SPECIAL REPORT: What to Know When Buying a Home in 2009

By: Stephanie Collins Email
By: Stephanie Collins Email
The declining economy has definitely changed the housing market, but if you are looking to buy a new home it could be for the better.

** FILE ** In this Nov. 20, 2008 file photo, a sign stands outside new home for sale in southeast Denver. New data this week showed that Americans are saving more than they have in months, and while that's bad news for retailers, it could be good news for the crippled housing market. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file)

The declining economy has definitely changed the housing market, but if you are looking to buy a new home it could be for the better.

First time home buyers Jeremy Stilson and Josh O’Neal agree that the buying process can be a little stressful but for them it’s worth it, they found a brand new house that they are excited to move into, “It’s a new house, it was in our pricing range and were not going to be living in someone else’s house, it’s our house,” says Josh.

First time buyers like Jeremy and Josh should also be excited because new for 2009, with the stimulus plan passed by the Obama Administration, first time buyers qualify for an $8000 tax credit. To qualify buyers must purchase a home by November 30th of this year, they must stay in their home for at least three years, and the income limitations are $50,000 for individuals and $75,000 for married couples or people filing jointly. And unlike the tax credit that was given to first time buyers last year, this new tax credit doesn’t have to be paid back, that is as long as they live there for three years.

Something you don’t have to be a first time buyer to take advantage of are historically low interest rates. As Laurinda Conrad from Unifirst Mortgage explains, they may be low now but rates change every day, “Interest rates vary daily, one day the rate could be 5%, tomorrow 5 ½%, and have been as low as 4.625%”

Along with the tax credit and low interest rates there are also a lot of homes to choose from. Vicky Chandler from ReMax 4000 explains just how many homes Josh and Jeremy had to choose from in their price range and with their certain specifications, “Jeremy and Josh want a 3 bed, 2 bath, 2car, and like all buyers want a good deal. In Southeast, Orchard Mesa, Northeast, North and city...just in that parameter...that's 84 houses that are 3bed, 2bath, 2car.”

When looking for a home experts say the best thing to do first is to get approved for financing, so you know how much you can afford. Laurinda approved Jeremy and Josh for the FHA loan program, “They are doing an FHA our Federal Housing Administration loan program without down payment assistance.”

FHA was a good fit for Jeremy and Josh but Laurinda says there are also a few other types of loans out there, “You can do 100% financing with the Rural Development Loan and the VA Loan for veterans, and the CHFA loan program, or the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, they offer down payment assistance.”

In order to get a home financed most lenders will require the buyers to get an appraisal, Joshua Walitt with Brownlee Appraisal explains, “An appraisal is usually required to get financing, a lender wants to know how much the home is worth.”

The realtor then works with a title company to obtain a title for the home, “I will order title work, it basically tells us who owns it and any leans that need to be released, it tells us what needs to be done before the closing,” says Vicky.

The closing is the final step in the home buying process before the new owner can have the keys. Jeremy and Josh can’t wait for theirs to be done, “Now that we are close to the end it’s exciting,” says Jeremy.

If you want more information on the first time home owner’s tax credit an informative seminar is being held Thursday April 2nd at the Grand Junction Board of Realtor’s Office, located at 2473 Crossroads Blvd. at 6:00 p.m.

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