Thursday, June 24, 2010

Senate approves extension to qualify for homebuyer tax credit

Senate approves extension to qualify for homebuyer tax credit

The proposal pushes the closing deadline back to Sept. 30, 2010, from the previous June 30 deadline.
By a 60-37 vote, the Senate on Wednesday approved a measure extending the closing deadline for qualifying for the homebuyer tax credit. The proposal is expected to be added to a slimmed-down tax extenders bill that Senate Democratic leaders are expected to unveil Wednesday.

To qualify for the credit, homebuyers have until June 30 to close on the purchase. The proposal pushes the closing deadline back to Sept. 30, 2010.
  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) authored the proposal. The senator from Georgia tried but failed to offset the amendment's cost with unspent stimulus dollars. His proposal failed by a 45-52 vote. The proposal that is expected to be added to the extender bill is offset by denying the tax deduction for certain punitive damages, which raises $315 million over 10 years. The cost for extending the closing date is $140 million, which means the provision reduces the deficit by $175 million over 10 years.

Congress originally passed an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers as part of the stimulus bill President Barack Obama signed into law in February of 2009 (In fact, the original tax credit was in 2007 for $7,500, but had to be paid back). Lawmakers extended and expanded the measure last November to include a $6,500 tax credit for buyers who have already owned a home. Both of these measures expired at the end of April for buyers that enter into a contract to purchase a home. Wednesday's measure only extends the cut off date for closing on the property.

If You Missed Out on the Tax Credit - Don't Complain!

To all of you who are complaining that you don't qualify because you haven't place a home under contract yet or went under contract after April 30, 2010:

You have had over 2 years to take advantage of the tax credit. The 1st deadline was in 2008, then 2009 and finally April 30, 2010. We all knew that it wouldn't be extended forever. There were many, many great bargains on homes out there, and we had dozens and dozens of clients buy them and take advantage of the credit. We had many other buyers who didn't take advantage of it because they procrastinated too long.

But as the final April 30th deadline approached, I told my buyers that it made no sense to buy a property they weren't happy with just for the sake of getting the tax credit. By waiting they have the opportunity to purchase the home they really want and, with all the short sale/bank owned properties on the market, save much more than the $8,000 they would have received.

Yes, the tax credit is over, but the savings are still here. Buyers are picking up short sale properties and with a little work they are getting instant equity.

Jim Armstrong