So far I like what I’ve seen from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) signed by President Obama last Tuesday. From a Tax perspective it appears to contain some very good relief for the average American citizen. Some of the highlights from the new plan include a new refundable credit of up to $800 for lower and middle income America. Unless you make more than 95k single or 190K MFJ, you should qualify for this credit.
Also included in the ARRA economic stimulus plan is an expanded Hope Credit. The new credit is called the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The new credit can be taken for all 4 years of college instead of the first two and has been increased to a maximum of $2500. The best part of this credit may be that up to 40% of the credit is refundable. This means that it can be added to your refund or perhaps even result in a refund even when the taxpayer would have otherwise owed. Also parents with Section 529 plans for their kid’s college will be happy to know that computers and Internet access are now considered qualified higher education expenses for purposes of the section 529 distributions.
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posted in Home Buying, Real Estate Market |
The Old E Baltimore project is finally moving again. The old contractor is out of the way, at least for now. The new guys have the deck, fencing exterior doors and most of the patch up work completed. The punch-out work can sometimes take just as much time as the larger projects. I must admit that the majority of the delay is due to my inability to get around. Getting back on my feet took several months and is still a work in progress. Health problems can derail a business, especially when you are the business. Make sure you plan for situations like these by having at least six months of mortgage payments in savings. Also look into purchasing long/short term disability.
The last items on the list are the range, refrigerator, gutters/down spouts, plumbing and cleanup. The plumbing work is a story all by itself. The problem is mostly due to the contractor’s use of the toilet even though it was not working. I’m not even sure if the toilet is any good, let alone the fact that the water isn’t even on in the house. The toughest part of this real estate investing business is working with contractors. If you have a weak stomach, find something else to do. Needless to say this will be a messy job for the next plumber. I sure hope he has a mask…
Next up on the list will be the city inspections, followed by the section 8 inspections. I’m sure I’ll have a whole new to do list soon.
posted in Old E Baltimore Project, contractors |
We’ve all heard the news that existing home sales in December 2009 surprisingly increased. Previously owned homes in the US increased 6.5% to a 4.74-million-unit annual sales rate, according to the National Association of Realtors. This was very surprising considering most analysts had predicted sales at a 4.40 million unit pace. Some analysts say that this could be a sign that the bottom is near., although the spark was mostly due to distressed foreclosure sales in states like California and Florida.
Not everyone agrees that the housing market is anywhere near the bottom. According to James R. Hagerty of the Wall Street Journal, economic indicators show that the housing market is not looking any better for spring 2009. Dave Johnson and James Boyce of the Huffington Post believes that there is another entirely new bubble on the horizon that they refer to as the double bubble.
It seems for every analyst predicting an upswing there is an antagonist waiting in the wings to disagree. Heck! That’s a 50/50 chance that it could swing either way. Those odds are a lot better than at this time last year.
posted in Real Estate Market, economy |
President Obama and Congress are finalizing an economic recovery bill that could be signed into law by next month. The bill has important implications for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).
The LIHTC is the nation’s largest, most successful affordable rental housing production program. But it has been hit hard by the financial crisis. Investment in the LIHTC fell from about $9 billion in 2007 to about $4-5 billion in 2008. It could drop even further in 2009.
Bringing the LIHTC program back to its full potential is one of the fastest ways to provide an economic stimulus while also assisting low-income working families, including victims of the foreclosure crisis.
The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is the nation’s largest and most successful affordable rental housing production program to date, financing more than two million homes since 1987 and about 120,000 annually in recent years. According to the National Council of State Housing Agencies, approximately 90 percent of all affordable rental housing is financed through the LIHTC. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, building 120,000 homes annually through the LIHTC supports 180,000 jobs annually.
posted in Charity, Financing, Real Estate Investing, economy |
Have a great day and don’t forget its National Service Day. This is a great opportunity to give in our communities. The current conditions have created a need for more families than at any point in most of our lifetimes. Let’s join President Obama and First Lady Michelle in this historic moment. God Bless!
2009 King Day of Service Will Be Largest Ever – 12,100 Projects and Counting!
Search for an event near you.
posted in Charity, economy |
Note to president Obama… Our current financial system doesn’t work! As if he really needed me to tell him that! The current mortgage meltdown and credit crisis should tell us all one thing for sure. We don’t know what the “h-e-double hockey sticks” we are doing in our financial markets. Many years ago there were no banks or brokers to create this mess. Banks served a great purpose in building our country to what it is/was. But maybe its time that we do something different or in this case do it again but better. What I am referring to is people investing in other people not banks. Today this concept is commonly referred to as Peer to Peer lending.
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posted in Financing, economy |
According to three researches at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the 2005 bankruptcy law is another contributor to our economy in crisis. The article states that prior to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, homeowners were able to file Chapter 7 liquidation. This allowed them to continue to pay their mortgages while freeing themselves of unsecured (not asset backed) debt. You can red the rest of the article here.
posted in Mortgages, Real Estate Market, economy |
By now we all should know how our country got into this economic depression. Anyone who doesn’t know isn’t paying attention. Yes I did call it a depression just like I called it a recession before it was official. It’s not just me either. However, if you don’t know how it happened, here is my condensed list:
- Mortgage Brokers
- Mortgage Secondary Market
- Investment bankers
- Bernie Maydoff (yes he gets his own category)
- The Feds
- White House
- Past Presidents
- New Home Builders
- Real Estate Investors
- Hedge Fund Managers
- Media Outlets
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posted in Financing, Mortgages, Real Estate Market |
Sales of pending US homes dropped to a new low in November. According to the National Association Of Realtors (NAR), signed contracts in November dropped 4.0 percent to 82.3. This is the lowest level since 2001. Economists expected a 0.1 percent drop, so that should tell you just how far off the mark they are.
posted in Real Estate Market |
Yeah! comments are back! Akismet is a life saver for Wordpress blogs, along with many others blog engines I’m sure. Comment Spam on the blog-sphere is out of control! I had over 11,000 spam comments in the queue. How ridiculous is that? Well thankfully I rediscovered this plug-in so we can get back to some meaningful conversation. Thanks guys at Akismet! Now if I can only find the time to post articles again…
posted in Uncategorized |