What Do I Need To Do To Qualify for the $8,000 First-Time Homebuyer Tax-Credit?

So i’m sure everyone knows by now there’s an $8,000 check waiting to be claimed if you haven’t owned a home in the past 3 years…but how the heck do you go about getting it? Well, let me walk you through the process:

Step 1: You haven’t owned a house in the past 3 years? Move on to step 2.

Step 2: If you’re single, do you make $125,000 or less? If you’re married, do you make $225,000 or less? If yes, move on to step 3. (*Note: for those of you just on the cusp of these income restrictions, there are tax-credits that phase-out up to $20,000 above these limits, so you may not qualify for the whole $8k, but you may be able to get at least something from Uncle Sam.)

Step 3: Decide you want to buy a home!! Congratulations – this is a big decision, but a VERY exciting one! Move on to step 4.

Step 4: Find a Realtor(R)..oh look, you’re here, why not just knock this step out now by emailing me? Finding a good real estate agent will help all of the following steps become much easier…if you’re not in the D.C. area (D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax) feel free to email me for some recommendations of great agents in your area. Once you’ve found someone you’re comfortable working with, move on to step 5.

Step 5: Talk to a lender to get pre-approved. ┬áThis step is critical – because you’re on a time deadline (we’ll get to this in a minute), you don’t want to waste your time looking at properties that are either out of your price range or won’t qualify for your type of financing? For example, if you’re going to be doing an FHA loan, some of the properties that require a lot of work, won’t qualify for this type of loan, and you’ll need to keep that in mind. Your Realtor(R) should be able to recommend a couple of lenders they trust – it’s one of the most critical steps in the process. On to step 6.

Step 6: Once you’ve established a price range you’re comfortable with, we’ll assess what kind of properties you’re looking for – a condo, a townhouse, a detached house – and the location you’re interested in. This is the fun part – you get to start looking at houses! To be eligible for the $8,000 tax credit, you’ll need to find the property you want to buy and have a ratified contract by April 30, 2010. A ratified contract is one that is signed, in writing, by ALL parties and is now legally binding. On to step 7.

Step 7: Due diligence. This is the period where you’ll conduct your inspections – home inspection, termite, appraisal, radon, etc. You’ll also be providing paperwork to your lender so they can complete your loan application and get your loan approved. Almost done….step 8.

Step 8: Close on or before June 30, 2010. That means having the keys in your hot little hand before this date. Congratulations!!

That’s the overview of the process. Doesn’t seem too bad does it? If you have questions about the credit, the process, or if you’re thinking about buying, feel free to call me 703.283.6120 or email me: Laura@TheLJRGroup.com

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