Tag Archives: pacific northwest homes

Pacific Northwest Home Buyers Use The First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

Pacific Northwest home buyers-if you are searching the Pacific Northwest MLS for your dream home right now, you will want to try to find it before the end of April 2010, so you can take advantage of the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. The tax credit has already been extended twice, and so far I have heard no news about extending it for a third time, so this may be the last chance you have to get the credit.

While you shouldn’t rush out to buy a home just because of the tax credit, if you happen to be already in the process of looking, or feel ready to make a purchase now, then it would be a shame to miss the benefit of the tax credit by only a few days.

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The credit does not have to be repaid unless the home is sold or ceases to be used as the buyer’s principal residence within three years after the initial purchase and offers a great way to save some money.

Are you not sure you can take advantage of the tax credit? Though the tax credit is for first time home buyers only, which the IRS defines  as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase, there are some other restrictions so be sure to contact me to learn all the details.

Pacific Northwest Real Estate For Sale

What is also great? The tax credit can be taken for THIS YEAR, but simply submitting and amendment to your 2009 taxes, so you should get your tax credit before the end of the summer. The tax credit is for 10% of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000 on homes priced at $800,000 or less. That is quite a nice sum of money to put towards your house, decorating your house, or even saving for a rainy day or a new roof down the road.

For homes purchased on or before April 30, 2010, single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit. Additionally, so long as a binding contract is signed by April 30, 2010, the IRS will also grant the tax credit, so long as you close by June 30, 2010, so if you are already to start the Pacific Northwest home buying journey now, then you still have plenty of time.

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So while I don’t want you to feel pressured or rushed into buying Pacific Northwest homes for sale, if you have been searching for your perfect dream home, or feel ready to buy now, then it would be great to squeeze in on the tax credit deadline.

Contact Your Pacific Northwest Realtor

If you have questions, or want to put your Pacific Northwest MLS home search into high gear, simply contact me, Susan Stecher, your trusted Pacific Northwest real estate agent, to learn more about Pacific Northwest home buying and make sure you can get the Federal Housing Tax Credit.

Until next time,

Susan

Helpful Ideas to Add Value to Your Northwest Home, Part 1

iStock_000002058065XSmallWhen most of us think of trying to add value to our Pacific Northwest homes, we tend to think of big-ticket items first, but the truth is that there are simple things you can do to increase the selling value of your home that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started on adding value to your Western Washington home.

Upgrade now, before you need to sell

The real tragedy of many home upgrades is that people wait until just before they sell their Northwest home to make improvements. This isn’t wise, because: 1) it doesn’t allow you to reap the benefits of your own hard work—you don’t get to enjoy that new paint job, deck, or faucet fixture in the bathroom; and 2) you don’t get 100% of your renovation dollar back at resale. Make the improvements that you can now, while you can enjoy and appreciate them—reap the benefits of your investment later when it’s time to sell, without feeling disappointed that you’re not receiving a 100% return.

Get out that paintbrush

Give your home a modern, fresh look that will appeal to buyers—all with a simple paint job. This is a relatively easy home improvement that most Pacific Northwest homeowners can do themselves—all they need are some basic pieces of equipment, some time spent researching attractive color palettes, and a few days of hard work.

Despite the relative simplicity of this home improvement, however, the effects are dramatic. A little color goes a long way in determining how inviting your home will be to buyers looking for a Northwest home.

Go for some new fixtures and hardware

Never underestimate the power of a modern faucet, new drawer handles, or an attractive doorknob to breathe new life into your home. For a relatively small investment, these add big-time visual appeal to all-important rooms of the home—kitchens and bathrooms are VERY important.

Though negative changes in the housing market have lowered the returns on remodeling, small kitchen and bathroom renovations still return somewhere between 80 and 85% on the dollar at resale, according to a 2009 cost-versus-value report in Remodeling Magazine.

New countertops? Go for granite when possible.

When it comes to countertops, granite communicates luxury, though it need not cost you a luxury price. Because bathrooms are small areas, it’s sometimes possible to buy small quantities of slab from local businesses, so start there.

Another aesthetic improvement that can add significantly to the value of your home is fresh tiling. Where tiling is concerned, options abound in color, style, material and price. Done well, this improvement stands to give you a great return on your investment.

Check back later this week to get more helpful tips on improving the value of your Pacific Northwest home. Please request my free Home Selling Guide to receive tips straight from an expert Whatcom County Realtor!

Buying Your First Pacific Northwest Home: A Great Opportunity, a Great Responsibility

SAL_KingMountainhouseIf you’re like many Americans, buying a gorgeous Pacific Northwest home of your own is an important value and a longtime goal.

For many of us who love living in Northwest Washington, home ownership is much more than just an investment, it’s a sense of belonging. Recent changes in the housing market mean lots of opportunities for new homebuyers, but changes in the lending industry mean you must educate yourself and have your financial affairs in order if you want to purchase a home.

Visions of coming home each day to your own Pacific Northwest home have “The American Dream” written all over them – but how do you properly prepare for such an important step?

I’ll go into further details on first-time home ownership in future posts, but for now, here are some helpful tips to prepare you for this monumental decision:

1. Educate yourself about the home-buying process by attending a first-time home buyer’s class, doing research online or at the library, and talking with trusted friends or family members about their own home-buying experience. Even better, contact me for a Free Pacific Northwest Home-Buying Guide.

First-time home buyers are frequently surprised at how many steps are involved in buying a home, and how complicated it can be at times. Having a basic knowledge of the process will help you feel more at ease during the entire transaction, and knowing what to look out for will help you make wiser choices along the way. Having an expert Pacific Northwest realtor help you from the very beginning will also make a huge difference in your home-buying experience.

2. Get a clear picture of your finances by putting together an accurate list of income, expenses, debt, and monthly payments.

For some of us, this can be a daunting task. It’s not always easy to honestly assess where we’re at financially, especially if our financial decisions didn’t always reflect our long-term goal of home ownership. Take a deep breath, and dive on in – the first step toward healthier spending and saving habits is taking a good hard look at where you’re at now.

3. Find a local lender you feel comfortable with and get pre-approved for a home loan.

Ask around – whether people have had wonderful or poor experiences with a lender, they will have no problem sharing their impressions with you of Pacific Northwest lenders. In general, look for a loan officer who is willing to explain the fine print to you, who will take time to make sure you understand what you’re signing. A good mortgage lender should look at your financial status, using that information to help you establish a comfortable monthly payment amount, choose financing options that best fit your needs, and address any debt or savings issues that need to be resolved.

4.  If you haven’t already, select a trustworthy Pacific Northwest Realtor to help you find a home that’s right for you. (Hint: visit www.LiveInThePacificNorthwest.com!)

This is where I come in. Dedicated and personally invested in each one of my clients, I am committed to helping homebuyers get the best Northwest Washington homes they can, at a price that helps protect their future livelihood. An expert on Pacific Northwest real estate, I love answering questions about everything from the home-buying process to finding good neighborhoods in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan Counties. I even offer a no-hassle free Pacific Northwest MLS home search.

Contact me today to find out how my team and I can help transform your dreams of owning a beautiful Pacific Northwest home into a reality!