Get Tax Credits for Home Projects


Get Tax Credits for Home Projects .
Text .By AMY HOAK

Looking to make home improvements to help keep energy costs down this winter? The federal government is offering some financial incentives in the form of tax credits.

The credits can be claimed on a homeowner’s income taxes for 2009 or 2010, whatever year the improvements were purchased. With a credit, the amount comes off any taxes you owe. Also, the credit is nonrefundable, meaning it allows taxpayers to lower their tax liability to zero, but not below zero, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

It’s a good time to be thinking about improvements, says Ronnie Kweller, spokeswoman for the Alliance to Save Energy.

Andy Rash

.Upgrade your insulation, windows, doors, roofing, heating and air-conditioning system or water heater, and you could qualify for a federal tax credit for 30% of the purchase price of the product — up to a $1,500 maximum credit.

To qualify for the credit, you must place those purchases in service between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010.

“The $1,500 cap applies to the aggregate amount of credits claimed in both years combined,” says Robin Christian, senior tax analyst at the tax and accounting business of Thomson Reuters. “Also, only improvements made to your principal residence qualify — vacation homes are not considered.”

Details on which products qualify can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program Web site. Some stores also post information. For instance, at Home Depot’s Web site, there’s a link to a list of specific products that qualify. Click on “Tax Credit Eligibility.”

No Cap on Bigger Items

For typically more-costly improvements — including solar water heaters, solar panels, small wind-energy systems and geo-thermal heat pumps — the credit is for 30% of the purchase price, with no cap, according to energystar.gov. Fuel cells also are covered, at 30% of the cost, up to $500 per 0.5 kilowatt of power capacity.

Credits for these improvements are available through 2016, but you must claim them for the tax year in which you made the purchase. And all but the fuel-cell equipment can be used for a vacation home as well.

One note: To qualify for the credits, all of the products must be used inside a home. That means equipment used to heat a pool or hot tub doesn’t qualify, Ms. Christian says.

Also, the federal tax credits don’t always cover the cost of installation. The installation costs for heating and cooling systems and some other higher-cost improvements qualify, according to the Energy Star site. But installation of windows, insulation, doors and roofs doesn’t.

The tax-credit rules are different if you are building a new home. In this instance, you can qualify for the credit for some upgrades, including geo-thermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind-energy systems and fuel cells. But you won’t get a tax credit for the purchase of windows, doors, insulation, roofs, heating and air-conditioning systems, and nonsolar water heaters, according to the Energy Star site.

Make sure any products you purchase come with a Manufacturer Certification Statement, a signed statement from the manufacturer that says the product qualifies for the tax credit. You will need that and any receipts when you claim the credit on your taxes.

Monica Rebella, a certified public accountant in Tustin, Calif., suggests making a copy of receipts since the print can wear off receipts over time.

Where to Start

When looking to make a home more energy efficient, consumers typically first turn to insulation and windows.

“If you need insulation, that is the most cost-effective upgrade you can make — even without a tax credit,” says Karen Schneider, Web-site manager for Energy Star. “If you have a 50-year-old home and never looked at the insulation, now is the time to do that.”

Many insulation projects, such as upgrading or adding insulation in an attic, are easy for do-it-yourselfers, says Michael Chenard, director of environmental affairs for home-improvement store Lowe’s. “Insulation is one of the easiest things to do that is covered by the tax-credit promotion,” he says.

Replacing windows also can be done by amateurs, as long as the measurements are accurate, Mr. Chenard says.

The tax credit makes the cost of a more-efficient window competitive with a lower-grade window that doesn’t qualify, says Art Donnelly, owner of Legacy Builders & Remodelers in Holbrook, N.Y. And because of the weak economy, companies’ “backlogs aren’t as long,” he says. “So it’s quicker to get things installed.”

Write to Amy Hoak at amy.hoak@dowjones.com

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit


First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

The 2009 Economic Stimulus Bill, signed into law on February 17th, includes a tax credit for first-time homebuyers. All qualifying homebuyers are entitled to take advantage of this one-time tax credit.

Up to $8,000 tax credit. The tax credit is equal to the lesser of $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price of the home for first-time homebuyers who purchase a home after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. This replaces a previous $7,500 tax credit that was scheduled to expire on July 1, 2009.

Income requirements. Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 can qualify for the full tax credit.

First-time buyers. Individuals who have not owned a home in the past three years are considered first-time buyers.

Residency requirements. For homes purchased after January 1, 2009, this tax credit does not need to be repaid if the home is occupied as the buyer’s personal residence for the first three years from the date of purchase. Prior to this new legislation the former $7,500 tax credit was required to be recaptured over a period of 15 years or when the home was sold.

Tax returns. A provision permits taxpayers to claim the tax credit for homes purchased during 2009 on their 2008 tax return.

Kentucky FHA Mortgage Refinance/ 5 things to know


5 Important Things To Know About An Kentucky Refinance

When doing an  Kentucky Mortgage through the FHA Streamline Refinance program, there are 5 important factors that really make this work well for Kentucky home owners.  This version of the Kentucky Mortgage refinance is helping people get into some crazy low interest rates, even if they owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth.

Kentucky Refinance Factor #1

No Appraisal

That’s right.  This version of the Kentucky Mortgage refinance does not require an appraisal.  And that is very important for home owners in Kentucky as so many of us are upside down in our equity.  In other words, we owe more than our homes are worth.  So the FHA Streamline Refinance lets us get that new loan and get into some of these crazy low interest rates.
This also saves you about $450 for not having to buy that silly appraisal..

Arizona Refinance Factor #2

No Income Qualifying

When applying for this Kentucky Mortgage you do need to show a source of income, but not an amount you actually earn.  So if the amount you earn now is different that it was when you got your original FHA Loan, it’s not part of the qualifying process.  Even if you are unemployed, as long as you can prove you are earning unemployment, you will qualify.
This makes qualifying for the FHA Streamline Refinance way easier..

Kentucky Mortgage Refinance Factor #3

Less Processing

You see, you’ve already qualified for the FHA Loan once.  So as long as you have maintained a decent credit profile and still have a source of income your original qualifying carries over into your new Kentucky refinance.  So there is less work, less processing, less underwriting, less costs and a whole lot less stress.

Kentucky  Refinance Factor #4

Lower Closing Costs

Since this type of loan is a whole lot less work, the closing costs are much lower.  We’re able to get discounts for this kentucky refinance from Title, Escrow, the Lenders and even on our processing.  And for larger loan amounts, there may be an option for us to cover all the closing costs.

Kentucky  Refinance Factor #5

Skip A Payment

Now, this is everybody’s favorite part of the FHA Streamline Refinance.  You get to skip a payment.  After you do the Kentucky mortgage , your first payment will be due on the 1st of the month that is at least 30 days in the future.
To simplify, if you were to close in September, your first payment would be due on the 1st of the month that is at least 30 days away and that would be November 1st.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave them below..
Apply today for your FHA mortgage refinance——-Kentucky Home owners  get pre-qualified   today for free over the phone or email .
Call or email us to get started today!
502-905-3708 or kentuckyloan@gmail.com
Call us today at 502-905-3708 for a free credit report and application!!!!

Refinancing a Kentucky Fannie Mae mortgage| What effects the rate you get?


Add-ons may be dissuading many from refinancing

Kenneth R. Harney

Friday, October 8, 2010; 4:40 PM 

Kentucky Conventional Mortgage Rates? What you don't know

 

With kentucky mortgage rates at unprecedented lows, why are more people not taking advantage of them to refinance or buy houses?

The answers are complex and include sagging consumer confidence in the economy and high unemployment rates. But some mortgage lenders point to what they see as overreactions in their own industry that are discouraging and disqualifying potential borrowers ¿ sharply increased credit score requirements, higher down payments, and add-on fees imposed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which control about two-thirds of marketplace loan volume.

The most controversial Fannie-Freddie fees, which were introduced as the housing bubble began deflating, are known as “loan-level pricing adjustments.” Many mortgage executives say they are excessive, given stricter underwriting standards that reduce the long-term risk of new loans being originated.

Bruce Calabrese, president of Equitable Mortgage Corp., a mortgage banking firm in Louisville, Kentucy, considers them “simple cash grabs by Fannie and Freddie because they can, not because of any increased risk.” Fred Kreger, branch manager of American Family Funding , says the fees — which can add thousands of dollars in upfront costs for borrowers or raise their interest rates — seem to be out of line with the actual risk in the marketplace, as evidenced by the fact that “portfolio lenders like small- to medium-sized credit unions, or banks do not charge them,” even though they are lending to the same customers as Fannie and Freddie.

Tne add-ons are killing refinancing deals for customers who want to lock in 30-year rates in the mid-4 percent range. “You’ve got people out there…who’d like to refinance,” he said in an interview. “But when they look at the points they’ve got to pay because their credit score is a little below” a cut-off line set by Fannie and Freddie, “they decide it’s not worth it.”

Refinancing a Kentucky Fannie Mae mortgage

 

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Fannie and Freddie, which have operated under federal conservatorship since September 2008, maintain sliding scales of fees, starting with a standard one-quarter of 1 percent “adverse market delivery charge.” For a $300,000 loan, that’s $750 just to get in the door. On top of that come fees calibrated to a sliding scale of down-payment amounts, credit scores and housing types.

Say, for example, you want to buy or refinance a condominium. Under Fannie’s latest add-on matrix, a condo unit buyer who has less than a 25 percent down payment gets hit with a three-quarters of 1 percent add-on fee. On a $300,000 condo loan, this comes to $2,250, which must be paid in cash or rolled into a higher mortgage rate.

The same matrix imposes fees based on applicants’ credit scores. For instance, anyone with a FICO credit score of 679 who is buying a house with 20 to 25 percent down ¿ a substantial amount, for most budgets ¿ is assessed a 2.5 percent “loan-level price adjustment” fee.

 

Refinancing a Kentucky Fannie Mae mortgage

Asked for comment on what justifies the continuing imposition of costly add-ons that date to lower-quality underwriting conditions, officials of the two companies did not comment or said the fees are needed to cover potential losses. Freddie Mac spokesman Brad German said, “We feel we are pricing risk appropriately.” Fannie Mae representatives had no comment.

Private mortgage insurance companies, which provide coverage against loss to Fannie and Freddie on loans with down payments of less than 20 percent, are especially critical of the continuing add-on fees. They say the extra charges on top of their own insurance premiums routinely discourage borrowers from taking out conventional loans and push them instead to the Federal Housing Administration, whose market share has exploded from less than 3 percent to more than 30 percent in recent years.

Even with the FHA’s move to raise its monthly insurance premiums to borrowers effective last Monday, private insurers say that in many cases Fannie’s and Freddie’s add-on fees still make them non-competitive. Without the extra charges, they say, consumers seeking low-down-payment conventional loans could be getting lower rates and fees. But there’s no sign they will.

kenharney@earthlink.net

Refinancing a Kentucky Fannie Mae mortgage

Report: 1 in 3 loan applications denied


Report: 1 in 3 loan applications denied

By ALAN ZIBEL (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — Nearly one in three borrowers who applied for a mortgage last year was denied as lenders kept their standards tight as the mortgage crisis accelerated, the government reported Wednesday.

In its annual look at mortgage practices among lending institutions, Federal Reserve said the denial rate for all home loans was about 32 percent last year — about the same as in 2007, but up from 29 percent in 2006. The denial rates for blacks and Hispanics were more than twice as high as the rate for white borrowers.

The report highlights massive changes in the lending industry after the housing market bust. Overall loan applications were down by a third from a year earlier, and were half the level in 2006.

Loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration soared to 21 percent of all loans made last year from less than 5 percent in both 2005 and 2006.

For black borrowers, more than half of all loans were FHA-insured, more than triple a year earlier. For Hispanics, that number shot up to 45 percent, more than four times as high as in 2007. That was troubling news for consumer advocates.

“I’m hard-pressed to believe that many of those borrowers couldn’t have been served by the private sector,” said John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a consumer group in Washington. “It implies that the industry has shut down in serving this population.”

High-priced loans with rates at least 3 percentage points above the rate for prime loans, shrunk to nearly 12 percent of the market from a high of 29 percent in 2006. But that figure mainly reflects unusually low interest rates during the recession, the report said, and understates the disappearance from the market of high-priced subprime loans made to borrowers with poor credit.

Last year, about 17 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics got high-priced loans, compared with about 7 percent of whites. Even controlling for factors that might widen that discrepancy, there still a gap of almost 8 percentage points between the number of blacks and whites who got high-cost loans.

The mortgage industry says lenders are not discriminating by race, and are making adjustments based on borrowers’ risk profile — such as their credit score and the size of their down payments.

“You still have a certain degree of risk-based pricing in the market,” said Jay Brinkmann, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist.

Lenders also scaled back dramatically on the amount of so-called “piggyback” mortgages, in which borrowers used second mortgages to avoid making a 20 percent down payment. Those loans have virtually disappeared from the market: Only 98,000 were made last year, down from 1.3 million annually in 2006.

The data, collected from nearly 8,400 lenders, is required under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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