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2009-08-27 17:33:31

Six Tips on Using the Homebuyers Tax Credit


As you may know, on December 1, 2009, the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers is scheduled to expire. While it may seem as though there are three months left to take advantage of this government incentive, many people do not realize that the tax credit is only available if the transaction is completed on or before the expiration date. Keeping in mind that the closing process could take up to two months, first-time home buyers have just over 30 days to find their dream home and sign a contract. 
Diann Patton, consumer spokesperson for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, is available to discuss how home buyers can speed up the process in order to meet the deadline. Below are six essential steps to help consumers go into closing by September 30th:
1.       Find A Qualified Real Estate Agent. A real estate agent will arrange showings; keep track of the properties visited, and can help indentify suitable lawyers, mortgage lenders and home inspectors. Remember, an agent is an expert that can negotiate the best price and incentives on a home. They can also keep the process on track to ensure that closing on the new home occurs within the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit. 
2.       Know before you go. Separate the “must haves” from the “wants.” Free online tools such as Coldwell Banker On Location ( ) and the recently launched mobile application for iPhone and Android devices are available to help consumers compare home prices, learn about neighborhoods and view what is on the market. 
3.       Get your credit report in order. Lenders today are looking at prospective borrower’s credit reports more closely than ever, so it’s important to examine your credit report for mistakes and eradicate any "toxic" debt (such as overdue credit-card payments) before the home shopping begins. Rectifying mistakes is easy but can be time consuming, so be sure to address any errors as soon as possible.    
4.       Compile your paperwork. Lenders require a number of items from potential home buyers so it’s best to be prepared. Pull together the following documents for yourself and any co-applicants on the loan:
·        Verification of employment form
·        Two most recent pay check stubs and bank statements
·        Copies of the last two W2 forms received from employer
·        Copies of any asset statements including those for retirement accounts, stocks, bonds or mutual funds
·        Copy of social security card
5.       Get Your Pre-Approval. “Pre-approval” means that a lender has verified the borrower's credit and other credentials and is committed to making a loan. Getting this early green light will put you in a stronger position with sellers by demonstrating that you are serious and well-qualified.
6.       Shop for the most favorable mortgage option. It's imperative for home buyers to educate themselves on the risks of the different types of mortgages and select the right one for his / her family. A difference of even half a percentage point can mean a considerable savings over the life of a loan.

Submitted by Coldwell Banker.

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