Archive for February, 2009

What is the difference between a condo and a townhouse or townhome in North Carolina? How are they defined?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Here are the definitions published by the North Carolina Real
Estate Commission in its 2008-2009 edition of the North Carolina
Real Estate Manual.

Townhouse – A unit in non-vertically attached, multi-unit
complex where the owner of the unit owns in severalty both the
unit (including the entire physical structure) and the land on
which the unit rests. The common areas are owned by the unit
owners’ association. A secondary meaning refers to a style of
construction, that being a multi-level unit in a multi-unit
residential complex, as distinguished from a single-level
style of unit in such complexes.

Condominium – A legal arrangement under which a person owns
one unit of multi-unit development, such as an apartment
building, plus an undivided interest in common areas used by all
unit owners, such as hallways and grounds.

I26 Expansion Asheville NC details of how it will effects on West Asheville NC – impact on home values?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Why is this project necessary?

This action is needed because:

  • A better transportation facility is needed to connect US 19-23 north of Asheville with I-26 south of Asheville. The construction of NCDOT TIP Project A-10 (US 19-23 improvements from Asheville to the Tennessee State Line) allows motorists to travel on a fully controlled-access, median-divided freeway from I-81 near Kingsport, Tennessee to I-240 in Asheville (see Figure 2). I-26 currently connects the port of Charleston, South Carolina with the mountains of North Carolina terminating at the I-26/I-40/I-240 interchange southwest of Asheville. I-240 west of Asheville, connects I-26 with US 19-23. This freeway, constructed in the 1960’s, does not meet current interstate design standards. The existing interchange connecting US 19-23 from the north with I-240 contains sharply-curved, single-lane ramps. Freeway traffic using this interchange will be restricted to one lane in each direction which would cause traffic to queue onto I-240 at its most congested location in Asheville.
  • Increasing traffic volumes have substantially reduced the level of service along I-240 on the west side of Asheville. Several sections of I-240 currently operate at capacity, resulting in traffic delays and queuing on I-240. Traffic congestion and resulting delays will continue to worsen in the future as the population increases.
  • I-240 needs safety improvements. Existing I-240 west of Asheville does not meet current interstate safety standards. I-240, west of Asheville, currently has a higher accident rate than the average rate for similar North Carolina facilities, demonstrating the need for safety improvements along this section of the facility.

Purpose of the Project

  • To provide a freeway-to-freeway connection between I-26 south of Asheville and US 19-23 north of Asheville. The existing connection between US 19-23 from the north and I-240 follows sharply-curved, single-lane ramps that do not meet the design requirements for an interstate freeway. While also providing a link in the transportation system connecting a direct, multi-lane, freeway facility meeting interstate standards from the Port of Charleston, South Carolina to I-81 near Kingsport, Tennessee.
  • To improve the capacity deficiencies of existing I-240 west of Asheville to accommodate the existing and forecasted (2030 design year) traffic in this growing area. And to improve the safety of I-240 on the west side of Asheville.
  • To reduce traffic delays and congestion along the I-240 crossing of the French Broad River which currently operates at capacity.
  • To increase the remaining useful service of the existing Smoky Park Bridges by substantially reducing the volume of traffic on this vital crossing of the French Broad River.

Source NCDOT, read more HERE

USDA Loans – household limits for buyers in the Mountains of North Carolina Asheville area

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I wanted to give you all an update on the USDA loan product that makes things a bit easier for us to make those loans.

While there have always been household income limits on USDA loans for qualifying in the past, they were a bit more stringent.  For example, a one person household could only make $49,550 per year to qualify.  A two person household could only have a total income of $56,600, etc… If the applicant exceeded those income levels, they would be out of luck.

Based on the newly published guidelines a one, two, or three person household (including children) can qualify for a USDA Loan as long as their combined incomes do not exceed $70,750.  This will prove helpful to single applicants who make more than the current limit of $49,550.  For homes with five to eight occupants the new income level has changed to $93,400.  These revised income limits will take effect January 20, 2009.  These income limit changes will become effective on January 20, 2009.

For a fast 2-minute online pre-qualification letter, CLICK HEREGlenn KavanaghMortgage PlannerOffice: 828-210-2768Cell: 704-996-8150 glenn@southchaseloans.com

Homebuyer resources from NAHB for home buyers in the mountains of NC Asheville area

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Home Buyer Resources

Buying a home can be complicated, but fortunately a lot of expert advice is available to help people navigate the experience. These online resources can help make the process smoother.

Buying and Owning a Home Freddie Mac
Buying a Home Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Home Buying Process Federal Housing Administration
FHA Loans Federal Housing Administration
Homeownership Resources Fannie Mae
Home Loan Learning Center Mortgage Bankers Association
Move.com NAHB’s official new homes listing site
Home Loan Guaranty Services Dept. of Veterans Affairs
State and Local Home Buyer Assistance Programs
Housing Publications from the Federal Citizen Information Center Most in PDF format
Consumer Information from NAHB NAHB.org
Mortgage information from the Fed Federal Reserve Board
Home Financing Information from the FTC Federal Trade Commission

the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and what it means for all home buyers and the housing market in Asheville NC

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

The Law’s Other Provisions: Source NCDOT

In addition to the tax credit, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has several other provisions that will benefit home buyers and the housing market. The legislation:

  • Will help home buyers in high-cost markets by extending the FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit of $729,750 through the end of 2009.
  • Allows state housing finance agencies to help buyers at closing by advancing the credit as a loan using proceeds from tax-exempt bonds.
  • Extends the tax code section 25C credit for energy-efficient home improvements through the end of 2010; increases the credit rate from 10 percent to 30 percent; raises the lifetime cap from $500 to $1,500; expands the list of eligible improvements.
  • For 2008 operations, expands the net operating loss carryback period from two years to five years for small businesses (businesses with average gross receipts of no more than $15 million over the previous three years).
  • Temporarily allows exchange of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocating authority for tax-exempt grants and appropriates $2 billion in HOME funding for affordable housing projects.
  • Provides a “patch” for the Alternative Minimum Tax for tax year 2009.
  • Increases bonus depreciation and section 179 small business expensing for business investment in 2009.
  • Increases New Markets Tax Credit allocating authority for 2008 and 2009.
  • Delays for one year—from 2011 to 2012—the start of the three percent government contractor withholding requirement.

Frequently asked questions about the first time homebuyer tax credit

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions About the Home Buyer Tax Credit: Source NAHB

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes a tax credit of up to $8,000 for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

The following questions and answers provide basic information about the tax credit. If you have more specific questions, we strongly encourage you to consult a qualified tax advisor or legal professional about your unique situation.

  1. Who is eligible to claim the tax credit?
  2. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
  3. How is the amount of the tax credit determined?
  4. Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?
  5. What is “modified adjusted gross income”?
  6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?
  7. Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?
  8. How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008?
  9. How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?
  10. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?
  11. I read that the tax credit is “refundable.” What does that mean?
  12. I purchased a home in early 2009 and have already filed to receive the $7,500 tax credit on my 2008 tax returns. How can I claim the new $8,000 tax credit instead?
  13. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?
  14. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?
  15. I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the Washington, D.C. first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?
  16. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?
  17. Is a tax credit the same as a tax deduction?
  18. I bought a home in 2008. Do I qualify for this credit?
  19. Is there any way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2009 tax return?
  20. If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?
  21. For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?

  1. Who is eligible to claim the tax credit?
    First-time home buyers purchasing any kind of home—new or resale—are eligible for the tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, a home purchase must occur on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. For the purposes of the tax credit, the purchase date is the date when closing occurs and the title to the property transfers to the home owner.
  2. What is the definition of a first-time home buyer?
    The law defines “first-time home buyer” as a buyer who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. For married taxpayers, the law tests the homeownership history of both the home buyer and his/her spouse.

    For example, if you have not owned a home in the past three years but your spouse has owned a principal residence, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the first-time home buyer tax credit. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer, such as may occur if a parent jointly purchases a home with a son or daughter. Ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer.

  3. How is the amount of the tax credit determined?
    The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
  4. Are there any income limits for claiming the tax credit?
    The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The tax credit amount is reduced to zero for taxpayers with MAGI of more than $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married) and is reduced proportionally for taxpayers with MAGIs between these amounts.
  5. What is “modified adjusted gross income”?
    Modified adjusted gross income or MAGI is defined by the IRS. To find it, a taxpayer must first determine “adjusted gross income” or AGI. AGI is total income for a year minus certain deductions (known as “adjustments” or “above-the-line deductions”), but before itemized deductions from Schedule A or personal exemptions are subtracted. On Forms 1040 and 1040A, AGI is the last number on page 1 and first number on page 2 of the form. For Form 1040-EZ, AGI appears on line 4 (as of 2007). Note that AGI includes all forms of income including wages, salaries, interest income, dividends and capital gains.

    To determine modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), add to AGI certain amounts such as foreign income, foreign-housing deductions, student-loan deductions, IRA-contribution deductions and deductions for higher-education costs.

  6. If my modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is above the limit, do I qualify for any tax credit?
    Possibly. It depends on your income. Partial credits of less than $8,000 are available for some taxpayers whose MAGI exceeds the phaseout limits.
  7. Can you give me an example of how the partial tax credit is determined?
    Just as an example, assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time home buyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

    Here’s another example: assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.

    Please remember that these examples are intended to provide a general idea of how the tax credit might be applied in different circumstances. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.

  8. How is this home buyer tax credit different from the tax credit that Congress enacted in July of 2008?
    The most significant difference is that this tax credit does not have to be repaid. Because it had to be repaid, the previous “credit” was essentially an interest-free loan. This tax incentive is a true tax credit. However, home buyers must use the residence as a principal residence for at least three years or face recapture of the tax credit amount. Certain exceptions apply.
  9. How do I claim the tax credit? Do I need to complete a form or application?
    Participating in the tax credit program is easy. You claim the tax credit on your federal income tax return. Specifically, home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim this amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return. No other applications or forms are required, and no pre-approval is necessary. However, you will want to be sure that you qualify for the credit under the income limits and first-time home buyer tests.
  10. What types of homes will qualify for the tax credit?
    Any home that will be used as a principal residence will qualify for the credit. This includes single-family detached homes, attached homes like townhouses and condominiums, manufactured homes (also known as mobile homes) and houseboats. The definition of principal residence is identical to the one used to determine whether you may qualify for the $250,000 / $500,000 capital gain tax exclusion for principal residences.
  11. I read that the tax credit is “refundable.” What does that mean?
    The fact that the credit is refundable means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit.

    For example, if a qualified home buyer expected, notwithstanding the tax credit, federal income tax liability of $5,000 and had tax withholding of $4,000 for the year, then without the tax credit the taxpayer would owe the IRS $1,000 on April 15th. Suppose now that the taxpayer qualified for the $8,000 home buyer tax credit. As a result, the taxpayer would receive a check for $7,000 ($8,000 minus the $1,000 owed).

  12. I purchased a home in early 2009 and have already filed to receive the $7,500 tax credit on my 2008 tax returns. How can I claim the new $8,000 tax credit instead?
    Home buyers in this situation may file an amended 2008 tax return with a 1040X form. You should consult with a tax advisor to ensure you file this return properly.
  13. Instead of buying a new home from a home builder, I hired a contractor to construct a home on a lot that I already own. Do I still qualify for the tax credit?
    Yes. For the purposes of the home buyer tax credit, a principal residence that is constructed by the home owner is treated by the tax code as having been “purchased” on the date the owner first occupies the house. In this situation, the date of first occupancy must be on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.

    In contrast, for newly-constructed homes bought from a home builder, eligibility for the tax credit is determined by the settlement date.

  14. Can I claim the tax credit if I finance the purchase of my home under a mortgage revenue bond (MRB) program?
    Yes. The tax credit can be combined with the MRB home buyer program. Note that first-time home buyers who purchased a home in 2008 may not claim the tax credit if they are participating in an MRB program.
  15. I live in the District of Columbia. Can I claim both the Washington, D.C. first-time home buyer credit and this new credit?
    No. You can claim only one.
  16. I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I claim the tax credit?
    Maybe. Anyone who is not a nonresident alien (as defined by the IRS), who has not owned a principal residence in the previous three years and who meets the income limits test may claim the tax credit for a qualified home purchase. The IRS provides a definition of “nonresident alien” in IRS Publication 519.
  17. Is a tax credit the same as a tax deduction?
    No. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. That means that a taxpayer who owes $8,000 in income taxes and who receives an $8,000 tax credit would owe nothing to the IRS.

    A tax deduction is subtracted from the amount of income that is taxed. Using the same example, assume the taxpayer is in the 15 percent tax bracket and owes $8,000 in income taxes. If the taxpayer receives an $8,000 deduction, the taxpayer’s tax liability would be reduced by $1,200 (15 percent of $8,000), or lowered from $8,000 to $6,800.

  18. I bought a home in 2008. Do I qualify for this credit?
    No, but if you purchased your first home between April 9, 2008 and January 1, 2009, you may qualify for a different tax credit.
  19. Is there any way for a home buyer to access the money allocable to the credit sooner than waiting to file their 2009 tax return?
    Yes. Prospective home buyers who believe they qualify for the tax credit are permitted to reduce their income tax withholding. Reducing tax withholding (up to the amount of the credit) will enable the buyer to accumulate cash by raising his/her take home pay. This money can then be applied to the downpayment.

    Buyers should adjust their withholding amount on their W-4 via their employer or through their quarterly estimated tax payment. IRS Publication 919 contains rules and guidelines for income tax withholding. Prospective home buyers should note that if income tax withholding is reduced and the tax credit qualified purchase does not occur, then the individual would be liable for repayment to the IRS of income tax and possible interest charges and penalties.

    Further, rule changes made as part of the economic stimulus legislation allow home buyers to claim the tax credit and participate in a program financed by tax-exempt bonds. Some state housing finance agencies, such as the Missouri Housing Development Commission, have introduced programs that provide short-term credit acceleration loans that may be used to fund a downpayment. Prospective home buyers should inquire with their state housing finance agency to determine the availability of such a program in their community.

  20. If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?
    Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose (“elect”) to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.

    Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their 2008 tax return, but who have already submitted their 2008 return to the IRS, may file an amended 2008 return claiming the tax credit. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.

  21. For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?
    Yes. If the applicable income phaseout would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in 2009 and a larger credit would be available using the 2008 MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount.

$8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

$8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

  • The tax credit is for first-time home buyers only.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • The credit is available for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify for the full tax
  • Source: NAHB

Patton Property Group in Asheville | 86 Asheland Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
Patton Property Group in Black Mountain | 100 W State Street, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Office: 828-210-1648 | Fax: 480-393-5401 | Email: request@pattonpropertygroup.com

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