November 26, 2009
Today is a day of giving thanks, even though every day should be reserved for giving thanks and expressing gratitude in general. Tara and I are grateful for our family, friends and clients! To be able to live in the neighborhood where we work is also a blessing. From helping families purchase their very first home, to helping families sell a current home and move to their next life chapter are accomplishments we are grateful to have been given the chance to perform.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, including the men and women serving in the military around the world!
Tara and April
November 12, 2009
[ SOLD for $335,000 ] “Wood Streets Neighborhood” two-story stucco Tudor Revival has been in the same family for many years! Built in 1931, this home is much larger than it appears! There are a total of 6 bedrooms (4 downstairs, 2 upstairs) and 3 bathrooms (2 downstairs, 1 upstairs). One of the bedrooms downstairs is smaller than the others, but it does have a closet and is located between a bathroom and and one of the bedrooms, so it could be used as a child’s room, nursery, office, den or work-out room.
Original 1931 features include wood casement windows, many original fixtures, skeleton-key door locks, some coved ceilings, original hardwood floors under carpeting, and extra high ceiling in living room. Modern amenities include central air conditioning/heat, whole house fan, indoor laundry, and alarm system.
Once you walk through the little swinging gates onto the front covered patio, you will feel a sense of peace and “home”. The original front door opens into the large living room with high ceiling, fireplace, and picture window perfect for displaying holiday decorations. You’ll then wind your way into the large formal dining room with coved ceiling overlooking the front patio. Three of the downstairs bedrooms are large and each one has a walk-in closet (two have built-in dressers). The square footage downstairs is approximately 1800 square feet, with an additional 200+ upstairs.
All the extra storage space throughout this house will boggle your mind, including the attic space and very large walk-in closet upstairs. Most of the closets have built-in dressers! There is also a cedar-lined closet in the downstairs hallway. The kitchen is open and airy with an antique stove, tile counter tops, pull-out shelves, and an attached breakfast nook with double doors that open onto the lovely front patio.
Separate indoor laundry room with stairway to the upstairs which boasts two bedrooms, one of which is very large with a regular closet with sliding doors, built-in cabinetry, plus a walk-in closet. There is also a bathroom and a kitchenette upstairs as well; great for guests that plan on staying a while, or perfect for an independent college student.
The backyard is low maintenance with a lovely covered deck with built-in seating perfect for entertaining many friends. There is also access to a basement under the deck which houses the furnace and is perfect for storing holiday decorations and/or use as a wine cellar. Most of the backyard is inlaid brick, so you won’t need a lawnmower. There is a rose garden, citrus trees, and year-round flowering plants.
To round out this wonderful value-of-a-home, you’ll enjoy the 2-car garage with automatic door and aesthetically-pleasing driveway with inlaid brick. Attached to the back of the garage is another room which could be used as storage, potting shed or dark room, and with a bit of ingenuity and a contractor, you could possibly turn it into a guest quarters. Add to the mix, lovely neighbors on one of the most desired streets in the Wood Streets neighborhood, and you’ll be the envy of all your friends!
Start packing…. you can be in your new home in time for the holidays!!!
<Slide your mouse over each photo for a detailed description>
November 11, 2009
Fifty-five years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued America’s first Veterans Day Proclamation. In it, President Eisenhower called on all Americans to “solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
In 2009, we continue to honor those brave Americans who have served our nation in uniform; some 48 million men and women whose service spans our history — from the War for Independence to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our Veterans Day observance has evolved over the years. Our nation’s custom of observing the end of World War I in 1918 at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month became a legal holiday known as Armistice Day in 1938. In recognition of military service members’ sacrifices in World War II and Korea, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day so that, as President Eisenhower said, “a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this nation.”
This year on Veterans Day 2009, we honor not only those who fought in our nation’s wars, but all who took that solemn oath to ”support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies” as members of America’s armed forces.
Of course, we remember and honor the more than 1.1 million patriots who have died while in military service to America. We must never forget them, or the 24 million other American veterans who passed on since their service. But the beauty of Veterans Day is that we take the time to remember and thank those who have defended us, or stood ready to do so, while they are still with us.
And more than 23 million veterans are still here with us. Three-fourths of them served during time of war; all of them served and all deserve our gratitude!!
November 6, 2009
On November 6, 2009, President Obama signed a bill to extend the tax credit for first-time homebuyers through June 30, 2010 at a maximum purchase price of $800,000! The bill also opens up opportunities for others who are not buying a home for the first time.
WHO GETS WHAT?
First-time Homebuyers (FTBHs): First-time homebuyers (that is, people who have not owned a home within the last three years) may be eligible for the tax credit. The credit for FTHBs is 10% of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available credit of $8,000.00.
Current Homeowners: The tax credit program now gives those who already own a residence some additional reasons to move to a new home. This incentive comes in the form of a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified purchasers who have owned and occupied a primary residence for a period of five consecutive years during the last eight years.
THE NEW DEADLINE
In order to qualify for the credit, all contracts need to be in effect no later than April 30, 2010 and close no later than June 30, 2010.
TAX CREDIT VS. TAX DEDUCTION
It’s important to remember that the tax credit is just that… a tax credit. Tax credit is a direct reduction in tax liability, owed by an individual to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The benefit of a tax credit is that it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a first-time homebuyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for a tax credit of $8,000, she would owe nothing.
Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a first-time homebuyer is eligible for a tax credit of $8,000 but is liable for $4,000 in income tax, she can still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!
WHAT ARE THE INCOME CAPS?
The amount of income someone can earn and qualify for the full amount of the credit has been increased.
Single tax filers who earn up to $125,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap receive a partial credit. However, filers who earn $145,000 and above are ineligible.
Joint filers who earn up to $225,000 are eligible for the total credit amount. Those who earn more than this cap can receive a partial credit. However, joint filers who earn $245,000 and above are ineligible.
HOW MUCH ARE FTHBs ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE?
An eligible homebuyer may request from the IRS a tax credit of up to $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price for a home. If the amount of the home purchased is $75,000, the maximum amount the credit can be is $7,500. If the amount of the home purchased is $100,000, the amount of the credit may not exceed $8,000.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FTHB TAX CREDIT?
Anyone who has not owned a primary residence in the previous 36 months, prior to closing and the transfer of title, is eligible.
This applies both to single taxpayers and married couples. In the case where there is a married couple, if either spouse has owned a primary residence in the last 36 months, neither would qualify. In the case where an individual has owned property that has not been a primary residence, such as a second home or investment property, that individual would be eligible.
IF A PARENT (WHO WILL NOT LIVE ON THE PROPERTY) CO-SIGNS FOR A MORTGAGE, WILL THEIR CHILD STILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CREDIT?
Yes, provided that the child meets the other requirements for the tax credit.
ARE THERE OTHER RESTRICTIONS TO TAKING THE FTHB CREDIT?
Yes. According to the IRS, if any of the following describe a homebuyer’s situation, a credit would not be due:
- They buy the home from a close relative. This includes a spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild.
- They do not use the home as their principal residence.
- They sell their home before the end of the year.
- They are a nonresident alien.
- They are, or were, eligible to claim the District of Columbia first-time homebuyer credit for any taxable year. (This does not apply for a home purchased in 2009.)
- Their home financing comes from tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds. (This does not apply for a home purchased in 2009.)
As always, if you have any questions about your specific situation or would like to discuss how you may benefit from this program, please call or email us. We will be happy to sit down with you. –Tara and April