Federal Tax Credit For Home Buyers Gets Extended – Well, Happy Early Christmas!

fed housing tax creditAn early Christmas present for many home buyers came in the form of the extension of the federal tax credit for home buyers, and was signed into law by President Obama Friday, Nov. 6.  The tax credit, which was set to expire Nov. 30, has been extended through April 30, 2010 with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to deadline.  It also was expanded to include existing homeowners who have lived in their primary residences for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.

For all kinds of FAQs (aka, “Everything You Wanted to Know About the Tax Credit….But Were Afraid to Ask), see the official website here.

First-time home buyers still may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners may receive a credit of up to $6,500.  The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers, to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.

Under additional provisions in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The bill maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.

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Recent Sales in Mt. Carmel ‘Hood

It’s been awhile, so here’s a quick snapshot of some recent sales that have been going on in the Mt. Carmel area. Firstly though, looking at some overall statistics, I’d say the one word to describe it is “HEALTHY”.

Here’s the bottom line, for the last 3 months of sales:

Average Percent of List Price: 99%

Average $ per sq. ft.: $537

Average Days on Market (DOM): 33

 

188 Inner Circle: List price (LP): $579K, Sale price (SP): $612K;  9 DOM

313 Topaz St.: LP: $739K, SP: $730K;  12 DOM

1740 Whipple Ave: LP: $650K, SP: $675K;  14 DOM

531 King St.: LP: $899K, SP: $890K;  6 DOM

23 Myrtle St.: LP: $1.035M, SP: $1.035M;  17 DOM

516 Quartz St.: LP: $608K, SP: $585K;  28 DOM

15 Iris St.: LP: $1,149,900, SP: $1,032,300;  91 DOM

45 Hudson St.: LP: $1.795M, SP: $1,599,950;  90 DOM

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Don’t Forget to Vote Today!

voting

Redwood Citizens, don’t forget to vote today, November 3rd! The following info on today’s election also be found on theCounty of San Mateo’s web site:

The Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election will be held on Tues., Nov. 3. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

According to Chief Elections Officer Warren Slocum,”All voters should double-check the location of their polling place before they head out to vote in these important local elections,” All jurisdictions in the county are participating except Daly City and Pacifica as they do not have candidates or measures on the ballot.

Voters can lookup the location of their polling place online at www.shapethefuture.org or by calling the Elections Office at (650) 312-5222. Voters can also view (or print) their Sample Ballot. And for those that vote by mail, the website provides peace of mind through the Track & Confirm feature that gives the voter confirmation that his/her voted mail ballot was received by the Elections Office.

On Election night, Chief Election Officer Warren Slocum will host a celebration for anyone interested in gathering to watch the election night returns as they are reported. Join community leaders, citizens and elected officials and share in an old-fashioned evening of election returns. All are welcome.

The Election Night gathering will be held at the Rotunda at 555 County Center in Redwood City starting at 7:30 p.m.

Election night returns will be issued at 8:05 p.m. and on the half-hour for the rest of the evening until the count is completed. The results will be issued in person and on the Elections website according to the following schedule:
Vote by Mail Ballot Results         8:05 p.m.
All-Mail Ballot Precinct Results    8:30 p.m.
Early Voting Center Results        9:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                  9:30 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                10:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                10:30 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                11:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                11:30 p.m.

Interim reports will be issued until all the precinct votes have been counted.

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Halloween Train Rides in Redwood City? Way Cool…

Courtesy of the Emerald Hills Railway:

Halloween Night Train Rides!
Saturday, Oct. 31st, 5-8:30 pm
FREE
Invite the young and the old, the dead or alive and climb aboard our locomotive to encircle an atmosphere of colorful lights, a black light loading zone, and festive scenes.

Friends, family and neighbors welcome!  All ages can ride!

This event is weather permitting and operates at the discretion of the engineer.

NOTE: On Halloween night, our street will be barricaded at both ends of the block, including Colton Court, to allow foot traffic and strollers only.  Please park legally in the neighborhood.

NEED VOLUNTEERS for set up and running the event:
*We need 4-5 volunteers for set up beginning at 12 noon Saturday.  Set up includes displaying props/décor, arranging the VIP section and setting up the driveway.
*In addition we need 4-5 more volunteers to assist running the event, in 2 shifts: 5-7pm and 6:30-8:30pm (2-3 people per shift).  Duties include chaperoning passengers and assisting/lifting children on and off the train.  Suggest event volunteers to dress festive but not scary.
*Community service certificates available-ask Jay in advance.
All volunteers need to speak english (sorry I’m not bi-lingual) and have a big heart.

Your Hosts and Location:
Jay & George Whitehill
426 Hillcrest Way
Emerald Hills, Ca 94062
jay@amsxs.com
650-369-0733
Directions from Jefferson Ave X California Way
Head north on California Way, RT @ 2nd STOP sign: Sunset Way
First LT@ Eastview Way
First RT @ Hillcrest Way
1/2 block on RT side -you won’t miss the house!

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Sandbags available for Redwood City Residents

With the first significant storm coming in on Tuesday, I have heard that sandbags are available for pickup for Redwood City residents starting at this past weekend. If you are in a flood-prone area of Redwood City, you can get sandbags in the parking lot of Redwood City’s Public Works Services building, 1400 Broadway (between Chestnut and Woodside). These are for Redwood City residents only, and there is a limit of 24 bags per household.

For residents of unincorporated areas of San Mateo County, the County provides other sandbag pickup locations:

Grant Corporation Yard, 752 Chestnut, Redwood City – (650) 363-4103

Princeton Corporation Yard, 203 Cornell Avenue – (650) 728-7993

Pescadero Corporation Yard, 1000 Pescadero Road – (650) 879-0202

Pescadero High School, 350 Butano Cutoff Road

La Honda Corporation Yard, 59 Entrada Way – (650) 747-0341

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Don’t Buy That Furniture (If you want the $8000 tax credit, that is)

Good article in the WSJ about how lenders might actually be checking your credit on closing day, hence advising would-be benefactors of the $8000 first time homebuyer tax credit to NOT buy stuff until after you close.

Here’s some more of the good snippets from the article:

With the deadline on the first-time home buyer tax credit looming, plenty of buyers are under contract and looking to close before Nov. 30.  Excited to move into a new home, some of these first-timers start hitting the stores shopping for new furniture, appliances or curtains.

Big mistake.

Real estate agents are reminding buyers to wait until the close to start buying stuff.  The reason: Lenders are occasionally running credit reports on closing day, and they might not like to see an increase in credit card debt or indications that debt could soon increase.

While such measures have been used over the years, lenders, still dealing with the fallout from the boom’s lax lending standards, are being especially particular these days. Even buyers with great credit scores face scrutiny.

Agents also advise not moving money between accounts, so don’t join two savings accounts, transfer large sums out of savings or add more funding to checking. Emptying out an account could look like money’s being spent, and lenders might request a paper trail for the money flow.  That could delay the closing or, in rare cases, terminate the loan. That wouldn’t necessarily free the buyer from the obligation to buy the home.

Dan Rider, a broker with Dickson Realty in Reno, Nev., says one of his recent closings was delayed by five days when lenders spotted a $500 deposit in a buyer’s checking account. It wasn’t a gift – it was a repaid loan from her mother – but it sparked concerns that the buyer needed help to close the deal. Though the buyer had a healthy checking balance, the lender wanted canceled checks and bank statements and both parties had to write an explanatory letter.

BOTTOM LINE: Stay out of the stores. Don’t move money around more than necessary.

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Tales of Buffoonery, aka What the Heck is Bank of America Smoking?

Ok, I only republish these three stories below because the last two transactions I’ve had where B of A was the buyer’s lender have me totally convinced that BofA’s left hand does not even KNOW there is a right hand. Ok, ok, I know that mortgage regulations did need to be more restrictive compared to the free-wheeling days of 2003-2006 — but boy, the pendulum has just swung so far to the other end of the spectrum, it can just make a buyer pull their hair out while continually uttering “WTF?”

Read on:

BofA requires armless man to provide fingerprints to access his cash:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/02/bank-of-america-asks-arml_n_275882.html

BofA forces homeowner to buy flood insurance (when she lives on the crest of a big hill)

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/7_on_your_side&id=6996278

Tales of Short Sale insanity in dealing with BofA

http://agentgenius.com/g-rants-insanity-more/realtors/bank-of-america-retard-division-for-short-sales/

(quick note: I’m just republishing this one, I’m not condoning his metaphor….but do note this, the thesaurus usage of “retard”:  “the process is retarded by bureaucratic red tape delay, slow down, slow up, hold back, hold up, set back, postpone, put back, detain, decelerate; hinder, hamper, obstruct, inhibit, impede, check, restrain, restrict, trammel.”)

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