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Homebuyer Tax Credit

by Mark Brace

Homebuyer Tax Credit

 

The government recently passed an incentive credit for people buying homes that have not had an ownership interest in a property for the past 3 years.  You don’t necessarily have to be a first time home buyer.  The way this works is that the year after you purchase your home, you will receive up to $7500 as a tax credit when filing your taxes.  This can result in a refund to you.  If you receive the full $7500 you will then start to repay the money at $500 increments for the next 15 years.  This is essentially an interest free loan from the government.  A lot of home buyers wonder how they will pay for improvements to the home.  This may be a great way to make some of those upgrades that you don’t have the money to initially do.  You can do whatever you want to with that money though.  You could put in the bank or invest it in some other account. 

 

In a new market when there are very few 0% down programs left, this may be a way repay yourself for the initial down payment requirement, or simply afford yourself a little cushion in the unique market.   

 

For more information or any questions, contact

 

Matt Smith – Countrywide Financial – 616-299-2951

Real Estate buyers are usually highly focused on the purchase price of a property. This is a legitimate concern. The purchase price is one of the most important considerations in a real estate transaction. But at the same time home buyers too frequently treat interest rates as a secondary concern. Many buyers will stress over $300 or $400 in negotiations over purchase price. But when told that interest rates dropped half a point, home buyers will often respond with a shrug.

This is frequently because it is easy to understand the difference between paying 200k and 195k for a house. But it's harder to appreciate the difference between an interest rate of 6.5% and 6.0% for a house. But interest rates can have a large influence on mortgage payments. Using a mortgage calculator first let's look at the difference between the mortgage on a 200k and the mortgage on a 195k house assuming a 6.5 percent interest rate.

200k  (6.5%)  Mortgage  $1264.13 per month
195k  (6.5%)  Mortgage  $1232.53 per month

The difference ends up being $31.60 a month.

Now let's look at the difference between an interest rate of 6.5% and 6.0% on a 200k house.

200k  (6.5%)  Mortgage  1264.13 per month
200k  (6.0%)  Mortgage  1199.10 per month

The difference ends up being $65.03 a month or $780.36 a year. A simple half point drop lowered the mortgage payment by 5.4 percent.

Interest rate changes are not that uncommon. We wrote a tool that graphs mortgage rates over time based on the interest rates provided by Freddie Mac. In the middle of 2007 we saw interest rates of 6.7%. At the beginning of 2008, interest rates were down to 5.75%. What is a little more interesting is when we switch the toggle on our tool from the interest rate to the mortgage on a 200k house based on the interest rate for that date http://www.escapesomewhere.com/blogim/mortgage_rates_broker.jpg. From the middle of 2007 to the beginning of 2008, we saw a drop in the monthly mortgage payment on a 200k house drop from $1290 to $1170, a difference of 9.3 percent. This is why when buyers say they are waiting for prices to drop 5%, it might be a good idea to tell them that the actual mortgage they would get on a house has already dropped by more than 5 percent.

In light of all the mortgage issues over the last few years, it highlights why home buyers should shop around for interest rates. All too frequently home buyers will go with the first mortgage person they meet under the assumption that everyone has roughly the same rates and that a half point isn't really that big of a difference. As we have seen above, a half point can make a significant difference in someone's mortgage payment.

In summary, home buyers should still focus on price because it will always be an important part of the real estate transaction. But if home buyers start to look at interest rates more closely, they will end up with more success in their real estate purchases and lower mortgage payments.

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Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.