November 2009 Vol. 4 No.11
• Home Buyer Tax Credit Extends & Expands - What Would You Do With $8K? • Debbie in the News • November's Home Value Improver • About Us

Home Buyer Tax Credit Extends & Expands - What Would You Do With $8K?

If you didn't get a chance to take advantage of the first- time home buyer tax credit because you weren't in the market for a home, or didn't think you qualified, I have some excellent news.
The tax credit, which was scheduled to expire this month, has been extended until next summer, and the criteria for qualifying have expanded greatly.

Before we get into what's new about the homebuyer's tax credit, let's review some features of the 2009 credit:

First of all, a tax credit is money free and clear. It's not a "write off" or "tax-free" money - it's plain old green m- o-n-e-y. In this case, $8,000 of it! For example, let's say you do your taxes and end up owing the IRS $2,000. You will get a check for the remaining $6,000. Even better, let's say your refund amount is $1,000. The amount of your return check will be $9,000. Nothing to sneeze at!

Secondly, it applies to any type of primary residence: houses or condos.

Extension & Expansion Details

Here are the details about changes in the homebuyer tax credit:
New definition of "first time."
In the previous incarnation of the tax credit, only people who had never owned a home, or not owned one within the previous 3 years could benefit. With the new rules, if you have been in your home for 5 of the past 8 years, you could qualify, although this credit is capped at $6,500. This is great news, as it will expand the offer to many people who otherwise assumed they could not qualify for anything offered to first-time homebuyers.

Income cap lifted.
Income limits for who qualifies have been greatly expanded. Single filers can get the credit if they earn less than $145,000 per year and married couples can earn up to $245,000 and still enjoy the credit. (The credit, however, starts to phase out between $125,000 and $225,000, respectively.)

Later date.
The previous tax credit was set to expire at the end of this month. However, under the new tax credit, homebuyers have up until May 1 to have a deal in place, and until July 1, 2010 to close on the purchase. You can claim this on your 2009 or your 2010 taxes.

Housing prices have been holding steady, and people are starting to feel more confident about the economy. Couple this with the generous, expanded tax credit, and the time may be just right to make that move you have been wanting to make!

Debbie in the News

Debbie has been happy to be featured several times on local TV and radio in recent weeks. If you've missed her appearances, check out the replays on her website today!

November's Home Value Improver

Prep Your Home for Winter!

Did you hear the collective groan earlier this month, when people started saying "goodbye" to sunlight by the time they left the office?

The days are shorter and colder, and it's getting harder to keep your house warm and efficient. The Thanksgiving break is a good time to take the ever- important step of winterizing your home. Chances are, you'll be so wrapped up in holiday activities after this that you won't have the time or energy.

Get your heating system in order.
Whether that requires you to bleed radiators, get your oil burner serviced or have your ducts cleaned, do it now before the gas and oil companies get too busy or before you have an emergency. Don't forget to stock up on filters, too, so you can change them regularly.

Get your outdoor equipment ready.
Now is a good time to put the beach chairs and picnic table behind the snowblower and shovels in the shed. Stock up on rock salt, and imagine how prepared you'll feel after the first snow. It's also time to put away the outdoor furniture cushions, gardening tools, and plants.

Check your fire warning, prevention tools.
Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Why not keep some 9-volt batteries on hand so that when the maddening fire alarm chirping starts at 4 a.m., you have an easy solution? Check out your fire extinguisher. If it was a housewarming gift in 1976, it might be time for a new one.

Prevent unwanted guests.
Seal up cracks and holes in your foundation to prevent critters from making your basement their winter home. Meanwhile, seal up cracks in door jams and windows with weather stripping to prevent drafts.

Be ready for an emergency.
Gather together everything you would need in case of a power outage and put it in one place. Toss some warm blankets, battery-powered lanterns, and food that doesn't require cooking in a storage container that is easy to reach.

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As we head into Thanksgiving week, I'd like to thank you for reading my newsletter each month. I am so thankful to own a business that I'm proud of and to do work that I love. Working with home buyers and homeowners as they make big life decisions is a privilege I appreciate every day.

Please feel free to call or email with any questions you have about home financing. I'd be grateful for the opportunity to help you.
Enjoy some time with those you love most over the holiday weekend. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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