Sunday, March 29, 2009

Texas Teachers, EMS Professionals, Firemen, Peace Officers & all other Home Buyers - How to Buy your First Home & Get that First Home Loan!

Some of you may be familiar with some of the downpayment assistance programs available in Texas for Texas Teachers, Firemen, Peace Officers, EMS Professionals, etc. Unfortunately, these programs are currently out of money and no future funding dates have been announced. That doesn't mean that you can't buy a home, though....!

Using FHA financing, you can buy a home with only 3.5% down, plus many Sellers will contribute up to 6% to your closing costs, so you can buy a home for a very very low amount. Plus, the $8,000 Tax Credit is available through 12/1/2009 and means that you can get up to $8,000 back on your next tax return which can offset you outlay. The great thing about the Tax Credit is that if you stay in your home for 3 years, you don't have to pay it back - it's like getting free money!

What you may not know is that you can receive a gift of funds for the downpayment from friends or family members.

Another option, depending on the area in which you live, is USDA funding. This funding can be up to 100% but is limited to more rural areas. This is a great option and can be used in conjunction with the $8,000 Tax Credit as well.

Another possibility is using your status as a Texas Vet - the Texas Veterans Land Board has home and land loans guarantees available. If you are a Vet, you can often get 100% financing for your new home. It's worth checking out.

Did you know that you can use funds from your IRA to buy a home? The IRS allows first time home buyers (defined by them as anyone who has not owned a home in the last 2 years - so many more people can qualify for this option) to use up to $10,000 in IRA funds toward the purchase of your first home. If you're married, and you and your spouse are both first-time buyers, you each can pull from retirement accounts, giving you $20,000 in residential cash. This is penalty free!

Even more interesting, you can share your IRA funds with family members for their home purchase. The IRS says the first-time home buyer using your IRA funds for a down payment can be you, your spouse, one of your children, a grandchild or a parent.

But, don't take your money out too soon. You must use the IRA funds within 120 days of withdrawal to pay qualified acquisition costs. This includes the costs of buying, building or rebuilding a home, along with any usual settlement, financing or closing costs.

So, just because downpayment fund are not currently available for First Time Teacher (or other first time) buyers, you still can buy your own home with little or no money down.

Give us a call and we'll help you get on the road to being pre-qualified and owning your own home! What are you waiting for?

Sue Ellett 512-422-7182

USDA Loans - Have Funding! - 100% Loans Possible

USDA loans are available in Burnet County, Llano county, parts of Williamson and Hays Counties in the immediate Austin, Texas Area.

These loans are great for First Time Home Buyers - up to 100% loans (102% if you include their one-time fee), are valid only in certain more rural areas, have income maximums (generally based on moderate average incomes in the area, adjusted by the number of dependent family members). It can be a great deal. Qualifying ratios are 29%/41%.

Check out our website for more information about this program and how you can be pre-qualified. It's a great time to buy - interest rates are amazingly low and won't stay this low forever! There is a substantial inventory of qualifying properties in very affordable price ranges. You can go wrong.

What are you waiting for? It's time to buy your own home!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Homes sold in Austin will require Energy Audits - Be "in the know" when you buy your first home.

As a First Time Home Buyer in the Austin, TX area, there is something that you need to know.......

A new ordinance in Austin will require that homeowners have an energy efficiency audit performed prior to selling their homes (homes that are 10 years old or older). Homeowners will be required to provide this report to any potential buyers for their property. This is in additional to any currently provided Seller's Disclosure statements and any Building Inspection that a buyer might perform once under contract.

This audit will focus on the central heat/airconditioning systems, insulation, leakage thru doors & windows, the need for solar screens on windows, particularly west facing and other simple energy "wasters". Basically, this new requirement is geared towards improving energy efficiency in homes in our area and thus helping to reduce utility needs and costs.

Specially trained auditors will perform this inspection and report. There are companies who will focus solely on this and there are many buildng inspectors in the area who will also become certified.

This new audit will now become part of a seller's "pre-marketing" plan, just like sprucing up the yard, touching up paintwork, cleaning the house or removing all the excess clutter. As a result of this, many seller's will now be caulking, adding insulation, weather stripping and doing other chores in order to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and to show buyer's that their home meets the grade.

While making these repairs is not yet mandatory under this plan, Buyers will likely expect and request that many of these repairs/maintenance items be performed, so savvy Sellers will be sure to make these energy efficiency improvements prior to listing their homes.

This is truly a great thing for buyers, and particularly for First Time Home Buyers on a budget who will benefit from lower utility bills and a greener home for years to come.