Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credit

Some great information about the extension of the tax credit from my good friend Laural Spindler at Net America Lending.

General Rules:

  • A "first time home buyer" is defined as someone who has not owned a home in the last three years. If you are a "first-time home buyer", your tax credit will amount to 10% of the purchase price of your new home not to exceed $8,000.
  • A "long-time resident" is defined as someone who has lived in the same primary home for 5 out of the past 8 years. If you are a "long-time resident", your tax credit will amount to 10% of the purchase price of your new home not to exceed $6,500.
  • The tax credit does not need to be paid back if you continue living in the home as your primary residence for three years without selling it.
  • The home must be purchased for less than $800,000 before May 1, 2010. If you sign a binding contract to purchase a home before May 1st, you would need to close on the transaction before July 1, 2010.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit
  • You cannot purchase the home from a related party like a spouse, direct ancestor, or direct lineal descendent (child or grandchild); however, you can still qualify for the credit if you purchase a property from siblings, nephews, nieces, and others
  • If you are married, both spouses must qualify for the credit
  • If more than one unmarried individual is buying the property, the credit can be split up among all the individuals who qualify. However, the total credit taken cannot exceed $8,000 (or $6,500 for "long-time residents"). Alternatively, if only one of the unmarried buyers qualifies for the credit based on their income or past home ownership status, the individual who qualifies for the credit can claim the full credit.
  • The credit applies even if you have co-signers on your mortgage loan
  • The credit applies to 1-4 unit homes as long as you live in one of the units as your primary residence - you could live in one unit and rent out the others!

How does the tax credit work?
A tax credit is kind of like a gift certificate that you can use to pay your taxes - it reduces your income tax bill on a dollar for dollar basis. Imagine paying your bill at IRS Restaurant, and then later getting an IRS Restaurant gift certificate. Normally, you would need to go back to IRS Restaurant and buy more food in order to use your new gift certificate. But what if IRS Restaurant allowed you to just turn in your gift certificate for cash? That's how the home buyer tax credit works! All you need to do is file a form with the IRS after you buy your new home and they will send you a refund check for $8,000 (or $6,500) - just like the example of IRS Restaurant that allows you to exchange your gift certificate for cash! Remember though, you'll receive the $8,000 (or $6,500) from the IRS AFTER you purchase your new home, so you cannot use the funds to help with your down payment.

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication. I recommend that you consult with properly licensed legal, tax and investment advisors for specific advice pertaining to your individual situation.

Rehab E-Item of Value November

E-IOV Intro

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is an important article I received today that I felt needed to be brought to your attention.


The State Bar of California has recently launched numerous investigations against attorneys for misconduct related to loan modifications. In a rare move, the State Bar has released the names of 16 attorneys under investigation, by opting to waive investigation confidentiality in favor of public protection. These attorneys have allegedly taken fees for promised services, but failed to perform those services or even communicate with their clients who face the possible loss of their homes. Their non-attorney staff may also be under investigation for unlawfully practicing law.
Not all attorneys engaged in loan modifications are unscrupulous. However, this announcement from the State Bar serves as a good reminder for REALTORS® and their clients to be careful when dealing with attorneys and others for loan modifications. Scam artists may intentionally associate or affiliate themselves with attorneys in an attempt to lend credence to their fraudulent schemes. The list of attorneys currently under investigation is available at

C.A.R. provides REALTORS® with many legal articles covering a wide range of topics of interest. Some of the new or newly revised legal articles available at are as follows:
Signs: Can They Be Regulated?
Firestorms: Basic Real Estate Legal Issues.

Realegal® is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 175,000 REALTORS® statewide.

Edited by:
Stella Ling,
Executive offices:525 South Virgil Ave.,
Los Angeles CA 90020
phone (213) 739-8200;
fax (213) 480-7724

Legislative offices:
980 Ninth Street #1430,
Sacramento CA 95814
phone (916) 492-5200;
fax (916) 444-2033

To view C.A.R.'s Privacy Policy click on this link:

Written inquiries regarding Realegal® should be directed to Stella Ling,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Time to Look Ahead

Ok people, the worst is behind us and it's time to prepare for the future. There are still some rocky times ahead and many of us are having to deal with some tough times right now, but there's light at the end of tunnel. Before you get there make sure you have a plan so when it hits your prepared.

A huge problem that I see so prevalent in today's society is instant gratification. In the olden days when you wanted to buy a home (or anything of value for that matter) you had bite, fight, scratch, scrimp, and save just to barely have enough money for a down payment. So when you finally had that money saved and you got that home, it meant something to you! That was your blood, sweat and tears that went into that down payment. In recent years, all you needed was a heartbeat and the lender told you you were qualified, you'd need zero money for a down payment and the seller would give you a credit for all your closing costs! Can you see the problem!!! There's no vested interest, there's no skin in the game!! I'm not saying I'm perfect or immune to it either. I've been caught up in myself, but the time has come to see things for what they are, make ourselves better and look and prepare for the future.

A great we do that is to start a budget. We know we've over spent before, but now we can learn from those numbers to help us have more money in the future. Here's a few simple steps to help get you on your way.

1) Go back over all your expenses for the past 6 months (this will take some time, but it's worth
2) Separate them into home or Business expenses
3) Categorize each expense - Here are some examples of what I use
Bank Fees
Personal Grooming
Pet Care
Savings - (Yes, this is a category!! You must always remember to PAY YOURSELF
You get the idea. Do this for each of the past 6 months
4) Now look at What your income has been for the past 6 months (break it down monthly).
Have you been living within your means??
Where can you make cuts? What have you been spending too much money on?
For me it was food! I love to eat, but I was spending way too much money on it!
5) Use the average for the past 6 months of each of your categories to come up with a budget
amount. Now you have budget for this month, see if you can stick to it! Remember it's a
working budget make changes to each category as needed!

Here is a great rule to live by when it comes to your finances. 70-10-10-10
Live off of 70% of your income

10% goes to Savings (once you have at least 6 months of reserves (that means you if you lost your income you could still live with NO money coming in for 6 months) then you can start using this 10% for investment)

10% goes to Charity (Remember, you have to give to receive, you deal it out in slices and it'll come back to you in loaves)

10% goes to Investments (I'll leave this up to you!)

Take a few hours Tonight and get this done! It's the start of a new month and just think come December you could be buying all those holiday gifts with CASH instead of putting yourself further into debt!

Think about it, it's worth it!

And remember, I'm never too busy for you or your referrals!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Short Sales!?!

What are they?
First, for our purposes of real estate, a short sale is someone selling their home for less than what they owe.

Soju bought his home for $300,000 now he has to sell due to financial hardship, but his home is only worth $250,000. He has to ask his lender to accept a payoff of $250,000 and release him from having to payback that remaining $50,000.*
$300,000(amount owed)- $250,000(current value) = $50,000

Why do a short sale?
Loss of job, Death of a Spouse or significant other are the two main reasons why a bank would even consider such a thing. But there are other financial hardships that could be reason for a short sale, if you have questions or would like to discuss your situation please call me.

Avoiding foreclosure. Many banks will lose a lot of money if they have to foreclose on a home. By negotiating a short sale they can save themselves thousands of dollars, and instead of tarnishing your credit with a foreclosure your lender looks at it as a "settlement of debt."

Statistics show that 70% of homeowners facing foreclosure or who are in danger of losing their home never contact a real estate professional for help!!* There is help out there and many banks are working with homeowners to either modify or short sale their homes. If you, or someone you know, is in need of assistance please call me, I'm here to help!

*Short selling can have major tax implications. Be sure to consult a licensed attorney or tax professional for all possible consequences.
*According to the Mortgage Bankers Association®
*© 2009 Buffini & Company All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. CDPE Bonus IOV

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

Hope Everyone had a safe and Happy holiday! Happy Independence Day America!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

State of the market

Despite what you may be hearing in the news all signs point the fact that the real estate market has passed the bottom! This is great news for all you sellers out there, there are buyers in the marketplace who want to buy your home (providing of course you have enough equity to sell). And for you buyers GET OFF THE FENCE before you miss your chance, interest rates will slowly start to creep up, which equals less buying power! This of course is just my opinion, I have no crystal ball, but if you have questions or would like to talk about buying or selling a home, feel free to contact me! I'm never too busy for you or your referrals!