Living, working, and playing in San Antonio

Archive for November, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credits – First Time or Not

On November 7, 2009 President Obama signed into law the extension of the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and expansion of the credit to include previous and/or current home owners.

According to statistics from the National Association of REALTORS®(NAR), 47% of home buyers last year were first time home buyers. While some think many of these buyers would have bought homes with or without the tax credit, NAR statistics show an increase of first time buyers over previous years. Personally, I had a number of first time buyers last year and this year 70% of my transactions involved first time buyers! Thank you, Congress, for this particular economic stimulus incentive.

What exactly is a Tax Credit? Well, it’s a lot better than a tax deduction – that’s for sure. Receiving a tax credit means that your tax bill owed to the IRS is reduced by the amount of the tax credit you are eligible to receive AND – the really great part – IF YOU DON’T OWN MONEY, THE IRS PAYS YOU THE AMOUNT OF THE TAX CREDIT!!! So let’s say you owe $2,000 in taxes when you prepare your return and you qualify for the full $8,000 tax credit. Then the IRS will deduct the $2,000 you owe from the $8,000 credit they owe you and they’ll send you the difference. If they owe you a refund already, they’ll add that refund to the amount of your tax credit and send you the whole kit and kaboodle!

What a deal – the government is paying you to buy a house!

Here are the main things to know:
  1. First-time Buyer:
    • up to $8,000 credit ($4,000 married filing separately) or 10% of purchase price
    • may not have had in interest in a principal residence for 3 years
    • effective date of Jan. 1, 2009 through April 1, 2010 (binding contact in place by April 1, 2010 with closing taking place by July 1, 2010)
    • income limit of $75,000 single or $150,000 married raised to $125,000 single and $225,000 married
    • limitation on cost of house now set at $800,000
  2. Current Homeowner
    • up to $6,500 credit ($3,250 married filing separately) or 10% of purchase price
    • must have lived in previous residence 5 consecutive years out of the previous 8 years
      • do not have to own a house and be selling it at the time of purchasing a new one

Check this link for a comparison of the old rules and the new rules plus a lot more important information as found on the NAR website:

http://www.realtor.org/home_buyers_and_sellers/2009_first_time_home_buyer_tax_credit

Want to know more? Send me an email and let’s talk about
how you can participate! Email me – Lynn@LynnKnapik.com
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Holiday Lighting Checklist

It’s that time! But before you plug in and light up for the holidays, run your decorations through this quick safety check.
Lights, inside and out, are a beautiful part of the holiday season. But as with all electrical devices, you need to take special precautions. Before you deck the halls, run through this checklist to keep your holidays merry and bright.
Inspect light strings. Discard any that are damaged. Frayed or cracked electrical cords or broken sockets are leading fire hazards.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting multiple strings. The general limit is three strings. Light strings with stacked plugs can usually accommodate greater lengths than end-to-end connections.

Replace burned-out bulbs promptly. Empty sockets can cause the entire string to overheat.

Make sure outdoor lighting is UL-rated for exterior use. Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors.
Don’t use outdoor lights indoors. They’re too hot for interior use. For the coolest bulbs and greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which come in a wide range of styles and colors.

Don’t attach light strings with nails or staples. They can cut through the wire insulation and create a fire hazard. Only use UL-approved hangers.

Take exterior lights down within 90 days. The longer they stay up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and critters chewing on them.
Store lights safely. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. After the holidays, coil each string loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard, wrap it in paper or fabric to protect the bulbs, and store in a sturdy container until next year.

Article From Houselogic.com

By: Pat Curry

Pat Curry is a former senior editor at BUILDER, the official magazine of the National Association of Home Builders, and a frequent contributor to real estate and home-building publications.

Reprinted from HouseLogic (houselogic.com) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (R).
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Welcome to SanAntonioism

Hi, I’m independent real estate broker Lynn Knapik and I welcome you to the inaugural blog posting of SanAntonioism!

As I’m sure you know, San Antonio is one of the most beautiful cities in Texas, the good ole’ USA, and the whole world. It’s a city of blended cultures, Military City USA, and a wonderful city to live, work and play.

The goal of my blog will be to give you my view of what’s happening here from the viewpoint of a transplanted San Antonian who has chosen San Antonio as the place to raise my children (hurray they’re both grown!),build my business and enjoy my life. As an independent real estate broker (Lynn Knapik Real Estate LLC) I want to share my insight into our local real estate market. Since all real estate is really local, this will be place to come to keep up with the latest information whether local, statewide or national where real estate is concerned. Downtown living will be a special focus.
But we’ll have some fun here too. On Fridays I’ll be clueing you in on some fun happenings for the weekend. It’s been said that a fiesta can break out in San Antonio at the drop of a hat and I’ll be looking for those lesser publicized events to tell you about. As a matter of fact, if you know of something coming up please let me know so that I can include it in SanAntonioism.
Like to dance? I love dancing and I’m always looking for new places for my favorite styles – namely Jitterbug (or East Coast Swing, Jive as they call it on Dancing with the Stars, or whatever you want to call it – it’s all Jitterbug to me!) and now Salsa dancing. I took a Salsa Boot Camp at Semeneya Ballroom a couple months ago and I’m hooked. I’ll be telling you about a fun dance venue each week but I need your help in finding them too. Any style, any part of town, live music or DJ – I don’t care. If there’s dancing there, let’s talk about it.
My goal is to post something interesting at least three times a week if not more. So come back often and subscribe if you want! I look forward to meeting you along the way – maybe on the dance floor!

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