$8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit

Looks like the $8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit is now signed, sealed and delivered.

Update: Everything you wanted to know about the 2009 home purchase $8,000 credit. (There is a similar link below for the 2008 $7,500 loan/credit)

Zillow reports it is a FULL $8,000 credit, even if the buyers total tax liability is less than that amount. “Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify.”

CNN Reports That you can get your $8,000 faster by claiming it on your 2008 Return (or amended return if you have already filed), even though to qualify for this $8,000 non-refundable credit, you have to buy a house between 1/1/2009 and 11/30/2009

There is an income limit of $75,000 for single people and $150,000 for couples, though there are reports that people making over the limit might be able to get a partial credit.

If anyone has any details on the partial credit for people earning over the limits, please do let us know. Update: This answer is in the link at the top of this post.

For people who bought between 4/9/08 and 12/31/08

I don’t see any news so far that there are any changes for people who bought in 2008.

Buyer Beware!!! – $8,000 Tax Credit?

UPDATE: signed and passed 2/17 at $8,000. See more details here.

Original post below does not indicate the change to “must not have owned a home during the last 3 years” which was added to the final bill before it was passed.


If you are currently in the process of buying a house, be aware that there is a $15,000  ($8,000) Tax Credit in the new stimulus bill which may, or may not, pass tonight. Then it has to be signed, hopefully by President’s Day they are saying.  Then we have to watch the effective date closely “for homes closed on or after ?” Likely that will be on or after the day the bill is signed, which presumably will be some time during the month of February.

Just a day or so ago an RCG reader asked if she could take the old credit on this return, and she bought ONE DAY too early to get the credit!  Aaaargh…you don’t want that to be you, especially since this credit in this stimulus package is not a loan and is doubled (as of last night) to $15,000 as it stands right now!

That’s a lot of moolah to forfeit by closing one day too early!

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There are a lot of discussions all over the internet, the news and Twitter about the pros and cons of this, but very few warning buyers who are currently in escrow or looking at houses today!  Watch this closely, and sellers should be prepared to move the close date a day or two, if needed.  NO ONE wants to be responsible for a buyer losing out on a $15,000 (an $8,000) credit!

This is like every SELLER getting a $15,000 (an $8,000) price reduction, complements of Uncle Sam and President Obama!  Big NEWS for both buyers AND sellers of homes. Watch the news VERY closely in the coming days.

2009 $8,000 "1st time" buyer credit

IMPORTANT UPDATE!  Bill signed on 2/17/2009.

Original post below:

Back in October, I wrote this post about the repayment feature of the 2008 $7,500 1st time buyer “credit”, including this link to more information as to who qualifies, and the terms of the “credit”.

Yesterday on Twitter I noticed Ryan Hukill’s post referencing Kenneth Harney’s article suggesting that:

“… Congress might be on the verge of transforming it into a true tax credit — one that never has to be paid back…” for purchases made on or after 1/1/2009.

I personally don’t see how changing the repayment terms for people who bought houses last year can be part of a “stimulus” package.   Posting this so that people who are eligible for the credit are aware that there may be a change in the repayment feature. (update: Apparently Obama agreed with me, as there does not appear to be a change in the repayment feature for homes bought from 4/9/08 through 12/31/08 and the 2008 $7,500 Loan/Credit.)


The snow is[photopress:snow_picture.jpg,thumb,alignright] finally melting off the tree branches in my yard today. One foot of snow fell last Wednesday afternoon turning my normal 45 min commute to Issaquah into 4 hours. I’m really impressed with how well the agents are doing maneuver on these slick streets. I had a showing Friday night, Saturday and Sunday on one listing, even though the roads are still slick and hard to navigate out here in Issaquah.

Nice to be back to RCG. I’ve been buried in an investment class for the last 3-4 months and haven’t been keeping up with the post reading or writing. Came up for breath today and I see that a Welcome to all the new contributors is in order! We’re honored to have you on board. 

Given that it’s tax time, I want to remind everyone to be sure you’re aware of all the tax advantaged investment programs out there for real estate. Who knows how long these will last. There’s a great new program called a solo 401K to go along with the Roth IRA programs investing in real estate.  I’ve blogged about this before and hope you check it out especially if you’re paying taxes on any real estate gains this year. 

I’m building a good retirment by investing this way and it will all be tax free.  A key player in the IRA game is the custodian.  I’ve been waiting for the new custodian in Seattle, Viking Bank with Jim Winder in charge of the Self Directed IRA department to get their website up and running so that RCG readers can get information on line. Jim Winder is a well known guru of self-directed IRA’s and he is respected local celebrity and has taught many many classes in the past.  He promises the Viking Bank site will be functional soon.  But it is tax time so until then, I’ll direct you to Pensco Trust to learn all you need to know about some really great tax strategies using some of the money you’ve already socked in retirement plans. Pensco Trust is a national leader in IRA education so I hope you find these articles helpful.  

Once Jim’s fully in the game I’ll post you his site and when he’ll be teaching live classes.  LTD will be hosting one, soon, I hope, and by the way, I met Jim here on RCG!

A New Kind of Real Estate Company Visited

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on a new real estate model where I try to match real estate agent strategies to the agent’s personality.  I call the different strategies “games” (www.getstrategic.com/agents).  I’m going to share my progress with you, the highs and the lows to let you know how it is going since there’s no other company that I know of doing this sort of model. It may be like picking a carrot to see how it’s growing. But this carrot is an unknown species. Sticking with this metaphore, the only way I can observe it is to grow it hydroponically in a glass beaker to watch it grow, the glass beaker being this blog!

Here’s what I can share with you so far:

I’ve had the poorest results with the 3 experienced agents I had to let go because they wouldn’t put time into activities that they’d never done before. I think they must have joined because of the word “free leads

Capital Gains on a Primary Residence

Noah Rosenblatt brings up a timely article (timely for me anyway) on the tax benefits associated with selling a primary residence. Here’s the pertinent info:

To claim the maximum exclusion on the capitol gains on the sale of your home, you MUST first meet the Ownership and Use tests…

  • Owned the home for at least 2 years (the ownership test), and
  • Lived in the home as your main home for at least 2 years (the use test)

The general idea is that a single person can exclude $250K in capital gains while a married couple filing joint taxes can exclude $500K provided they meet some basic conditions and the meet the two tests above. (Noah includes the conditions on his post!)

Now for my question, is there a timeframe that someone needs to plow this money back into a new residential property in order to reap the capital gains benefits?

Since Noah doesn’t mention this, I’m assuming that the idea of reinvesting within a certain timeframe only applies to investment properties, but I’d sure like to be more confident of this assumption and (horror of horrors) I’d rather not try to read the tax code!

The Tax Man Cometh and Stayed and Stayed

I hated to be so absent on RCG the last couple of weeks, (took me several hours to catch up on posts. Ardell, you’ve outdone yourself, as usual, plus all those deals!Dont’ know how you do it). Here’s my excuse, I’ve had two audits this spring and they’ve both buried me. Plus I’ve been on two investment fact finding trips and hired two new agents for LTD just this week. (hmm, something about 2’s) I’ve been buried but wanted to share something that I thought my 2 (there it is again) tax attorneys and one real estate attorney should have prepared me for and had never heard of.

You try to listen to your attorney when he or she tells you to protect yourself and set up an LLC. but, if you’re like me and didn’t give much thought to how you share staff, leases, assets like office furniture, holdings, like real estate holdings, etc, etc, etc, please avoid the following that can cost thousands if found in an audit.

[photopress:taxman_1_2_3_4_5.JPG,full,alignright]For example, if I own two companies, a construction company and a company that buys property, subdivides, remodels, build new, etc., and if an employee from the construction company (where the liabiltiy and stop gap insurance is) builds for the venture company, then I must charge sales tax to myself!. Yes, I know the LLC’s and the Inc.s are their own entities, but it never occurred to me that I’d have to charge myself sales tax and give it to the state even if I’ve already paid sales tax at the point of sale. Similarly, if I bring my computer from home (or office furniture or ANYTHING and GIVE it to one of my companies, I must again pay sales tax. I own the computer, I own the company, I paid sales tax when I bought the computer. However, the state wants it’s $ so they consider that I sold the computer and therefore must pay sales tax.

Another example. If the construction company pays an architect for plans for the venture company, then I must charge tax and pay it to the state, even though architects are a service industry and don’t incur sales tax. I could elaborate but it’s just more of the same. Reminds me of my restaurants I had in the 80’s. I had a similar audit and because I gave free meals to my employees(100 of them at $2/day for 5 years), I had to pay sales tax to the state on those FREE meals. Go Figure.

So, I’m now much poorer and hope I’ve alerted at least someone out there to watch this on your books. I have 11 LLC’s, I’m just glad the audit is done and I won’t get in trouble next time. There is the possiblility that there will be some relief for this injustice in July, but it would probably only affect some of the issues.

But, lesson learned and I’m now cutting paychecks out of 4 different companies. Four sets of W-2’s, etc for each employee. Yuck

I’m going to start blogging on some cool strategies to invest 401K, Seps, IRA, Roth IRA in real estate when I get the time, but I wanted to alert you to a webinar that is excellent being given by a great custodial company, Pensco, in case you want to hear how to invest one of those entities in real estate and use leverage, even though most accountants will tell you you can’t. There will be many upcoming webinars about similar subjects. Click here for a description and to register.

And on a better note, sold a 1.3 million piece of waterfront land on Beach Dr.near Alki today. Gotta pay for those taxes somehow!