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The First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit – A Consumer’s Point of View

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By Paige Tepping

Homebuyer_1111RISMEDIA, November 11, 2009—Like many first-time homebuyers across the country, Jen Bond and Matt Huisking were motivated to get off the sidelines and into the real estate market when the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was enacted in early 2009. Working with Julie Vanderblue and Kim Vartuli of the Vanderblue Team in Fairfield, Connecticut, Bond and Huisking were able to take advantage of the tax credit and close on their first home within 30 days.

“Although we had been saving money and thinking about getting into the real estate market for some time, the tax credit was the motivating factor behind our decision to move forward and purchase a home,” says Huisking. This sentiment echoes that of many first-time buyers who decided to take advantage of the tax credit at a time when home prices and mortgage rates are at all time lows. “Knowing that the credit was going to expire was a huge push into our moving ahead with the search,” he adds. Now that the credit has been extended and expanded, more first-time buyers as well as move-up buyers have the opportunity to take advantage of a benefit that won’t be around forever.

For Bond and Huisking, the process of buying their first home and utilizing the tax credit is another success story in what will hopefully become a turning point for the real estate industry. Starting the process of searching for a home on their own, Bond and Huisking reached out to Vanderblue and Vartuli to enlist their help to be able to purchase a home before the tax credit expired. Vanderblue and Vartuli showed Bond and Huisking a dozen or so properties before they found the one that was right for them and recently purchased the home in a process that took just 30 days. “We recognized the value of the home as soon as it came on the market and moved quickly in order to close on it within 30 days,” adds Huisking.

Even though Bond and Huisking could afford the home without the tax credit, it was a nice bonus for them. “If we had been on the edge of being able to afford the house, we might have been more hesitant,” says Huisking, “but we saw an opportunity to be able to purchase the home and then use the credit to invest back into the house.” Looking back on the entire process, Huisking sums it up in one word: simple. “In order to use the tax credit to purchase our home, all we had to do was file an amended 2008 tax return and we got the money within 6 weeks or so,” he says. “The biggest confusion we had throughout the process was whether or not we would be eligible for the entire credit or just a partial credit because of our income level.” Since Bond and Huisking filed as separate returners and she qualified for the entire credit, they were able to take advantage of the entire $8,000.

“The first-time homebuyer tax credit has been a great tool to get prospective buyers off the fence,” says Vanderblue. “Now that the credit has been extended and expanded, buyers are going to sit up and take notice and will move to take advantage of it now, as it won’t last forever,” she adds. The increase in income level is a huge advantage of the extended tax credit ($125,000 for single filers and $225,000 for joint filers). “This is crucial, especially in a market such as Fairfield County,” says Vanderblue. “One of the biggest problems with the initial tax credit was the income level because most first-time buyers in our market didn’t qualify for the credit because of their income,” she says.

Educating prospective buyers about the advantages of the tax credit has become an important task for Vanderblue and Vartuli. “We stress the overall picture of what the credit is about to our clients but advise that they speak with an accountant or attorney to get the specifics. The extended homebuyer tax credit gives us something to talk about as well as a way to shine as Realtors while educating our clients,” concludes Vanderblue.

About the Vanderblue Team
One of the many benefits to using the Vanderblue Team is the specialized skill sets each team member offers, such as Short sales, New Construction, Investment Division, etc. Vartuli is highly-skilled in representing first-time buyers in the Fairfield and Trumbull areas and was chosen specifically to represent these buyers for her ability to guide them and educate them on the many options available to first-time buyers.

For more information, visit http://vanderblue.com.

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