you have some extra cash, aren't feeling so good about your prospects in the Stock Market, let us help you to find a great rental home or two. We have a property management department in-house, so you don't have the hassle of finding and dealing with tenants. Call or e-mail us for a FREE list of HUD Homes, VA foreclosures, short Sales, Lender-owned homes and other bargains in the Greater San Antonio area, available by neighborhood or ZIP code.
We are here to help you anytime you, or people you know, are ready to buy or sell a home in San Antonio and the surrounding area. We appreciate all your referrals.
Doc and Ellen Stephens, REALTORS®
Keller Williams Realty
10999 IH-10 West, Suite 175
San Antonio, TX 78230
(210) 696-9996, ext 409