Monthly Archives: February 2009

Energy Efficient Upgrades in Your Home Can Have Tax Benefit

The New American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not just encourage buyers to buy but also provides tax incentives to make your home more energy efficient.

See below what the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) had to say on its site:

“Home Energy Investments in Stimulus

Among many provisions, H.R. 1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” invests significantly in making housing and buildings more energy efficient. It provides:

  • $6 billion in state energy efficiency and conservation grants for energy audits and financial incentives,
  • $5 billion for a modern electricity grid and home smart meters that save money on power bills, and
  • $5 billion for weatherization assistance and $2 billion for federally assisted housing (section 8).

Through 2010, homeowners will be able to claim a 30% tax credit (up from 10%) for purchases of new furnaces, windows and insulation. The energy efficiency grants, new funding for Brownsfields redevelopment, and Energy Department Loan guarantees to develop on-site alternative energy sources will especially benefit commercial real estate. ”

Quoted From NAR

Consult your Tax Advisor.

Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show Starts February 27

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is at the Convention Center, downtown Pittsburgh on February 27 to March 8, 2009. This is the largest Home show in Pennsylvania. There will be over 1500 vendors featuring home and garden products. You will be able to see fully furnished model homes, attend seminars on home improvement, get great home decorating ideas and even see sample model kitchens and bathrooms.

Believe it or not there will also be 9 acres of landscaping including exhibits of with gardens and patios. You will see a wide variety of things like decks, sun rooms, furniture and pools. Check out the kitchen section where you will see cabinets, appliances, fixtures, specialty food products and more!

The Hours for the Home and Garden Show are:

Monday-Thursday, 4-10 PM
Fridays & Saturdays 10 AM-10 PM
Sundays 10 AM-6 PM.

Admission:
$10 for adults
$4 for children ages 6-12
Free for children under 6

Check out the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Website to get full details.

You will find a discount coupon to to download.

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

The president my company, Century 21, Tom Kunz, sent out a letter summarizing the great benefits for this new first-time buyer credit. Please see below an explanation that may be easier to understand but remember to always consult a tax or legal professional to see how it is truly going to help you financially.

“As you may have heard, significant improvements in the temporary First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit were signed into law on Feb. 17 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide a housing stimulus for first-time home purchases that occur between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2009.

This is even better news for first-time homebuyers than the tax credit announced in April 2008 because not only has the tax credit maximum increased from $7,500 to $8,000 – but more significantly – it does not need to be repaid unless the individual re-sells the home within three years.

There are several notable points about this federal income tax credit that I have bulleted for your convenience. They are:

• Credit maximum was increased from $7,500 to $8,000. The credit is calculated as 10% of the purchase price. Example: If the purchase price is $70,000, the credit is $7,000.
• Removed the repayment requirement, provided the homebuyer does not resell the home for three years.
• Eligibility remains for first-time homebuyers only. In this case, a first-time homebuyer is defined as an individual who has not owned a primary home at any time during the three years prior to purchase, but who may have done so prior to that time. Although certain income limits do apply, the amount of the credit is the same for all taxpayers, married or single.
• To be eligible for the full tax credit, the homebuyer can have an annual adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return). A homebuyer with an annual adjusted gross income above that level and up to $95,000 ($170,000 on a joint return) is eligible for a reduced tax credit.
• The tax credit can be claimed on one’s individual or joint tax return for the purchase of any single-family home between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2009. It can be claimed on a 2008 tax return (to be filed by April 15, 2009), an amended 2008 tax return, or a 2009 tax return. Individuals should consult a professional tax advisor for exact tax calculations and timing.”

Here is an outline to help you better see how this benefit will work. View the Consumer Guide chart and see the explanation of these important points.  The National Association of Realtors® has created a Major Modifications Chart.

Again please note that Real Estate Agents are not a tax or legal professionals, so as a home buyer you should consult you own advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

Previous Related Post on First-Time Home Buyer Credit

Did You Know PA Mortgage Rates are Among the Lowest?

There are a lot of exciting things going on out there in the housing market right now. If you are on the fence it is a great time to buy.  So lets review some of the reasons for buyers to buy now:

1)Â One there is a lot of inventory to choose from.

2)Â Rates are still very low and Pennsylvania has some of the lowest rates right now* (see below).

3)Â The new First-Time Home Buyer tax credit.

Now is an exciting time for first-time home buyers. This is a unique point in time to have all these things lined up.

Remember, you have until November 30, 2009 to take advantage of this First-time Home Buyer Credit. Don’t wait until the last minute.

* “Pennsylvania tied with Florida for the lowest average rate for the week ended Feb. 22, at 5.04 percent. That’s down from 5.18 percent for the week prior, a decrease of 2.7 percent.

For the week ended Feb. 22, the average 30-year rate nationally was 5.25 percent, up from 5.23 percent the week prior, according to the Zillow Mortgage Rate Monitor.

By Monday night, the average rate on Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace dropped again, to 5.14 percent.” –Pittsburgh Business Times.

Read more about Pennsylvania Mortgage Rates from the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Local Scenery

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see some unique scenery created by the winter weather. In downtown Leechburg, PA, near where my office is located, we spotted some interesting ice formations in the Kiski River. We saw huge pieces of ice all jammed together. Some large pieces even sticking straight up and refrozen.

Leechburg is connected to Hyde Park by a nearby walking bridge so that was a great place to get a view. The day was warm enough to sneak out with out a coat and be semi comfortable as the ice in the river started to break up. I was delighted with the wonderful photographic opportunity. So my family and I walked on out to get some cool shots. It was a tricky to get shots when you were not standing near one of the bridge supports because the bridge did sway. It was really hard to get an idea of how large the pieces were because, it was not possible to go pose near any of them. I never thought to look at the river this time of year.

Here are some of the photos:

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Photos by Amy S. Myers, Copyright 2009

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Details

The newly signed stimulus bill has good news if you purchase a home this year. You will now receive an $8,000 credit and you will not have to pay it back. If there is ever a time to buy a home, it is now. Here is a handy chart that gives you all the benefits to purchase a new home this year:

Click here for a pdf chart (compliments of the National Association of REALTORS®) which outlines the benefits.

There is other information at these links:

Right from NAR’s Site

Stimulus info from CNNMoney.com

I’ll be glad to answer any questions about the stimulus package for new home buyers and other incentives available to you. There is no better time for excellent house bargains and incentives.

Are Colors Important When Selling a Home?

Today I received the following questions from a college friend:

“Got a quick realty question for you for my wife, please, if you don’t mind. Looking to put our house on market soon. Living room with open floor plan has a red wall (tomato red, 8ft wide x 12 ft high), behind seating area that’s only visible when walking through or dining. Every other wall is pale yellow. Would you recommend painting the red wall before showing (go to a mocha color), or leave it and hope the buyers go for it?

Thanks! -Tom”

Here is my response:

Hi Tom!

Red is a great color for an accent wall but not for selling a home. Neutral tones are the best. So a Mocha sounds great. You want the buyer to be able to picture living in your home with their own things and feeling comfortable and cozy. Using neutral colors you have more of a chance at doing that. You can blend more furnishings with neutral tones rather than the red or other accent color. Yes, I would say paint before you show.

Remember the first 30 days are the most critical. In most cases you will have the most buyers come through in the first thirty days being of having your home on the market.

Amy

Price Reduced – One Floor Living

Get ready for spring with this cozy two bedroom ranch home that has many updates: New roof, siding, deck with awning, and includes appliances. There is a large basement and plumbing for another bath. You will love the over-sized yard which is great for picnic fun. Some finishing touches need completed Also includes a HSA Home Warranty. Call today to view!


Location: 227 Talisman Lane, Harrison Twp, Natrona Heights, PA 15065


Click here for more details and photos – refer to MLS 760973


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Tune in – New Real Estate Radio Show!

I received notification today from the National Association of Realtor’s about a new weekly radio program called Real Estate Today. Â It will be available on the Internet and regular radio. This will be a source of information on the real estate market.

You can tune in to the first radio show of Real Estate Today the weekend of February 14-15.  “This radio show will show you, the consumer, why REALTORS® are the most credible, trusted source of real estate information, and show you why using a REALTOR® when buying, selling, or investing in real estate is the smartest decision you can make.”

” . . . Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of one of those initiatives – NAR’s weekly two-hour talk radio show, Real Estate Today.

LISTEN TO A SNEAK PREVIEW/EXCERPT FROM THE SHOW

Real Estate Today will air online at www.RETRadio.com – visit the site anytime after the premiere to listen to current or past programs.

Beginning on February 14, satellite radio subscribers can hear Real Estate Today on America’s Talk, XM Channel 158, Saturdays 5-7 p.m. EST; Talk Radio, XM Channel 165, Saturdays 1-3 p.m. EST; and Stars, Sirius-XM Channel 102, Saturdays 6-8 a.m. and Sundays 9-11 a.m. EST.”

Quoted by
Charles McMillan Signature
Charles McMillan, CIPS, GRI
2009 NAR President