Below is an excerpt from today’s testimony by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. You can find the entire written testimony by clicking here.
An initial measure is to reduce the maximum permissible seller concession from its current 6 percent level to 3 percent, which is in line with industry norms, and we will continue to consider additional reductions. The current level exposes the FHA to excess risk by creating incentives to inflate appraised value.
Secondly, to protect the fund from the riskiest borrowers, we will for the time being also raise the minimum FICO score for new FHA borrowers.
We are currently analyzing what this floor should be, including the relationship between FICO scores and downpayments to determine whether we should increase FICO minimums in combination with changes to other underwriting criteria for lower downpayment loans.
Third, we have made the decision to exercise our authority to increase the up-front cash that a borrower has to bring to the table in an FHA-backed loan – to make sure that FHA borrowers have more “skin in the game” and a stronger equity position in their loans. There are several ways to accomplish this, and so we are currently analyzing various options to determine which is the most effective and consistent with our mission.
Finally, we are examining our mortgage insurance premium structure to determine whether an increase is needed and, if so, whether it should be the up-front premium, the annual premium or both. Our current up-front premium of 1.75 percent is below the statutory cap of 3 percent, while the annual premium is currently at the statutory maximum. To protect against future uncertainty in market conditions, we are requesting authority from Congress to raise annual premiums, as this is one of the most effective means of raising capital for the fund with the least impact per borrower.
Indeed, while most of these changes I’ve just described we can make on our own with no additional authority—and we expect to provide detail and public guidance for these changes by the end of January—in some cases, we will need Congress’ help. In addition to asking Congress to increase the current cap on the annual mortgage insurance premium for new borrowers, we are asking for additional authority for our proposals to hold all FHA lenders responsible for their fraud or misrepresentations by indemnifying the FHA fund. We will also be asking Congress to expand FHA’s ability to hold lenders accountable nationally for their performance as I mentioned earlier.
Feel free to call me at 719-963-4867 if you have any questions.
Some sellers still certain their nine-figure properties will attract buyers
Last year, a 40-acre Greenwich, Conn., property with a 21,897-square-foot, 14-bedroom Jacobean manor was listed for $125 million. It was the world's second most expensive home for sale.
It now sports a $60 million price tag and falls just short of making this year's list.
It's no secret sellers across the country are resorting to measures such as price cuts of 20 percent and higher to move their homes. What's new: That group is increasingly including owners of eight- and nine-figure properties. Last year, investor Marty Zweig pulled the $70 million Pierre Hotel penthouse off the market after it was listed for four years. Financier Leonard Ross, who had asked $165 million for the Hearst Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., de-listed it in September 2008. A few months later, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia removed his $135 million Aspen ski lodge from the ranks of available listings. This year, "Hillendale," in Stamford, Conn., fell victim to the depressed housing market. It was listed for $95 million. It's no longer for sale. Others, such as the owners of an $85 million Wallace Neff-designed mansion, are leasing their properties until the market picks up.
See full story compliments of Forbes.com.
The most expensive home in Colorado Springs $5.9 Million - 2354 Stratton Forest Heights.
Click here for the full article by Brian Summerfield, REALTOR® Magazine
A must see, priced at $425,000.
We are excited to be the front runner of the Next Generation of Real Estate! The Herman Group has grown to over 1,000 agents in the past 5 years in Colorado and Wyoming.
The secret of the huge success of The Herman Group has been the combination of cutting edge technology, marketing tools, and happy clients and agents.
In 2008, The Herman Group added over 530 agents to our roster making us one of the fastest growing real estate companies in the US. In 2009, we have expanded to Florida and in the next 90 days will be expanding to Boulder, Ft. Collins and other markets throughout the state. Formerly operating under the Prudential franchise, Herman Group Real Estate has made its mark as an independent brand and continues to add services and support in a rapidly changing real estate market.
One of the ways we have retained our clients and agents over the years is by keeping abreast of changes in technology. Instead of using tools that were state of the art 5 years ago, we are constantly updating and upgrading our technical support through websites, search engine optimization, pay per click, internet leads, and the internal staff to scrub and incubate the thousands of raw leads in order to pass the diamonds in the rough to our technology savvy and progressive REALTORS.
Sellers who list with Herman Group Real Estate agents know that the astounding exposure their listings receive through our internal marketing efforts drives buyers to view their homes. Our agents can provide statistics on website hits, visual tour views, and live feed market stats for their listings and more, making the Herman Group Real Estate agent an invaluable resource for our clients.
With a Short Sale partner, an REO division with back office support and software, paperless transaction software, RELO leads, in-house title and mortgage, showing services and 7 day/week broker support, Herman Group Real Estate agents are poised to be the leaders in the Next Generation of Real Estate.
It is exciting to offer you the many services of The Herman Group. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to give me a call. I look forward to helping you get your property sold.
In 2008, Congress enacted a $7500 tax credit designed to be an incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home. The credit was designed as a mechanism to decrease the over-supply of homes for sale.
For 2009, Congress has increased the credit to $8000 and made several additional improvements. This revised $8000 tax credit applies to purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
Tax Credits -- The Basics Frequently Asked Questions.
1. What’s this new homebuyer tax incentive for 2009?
The 2008 $7500, repayable credit is increased to $8000 and the repayment feature is eli
minated for 2009 purchasers. Any home that is purchased for $80,000 or more qualifies for the full $8000 amount. If the house costs less than $80,000, the credit will be 10% of the cost. Thus, if an individual purchased a home for $75,000, the credit would be $7500. It is available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
2. Who is eligible?
Only first-time homebuyers are eligible. A person is considered a first-time buyer if he/she has not had any ownership interest in a home in the three years previous to the day of the 2009 purchase.
3. How does a tax credit work?
Every dollar of a tax credit reduces income taxes by a dollar. Credits are claimed on an individual’s income tax return. Thus, a qualified purchaser would figure out all the income items and exemptions and make all the calculations required to figure out his/her total tax due. Then, once the total tax owed has been computed, tax credits are applied to reduce the total tax bill. So, if before taking any credits on a tax return a person has total tax liability of $9500, an $8000 credit would wipe out all but $1500 of the tax due. ($9,500 - $8000 = $1500)
4. So what happens if the purchaser is eligible for an $8000 credit but their entire income tax liability for the year is only $6000?
This tax credit is what’s called “refundable” credit. Thus, if the eligible purchaser’s total tax liability was $6000, the IRS would send the purchaser a check for $2000. The refundable amount is the difference between $8000 credit amount and the amount of tax liability. ($8000 - $6000 = $2000) Most taxpayers determine their tax liability by referring to tables that the IRS prepares each year.
5. How does withholding affect my tax credit and my refund?
A few examples are provided at the end of this document. There are several steps in this calculation, but most income tax software programs are equipped to make that determination.
6. Is there an income restriction?
Yes. The income restriction is based on the tax filing status the purchaser claims when filing his/her income tax return. Individuals filing Form 1040 as Single (or Head of Household) are eligible for the credit if their income is no more than $75,000. Married couples who file a Joint return may have income of no more than $150,000.
7. How is my “income” determined?
For most individuals, income is defined and calculated in the same manner as their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on their 1040 income tax return. AGI includes items like wages, salaries, interest and dividends, pension and retirement earnings, rental income and a host of other elements. AGI is the final number that appears on the bottom line of the front page of an IRS Form 1040.
8. What if I worked abroad for part of the year?
Some individuals have earned income and/or receive housing allowances while working outside the US. Their income will be adjusted to reflect those items to measure Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). Their eligibility for the credit will be based on their MAGI.
Not always. The credit phases-out between $75,000 - $95,000 for singles and $150,000 - $170,000 for married filing joint. The closer a buyer comes to the maximum phase-out amount, the smaller the credit will be. The law provides a formula to gradually withdraw the credit. Thus, the credit will disappear after an individual’s income reaches $95,000 (single return) or $170,000 (joint return).
For example, if a married couple had income of $165,000, their credit would be reduced by 75% as shown:
Couple’s income $165,000
Income limit 150,000
Excess income $15,000
The excess income amount ($15,000 in this example) is used to form a fraction. The numerator of the fraction is the excess income amount ($15,000). The denominator is $20,000 (specified by the statute).
In this example, the disallowed portion of the credit is 75% of $8000, or $6000
($15,000/$20,000 = 75% x $8000 = $6000)
Stated another way, only 25% of the credit amount would be allowed.
In this example, the allowable credit would be $2000 (25% x $8000 = $2000)
10. What’s the definition of “principal residence?”
Generally, a principal residence is the home where an individual spends most of his/her time (generally defined as more than 50%). It is also defined as “owner-occupied” housing. The term includes single-family detached housing, condos or co-ops, townhouses or any similar type of new or existing dwelling. Even some houseboats or manufactured homes count as principal residences.
11. Are there restrictions on the location of the property?
Yes. The home must be located in the United States. Property located outside the US is not eligible for the credit.
12. Are there restrictions related to the financing for the mortgage on the property?
In 2009, most financing arrangements are acceptable and will not affect eligibility for the credit. Congress eliminated the financing restriction that applied in 2008. (In 2008, purchasers were ineligible for the $7500 credit if the financing was obtained by means of mortgage revenue bonds.) Now, mortgage-revenue bond financing will not disqualify an otherwise-eligible purchaser. (Mortgage revenue bonds are tax-exempt bonds issued by a state housing agency. Proceeds from the bonds must be used for below market loans to qualified buyers.)
13. Do I have to repay the 2009 tax credit?
NO. There is no repayment for 2009 tax credits.
14. Do 2008 purchasers still have to repay their tax credit?
YES. The $7500 credit in 2008 was more like an interest-free loan. All eligible purchasers who claimed the 2008 credit will still be required to repay it over 15 years, starting with their 2010 tax return.
Some Practical Questions
15. How do I apply for the credit?
There is no pre-purchase authorization, application or similar approval process. All eligible purchasers simply claim the credit on their IRS Form 1040 tax return. The credit will be reflected on a new Form 5405 that will be attached to the 1040. Form 5405 can be found at www.irs.gov.
16. So I can’t use the credit amount as part of my downpayment?
No. Congress tried hard to devise a mechanism that would make the funds available for closing costs, but found that pre-funding would require cumbersome processes that would, in effect, bring the IRS into the purchase and settlement phase of the transaction.
17. So there’s no way to get any cash flow benefits before I file my tax return?
Yes, there is. Any first-time homebuyers who believe they are eligible for all or part of the credit can modify their income tax withholding (through their employers) or adjust their quarterly estimated tax payments. Individuals subject to income tax withholding would get an IRS Form W-4 from their employer, follow the instructions on the schedules provided and give the completed Form W-4 back to the employer. In many cases their withholding would decrease and their take-home pay would increase. Those who make estimated tax payments would make similar adjustments.
Some “Real World” Examples
18. What if I purchase later this year but can’t get to settlement before December 1?
The credit is available for purchases before December 1, 2009. A home is considered as “purchased” when all events have occurred that transfer the title from the seller to the new purchaser. Thus, closings must occur before December 1, 2009 for purchases to be eligible for the credit.
19. I haven’t even filed my 2008 tax return yet. If I buy in 2009, do I have to wait until next year to get the benefit of the credit?
You’ll have a helpful choice that might speed up the process. Eligible homebuyers who make their purchase between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009 can treat the purchase as if it had occurred on December 31, 2008. Thus, they can claim the credit on their 2008 tax return that is due on April 15, 2009. They actually have three filing options.
· If they purchase between January 1, 2009 and April 15, 2009, they can claim the $8000 credit on the 2008 return due on April 15.
· They can extend their 2008 income-tax filing until as late as October 15, 2009. (The IRS grants automatic extensions, but the taxpayer must file for the extension. See www.irs.gov for instructions on how to obtain an extension.)
· If they have filed their 2008 return before they purchase the home, they may file an amended 2008 tax return on Form 1040X. (Form 1040X is available at www.irs.gov)
Of course, 2009 purchasers will always have the option of claiming the credit for the 2009 purchase on their 2009 return. Their 2009 tax return is due on April 15, 2010.
20. I purchased my home in early 2009 before the stimulus bill was enacted. I claimed a $7500 tax credit on my 2008 return as prior law had permitted. Am I restricted to just a $7500 credit?
No, you would qualify for the $8000 credit. Eligible purchasers who have already claimed the $7500 credit on a 2008 return for a 2009 purchase may file an amended return (IRS Form 1040X) for the 2008 tax year. This amended return will enable them to obtain the additional $500 credit amount.
21. If I claim my 2009 $8000 credit on my 2008 tax return, will I have to repay the credit just as the 2008 credits are repaid?
No. Congress anticipated this confusion and has made specific provision so that there would be no repayment of 2009 credits that are claimed on 2008 returns.
22. I made an eligible purchase of a principal residence in May 2008 and claimed the $7500 credit on my 2008 tax return. My brother, who has never owned a home, wishes to purchase a partial interest in the home this spring and move in. Will he qualify for the $8000 credit, as well?
No. Any purchase of a principal residence (or interest in a principal residence) from a related party such as a sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle is ineligible for the tax credit. Since you and your brother are related in this way, he cannot qualify for the credit on any portion of the home that he purchases from you, even if he is a first-time homebuyer.
23. I live in the District of Columbia. If I qualify as a first-time homebuyer, can I use both the $5000 DC credit and the $8000 credit?
No; double dipping is not allowed. You would be eligible for only the $8000 credit. This will be an advantage because of the higher credit amount, plus the eligibility requirements for the $8000 credit are somewhat more easily satisfied than the DC credit.
24. I know there is no repayment requirement for the $8000 credit. Will I ever have to repay any of the credit back to the government?
One situation does require a recapture payment back to the government. If you claim the credit but then sell the property within 3 years of the date of purchase, you are required to pay back the full amount of any credit, including any refund you received from it. A few exceptions apply. (See below, #24). Note that this same 3-year recapture rule applies, as well, to the $7500 credit available for 2008. This provision is designed as an anti-flipping rule.
25. What if I die or get divorced or my property is ruined in a natural disaster within the 3 years?
The repayment rules are eased for many circumstances. If the homeowner who used the credit dies within the first three years of ownership, there is no recapture. Special rules make adjustments for people who sell homes as part of a divorce settlement, as well. Similarly, adjustments are made in the case of a home that is part of an involuntary conversion (property is destroyed in a natural disaster or subject to condemnation by eminent domain by an authorized agency) within the first three years.
26. I have a home under construction. Am I eligible for the credit?
Yes, so long as you actually occupy the home before December 1, 2009.
Note: The impact of estimated tax payments would be the same.
Situation 1: Sally plans her withholding so that her withholding is as close as possible to what she anticipates as her income tax liability for the year. When she fills out her 1040, her liability is $6000. She has had $6000 withheld from her paycheck. She also qualifies for the $8000 homebuyer credit.
Result: Sally’s withholding satisfies her tax liability and reduces it to zero. She will receive a refund of the full $8000.
Situation 2: Nick and Nora file a joint return. Nick is self-employed and makes estimated payments; Nora has taxes withheld from her salary. When they compute their taxes, their combined withholding and estimated tax payments are $11,000. Their income tax liability is $9800. They also qualified as first-time homebuyers and are eligible for the $8000 refundable tax credit.
Result: Ordinarily, their combined estimated tax payments and withholding would make them eligible for a refund of $1200 ($11,000 - $9800 = $1200). Because they are eligible for the refundable tax credit as well, they will receive a refund of $9200 ($1200 income tax refund + $8000 refundable tax credit = $9200)
Situation 3: Cesar and LuzMaria both have income taxes withheld from their salaries and file a joint return. When they file their income tax return, their combined withholding is $5000. However, their total tax liability is $7200, generating an additional income tax liability of $2200 ($7200 - $5000). They also qualify for the $8000 first-time homebuyer tax credit.
Result: Cesar and LuzMaria have been under-withheld by $2200. Ordinarily, they would be required to pay the additional $2200 they owe (plus any applicable interest and penalties). Because they are eligible for the refundable homebuyer tax credit, the credit will cover the $2200 additional liability. In addition, they will receive an income tax refund of $5800 ($8000 - $2200 = $5800). If they owed penalties and/or interest, that amount would reduce the refund.
What a great incentive for first time homebuyers. Pass this information to anyone that may be thinking of buying a home. For more information go to http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/faq.php
Click here to see the Colorado projects.
See stimulus requests for all 50 states at http://www.stimuluswatch.org/project/by_state
No one ever wants to pay more taxes than necessary, but this year it's even more important to save every penny you can. Here are some tips that can help you get a larger refund:
Property Tax Deduction for Non-Itemizers: Before 2008, only people who itemized their deductions could deduct property taxes. For 2008, individuals who do not itemize can deduct up to $1,000 of property tax on a joint return or $500 on a single return.
Driving Deductions: The IRS increased the cents-per-mile deduction for business-related driving expenses from 50.5 cents to 58.5 cents from July 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008. They also increased the rate for deducting medical and moving driving-related expenses from 19 cents to 27 cents for that same time period.
Disaster Losses: Casualty losses (i.e. like those from storm or fire damage) are normally deductible only to the extent they exceed 10% of AGI. For 2008, casualties in federally declared disaster areas can be deducted without having to abide by the 10%-of-AGI rule, which raises the amount that is deductible.
Capital Losses: Review your portfolio and note all your realized losses for 2008. You can write these off against capital gains and you can have a net loss of up to $3,000 deductible against your salary and other ordinary income. What's more, any excess can be used to offset gains or can be deducted in 2009 or later years.
Retirement Plan Contributions: You can make tax-saving contributions to retirement plans for 2008 through April 15, 2009.
Charitable Donations: Not only can you claim deductions for money and items you donate to a charity, you can also claim deductions for expenses you incur on a charity's behalf (i.e. driving costs, printing costs, long distance phone call costs, etc.).
Make sure you take time to go through your records carefully so you receive the biggest refund possible. And if you are looking for a great tax professional to help you, please let me know and I'll be happy to recommend someone.
Congress has approved new economic stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The IRS is working closely with Congress and the administration on the stimulus legislation and will implement tax-related provisions of the new program as quickly as possible.
If the borrower is unable to sell the property for an amount that is greater than or equal to what
he/she owes on the loan, including closing costs, VA may pay a “compromise claim” for the
difference in order to allow the private sale to go through. The borrower can sell the property to a
buyer who gets his/her own financing or to a buyer who wants to assume the loan. However,
with a compromise assumption, the lender does have to agree to have the amount of its guaranty
reduced by the amount of the claim payment.
• VETERAN/SELLER EMPLOYER OR FINANCIAL SITUATION WILL REQUIRE HE/SHE TO RELOCATE.
• A DECREASE IN INCOME.
• MAJOR MEDICAL EXPENSE.
• THE DEATH OF A PRINCIPAL WAGE EARNER, SPOUSE OR FAMILY MEMBER.
SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED A FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
• DESIRES A LARGER HOME
• NO LONGER LIKES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
• HOMEOWNER OWNS OTHER HOMES AND/OR HAS SUFFICIENT ASSETS HE CAN LIQUIDATE.
• THE PROPERTY VALUES ARE NO LONGER A SOUND INVESTMENT
For more details about the VA Compromise Sale click here to go to Veterans Administration.
There is currently a $7,500 tax credit for home purchases, however, the money must be repaid.
The Senate measure, if it becomes law, would provide a credit of 10% of the home purchase price, up to a maximum credit of $15,000.
Real estate industry groups have backed such a credit as a way to spur demand for homes.
To read associated press article click here.
|%Low Fin||%Bsmt Fin||Acres||List Price||Sold Price||CDOM|
|Min||3 ||2 ||1 || 1,332 || 1,332 ||0 ||0 || 0.10 ||$ 89,000 ||$ 87,000 ||6|
|Avg||3 ||2 ||1 || 1,551 || 1,548 ||20 ||79 || 0.00 ||$ 114,880 ||$ 112,352 ||55|
|Max||4 ||2 ||1 || 1,676 || 1,676 ||100 ||100 || 0.15 ||$ 134,900 ||$ 136,500 ||109|
There are 6 homes for sale ranging in price from $107,900 to $160,000. Two are bank owned and one is a short sale.
These numbers are down compared to 2007. Twelve properties sold and the average sales price was $139,879.
Horizon Subdivision is located near:
Schriever Air Force Base
Petersen Air Force Base
Colorado Springs Airport
Information from the Pikes Peak REALTOR® Services Corp. RSC does not guarantee or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by RSC may not reflect all real estate activity in the market."
Year End December 2008
El Paso County
- Number of listings sold: 7,486
- Median List Price: $209,900
- Median Sales Price: $205,000
- Average Sales Price: $242,867
- Average Days on the Market: 91
- Number of listings sold: 1097
- Median List Price: $148,000
- Median Sales Price: $142,900
- Average Sales Price: $158,030
- Average Days on the Market: 107
Listing and Sale Summary
- Number of listings sold: 8,988
- Median List Price: $219,900
- Median Sales Price: $216,925
- Average Sales Price: $261,775
- Average Days on the Market 87
- Number of listings sold: 1,423
- Median List Price: $155,000
- Median Sales Price: $152,300
- Average Sales Price: $172,372
- Average Days on the Market: 98
One of my new favorite stores. Recycle, Reuse, Resell.
This store is open to the public and ran by volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
Save on cabinets, doors, lighting fixtures,
electrical, plumbing supplies, paint, floor tile,
carpet and more! Usually at 50-70% below retail!
You can make purchases or donations to help support the Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity.
This is one of the ways I contribute to the local economy.