Time is now for first-time house buyers

COAST CITIES — The Nov. 30 deadline to qualify for the $8,000 First-Time Home-Buyer credit is fast approaching. The combination of low interest rates, lowered home prices, and $8,000 in free money from the government make this the most affordable time to buy a home in North County in decades.
North County San Diego has always been an expensive place to buy a home and it will continue to be as the market recovers. However, there is a unique opportunity right now to purchase small- to medium-sized homes at a steep discount from just a few years ago.
In addition to the $8,000 check you could receive from the government, many sellers in North County are offering buyer incentives. These buyer incentives can include money to help pay for closing costs, upgrades on the home, or even to help lower your interest rate and payment. This is turning North County into a home-buyer’s paradise.
Overall, the area has become more affordable for anyone looking to purchase a home. For those of you who are worried about the down payment don’t be, it’s smaller than you probably think. There are several loan programs that offer as little down as 3.5 percent ($3,500 for every $100,000 borrowed) and VA loans have no down payment options. If your credit isn’t great, that’s OK, too. These loan options, combined with the $8,000 tax credit and the affordability of North County real estate, make this opportunity to good to pass up.
The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the homes purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000. So as long as you buy a home that costs $80,000 or more, you will be eligible for the maximum credit. This credit doesn’t reduce your taxable income. It is additional income paid to you by the government. The term tax credit may be misleading because it’s actually a refundable credit. This means as long as you don’t owe Uncle Sam any back taxes you will get a check for the qualified amount.
Once the purchase is complete, all you do is fill out a one-page tax form and mail it to the IRS. Your check normally arrives within 3 to 4 weeks. But you must be a first-time home-buyer. The IRS has defined a first-time home-buyer as any individual who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. So even if you owned a home in the past or currently own an investment property, you could qualify.
In addition to being a first-time home-buyer, you must make $75,000 or less as a single person and $150,000 or less as a couple in order to qualify for the maximum credit.
Soon after the last two recessions ended, home prices skyrocketed, making it difficult for new buyers to afford a home. The same is expected when we move out of the current recession. Don’t miss the boat this time. Take advantage of this great government program and buyer incentives. It’s easier than you think. Contact your local North County realtor, or call your local mortgage professional to get qualified today.

Eddie O’Neill is a North County Mortgage Planner with The O’Neill Team. For more information, call (619) 347-0207 or e-mail eddie@eddieoneill.com.

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