Massachusetts approves advance on home buyer tax credit

First time home buyer credit can be used for closing costs and down payments via a loan from the state.
Governor Patrick says these loans will help home buyers achieve the stability of homeownership and stimulate economy.

Certain first-time home buyers in Massachusetts will be eligible for an advance on the $8,000 tax credit, giving them much needed closing costs up front, under a new program recently unveiled by Governor Deval Patrick.

According to the new plan, the state will loan the $8,000 to eligible borrowers who buy a home before Dec. 1 and finance it through the state’s affordable housing bank, MassHousing. The interest free loans need to be repaid by June 1, 2010.

MassHousing estimates it will be able to help between 650 to 1,000 peo ple by the end of November, using $5 million set aside for the program.

“These loans will both help prospective home buyers achieve the comfort and stability of homeownership for their families and also stimulate the Commonwealth’s economy through increased home sales,’’ Patrick said.

Massachusetts joins more than a dozen states nationwide that have developed their own bridge loans under a plan announced by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in late May.

At that time, federal officials said home buyers could apply their tax credit toward new home purchases when financing through the Federal Housing Administration or through state and local housing finance agencies.

Borrowers with an FHA-insured loan are still required to provide a 3.5 percent down payment before they can use the tax credit for any additional payment or closing costs.

Under the Massachusetts program, the $8,000 can be used to cover an entire down payment. Borrowers can purchase a one- to four-family home and must use it as a primary residence.

“This article adopted from the Bosto Globe, written by Jenifer B. McKim”

Full article here:

Showcase your Home with the Right Lighting

As a realtor, there are few things as important as making a strong and lasting impression on potential buyers. While there are many ways to accomplish this feat, there is one method that is often overlooked. Home staging is the act of presenting a home in the most visually appealing manner possible. One of the quickest and easiest ways to achieve this act is through the use of home lighting.

No matter how well kept and beautiful a home may be, it may come across as dark and dreary in the wrong lighting. The key is to strike a balance that leaves the home looking its very best no matter what time of the day. Below are a few simple tricks to help shine the spotlight on a home to hopefully impress any prospective buyers.

Start by adding some natural light. There’s just something about natural light that makes everyone feel better. By drawing the shades and allowing your home to be filled with as much natural light as possible, you can create an atmosphere that breeds positive attitudes and helps keep spirits high. Not only that, but natural light will also leave your home looking brighter and more appealing. Nobody wants to buy a poorly lit home, which is why many realtors boast the fact that a home has large windows which allows for more natural light.

Unfortunately, you can’t always trust Mother Nature to shine some sunlight down on a home when you need it. In that case you need to find a decent balance in the home through the use of home lighting fixtures. The trick is to use a combination of overhead and accent lights to achieve a warming glow that is pleasing to the eye. By combining accent lights like table lamps, floor lamps, and track lighting with overheard lights, you avoid the risk of the lighting becoming too harsh or too dim. By creating more than one lighting source, you can produce the perfect environment to showcase a home.

Lastly, you mustn’t forget the home’s exterior lighting set up. Use flood lights to illuminate the front of the home to help create a sharp contrast against the night sky. This will also help make the homes address number easier to make out from a distance. A homes address can sometimes be hard to spot, especially at night. Insuring the home is well lit should help eliminate that problem entirely. You may also use path lights to help lead the way to the homes front entrance. Not only does this help the buyer determine where the entrance is located, but it also helps cut down on the number of accidents that can be caused by tripping over plants or lawn decorations. Follow these simple tips and the home you’re selling will definitely shine brighter than the rest!

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)

Recently, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the 2009 economic stimulus plan. Millions of individuals will benefit from this plan. Below is an short overview of the plan.

Discuss the benefits and potential effects of the 2009 economic stimulus plan at the Boston Real Estate Forum: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) 







1 - Getting $$ back in the hands of people who need it the most

·          For the employed:  up to $400/$800 in 2009 and 2010 (Making Work Pay Credit).  Probably will be administered via reduction of payroll tax withholding with true-up on tax return.

·          For the retirees/veterans/disability on SS:  $250 one time check in 2009

·          For the unemployed:  first $2,400 exempt from federal taxation in 2009, increase of $25/week, extended time period, 65% break on COBRA premiums for 9 months

2 - Helping more of those that have less

·          EITC(Earned Income Credit) - additional benefit for larger families (3 or more)

·          Child Tax Credit - will help more lower income families by lowering the threshold from $8,500 in CY2008 to $3,000

3 - Making Home Ownership more affordable

·          1st time homebuyer credit $8k (was formerly $7.5k), removes repayment requirement, applies to homes purchased 1/1/09 - 12/1/09

·          Energy efficient improvement tax credit  to residential property (removes caps and increases lifetime limit from $500 - $1,500)

4 - Increasing Access to Higher Education

·          New education credit of up to $2,500 for 4 years of college (American Opportunity Tax Credit)

·          Now can use Section 529 plan to buy a computer (and related technology/equipment) for college

5 - Going Green in the Garage - new vehicle

·          Tax deduction of the sales tax paid on the purchase of new vehicle in 2009.

·          Tax credit for plug-in hybrid cars (2010 - 2012)





U.S. Government to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Uncle Sam together with Freddie and Fannie

This past Sunday, the U.S. government officially took over the gigantic mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in what will most likely prove to be the largest federal bailout our government has ever participated in. Bigger then the Savings and Loan crisis. Concerned over huge losses from the two companies, the government has stepped in to help reverse the prolonged housing and credit crisis, and is now responsible for roughly $6 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt.

One of the first items on the government’s ajenda, was to replace the existing management. Freddie Mac’s chief executive Richard Syron and Fannie Mae’s CEO, Daniel Muddy, were replaced by David Moffett, and Herb Allison, respectively. Second, with a pledge to shore up the finances of America’s largest lenders, the government committed up to $100 billion in support for each of the two behemoths. Additionally, the U.S. Treasury will take about a $1 billion equity stake in each institution, in the form of senior preferred stock with a guaranteed 10% rate of return. This stock will rank above both existing preferred and common shares and could give the government an ownership stake of up to 79.9 percent.

The treasury is to begin buying mortgage-backed securities issued by the two companies this month. And there will be a 15-month deadline for the move to make its impact before the mortgage agencies are reduced in size and their future decided in 2010. The clock is ticking.

In a very positive response, stocks sored as the Dow Jones climbed nearly 300 points on Monday, while the interest rate dropped from around 6.5 % on Friday, to 6% on Monday. Analysts believe it will eventually settle in at around 5.5%. This is good news.

At a time when it seemed interests rates had nowhere to go but up, thousands of potential home buyers just got some very good news. And with the price of oil dropping at the moment, could this be the turnaround we all have been hoping for? It certainly seems that way to me. 

Have something to say? Leave a comment at the Property Monger, or have a discussion at the Boston Real Estate Forum.

A contest from the Boston Globe; have your property for sale staged and featured in the Boston Globe Magazine

Sellers, Win a Staging of Your Home



One of the editors at The Boston Globe Magazine has reached out to us in order to promote a contest they are offering. As part of their fall real estate issue (Oct. 26, 2008), they are having a contest in which local sellers can get one room of their home professionally staged free of charge. The winning rooms will be featured in their Oct. 26 issue. This is an excellent opportunity for sellers trying to attract attention to their homes.

Details on how to enter are here:…win_a_staging/

The contest closes Sept. 11 at midnight.

A forum for discussion on this topic may be found here: