Homebuyer tax credit deadline looms

HOUSTON The tax credit is $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and $6,500 for homeowners wanting to upgrade, but you have to move fast.

If you want the home buying tax credit you have to have a home under contract by Friday. That may sound impossible, but not according to our experts.

Realtors across Houston have been pushing the home buying tax credits and they add those credits up to $8,000 have been driving sales. Now that the deadline is looming to get those credits, business is booming.

"Everybody is rushing to get in under the deadline," said realtor Jack Shabot.

He says more than 30 people showed up to an open house over the weekend at one Meyerland home. Those potential buyers only have a few more days to get the home under contract if they hope to take advantage of the federal home buying tax credits.

"We are extremely busy. People see the deadline coming and they need to be in an executable contract by April 30, close by July 1, so people are moving very quickly right now," Shabot said.

There are some things potential buyers can do to make sure they get a home under contract by Friday.

"This is not the time to low ball if you want an accepted contract," said Steven Kaufman of Zeus Mortgage.

Kaufman says if a potential buyer likes a home and the listing price, now may not be the best time to try to get a dramatic price reduction.

"Most agents who represent sellers know that April 30 is the deadline, so you should make your offer very reasonable," Kaufman said.

He added that buyers should skip asking for things like appliances if the seller is not including them in the original listing. Kaufman also says giving a deadline to get under contract is not a bad idea either.

"Your realtor can put in the special provision of the contract that the offer expires at midnight," said Kaufman.

After the deadline, potential buyers must close on the home by the end of June. Recently homebuyers have found getting a loan to be difficult, but we are told the process is being streamlined, so getting a loan in 60 days is not impossible.

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