We don’t do a whole lot of guest posts here. In the four plus years we have been messing around with this little blog, in fact, I can count them on one hand. This morning we make an exception to bring you this post by James Kelley. James blogs on veteran’s issues and real estate in the United States at VA Benefit Blog. He also works for VA Mortgage Center. com, “proudly serving American military families as the nation’s premier VA lender.” With the sunset of the home buyer tax credits, this seemed timely. Plus, we love our veterans.
Tax credits for first-time and existing home buyers gave the San Diego real estate market — not to mention the national housing landscape — a boost over the last few months. Nationwide, more than 2.4 million home buyers utilized the tax credits, which expired at the end of April.
Real estate experts are preparing for a dip with the landmark program now over. But San Diego and some other military-friendly areas might be in for a surprising, sporadic boost in the coming months. That’s because there’s a group of Americans who get a little extra time to take advantage of those tax credits — our men and women serving overseas in the Armed Forces.
Eligible military members who were serving abroad during the last year and a half have an additional year to use either the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers or the $6,500 credit for existing homeowners. Service members have until April 30, 2011, to purchase a home and until June 30, 2011, to close on one.
The additional time is for service members who were outside the U.S. on extended duty for at least 90 days from January 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010. Those who didn’t make it to the 90-day mark because of medical issues may still qualify.
Military members must still meet the program’s major criteria, which applied to civilian buyers as well. Those criteria include:
-The home cannot cost more than $800,000
-First-time buyers and their spouses cannot have owned a home in the last three years
-Service members cannot make more than $125,000 per year; married couples must make $225,000 or less if they file taxes jointly,/p>
The $6,500 tax credit is for buyers who have lived in their home for five of the last eight years. Otherwise, the requirements are basically the same.
These money-saving tax credits can be used with a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans are the safest and most powerful lending tool available for veterans active-duty military. They come with no down payment or private mortgage insurance and are easier to qualify for than conventional loans.