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$8000 Tax Credit for first Time Home Buyers

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

Great news!!  There’s a nice windfall for some homebuyers in the economic stimulus bill awaiting President Obama’s signature on Tuesday. First-time buyers can claim a credit worth $8,000 - or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less - on their 2008 or 2009 taxes. A big plus is that the credit is refundable, meaning tax filers see a refund of the full $8,000 even if their total tax bill - the amount of witholding they paid during the year plus anything extra they had to pony up when they filed their returns - was less than that amount.

If his total tax liability came to $6,000, but he had $7,000 withheld from his payroll, he would normally receive a $1,000 refund. With this credit, his refund would total $8,000.

To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009. Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as “first time” buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit.

Additionally, there are income restrictions: To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. (Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.)

Applying for the credit will be easy - or at least as easy as doing your income taxes. Just claim it on your return. No other forms or papers have to be filed. Taxpayers who have already completed their returns can file amended returns for 2008 to claim the credit.

Take the stress out of home buying

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with.
Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell.
If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions.
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget.
Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

More good news for Denver Real Estate Market

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

More good news about the Denver real estate market.... we are doing much better than the rest of the country.  I think it is because Denver is such an awesome place to live!!  Read the story for yourselves:

Denver homes weather price dip

U.S. home prices fell at a record pace late last year, but Denver fared much better than other metro areas, according to two home price indices released Tuesday.

Metro Denver home prices fell 4 percent in December compared with the same month a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

Denver's decline was the smallest of the 20 major metro areas tracked in the index, which fell a record 18.5 percent between December 2007 and December 2008.

"We have been dying from a thousand cuts since 2001 when our foreclosures started going up and the rest of the country was booming," said Mike Rinner, an executive vice president with the Genesis Group, a local real estate marketing firm.

Years of modest price

appreciation now look like a blessing in disguise that has shielded the metro area from the 30 percent-plus annual declines measured in Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco, Rinner said.

Because Denver's housing market turned south early, the inflated mortgages made in other markets when home prices peaked in 2005 and 2006 are not as much of a problem here, said Michael Kone, an economist with Housingmetrics in Boulder.

But he cautioned that a softening economy could continue to put downward pressure on prices. "December over December did look better, but I noticed that things locally started to slip again in January," he said.

A more conservative and broader index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency registered a 4.5 percent annual decline nationally in the fourth quarter, the largest recorded drop since the index started in 1975.

Denver-Aurora-Broomfield ranked 111 out of 292 cities with a 0.71 percent annual decline in its home price index in the fourth quarter.

No. 1 in the rankings was Decatur, Ala., with a 6.6 percent gain, and No. 292 was Merced, Calif., with a 49.5 percent annual drop in home prices.

Boulder ranked 17th, Grand Junction 77th, Fort Collins 91st, Pueblo 99th, Colorado Springs 146th, and Greeley 224th on the FHFA index.

Price appreciation in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield market over the past five years was 6.34 percent.

Above-average population growth and stability in jobs also appear to have supported metro Denver's housing market last year.

Detroit, like Denver, didn't see a run-up in home prices earlier this decade, and it still suffered a 21.7 percent annual decline in December, from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller indices.

Colorado's population is growing at nearly double the national rate, and job losses in December were one-third the national rate, according to a report from George Antoine, Denver regional economist with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A report from the Colorado Division of Housing Monday showed that the number of foreclosure filings declined 14 percent in the fourth quarter, while foreclosure sales fell 20 percent.


What does the stimulus plan mean for first time home buyers?

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

The Stimulus Plan was signed into law by President Obama yesterday. It contains a new tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Essentially, first-time homebuyers within certain income limits who purchase a home in 2009 before December 1, 2009 will receive a tax credit of up to $8,000. The program is similar to the $7,500 tax credit which applied to home purchases made in 2008 after April 9. A comparison of the two credit programs is outlined below.

While the Stimulus Plan was still being debated, the Senate version originally included a $15,000 tax credit for all homebuyers. To lower the cost of the Stimulus Plan, the final version of the Plan contained this smaller tax credit, and this tax credit is applicable only to first-time homebuyers.

To qualify as a first-time home buyer as defined in the programs, the purchaser (and the purchaser’s spouse) may not have owned a home in the three years prior to the purchase date of the home. Single family homes qualify for the program. The home must be the primary residence.

Both tax credits are subject to the same adjusted gross income (AGI) limitations (full credit for AGI less than $75,000 single/$150,000 joint, phased out for AGI up to $95,000 single/ $170,000 joint).

The amount for either credit is the lesser of 10% of the home purchase price or $7,500 or $8,000, as applicable.

While a purchaser still owns the home, the $7,500 credit must be repaid in equal payments over a period of 15 years, starting with the 2010 tax filing. The $8,000 credit will not need to be repaid. Again, the $7,500 credit needs to be repaid, while the $8,000 credit does not!

Upon sale of the home, any portion of the $7,500 credit not yet repaid is due in full.  No portion of the $8,000 credit is due upon sale of the home, if the home is owned for more than three years.  If the home is sold within the first three years, the full amount of the credit is due upon sale.

The $7,500 credit was not available to any purchaser utilizing state/local revenue bond money to help finance the home purchase. There is no such restriction on the $8,000 credit.

Under both the $7,500 and the $8,000 programs, the credit will be claimed on the purchaser's income taxes. Any amount in excess of taxes owed will be refunded to the purchaser.

Additional information about the tax credit can be found on the websites of the National Association of Realtors (www.realtor.org) and the National Association of Home Builders (www.nahb.org).

The Spire - downtown Denver

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

Spire Reaches New Heights

Spire, Downtown Denver's newest high-rise residential building, has recently topped out, and exterior work is almost complete.  At 42 floors it is the tallest condominium building built in the Central Business District (CBD) in over a decade.  Spire will feature 503 units beginning on the 9th floor amenity deck which will feature a swimming pool, outdoor terraces and a lounge for residents. Spire is located at 14th & Champa across from the Colorado Convention Center and adjacent to both a light rail stop and the Denver Performing Arts Comlpex.

Besides being centrally located, units at the Spire will have stunning views of Downtown and the Rocky Mountains, which residents can enjoy from their private balconies.  Scheduled completion for Spire is December 2009.  A 7,900 square foot sales center that will feature two fully decorated model units is currently under construction right across the street with a planned opening in March.

 

Denver BCycle

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

Yes, Re-Cycle, but also B-Cycle!

 

Alright Denver, prepare to do your best Lance Armstrong impersonation. Mayor John Hickenlooper and several community partners today announced plans for a citywide bike sharing program - Denver B-Cycle - that will make 500 bikes available to the public at 30 to 40 stations throughout the city beginning this summer. Denver will be one of the first cities nationwide to launch such a comprehensive bike sharing program, which will be funded initially with a $1 million donation from the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee. The B-Cycle Citywide Bike Sharing Program will focus initially on the Downtown Denver Central Business District, University of Denver campus and adjacent neighborhoods. The bike stations will be situated in a three to four mile radius of Downtown Denver and integrated with the existing multi-modal transit system, including the 16th Street Mall, Denver Union Station, Market Street Station and FasTracks. The program is expected to double in size to more than 1,000 bikes by Spring 2010. While no one will be climbing the French Alps or recklessly racing toward the finish line for the yellow jersey, we will be taking a momentous step toward a more environmentally- friendly and sustainable Downtown.

 

Visit http://www.bcycle.com/ for more information.

 

Tons of Denver buyers house searching on Super Bowl Weekend

by Roberts Johnson, Realtor

I was out showing homes in the Wash Park area this weekend and could not believe how many buyers were out looking too!  The showing activity on my listings has also increased over the past week.  I think this is great news for the Denver market!

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

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Photo of Roberts (Bobby) Johnson Real Estate
Roberts (Bobby) Johnson
Cool Denver Homes, Inc.
2314 Curtis Street
Denver CO 80205
Roberts Cell: (303) 525-7599
Fax: (303)9635335

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