Monthly Archives: May 2009

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans

Information was recently released about first time home buyers being permitted to use their tax credit as a a down payment. I had a recent discussion with a loan officer in our office. He discussed with me that in order for this to happen, HUD would need to approve the use of short-term bridge loans.  This has not happened yet.

If a loan is approved for the buyer, the buyer would need to repay the  loan when he received the funds from the tax return.  One item that may be an issue is if the buyer owes money, then the full $8,000 would not be refunded to repay the loan.

The loan officer in my office, said he is seeing a lot of buyers receiving gift money with intention to repay the source after their return comes in.

Check with your loan officer for further details.

Quoted from Realtor Magazine

“Under the guidance that’s under development, state agencies and other HUD-approved entities would be able to provide short-term bridge loans that households could use to help with their down payment. The loans would be repaid with the proceeds from the households’ federal tax credit.

The loans were announced on the opening day of NAR’s 2009 Midyear Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., last week. In his announcement, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said guidance would be issued shortly.

When the guidance is released, it is expected to cover eligible lenders and set parameters for loan terms and repayment. ”

What or Who is HUD?

“Housing and Urban Development, a cabinet of the United States. It has existed since 1965 and is charged with ensuring smooth policy for housing and city development. Since the mid-1970s, its focus has shifted primarily to housing, leaving urban planning more in the hands of individual cities.

One of the main functions of HUD, and certainly that with which most people interact, is its role as a lending facilitator. HUD helps people of low- and mid-level incomes acquire loans to purchase housing. HUD itself is not a lending institution, but it approves lenders and supports them materially.”   Read More

Related Posts:

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Consumer Notice for Real Estate

In the state of Pennsylvania, you will be required to sign a document called a consumer notice when you are discussing real estate with a licensed real estate agent. It is one of the documents that is required to be signed when you make and offer and when you list your home in Pennsylvania. You will also be presented with this document prior to one of those situations if you are actively discussing real estate. I always present this to my buyers when showing them a home for the first time.

Part of what this Notice discusses what kind of representation you have as a consumer. If you are working with an agent whether it be as a buyer or a seller, they are to keep your information confidential, their loyalties are to be to you, and they are to negotiate on your behalf and best interests.

Here is Pennsylvania’s Consumer Notice for Real Estate transactions

The Joys of Home Ownership

My current housing lot came with heavy brush and several trees. When we first moved in, we had four plus dump truck loads taken out to make room for a lawn. We left several feet to the back line uncleared so we could deal with it later. Well one of the later moments did come this weekend after a few years. One tree that I had been watching for a few years decided not to sprout any leaves and was becoming quite an eyesore and possibly a safety issue. During the last two years the woodpeckers were starting to heavily feast on it and piles of ant dust were forming around the bottom of the tree.

Our buddy Tom arrived later in the afternoon and graciously brought his amazing chainsaw. My husband rigged the tree up with tow straps from our jeep to help guide the tree to fall in a safe spot – with out harming any neighbors or their property. 🙂

The tree came down as planned and Tom, my son and husband got it all chopped up in a matter of minutes all ready for the fire pit. I can smell the campfire now. We are all ready for some marshmallows and s’mores tonight.


Mortgage Calulator

Get an idea of how much your mortgage payment will be by using the new handy calculator on the side bar of my site. This calculator allow you to to put in the insurance, taxes and PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance). If you do not have enough of a down payment, you will need to purchase PMI.

Always have your mortgage representative verify estimates, rates and final payment estimate.

Is Composite Decking a Selling Point?

Here is a question I received online:


I am building a small deck on the back of our house this summer and wondered if there is any reason to consider Trex (composite) over traditional treated wood from a resale perspective? As an agent, do you find that a deck adds value and does a composite deck add even more value?

Would appreciate a simple answer if you have the time.

Chad B.


Hi Chad,

Thanks for your question.  The answer to this question can vary depending on which market you are in.

I do find that a deck adds value. I have heard anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of what it cost you to put on. If you do the work yourself then possibly you might come out ahead in the end.  But in this market, I would not be using this to get money back. I would be more concerned with getting the house sold by using the deck as a selling point than something to increase the price. It is still a buyers market and there is a lot of inventory. You want to be competitive with your features.

Consider what the other homes in your area have that are for sale. If they all have decks and you don’t, then yours may look less appealing. If you have a deck and others do not, then that is a definite selling point. Personally, I have never heard any buyer say they thought a deck that was not made with composite materials any less desirable. I think if the deck is new or in good shape then that is great – the deck will be appealing. Consider spending the money on the composite for a home that you are staying in the in the long term. You will be the one to reap the benefits because of the low maintenance rather than possibly not getting your money back for an upgrade in materials when selling.

I hope that helps you. Have a great day!


Real Estate Market is Picking Up

You know, as an agent, I am noticing changes in the market. I have recently seen some homes go on the market and sell in a week or a day. Some foreclosures and some regular home sales. Homes are starting to move faster. Some homes are crisp, clean, and great curb appeal and some homes are just a plan good old deal that needs just a little work.

Just last week I started working with a young couple that is getting married in the summer.  They are looking for a starter home under $30K. There are a few around that are in livable condition. Funny thing is that at least three they inquired about were sold in less than a week with multiple offers. One that had been on the market for over a year had four interested parties including mine and boom gone – sold to the owner’s daughter.

So inventory is getting sold off more quickly. I must say from what I am seeing, it is a fast moving spring market for the homes that are priced right and have the appeal.  Buyers you have a little over 6 months to take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit. Combine that with today’s interest rates.  Also, consider those homes that have been sitting there (that you have been watching), they may not get reduced anymore in price.  They will just be sold – boom gone.

When I bought my first home in 1993, I had been looking for quite sometime. At that time the market was turning over houses very quickly. I kept loosing them to other buyers – it was very frustrating. The home that I chose, had only been on the market 10 days. I walked in and new I wanted it. I had the offer written up that night and it got accepted. I was told another woman was coming back the next day to pay cash and I beat her to it. I was so happy that I was able to secure the home. I lived there for almost 10 happy years.

Previous Posts

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Earnest Money

Of course one big question, I get when I am working with a first time home buyer is: “What do I need to do for you to write up an offer?”

Well, if you have your pre-approval for a loan in hand, the next thing to do is write up the offer with your hand money or earnest money.  These funds are used to show the seller that you are serious. In many situations, this money is returned when the terms of the contract are not met. If the buyer, after making an offer, would decide to walk away because he found another house that he likes better, then he is going to loose that money (as one example).  A sales agreement is in many cases written up with contingencies on mortgage approval and home inspections or other reasons to protect the buyer and allow him to receive his hand money back if the deal does not work out.   The more funds you put down, the more serious your offer. Have your agent guide you for the best amount for the price of your home.  The seller can ask for more hand money. It is all negotiable.

Keep in mind this money will go towards your closing. Your loan officer will calculate your estimated fees for you, letting you know the balance needed for closing.

Here is an official term from on of my real estate references:

“Earnest Money: It is customary for a purchaser to provide a deposit when making an offer.  This deposit, usually in the form of a check is referred to as earnest money or hand money. The deposit is evidence of the buyer’s intention to carry out the terms of the contract in good faith. The earnest money is given to the broker, who then handles the deposit as required by the licensing law and the real estate commission’s regulations.

No mandatory or standard amount of earnest money is required. From the seller’s perspective, the amount should be sufficient to discourage the buyer’s default, to compensate the seller for taking the property off othe market and to cover any expenses the seller might incur if the buyer does default.”

-Quoted from Modern Real Estate Practice in Pennsylvania.

Spacious Colonial on Two Country Acres

This two story home is an exceptional buy. The long driveway leading to this spacious home on two acres is pleasantly inviting. Relax on the font porch or lounge on the back porch near the pool. There is lots of room to run and play. The down stairs has a wonderful open floor plan. There is a first floor mud/laundry room next to the large garage. Perfect for keeping all the dirt from coming inside. The garage has additional storage above the parking area. The kitchen is newly remodeled with hardwood floors. The carpet throughout the house is in excellent shape. Sprawl out in this four bedroom, two and a half bath home that is ready for immediate occupancy. There are also three finished rooms in the basement ready for business or hobbies. The home also has newer windows and a home warranty. It is a must see! Recently reduced to $249,900.

Contact me to view today!

433 Markle Rd
Allegheny Twp
Apollo, PA 15613


Virtual Tour


Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Exciting news has hit the housing market. FHA is allowing its lenders to apply the $8000 tax credit to the down payment when purchasing a home for first time home buyers.  Great reasons to buy today:

1)Â Interests Rates are Historically Low

2)Â Housing Inventory is plenty

3)Â Up to $8,000 tax credit

There are also, special programs in certain areas where you can get no money down and closing cost assistance. If you are in need of that, please inquire.

Here is what had to say:

“Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn’t receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at “The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy,” at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.” Read More . . . .

Check with your lender on specifics and further qualifications for your situation.

Previous Posts

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Mistakes for Sellers With Dogs

Many home owners think of their dog and other pets as a part of their family. A seller needs to keep in mind that a potential buyer for your home may not share your feelings. Unfortunately for you, some may not even prefer pets for various reasons, some reasons may even including allergies. So the key thing is not to loose this potential buyer at the front hall because you have dogs or other pets.

There are several things that sellers with pets should do to get the most out of the sale of their home.

1.  Never leave your dog at the home when there is an open house.

2. Make sure you always clean every day avoiding pet smells from dander and food.

3. Make sure you clean up after your dog in the yard.

4. Don’t assume your home has not smell from your pets. When you are used to it you don’t smell it.

5. Try to not leave any hints that a dog even lives in the home.

6. Try to creatively market your home to other dog or pet owners.

7.  Don’t note in advertising of the home that it is “dog friendly”. This may keep people from showing the home.

8. If your dog has to be at home when there is a showing, then make sure you are there too. Although, it is best that all members leave to make the buyer feel more comfortable.