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Friday, April 23, 2010


April 23, 2010 ...

The HOMEBUYER TAX CREDIT will expire at the end of this month.  There is still time to take advantage of this “blue-light special” that is pointed at your choice of home, but first ~ 

  1. You must find a house
  2. You must have a signed offer dated no later than April 30, 2010.
  3. You must close on your home purchase by June 30, 2010.

There is NO indication that the tax credit -- which has driven existing home sales to the highest level in over two years -- will be extended.

Here’s how it works:  

Maximum Purchase Price --  $800,000 (can you do this)???

Income Caps --
  • Single tax filers up to $125,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, single filers who earn $145,000 and above are ineligible.
  • Joint filers who earn up to $225,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, joint filers who earn $245,000 and above are ineligible.
The Tax Credit Amount – 
  • $8000 for first-time buyers (have not owned a home in the past 3 years)
  • $6,500 for current homeowners (must have lived in their home as a principal residence for 5 of the past 8 years)
 There is still time.  You'd be amazed!  I am happy to help!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

About a week ago, a first-time buyer had a lot of questions and posted her question to Trulia. I took the time to answer her question in great detail and won a "Best Answer" on Trulia! You may have similar questions, so here it is:

Congratulations! Your response was selected as the Best Answer. Check out all the answers here:
Can someone tell me how this works in simple terms? I just want to buy a house for my soon to be family.Hello Bonnie, First of all, congratulations on your forthcoming family and for doing your homework before taking this first big step towards home ownership. Your down payment will vary depending upon the type of loan you get -- FHA, MSHDA, Conventional, VA, etc. Your best course of action is to speak with a lender. They will match your individual circumstances with a loan program. APR=annual percentage rate. This is the percentage rate that has all of the fees, etc. rolled in The lender, by law, is required to show this to you. It is not the interest rate you are paying year-after-year on your loan, but rather a rate computed based upon lender fees, appraisal fee, etc. that you are charged for that first year of the loan. There are many real estate companies -- commonly referred to as brokers. I work for a national company -- Prudential Snyder & Company. I started my career at a local company, and it was fine, but I believe in the power and leverage that a national presence can give you in terms of exposure, relocation properties, internet presence, etc. I respect the answer that you were given to interview several Realtors to determine what the best fit is for you for a buyer agent. I would be honored to be included. A foreclosure is a bank-owned property. The purchase process is much the same as if you were buying a resale from an individual except the pricing is usually lower, and there is additional paperwork -- called bank addendums -- to sign. Don't let this scare you. To throw another one in front of you, there are Short Sales! These are properties owned by an individual, but that individual's property value has dropped below the amount of money they need to pay off their mortgage. The additional wrinkle involved in this sale is that the seller can accept your offering price, but it then has to be approved by the lender/bank. An auction involves buying a home from an auction company. Basically, you bid on the house and highest bidder wins. When considering this, you should take a buyer agent with you who will have researched property values for the property being auctioned. A home inspection comes into play after you have an offer accepted on a property. You hire a person called an Contractor Inspector and they go over the home in detail checking things that you may not have noticed on your preview of the home such as the furnace, appliances, water pressure . . . they poke their head into the attic and check the insulation quality, look for visible mold, etc. And, of course, a mortgage payment is your monthly payment to the lender. Unless you are paying cash for the home, you will have to secure a loan -- called a mortgage -- from a bank or other type of lender. You pay this back over time . . . in monthly mortgage payments. I hope that I have helped answer some of your questions, but there will always be more -- especially since this is your first experience as a home buyer. I have a booklet for first time buyers which will walk you through the process [just let me know how I can get it to you], and I invite you to visit my website to see how I work with buyers. You can reach me on my cell at 734-754-3221. My website is
Doesn't it feel good to be the best?
- Your Trulia Voices team

EARTH DAY ~ April 22, 2010

The first The first Earth Day celebration was held on April 22, 1970 in the good old US of A a mere 40 years ago!  It is now celebrated around the world.  The goal -- to educate and highlight the importance of the environment in order to preserve the planet. YOU are encouraged to “think green” and “act green!” 
There are many ways to do this.  My goal as an EcoBroker, is to educate my clients on affordable features that will provide comfort as well as a healthier environment while offering a monetary incentive for your pocketbook.  The feel-good component is realized as we satisfy our needs while reducing our carbon footprints!
  • There are tax credits available for homeowners who purchase qualifying appliances.
  • Insulation and roofing can be eligible for tax credits as well.
  • These tax credits will expire at the end of 2010.  
So, what’s it all about and how do we all fit in?  Get started slowly.  Every tiny motion . . . every environmental act that you commit contributes to the environment’s bottom line.  There is nothing that is so rewarding or provides such instant, yet cumulative, gratification
  • Project Switch -- Change your light bulbs! – to the highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) that last for years, use a third of the energy of regular bulbs and actually produce more light.  It costs more initially, but remember -- there are two price tags: what you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs over the bulb's lifetime. If every household in the US replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that from nearly 800,000 cars. It would also save enough energy to light 2.5 million homes for a year!
  • Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and subtract two degrees in winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact would be significant.
  • Make sure windows and doors are sealed.  Sealing air leaks and adding insulation can reduce your annual energy bill by 10 percent.  Choosing ceiling fans over air condition uses 80 percent less energy
  • Tame the refrigerator monster -- the biggest consumer of electricity among household appliances -- responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use each year.  Older refrigerators are as much as 50 percent less efficient than the newer ones.  If buying a brand-new, energy-efficient refrigerator is not in the cards you, there are things you can do:
§         Set the thermometer one degree higher.
§         If your refrigerator is near a heating vent, or in the sun, then change the location, cover up the heating vent near it or cover the window.
§         Turn on your "energy saver" switch near the thermostat.
§         Clean the condenser coil – it will improve the efficiency of your refrigerator and  reduce your annual energy costs.
§         Get rid of your second refrigerator. If you don't need it, don't waste the energy.
§         Make sure the doors seal properly to keep the cool in.
  • Twist the knobs on your other household appliances!
§         Turn the hot water heater down to 120 degrees, or turn on the "energy conservation" setting.  For each 10 degrees reduction in water temperature, you can save 3-5 percent in energy costs.
§         Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and on just before you wake up in the morning.
  • Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher or washing machine.
  • Wash clothes in warm water, not hot. Ninety percent of the energy used in operating a washing machine goes toward heating the water that washes and rinses the clothes. The clothes will be just as clean, and you'll cut energy use.
  • Don't over-dry your clothes.
  • Finally, invest in green stocks and renewable energy companies through socially responsible funds. They perform just as well (if not better) than all of the unfiltered funds.
Every little bit helps.  If you feel that the contribution you are able to make doesn’t matter, multiply it.  You will see that there is power in numbers and truly, the cumulative effect is what matters because WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!