Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Buy Your First Home-Get $8,000

(NAPSI)-First-time home buyers may find that buying a home-sweet-home is just a little sweeter this year.

They can now claim a tax credit of up to $8,000 through November 30, 2009. The credit is a crucial component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, designed to entice buyers off the fence and into the neighborhood.

"Homeownership offers immediate benefits and long-term value," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®. "Those who qualify can reduce their tax burden and realize their dreams of homeownership."

So just who is eligible to receive this credit? Qualified first-time buyers include those who have never owned a home or haven't owned a home in three years. If you're married and filing joint returns, both you and your spouse must meet the first-time buyer requirements to enjoy the benefit.

Buyers should also keep in mind the home purchased must be their principal residence, where they plan to spend 50 percent or more of their time, and be located in the U.S. Unfortunately, vacation homes and rental properties aren't eligible.

To take full advantage of the credit, the buyer must remain in the home for at least three years. If the buyer sells the home before the end of the three-year period, he or she will have to repay the credit. This is to discourage short-term buying.

Although the $8,000 credit is an incentive for first-time buyers, there are currently several benefits all buyers can enjoy, including:

• Lots of choices-Increased inventory of homes on the market means buyers can negotiate better prices and terms.

• Low interest rates-Mortgage rates remain historically low, making borrowing more affordable for potential homeowners.

• Affordability-Home prices are more affordable now than they have been since 1970, according to NAR research.

"The tax credit, hopefully, will bring buyers into the market to help stabilize prices and reduce inventory," said Yun. "Because the real estate market is cyclical, those who are eligible should take advantage of this window of opportunity before it closes."

For more information, contact a Realtor® in your area or visit www.realtor.org/2009housingtaxcredit.

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