Tips for Buyers
Buying a home is an exciting time in one's life. Making the smart move of choosing a REALTOR® is your first step to ensuring that your new home and community meets your needs. My services and experience range from financial aid to helping you find the home that best suits you and your family. For your convenience, I also provide listings by email. I pride myself on repeat business and hope you'll come to understand why.
- Assure that you see all the properties in the area that meet your criteria.
- DO ALL THE WORK FOR YOU - by setting up a profile that fits the home for which you are looking. You will receive email updates from me WITHIN 24 HOURS of when a home gets listed that fits your profile! No more MANUAL searching for you!
- Guide you through the entire home buying process, from finding homes to look at, to getting the best financing.
- Make sure you don't pay too much for your new home and help you avoid costly mistakes.
- Answer all of your questions about the local market area, including schools, neighborhoods, the local economy, and more.
ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A BUYER/AGENCY AGREEMENT
Your Interests are Professionally Represented
Enlisting the services of a professional Buyer's Agent is similar to using an accountant to help you with your taxes, a doctor to help you with your health care, or a mechanic to help you with your car. If you had the time to devote to learning everything about these things, you could do these services yourself. But who has the time? This is why you allow other professionals to help you in their specific areas of expertise. I will take care of the hassles of everyday real estate transactions for you! I let you concentrate on YOUR full-time job while I do MY job.
You Get a Personal Specialist Who Knows Your Needs
As your Buyer's Agent, I get to know your real estate needs and concerns. This type of relationship is built through open communication at all times. I will save you a lot of time by providing you all the details about any home before you see it. In addition, as your Agent, I will listen to your feedback and concerns about each home.
You Will Quickly and Conveniently Get the RIGHT Home
The advantage to signing a Buyer's Agency Agreement with me is that you will have a professional agent working to find and secure the ideal home for you. It is nearly impossible to find a home that meets your needs, get a contract negotiated, and close the transaction without an experienced agent. You won't need to spend endless evenings and weekends driving around looking for a home or trying to search your computer networks by yourself. When you tour homes with me, you will already know that the homes meet your criteria and are within your price range.
What is the Buyer's Agency Agreement?
Entering into a Buyer's Agency Agreement has countless advantages. When you sign the agreement, you are simply agreeing to "hire" a personal representative who, by law, must represent your best interests to the best of their ability. All of this personal service is available at NO COST to you! The Seller's Agent is responsible for paying my fee! With me, you get a professional devoted to protecting your needs and to helping you make one of the most important investment decisions of your life - and you don't even have to pay the fee! WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK!
Before You Start Looking For Your New Home:
- Check your credit rating. Straighten out any errors before its too late.
- Determine a comfortable monthly budget for your new purchase, including down payment and monthly payment.
- Find a loan program that meets your needs and get pre-qualified (preferably pre-approved).
- Choose a REALTOR® that you trust and who understands your needs.
- Determine what neighborhood best matches your needs.
- Identify important features you need your new home to have.
- Lender fees include charges for loan processing, underwriting, preparation and establishing an escrow account.
- Third-party fees include charges for insurance, title search, and other inspections such as termites.
- Government fees include deed recording and state & local mortgage taxes.
- Escrow and interest fees include homeowner's insurance, loan interest, real estate taxes, and occasionally private mortgage insurance.
Talking Points - $8000 Home Buyer Tax Credit
There will be many scenarios about who does and does not qualify for the $8000 maximum tax credit for first-time homebuyers…and even the term “first-time buyer” is not entirely correct!
The tax credit discussed is for homes purchased by first-time buyers between January 1 and November 30 2009. Below are some the top questions compiled and answered by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the National Association of Realtors and tax advisors.
Remember to always seek legal and tax advice.
Who is considered a First-Time Home Buyer?
There are many scenarios to consider! The first one is easy- anyone who has not owned a home in the past three years is considered first-time buyer.
For a married couple, if one person owned a home in the past three years and the other did not they don’t qualify for the tax credit.
However, if an unmarried couple jointly buys a home, one person owned a home (within 3 years) and the other did not, they can “designate” the tax credit to that person who will be able to claim it on their individual tax return. The rule also applies for parents who co-sign on a mortgage. The son or daughter is the first-time buyer and can claim the tax credit.
Types of Homes
Pretty much any type of home qualifies- as long as it is a principal residence (as defined by the IRS). Single family, townhomes and condos, manufactured or mobile homes all qualify. A newly constructed home purchased from a homebuilder is determined by the date on the HUD 1.
If a borrower is building a home and owned the land prior to January 1 2009, the purchase date is the date the owner “first occupies” the home, which must be between January 1 and November 30, 2009.
Is It a Credit or a Loan?
If someone purchased a home between April 9 and December 31, 2008, they called it a tax credit because you get the tax credit money up front-but it really was an interest free loan which was paid back over 15 years. The “payback” is based on the balance owed not the amount received.
If the home is purchased between January 1 and November 30, 2009 it is a true tax credit and does not have to be repaid. However, if the home is sold within three years of the purchase date the entire tax credit has to be repaid.
How the Dollar Amount of Tax Credit is Figured
The credit is 10% of the home’s purchase price or a maximum of $8,000. The credit can be taken whether the buyer obtained a mortgage or paid cash for the home.
Always seek the advice of an expert, but here is a simple explanation. In all calculations the income number is always based on the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. The MAGI can be found on line 37 of IRS form 1040, line 21 of the 1040A, or on line 4 of the 1040EZ. The limit for a single taxpayer is $75,000 and $150,000 for a married taxpayer. Buyers who exceed the income limits may apply for a partial credit.
Taxpayers can choose to claim their credit on either their 2008 return or wait until the 2009 tax year to file.
For homebuyers who do not want to wait until the end of the year to get their money, they could consider filing a W-4 with their employer, decreasing the amount held for taxes. They may not get a refund check at the end of the year, but it will increase their “take home” pay during the year.