June 27, 2009 at 11:20 am (hello Real Estate, Open House, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Uncategorized)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Open House, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
This weekend, June 27th & 28th, thousands of homes for sale across the state of Washington are going to be open for viewing as part of the State Wide Open House Weekend being organized by Realtors throughout the state.
The Seattle area Real Estate market is starting to see increased sales, especially in the lower priced homes. Attractive interest rates and now the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit, along with lower prices, are factors as the market stabilizes.
The idea behind the open house weekend is to create greater visibility for the many homes for sale to coincide with the buyer opportunities now available.
I’ll be participating by holding an open house at my Juanita Country Club Condo listing in Kirkland this Sunday, June 28th from 1-4pm. http://12424.hellorealestate.net
June 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm (First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
I hate misleading advertising. I really do. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. I’m also not that keen on hypocrisy. And trying to figure out mixed messages has never been my idea of fun.
Lately, in driving around and previewing homes with clients, we see these riders that say “$8,000 Tax Credit Available”, or “You may qualify for $8,000 Home Buyer Credit”. And today, as I’m driving home from the office, on the radio I hear a Realtor ad talking about how “it’s time to take advantage of the $8,000 Home Buyer Credit before it expires.”
As Realtors, didn’t we have to take an ethics class? How ethical is it that real estate companies and even the Realtor Association is putting out these teaser ads which I’m finding I have to explain as not being completely true.
It’s Not a Home Buyer Tax Credit. It’s a First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. Would it be that hard to add two truthful words to these ads?
It may seem minor on the face of it. But it’s not a minor thing when your credibility with a client is diminished by misleading ads that really appear to be just an attempt to get anybody breathing through the door. As Realtors we have enough negative perception to fend off, surely it’s not a smart move to validate this with anything less than completely honest advertising.
May 20, 2009 at 10:23 am (First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Owner, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Uncategorized)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Buyer Credit, Home Owner, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate
Like a ten year old on a road trip, people are wondering if real estate prices have hit the bottom… are we there yet? It goes beyond the usual “how’s the real estate market?” More than ever, it’s: Is this a good time to buy? How do you buy a foreclosure? Is it hard to get a mortgage? Are homes selling … How long would it take to sell my home? What if we buy and prices continue to go down? Are interest rates going to increase?
It does seem that prices in the Seattle Bellevue Redmond real estate market are starting to level off. While this is not true in the counties of Pierce, Thurston and areas in Snohomish County… King County and specifically Seattle and the Eastside have seen increases in home sales and a stabilization of pricing. This is especially true for King County condos and homes under $400,000. Many first time home buyers and those who have been waiting on the sidelines are jumping in and taking action as they find more affordable pricing and terrific interest rates. Even if prices slide a bit more, all it takes is an interest rate bump and buying power can diminish.
Though it is a buyer’s market, it is only a buyer’s market if you buy.
If you are in the market to buy, Now is a great opportunity. Home sellers are still anxious as their home prices have fallen and many homes continue to sit waiting for a buyer. Home foreclosures and short-sales have increased. Interest rates are incredibly low. There are also many First Time Homebuyer products available. And the Housing Stimulus Bill provides a First-time Home Buyer credit of $8,000. These facts, along with lower prices and tax advantages, even if the market hasn’t hit bottom, a buyer could loose money by waiting to purchase.
But the main point in home ownership is not even the economics. While it is a fact that buying and holding real estate has been a great wealth generator, there is still ‘no place like home.’ Home is where families create memories. Our home is our sanctuary.
Even with investment considerations, the main reason to purchase a house or condo is to live there.
May 5, 2009 at 7:27 pm (First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Uncategorized)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Seller, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
In a news release published today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, pending sales reported by members showed an overall increase of 11.4% from a year ago and up 21.3% from March. Though these statistics are averages of the 19 counties that make up the NWMLS market area, there are areas where the surge in real estate activity isn’t so promising. Also tempering this rare positive news is that activity for the moderate and upper priced homes still continue to be slow. While the Seattle area real estate market is far from being turned around, the report is encouraging for condos, the more affordable lower priced single family homes and for the First Time Home Buyer.
In King County specifically, the report shows that the inventory is shrinking, that home prices seem to be stabilizing, and that real estate sales is showing a surge of activity.
Reasons for the real estate surge can be attributed to lower home prices along with the continued availability of remarkably low interest rates. The $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and other programs are also playing a part.
Pending Single Family Sales in King County rose 25% from March to April. North King County pending sales rose a whopping 52% (includes Shoreline, Kenmore). The increase in pending sales on the Eastside was 35%. Prices are still down compared to a year ago, however the median price for a single family home in King County for April is the same as it was in March at $350,000.
Pending Condo sales in King County, where nearly 60% of the condo sales occur, were still down compared to a year ago but jumped 42% from March.
What the stats show is that the demand is increasing. With the inventory (the supply) decreasing, Economics 101 rule of supply and demand is starting to have an affect on the stablization of home prices.
The real estate market is still highly advantageous to a home buyer. It is still a buyer’s market. Real Estate is ‘On Sale’. Good prices can be found at every price level. For the first time home buyer and those in the market for single family homes under $400,000 or condos or townhouses, the prices – the interest rates – the tax credit … the timing is right.
Steve Swanson is a Redmond Real Estate Agent servicing Redmond and the Eastside, and teaches First Time Home Buyer Classes in Redmond Bellevue Bothell Kirkland and Sammamish.
Search for Seattle area homes at www.helloRealEstate.net
Do your Redmond Home Search at www.RedmondHomesandCondos.com
May 2, 2009 at 11:05 am (First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, Down Payment, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer Credit, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor, Tax Credit Advance Loan Program, Washington State Down Payment Loan Program
Included in the budget passed by the Washington State Legislature is a $25 million dollar fund to implement a Tax Credit Advance Loan Program for First Time Home Buyers. (The definition of a First Time Home Buyer is basically if you have not owned a home in the past Three years.)
Introduced by Washington State Treasurer James McIntire, this program will allow qualified borrowers to get immediate access to the $8,000 Federal Tax Credit for use at closing as a home down payment. Like the Federal Credit, this loan program expires November 30, 2009.
When does it start?
The Tax Credit Advance Loan Program is part of the 2009 Washington State budget which has not yet been signed off by Governor Gregoire. Though the Legislature adjourned on April 26th, there is apparently going to be a need for a special session before the budget can be implemented. The special session is expected to convene sometime within the next few weeks and is expected to be very short, possibly held to one day. Since this proposal is not a bill, which can be signed into law separately, but part of the budget … it can not be implemented until the budget is approved and signed by Governor Gregoire.
The Washington State Tax Credit Advance Loan Program is in essence a bridge loan that will be administered by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC). The $25 million of state funds would be deposited into an FDIC-insured bank. The bank would then provide revolving lines of credit to the WSHFC expand its current down payment bridge-loan program.
To help offset concern of any unexpected losses, The Washington Association of Realtors (NAR) has pledged $400,000 to cover the credit advance transactions.
State Treasurer McIntire is also trying to convince the Obama administration to allow the state to tap into bridge-loan-assisted homebuyers’ amended 2008 tax returns and be directly assigned the repayment of the lien. Under current IRS rules, tax-refund checks are sent only to the taxpayer’s address. To ensure prompt repayment of bridge loans, the state would like to have refunds mailed directly to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission where repayment of a bridge loan is due.
Research by the NAR has shown that fully half of all would-be first-time home buyers in the State of Washington”cannot save enough money for the down payment and closing costs” – even though they could afford the monthly payments.
Once implemented, the Washington State Tax Credit Advance Loan Program will help First Time Home Buyers to take advantage of the current low mortgage rates and house prices, and the Federal $8,000 tax Credit.
Steve Swanson teaches First Time Home Buyer classes in Redmond Kirkland Bellevue Bothell and Sammamish sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. To Register for an upcoming class go to www.hellorealestate.net or view the class schedule for your area at http://wshfc.org/buyers/schedule.asp
April 28, 2009 at 11:16 am (First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Uncategorized)
Tags: $8000 Tax Credit, Down Payment, Economic Stimulus Bill, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Buyer Credit, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor, Tax Credit Advance Loan Program, Washington State Down Payment Loan Program
Hot off the Press is news from the Washington State Legislature provided to me by Georgette Ballard, Sr Loan Officer with PrimeLending. This budget provision would help First Time Home Buyers with their down payment thus helping home sellers getting their house sold. If signed by Governor Gregoire, this would be the first program of it’s kind in the country.
When the Legislature passed the state budget, it included a budget provision authorizing the State Treasurer to invest $25 million in a short-term loan program in order to provide an advance payment of the federal first-time home buyers’ tax credit. This program was designed to allow potential home buyers to use the tax credit as down payment when closing the sale of their first home.
The budget plan creates a Tax Credit Advance Loan Program. This program makes the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers available at the closing of a home sale instead of only when a buyer files a tax return. The Washington State Housing Finance Commission would provide the down payment loans. The plan is that home buyers would repay the $8,000 after filing an amended tax return and receive a tax refund.
Here are the basics:
- The State Treasurer’s Office would make a deposit in an FDIC-insured, short-term account with a selected financial institution. The investment would earn a low interest rate to stay fully insured under federal guidelines.
- Realtors and other stakeholders back the loans with funds to provide security against losses.
- The financial institution provides the Washington State Housing Finance Commission a line of credit to advance up to $8,000 to qualified first-time home buyers for a down-payment.
- Buyers repay the advance loan after filing for and receiving the tax credit.
The goal of the program is to get the money to buyers efficiently and return the federal refund quickly so that the WSHFC ( www.wshfc.org ) can turn it around to provide more assistance. The funds could revolve as many as three times before the tax credit expires, reaching up to 9,000 first-time home buyers. These “bridge loans” would expire at the same time as the federal tax credit, on Nov. 30.
Steve Swanson teaches First Time Home Buyer Classes sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Learn more or register for an upcoming class at www.helloRealEstate.net
March 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm (Economic Stimulus Bill, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate)
Tags: Down Payment, Economic Stimulus Bill, First Time Home Buyer, Home Buyer, Home Buyer Credit, Home Owner, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
I was just reading that the National Association of Realtors is working with the State of Washington in exploring ways that will put the federal $8000 First-Time Homebuyer tax credit and economic stimulus money coming to the state to use at the closing of a sale.
I’ll be following this to see if this develops into something real. It would be a tremendous benefit for the First Time Home Buyer. It is usually the lack of down payment that is the main barrier to home ownership. Especially for those who have stable incomes and good credit.
In researching this subject, I came across a couple of innovative ways to be able to use this credit as a source to come up with a down payment:
1) get a loan from a family member for the down payment. FHA loans allow the down payment to come from family members, assuming they are in the position to help. Then after the buyer closes on the purchase, amend the 2008 tax return and repay the loan to the family member.
By the way, many conventional loans allow money for the down payment to be gifted. It has to be considered a gift. But I don’t think anything says you couldn’t gift the gift giver back!!
2) buyers can increase their W-4 exemptions so less money is withheld from their paychecks. Then they can file for the tax credit with their 2009 tax return. The buyers just need to make sure they do not change their exemptions to net more than $8,000, the amount of the tax credit.
I also read one way that seems clever, but don’t think I would recommend this without talking with a CPA first.
Here’s what was said: If you meet the qualifications for the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit (click here for details), you would claim the credit now on your 2008 income tax return. Yes, even if you haven’t purchased a home yet, they’re saying claim the credit now. Then get the money and put it toward the down payment or closing costs. I thought this was clever. Never said it was smart … or legal. Might check with your accountant though, you never know.
The family gift and restructuring your W-4 are legitimate and positive ways to come up with a down payment and be able to take advantage of, not only the $8000 tax credit, but the low interest rates and affordable pricing to purchase your first home now.
Did you know that you may also be able to get money from your IRA or even your 401k? Here’s an article with ten more ways to come up with a down payment to buy your first home.
February 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm (Economic Stimulus Bill, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Owner, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate)
Tags: Economic Stimulus Bill, First Time Home Buyer, hello Real Estate, Home Buyer, Home Buyer Credit, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
In reading and trying to stay updated on what details that have been made available on the Economic Stimulus package that has apparently been negotiated and agreed, it appears that the proposed $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit was a casualty. Sort of.
The overall cost of this credit would have been $35 billion. In its place, a more modest proposal was negotiated that will increase the credit to $8,000 and will also eliminate the repayment requirement currently in place. In its current format, the $7,500 credit is in effect an interest-free loan that must be repaid within 15 years or when the home is sold, whichever comes first. Though there is a minor possibiilty that things could still change, it appears that now the $8,000 credit will be an actual credit, not a loan like before so you’ll not have to repay the credit. So, not all bad news.
The Stimulus Home Buyer Credit is income qualified and good for First-Time Home Buyers for houses purchased prior to the end of August 2009.
A first time home buyer is defined as a person who has not owned or lived in a owned primary residence within the past three years.
The stimulus agreement would also allow taxpayers to deduct the sales tax paid on new car purchases, though not the interest on the new car loan.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill in Denver on Tuesday, February 17th.
February 14, 2009 at 9:22 pm (First Time Home Buyer, Home Buyer, Home Seller, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate)
Tags: First Time Home Buyer, Home Buyer Credit, Real Estate, Redmond Real Estate, Steve Swanson Realtor
Beyond the usual “how’s the real estate market?” …I’m being asked more real estate related questions than ever. Is this a good time to buy? How do you buy a foreclosure? Is it hard to get a mortgage? Are homes selling … How long would it take to sell my home?
There is curiosity, confusion, and myth-information.
Myth-Understanding #1: It is not a good time to buy real estate.
It’s no doubt that even our Seattle Redmond real estate market remains sluggish. Many home sellers are frustrated as home prices have fallen and many homes continue to sit waiting for a buyer. Home foreclosures and short-sales have increased. And home buyers don’t know whether the timing is right to buy. Are home values going to continue to go down? Has the market hit bottom? Can they even get a loan?
Truth: Now is a great opportunity!
For a buyer, this is a great opportunity and, yes, there are still many loan products available. As of today (02/13/09), fixed 30yr interest rates are below 5 ½%. There are also many First Time Homebuyer products available. And the Housing Stimulus Bill provides a First-time Home Buyer credit. These facts, along with lower prices and the tax advantages, even if the market hasn’t hit bottom, a buyer could loose money by waiting to purchase.
But the main point in home ownership is not even the economics. While it is a fact that buying and holding real estate has been a great wealth generator, there is still ‘no place like home.’ Home is where families create memories. Home is our sanctuary … where we find our calm, our love.
There are many personal rewards outside of economics, and including economics, that prove … homeownership works!