New professional networking site for Realtors

I attended a number of technology seminars while at Keller Williams Family Reunion this past week.  Many emphasized the growing popularity and necessity of social and professional networking sites.  A new one that is gaining some momentum for realtors is www.brokeragentsocial.com.  It currently has about 5000 members and is getting a lot of positive response from critics

Tim Houk

Luxury home foreclosure – 35211 Beverly Hills Drive

WONDERFUL luxury home that is about to be bank owned.  Home needs to be finished.  I would suggest making an offer much lower as it is still the highest priced home that is currently active in Fountain Hill subdivision in Prairieville, La.

Specs:

5 bathroom, 3.5 bath, 4434 sq ft of living!  “Wired for speakers in master bedroom, living room, kitchen, & porches; other appointments include cypress cabinets, exposed beams, millwork, lots of natural light, pine floors in office, dining & master bedroom; travertine tile in master bath, with ceramic tile in remainder of downstairs flooring. Upstairs flooring is carpet & ceramic tile. Plumbing for outside gas BBQ, Wired for flat screen TV above fireplaces in master bedroom & living room. Seller will consider lease/purchase.”

Contact me for more details!

Expanded Tax Break Available for 2009 First-Time Homebuyers

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that taxpayers who qualify for the first-time homebuyer credit and purchase a home this year before Dec. 1 have a special option available for claiming the tax credit either on their 2008 tax returns due April 15 or on their 2009 tax returns next year.

Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home this year before Dec. 1 can get up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married filing separately.

“For first-time homebuyers this year, this special feature can put money in their pockets right now rather than waiting another year to claim the tax credit,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “This important change gives qualifying homebuyers cash they do not have to pay back.”

The IRS has posted a revised version of Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit, on IRS.gov. The revised form incorporates provisions from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The instructions to the revised Form 5405 provide additional information on who can and cannot claim the credit, income limitations and repayment of the credit.

This year, qualifying taxpayers who buy a home before Dec. 1, 2009, can claim the credit on either their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. They do not have to repay the credit, provided the home remains their main home for 36 months after the purchase date. They can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately.

The amount of the credit begins to phase out for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers.

For purposes of the credit, you are considered to be a first-time homebuyer if you, and your spouse if you are married, did not own any other main home during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase.

The IRS also alerted taxpayers that the new law does not affect people who purchased a home after April 8, 2008, and on or before Dec. 31, 2008. For these taxpayers who are claiming the credit on their 2008 tax returns, the maximum credit remains 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $7,500, or $3,750 for married individuals filing separately. In addition, the credit for these 2008 purchases must be repaid in 15 equal installments over 15 years, beginning with the 2010 tax year.

FAQ about the new housing stimulus bill

FAQ: Senate Stimulus Bill’s Home Buyer Tax Credit Nick Timiraos reports:

Readers are posing lots of different questions about the proposed $15,000 home buyer tax credit that’s in the Senate version of the economic stimulus bill. It’s important to remember that the proposed credit is far from a done deal. The bill still has a couple of big hurdles, including tomorrow’s scheduled vote in the Senate. (Read the Senate version.)

If it passes, it will have to be reconciled with the House version of the stimulus bill, which modifies an existing $7,500 home buyer credit, repealing a provision that requires buyers to pay it back.

There are some big differences between those two versions. The Senate version is nonrefundable, meaning you can only receive the credit if you owe federal income taxes. The existing credit is refundable, meaning you get a check from the government even if you don’t owe income tax. And the current credit applies to first-time home buyers, defined as anyone who hasn’t bought a house in three years. The Senate version is open to existing homeowners.

Here are some more Frequently Asked Questions. Please note that the answers may change as the Senate bill changes:

If I bought a home and used the $7,500 home buyer tax credit, can I retroactively receive $15,000 credit if it becomes law?

No.

Are there any income restrictions on the tax credit?

The Senate version currently has no income limits. The current $7,500 tax credit phases out on buyers with incomes exceeding $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples.

When will the new tax credit go into effect?

The Senate version would take effect when the bill is signed by the president into law, and it would last for one year.

Can I take the tax credit this year?

Yes. The Senate proposal would allow buyers — even those who purchase in 2009 — to claim the credit on their 2008 taxes.

The proposed tax credit is nonrefundable. What does that mean?

You can only receive the credit to the extent that you owe federal income taxes. The Senate proposal would give home buyers two years to claim the credit, so buyers could claim a $7,500 credit in 2009 and a $7,500 credit in 2010. A family of four that makes less than $82,000, for example, could have a tax liability of less than $7,500 and they would not receive the full value of the credit.

Are there any repayment requirements on the tax credit?

No. The Senate proposal does not require the credit to be paid back. The House proposal eliminates a 15-year repayment provision on the existing $7,500 tax credit.

If I am eligible for the current $7,500 credit, am I also eligible for the $15,000 credit?

While the $15,000 credit has fewer restrictions than the existing credit, there is one big difference: because the credit is nonrefundable, if you have a low federal income tax liability, you could end up receiving more money with the current credit than the larger, proposed credit.

Are there any increased down payment requirements on the proposed tax credit?

No. A separate measure has been introduced in the House that would expand the tax credit to $15,000 but would require a 5% down payment on mortgages. The Federal Housing Administration currently requires a minimum 3.5% down payment.

Can I use the tax credit to buy a second home?

No.

How long do I have to live in my home after I purchase it with the tax credit?

The Senate version requires buyers to pay back the credit if they sell the house less than two years after they buy it.

Tim Houk