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Clock ticking on $8,000 buyer tax credit

First-time home buyers and those who haven’t owned a home in the past three years are running out of time to cash in on the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. The deadline is November 30. If you don’t close on your home by then, you’ll miss out on one of the major buyer opportunities in the current housing market.

Today’s tighter credit market means the days of settling on a home in two weeks are gone. Lenders are paying closer attention than ever to a borrower’s financial information. In many cases, appraisals are also taking longer and things like home inspections and title searches take time. So there may be no time to waste.“Homeownership is an investment in your future, and the temporary $8,000 tax credit can help many of today’s buyers start building that future,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “However, buyers should be realistic about the time it could take between beginning the home search and actually closing on the deal. Anyone who’s serious about taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity should start the ball rolling soon.”

In some cases, buyers are able to receive the tax credit immediately through short-term bridge loans and either increase their down payment or supplement their closing costs. A Realtor can tell you if the bridge loan process is available to you.

Not a first-time home buyer? Not a problem. Current market conditions have created a wealth of advantages for all of today’s buyers, including:• Lots of choices — More homes on the market means buyers can negotiate better prices and terms.• Low interest rates — Mortgage interest rates remain historically low, making borrowing more affordable for potential home buyers.



• Affordability — Home prices are more affordable now than they have been in decades, according to NAR’s Housing Affordability Index.



These conditions, however, are temporary. Recent housing statistics and trends show signs that the market may have already hit bottom. Prices in many areas have stabilized and are rising again.

“Today’s buyers are staying well within their budget and realizing this is an incredible opportunity to own a home of their own,” said Yun. “There’s never been a better time for people to start building their future through homeownership.”

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

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