Friday, October 30, 2009

First time homebuyers get more time. Some will need it.

Both the U.S. House and the Senate seem likely to vote next week on extending an $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers, Bloomberg News reports.

The credit originally was scheduled to expire Nov. 30. But at least some hopeful buyers are blowing that deadline already, because closing on a home often is a four or six week process, as contributor Elizabeth Weintraub spells out.

Lord knows Realtors want the extra time. September, which was effectively a beginning of the end getting the credit under the old deadline, was a bipolar month for the industry, writes's Phil Mintz. Existing home sales shot higher because the credit was ending, he found. New home sales tanked because the credit was ending.

Our heads spin. In any case, there were signs visible at least as early as last July that an extension might be in the works. And there are signs now that home buying will be different than before the economy free fell last year.

The biggest difference? You'll need more money. Lenders who got burned by bad mortgages before don't want to again. Plus, it's more important that you get the purchase right, advises You may see additional paperwork too. Federal auditors already have found more than a whiff of fraud in more than 100,000 claims for the credit already. They don't want to do that again either.

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