Viewpoint: Beat the $8K home refund deadline

By |2018-01-16T15:32:49-05:00September 10th, 2009|Guides|

by Jeff Hammerberg

The clock is ticking toward the expiration date on the special $8,000 new home buyer credit currently offered as part of the government’s emergency economic stimulus legislation. Unless the provision is amended or renewed, buyers only have until the end of November to completely finalize their purchases.
First timers are urged to do whatever they can to streamline the real estate shopping experience, and working with a gay-friendly realtor and lender can often save valuable time for LGBT buyers.

A gay or lesbian couple may need to seek legal and financial advice in order to help them better understand their rights as owners. For example, many of the benefits related to real estate ownership are only available to those couples who are legally married.
An experienced realtor accustomed to working with LGBT clients will either know the answers immediately or be able to quickly refer the buyers to a reputable real estate attorney who is well-versed in complex LGBT legal issues.
For a loan processor unfamiliar with financing for LGBT partnerships, confusion may also arise, and that usually translates into frustrating delays. So work with a mortgage lender experienced in making loans to the LGBT community.
Keep in mind that the government and the IRS define first-time home buyers in a broader sense. You may still be entitled to the tax perk even if you have already owned a home in your life or have bought and sold dozens of them. That’s because the official definition of a first time buyer is one who has not owned or co-owned their principle residence during the past three consecutive years.
But just having a purchase contract or an approved mortgage application is not sufficient to qualify you for the tax benefit, and deals often get postponed en route to the closing table. That is especially true during months with major holidays. Real estate attorneys and title companies may, for example, work fewer days or limited hours as Thanksgiving approaches. Buyers should also expect that there will be a flurry of November activity as other new home buyers also rush to close on time.
The anticipated surge in last-minute transactions may create delays at banks, mortgage companies and law offices that handle real estate closings. A better strategy is to get sales settled way ahead of time – ideally before the end of October. Since it takes about four to six weeks to close most sales, that means that buyers should submit their purchase offers to sellers in September to be safe.
Recently home sales experienced their sharpest increase in nearly a decade. That may cause underwriting delays, and with $8,000 at stake it pays to be proactive to facilitate the home buying process, find the best deal on an appropriate mortgage, and get to closing to claim the tax perk before time expires.
For expert help with all your real estate and home financing needs, contact and The members of these networks are dedicated to supporting the GLBT community.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.