The following article was written by Stephanie Hanna, Platinum 1st Mortgage 

It doesn’t really matter what side of the political fence you sit on, there’s no denying that the new stimulus bill offers good news for potential home buyers.  The way I see it, there are two specific portions of this bill that impact buyers most directly:

-  Increased tax credit benefit for first-time homebuyers.  Let me first define a first-time homebuyer because the government’s definition is probably different than what you’re thinking.  If you have not owned a principal residence in the past three years, you are considered a first-time homebuyer. 

If you fit that bill and you purchase a home between January 1, 2009 (yes, it is retroactive) and December 31, 2009, then you are eligible to receive up to an $8,000 tax credit.  The amount of the tax credit is based on the purchase price (10% of the sales price up to $8,000) and your adjusted gross income (AGI).  The full credit is available to individuals with an AGI of no more than $75,000 ($150,000 on a joint return) and then the amount of the credit phases out for incomes up to $20,000 greater than those caps.

Unlike the previous tax credit from 2008, this credit does not have to be repaid, unless you sell the home within 3 years of purchase.  Any single family residence that will be used as a primary residence qualifies, including condos and townhomes.

So basically, if you go buy a home, the government will put $8,000 in your pocket.

-  The second benefit is a reinstatement of higher FHA loan limits.  To backtrack a quick minute, an FHA loan is the only loan in Nevada that allows for a down payment of less than 10%.  Many people may not have been aware but in 2008, an FHA loan was available up to a loan amount of $403,750.  Beginning in January of 2009, the maximum loan amount was reduced all the way down to $325,450.  Basically, this was bad news for anyone wanting to put less than 10% down, but who, in Washoe County for example, wanted to purchase a home for about $340,000 or more.  With the new bill, we’ll go back to the 2008 limits through December 31, 2009.

With the $8,000 incentive, interest rates that remain historically low (bouncing between the high 4% and low 5% range), and home prices at some of their lowest levels in close to a decade, I truly believe it’s an incredible time for first-time home buyers to consider testing out the real estate water.  If nothing else, just see what’s out there.  Many of the first-timers I’m working with are finding they can purchase a home for less than what they’re paying in rent.

If you need any help with securing financing, please give me a call.


Stephanie Hanna
Platinum 1st Mortgage, LP
c: 775 762 9114
f: 775 746 8551

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