Real Estate Information Archive


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Is Your Contract Binding?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

If you haven’t already entered a binding contract for a new home, then you’ve missed part one of The Home Buyer Tax Credit (it was April 30th).  If you have, then keep it mind that part two requires that you close on the home on or before June 30, 2010.

One of the questions that has come up as part of the tax credit push is what exactly is a ‘binding contract’ in the eyes of the IRS. No one really seems to know, but it does raise some interesting points.

For any kind of tax benefits or allowances, it is best to seek the advice of a tax accountant or attorney. They can help translate murky guidelines and offer the best course of action when buying or selling a home.

When it comes to actually writing an offer, the next step is to allow your realtor to craft the contract or use a standard state contract. Your offer should be thorough and concise. Don’t leave any terms blank or undefined. Any ambiguities in an offer can lead to interpretation down the line that render the contact ‘non-binding’. Not only can this have an impact on your Home Buyer Tax Credit, other tax advantages or even the ability to close on the deal.

Do your homework – and let tax and real estate professionals guide you. From the IRS to your local chapter of NAHB to your CPA, you should make your decisions based on a number of resources:

Internal Revenue Service

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

National Association of Realtors

All contracts have some contingencies – and some are more important than others. Just be sure to consult with an expert to make sure your offer is clean, clear and enforceable.



New Law Offers Credits For Homebuyers

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

Initially scheduled to expire on December 1, 2009, the first time home buyer tax credit will now be extended to May 1, 2010. An addition to the extension, the new law also features some significant changes to this new tax credit that should allow many more home buyers to qualify for it.  Below are some new elements of the extension:

  • Credit available for purchases before May 1, 2010. Prospective purchasers with binding contracts in place as of April 30, 2010 will be allowed an additional 60 days to complete the transaction.
  • Credit remains at $8000 for first-time purchasers. 
  • New $6500 tax credit for repeat buyers who purchase between December 1, 2009 and May 1, 2010. The buyers must have lived in their homes consecutively for 5 of the previous 8 years.
  • Income limits are expanded to $125,000 on a single return and $225,000 on a joint return. 

Homebuyers who purchased a home in 2008 or 2009 may be able to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer credit. The credit applies only to homes used as a taxpayer's principal residence. This reduces a taxpayer's tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar and is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

For more information on how to file for this credit or for frequently answered questions, visit the IRS website.  


Are you eligible for a loan modification or refinance?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI

In the news lately you may have heard of the new website launched by the federal government - Making Home Affordable.   This new website offers online tools that will help today's homeowner determine if they are eligible to participate in the “Making Home Affordable” loan modification and refinancing program.

This site shares information about how this program works and who is eligible for assistance. This is the same $75 billion program you may have heard of recently in the media. You should have the following available:

* Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.

* Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.

* Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.

* Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.

* Your most recent income tax return.

* Information about your savings and other assets * Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of your household, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.

* It may also be helpful to have:A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.) if applicable.

There are several programs out there right now, new energy tax credit, $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers, and long term interest rates lower than 5%. There is something for everyone. Check out these opportunities and see if any of them can help you or call me to discuss your current situation.  Together we can find a solution to your real estate needs.

Home Buyer Seminar - Des Moines, Iowa

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI
 Join Jon Smith of Iowa Realty, Des Moines leading Real Estate Agent, as he reveals the secret to buying a home with a $0 down and walking away $7,500...

In this exclusive home buyer seminar, you will learn valuable information to get you into a home of your own. 

 This seminar will be full of information regarding Mortgage Loans, Home Inspections and most importantly - how you can buy a home in today's real estate market.

Your TWO BONUSES will be waiting for you when you arrive!

To find out more, please visit Des Moines Home Source

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit - Is it Right For you?

by Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, GRI


As a first time home buyer you can now take advantage of the new tax credit being offered.  This is called the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.  This Act includes a number of provisions that will help prevent foreclosures and reinvigorate the housing market as well as strenghten the nations economy.
If you feel the time is not right for you to buy your first home you might be interested in learning more about this Tax Credit that was created just for you.  And, then look at your credit then the interest rates available.  This might be a great time for you afterall.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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Photo of Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR Real Estate
Jon Smith, CRB, CRS, SRES, SFR
Iowa Realty
3521 Beaver Ave.
Des Moines IA 50310
Fax: 515-453-6404



Licensed in the State of Iowa