Housing Stimulus – Can you really get $8,000?
There have been a lot of questions this week about the recently passed economic stimulus package. By far the most popular question is “What the heck does it all mean?”.
It means that people who qualify as first-time buyers (those who have not owned a home for the last 3 years) and make under $75,000 if single and $150,000 if married qualify to receive a credit on your 2009 return which can actually put money back in your pocket. How about buyers who buy a home and want to make improvements? It looks like you will have some money available to fence in your backyard or update the kitchen rather than waiting a year or more to save up the money. The provisions allow a buyer to adjust their withholding on their paycheck to have access to their credit money before filing their 2009 taxes.
Do you have a home to sell?
If you own a home that would appeal to a first-time buyer, now is the time to seriously consider whether you should move into a bigger home and become what the real estate industry calls a move-up homebuyer. Leverage this opportunity if you can. It means home sellers in Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Garner, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough priced under $250,000 are expected to have more buyers looking and buying this year.
10 things about the 2009 1st time homebuyer tax credit:
- You don’t actually have to be a first-time homebuyer
- You qualify as a first-time buyer if you have not owned a home in the last 3 years AND your spouse has not owned a home in the last 3 years. You are considered a first-time homebuyer if you sold a home have been renting for the past 3+ years.
- The credit is 10% of the purchase price of a primary residence up to $8,000.
- You will get the money back even if you don’t have $8,000 in tax liability for 2009. The IRS is allowing it in full or in part to be refunded after you file your taxes.
- The $8,000 in credit is the equivalent of making approximately $12,000 in gross income this year. (How many months of income is that for you?)
- Many uses for your credit – pay off revolving debt, rebuild your savings, invest in the local economy by buying local products or services, or improve your new home.
- If you receive the credit you have to stay in your home for at least 3 years or you have to repay your credit. This provision was added to keep housing speculators from using the credit.
- The credit is available for purchases between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 2009. So, if you already bought in 2009 – you didn’t miss out!
- No special forms are required – just proof that you purchased during the time period and be sure you also meet the income and first-time buyer qualifications.
- As long as it’s a primary residence, you can buy a condo, townhome, patio home or single family home.
It is important to consult reputable local professionals before making the commitment to buy or sell to make sure you qualify. Contact your real estate agent, mortgage lender and accountant/CPA.
Written by Amy Shair – www.AmyShair.com
Another resource of FAQ regarding the 2009 Federal Housing Tax Credit is available at http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/faq.php