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.

How to Protect Your Home From Fires

Someone kindly sent along a link to a really useful article about protecting your home from fires. So I thought I would, and should, share it.

There are links to 10 different GUIDES, some interactive, as well as a list of ACTIONS TO CONTAIN FIRES and suggestions on FIRE PREVENTION TOOLS homeowners should have. Good reading and worth sharing with friends, neighbors and family.

25 Tips to Protect Your Home From Fires

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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”

NEW Tax Credits for California Homebuyers

Posted in Financial,Taxes,What do I Buy? by Jeff Dowler on March 26, 2010
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Here is some great news if you are planning on buying a home, or thinking about it.


New legislation signed yesterday by the Governor approved new state tax credits for:

  • First Time Home Buyers


  • Buyers of NEW homes (i.e., new construction or never occupied before)

The NEW TAX CREDIT is up to $10,000. And if you time it right you COULD receive up to $18,000 (provided you meet all the qualifications) if combined with the current federal program that is ending soon. You would need to CLOSE on your new home ON or AFTER May 1, 2010 and ON or BEFORE June 30, 2010.

Let me know if you have questions or need help making your home buying dream a reality! It’s important to also consult a tax professional to see if you qualify and what the tax implications might be. The credit for Californians is paid out over 3 years.

READ MORE: California Home Buyers – New Tax Credits Coming Your Way


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

Are YOU Interested in Buying an REO?

I just wrote an article that may interest you IF you are interested in buying an REO…or perhaps have little choice because of price range.

There are some important questions that I like to ask, so these might be useful for you to consider so you can decide IF buying an REO is right for you.

If nothing else, it will help you be prepared for the issues you need to confront during the search.

SO YOU WANNA BUY AN REO? ARE YOU REALLY READY?

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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”

Homeowner’s Insurance Questions

Posted in Financial,Homeownership,Insurance by Jeff Dowler on January 20, 2010
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When you are investigating home owner’s insurance for your new home purchase during the transaction, you may need to know several things for the potential insurance provider:

1. Where is the location of the nearest FIRE HYDRANT and how far is it from the house

2. What FIRE DEPARTMENT is responsible for the area

3. How far is the NEAREST FIRE STATION from the house

I highly recommend getting several quotes. I would check with your current insurance provider (there may be a discount for multiple insurance policies) as well as 1 or 2 others so you get the BEST RATE and the BEST COVERAGE.

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

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

Some Homes are Not All They Are Cracked Up to Be – Some Are, Literally!!

Buyers – you may find in your home search that some homes are not all they are cracked up to be. But others will be.

However, I’m not talking about what you think I am.

I’m talking about REAL cracks.

There are homes, unfortunately here in North County San Diego (and no doubt elsewhere in the country), that have cracks in their slabs, which can be a serious problem.

  • Lenders will not provide a loan on a home with a cracked slab
  • A cracked slab can be very expensive to fix (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars or more depending on the problem based on what I was told by a guy who does this sort of work). It’s also expensive to have an inspection completed to determine the nature of the problem and the remedy.

These issues may or may not be obvious, which is one more good reason to have a home inspection. If there is suspicion of a problem then a further more detailed inspection is definitely warranted.

And certainly if a slab crack is a known issue the seller should be disclosing this (as was the case in a rather charming older home I toured the other day with my buyers  – the seller was there and freely shared the issue).

Needless to say, a HOME INSPECTION is essential so you know what you are getting, or can decide that the home is more than you are willing, or can, take on.

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

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.

North San Diego County Market Reports

For those of you watching the real estate market in the coastal communities of North San Diego County, here is a summary real estate market report with links to SEPTEMBER 2009 real estate market reports for the following communities:

Carlsbad

Cardiff

Encinitas

San Marcos

Oceanside

Rancho Santa Fe

Del Mar

Solana Beach

Each report also has some links to earlier market reports for those communities (some more than others).  I can always provide detailed report susch as these for ANY community in San Diego as well as broken down by area/neightborhoods. Just ask.

NEW California Mortgage Fraud Laws

Finally.

Some new laws have been passed in California to better protect consumers against mortgage fraud, which is rampant (I understand CA has the 4th highest % of mortgage fraud).

If you are in the process of shopping for a mortgage, this is a MUST READ to educate yourself aboutthe laws that protect you.

New Laws to Combat Mortgage Fraud in California

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