First Time Homebuyer and Seller Alert!

General Points to Consider – Buyer and Seller
The expiration date of the tax credit is November 30, 2009. Close December 1, as of now, and any qualifying buyer will not receive the tax credit. With the 30th falling on the Monday following Thanksgiving, where possible work towards a closing date of November 24th. This will provide some cushion if anything pops up in the closing process that could delay a closing.

Recent legislation mandates that if the Annual Percentage Rate or APR changes outside acceptable tolerances from the initial application, some documentation needs to be re-disclosed and time needs to pass before the closing can occur. Items that can impact APR can include a change in interest rate or fees required to close. If a buyer delays locking the application and interest rates increase during the loan process, this could delay the closing. This is just one reason to plan accordingly and schedule an earlier closing date than the last possible day.

Protect your clients on both sides with extended closing dates of 45-60 days. Expectations are high that more FTHBs will be going under contract in the next month. Interest rates have fallen to levels not seen since May. The result is that many lenders’ pipelines will be swelling with people seeking to take advantage of lower rates and the tax credit. Where feasible, work to get people under contract soon and plan accordingly to allow for any processing delays that could result.

Seller Points to Consider
Many FTHBs are motivated to purchase but may lack the necessary funds to close or may fall short in qualifying income. One way to assist with either or both situations and make the property more attractive is to promote that the seller will pay to reduce the borrower’s interest rate and/or closing costs. In many cases, this will not only cost the seller less than a price reduction but also bring additional prospects to consider the house.

Most FTHBs today are choosing to obtain loans that are guaranteed by the FHA, VA, or USDA. In the case of both FHA and USDA loans, the seller can pay up to 6% of the sales price or appraised value. For VA loans, the maximum seller concession is capped at 4%.

Consider approaching all sellers today with homes that would appeal to FTHBs and get them to commit to paying closing costs and/or reducing the buyer’s interest rate. This has often worked for builders in generating sales and it can work for your sellers, too.

Sellers who do not move homes before the end of November may find themselves waiting until the spring buying season kicks in to find their buyer. Make sure sellers know they need to promote their property now or risk waiting months while potentially seeing their property’s value decline in the process.

Buyer Points to Consider
In the same light as just mentioned, many buyers may feel they lack the funds required to close. When buyers are interested in a property, encourage them to submit an offer with the concessions needed to get the mortgage approved. They may just find that the seller is willing to negotiate.

Get all potential buyers pre-approved. As the time to close will be at a premium during the months of October and November, any work that can be done to expedite the application process will be golden. Prepare your buyers by advising them not to wait until they have a home under contract. Any documentation submitted today for pre-approval should be good through the end of November. Also, with a pre-approval in hand, both you and they will know exactly what they can qualify and shop for.

If you want to help with the application process and prevent the need to possibly re-disclose loan documents, encourage your buyers to lock their interest rate early in the loan process. This will be helpful for all parties and help the buyer focus on closing and providing any additional documentation that may be needed.

Some Questions on Who May Qualify
I have received many questions regarding who may and who may not qualify for the FTHB tax credit. I am attaching to this letter some FAQs on examples I have either dealt with or read about. As always, I encourage anyone with specific questions to consult with an accountant for final clarification.

Let’s Move Some Property!
If you have any questions from either a seller or buyer side as to what someone can or can not offer where financing is concerned, pick up the phone and call me. I’m here to help you and look forward to making this year’s November holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving for everyone.

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