Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers


Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego

First time home buyers can no longer take advantage of the Federal First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, but if you are in California you CAN take advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit of up to $10K that California has over a 3-year period.

Read more about the California 2010 First-Time Buyer Tax Credit

A number of first time home buyers in Southern California may also qualify for one of the down payment assistance programs in San Diego.

These programs have income (maximum) guidelines based on total household size, but they offer a pretty decent amount of money for down payments (and in some programs for closing costs). The cool thing is there are no payments until you sell the home.

Want to learn more?

Read the article I just posted on Down Payment Assistance Programs in San Diego.

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The Obvious, and Hidden, Costs of Buying a Home

No doubt buying a home these days is expensive. Particularly in some parts of the country such as Southern California.

Many of the costs are obvious, but some are expenses buyers don’t necessarily think about, or are somewhat hidden.

In this first article of 3, the focus is on the costs you may incur during the home search, as well as after you get an offer acceptance. Because some folks are backing out of deals, or having them fall apart (especially the short sales and foreclosures [REOs]), there may be fees you are paying even though you don’t end up with the home you want.

Read more about some of the home buying costs you may not think about (Part 1 of 3)


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Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Do You Have Proof of Funds?

Posted in Financial,Offers by Jeff Dowler on April 27, 2010
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Proof of funds (POF) can be an important component of your offer.

If you are a buyer with a down payment, it may be in your best interest to submit an offer with proof of funds. While this may only be required in the case of REOs and short sales as we see here in Southern California, I think it may be in your best interest, and make your offer more competitive, if you include a copy of a bank statement or other record (black out those account numbers) to prove you have the funds for the down payment.

If you are a cash buyer this is pretty much a MUST DO part of your offer.

Your state contract may require this, as ours does, after offer acceptance, but why not show your interest and your financial capability to the seller up front.

Search for Homes Community Information Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

Visit my Real Estate Consumer Blog at Carlsbad Real Estate News for lots of information about the general area

All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

Misconceptions About the First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit

Posted in FAQs,Financial,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on February 13, 2010
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First of all, don’t forget that this credit is not going to last forever.

The DEADLINE to get the credit is APRIL 30, 2010 (You must have your new home under contract by that date, i.e., a binding sales contract, and CLOSE by the end of June).  So if you are going after a short sale, you may lose out given what we know about how these transactions get delayed.

A misconception is the amount of the credit for first time home buyers.

Folks often think it is an automatic $8000. Buy a $60,000 condo and you get a credit of $8000.

WRONG. Unfortunately.

BUT, the credit is UP TO $8000 based on the purchase price of the home, with the credit being 10% of the purchase price.

THIS IS A CORRECTION TO MY ORIGINAL POST (thanks to a recent reader) So an $80,000 purchase yields a credit of $8,000, depending, of course on income (there are limits in the plan) and your personal tax situation.

Another important point is the ARM’S-LENGTH TRANSACTION – you can read more about this in an article by a friend of mine, MISSY CAULK, in Ann Arbor, Michigan (It must be an Arms-Length Transaction to Claim the Tax Credit). BTW if you are looking to by OR sell a home in Ann Arbor, Missy is THE REAL ESTATE AGENT to call. Tell her I sent you!

READ MORE about the first time home buyer’s tax credit and commonly asked questions.

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All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

What is POF (Proof of funds)?

Posted in Financial,Offers by Jeff Dowler on January 13, 2010
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If you are buying a home these days, especially a short sale or REO (foreclosure), you will likely be asked to provide PROOF OF FUNDS (you may see this as POF in MLS listings).

Just as the seller wants to see a pre-approval to know you are qualified to obtain a loan, a seller (and almost always the bank) wants PROOF that you have the money for the down payment, or for a cash purchase. This can be copies of your bank statement (as recent as possible), your mutual funds statement, or similar. Be sure to block out your account numbers when providing this to your agent to submit with your offer.

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All content copyright © 2010 Jeff Dowler “The California Relocation Dude”

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Extended

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on November 16, 2009
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As many folks know, the government signed an extension to the First Time Homebuyer Credit which includes a tax credit for move-up buyers.

Here is a GREAT SUMMARY of some of the key things to know about this new legislation from a colleague of mine in Arizona, Mike Jones.

This is something worth keeping in mind if you are thinking about buying, in addition to the good rates on mortgages.

Check out this website on the First Time Buyer Tax Credit to get answers to all your questions.

Homebuyer Credit Extended?? Not yet

Posted in Financial by Jeff Dowler on October 28, 2009
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Word on the news and on the street is that the First Time Homebuyer Credit has been extended to the end of April 2010, plus they have added a credit for SOME move-up buyers. BUT IT IS NOT DEFINITE.

I don’t have the details yet but will share once I do. This is great news for some folks if it becomes fact.

What You Should Know About Homeowner’s Insurance

Posted in Due Diligence,Insurance by Jeff Dowler on May 4, 2009
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If you are buying a new home, you will be required by the lender to have homeowner’s insurance, the purpose of which, in part, is to protect the lender’s collateral. No insurance, no closing.

If the home is a condo, then there should be a master insurance plan for the complex and that may be all you need, but check with your lender – you pay for your portion of this insurance in your monthly HOA fees. It is still prudent to also have a homeowner’s policy to cover the cost of your appliances, the walls, flooring and all your personal stuff.

If you are buying a single “family” home, then you will need to:

  1. Make sure the home is insurable during the contingency period as stipulated in your contract [this may vary in states outside CA] by checking with a insurance company (perhaps one you already use), and
  2. Obtain a 1-year paid in advance insurance policy with a binder (the receipt) to provide proof of coverage at the time of closing.

You should also know that some insurance companies perform on-site inspections of the home before they will set up a policy (AAA for one) and more and more are doing so because of problems with under-insurance, existing damage (e.g., REOs and short sales), potential liability issues (pools, spas, tennis courts), and to make sure the cost of replacement is accurate (if there are lots of upgrades but these are not part of the policy, your replacement cost will be less…a big problem).

Yet Another Tax Credit

Posted in Financial,Taxes by Jeff Dowler on March 6, 2009
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Tax credits are popping up left and right.

moneysign2

First there is the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers that arose out of Obama’s stimulus plan. Good news for some buyers in today’s market.

Now California is providing a tax credit for buyers (first timers or anyone else) of up to $10,000. The requirements are:

  • you must buy a home on or after March 1, 2009 and before March 1, 2010
  • the home MUST be your primary residence
  • the home must never have been occupied (new construction)

This credit program is being run by the State of California Franchise Tax Board, and credits will be allocated on a first come first serve basis until the total monies ($100,000,000) are used up.

Read more on the Franchise Tax Board website.

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your home search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler

Your MOST Important Mortgage Question

Posted in Financial,Mortgage info by Jeff Dowler on June 24, 2008
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As a new buyer you will have a zillion questions. You should. And you should ask them. Don’t ever feel badly about asking questions, even if you think you know the answer. You won’t learn otherwise, and you might make some serious mistakes. EVERYONE is a first time buyer some time. EVERYONE.

As far as financing is concerned, this is one area that confuses many buyers, who often have little clue about what questions to ask, who to talk to, who best to get their mortgage from, and on and on. Perfectly normal.

I submit that perhaps THE most important question you should ask is WHAT IS MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT (i.e., how much is whatever mortgage I qualify for going to cost me per month).

Many feel that the most important thing to know about is interest rate. This is not to say that is not important, but you can’t make your buying decision based on interest rate. Working with a reputable lender and selecting the type of mortgage, and terms, are also important. Lenders will tell you all about their great programs, the terrific rates, fees (be careful about these – sometimes you DON’T get the full skinny on all the fees that can add up, so ASK for this in writing – you NEED the Good faith Estimate so you have a break down of everything the loan entails).

The most important you need to know so you can make the decision that is right for your financial situation is what the monthly payment will be. Don’t get excited that you qualify for $X, which is more than you thought and which will enable you to buy one of those brand new ultra-cool condos you visited over the weekend. So what if the bank says you can borrow a half million.

I would encourage you to START with the issue of what you can afford in your monthly budget, and find out WHAT THAT MONTHLY $ AMOUNT translates to in terms of a mortgage (plus the other fees…like home owner’s insurance, HOA and condo fees, utilities). If you can afford $2000 tops, it won’t do you much good to learn from the lender that you (lucky you) are qualified, based on all the financials (loans and credit card debts, assets, income), to borrow a half million, since that amount will FAR exceed $2000 per month.

Think about this for a moment. Doesn’t this just make cents to you (pun intended!!)?

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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360
or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

Search for Homes Community Information
First Time Home Buyers Relocation Services and more How to get in touch with me

All content copyright © 2007 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits

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