Government Column


You are currently reading an archive section.
To see the latest articles, please visit the homepage.

 Government 
994
comments

Making Home Affordable Mortgage Refinance & Modification Program

Farm House with Rising SunI’ve been hearing a lot about the government’s Making Home Affordable mortgage refinance program. Having looked at refinancing our mortgage a few months ago, but not pulling the trigger, I was interested to see if we could benefit from this program (we can’t, but that’s not a bad thing). It’s designed to help people get more favorable loan terms in scenarios where their home has lost value. A lot of lenders won’t refinance a loan if the value of your home is less than the loan amount, it’s simply a matter of math; this program looks to help alleviate some of that.

This program, introduced by the Obama Administration as part of the Financial Stability Plan, is estimated to help 7 to 9 million people. They estimate the Home Affordable Refinance Program will help 4 to 5 million and the Home Affordable Modification Program will help 3 – 4 million. What this means is that you should act quickly if you want your application processed quickly. The longer you wait to apply, the larger the backlog will grow, so let’s get to the program!

(click here to continue reading…)

 Government 
9
comments

Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar

2009 Louis Braille Silver Dollar - ProofAfter this morning’s post about cons, I thought I was getting conned when I started reading about the new 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar because I didn’t hear a single thing about it until today. Made me think of those Obama coins with a sticker on them! (don’t worry, these Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar coins are real)

(click here to continue reading…)

 Government 
4
comments

Beware Stimulus Check Scams

Stimulus Checks!I went to a conference of internet marketers a few weeks ago and spent some time learning from some of the best and the brightest in the industry. One of the things I came away with was the prevalence of “stimulus check” related scams that were floating around the web. I don’t think any of the people attending were involved in pushing these offers because the general consensus was that if you were involved, it was only a matter of time before the FTC dropped the hammer and penalized you heavily for your involvement.

Well, surprise surprise, the FTC released a consumer alert warning consumers about stimulus scams:
(click here to continue reading…)

 Government 
164
comments

$8,000 First Time Homebuyer’s Credit

Are you sitting down? Do you have a pen and paper handy? Looks like the $15,000 tax credit to buy a new home has been scrapped, saving $35 billion from the stimulus package, and replaced with an extension to the $7,500 and an increase of that credit to $8,000. The $7,500 first time homebuyer tax credit was set to expire July 1st, this $8,000 provision would extend that. CNNMoney is reporting that the credit is available for those who buy a home between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 1, 2009 (source).

The cost of the extension and modest increase is pegged at around $2-3 billion. Another key provision? The repayment requirement will be nixed. That means the $7,500 15-year loan at 0% interest will now become $8,000 cash money in your pocket. I believe existing borrowers would have that loan forgiven.

Home buyers who hoped for a $15,000 tax credit to buy a new home, as promised by the Senate, will be disappointed. A proposed $35 billion credit to support home sales was jettisoned in favor of a more modest $2 billion to $3 billion provision.

The proposal would eliminate the repayment requirement in an existing tax credit for first-time home buyers, and raise the credit to $8,000 from $7,500. Congressional aides cautioned Wednesday that the credit’s size was still subject to negotiation.

Congress Strikes $789 Billion Stimulus Deal [Wall Street Journal]

 Government 
117
comments

$15,000 Homebuyer Tax Break

Update 2/12: The $15,000 provision has been replaced by an $8,000 first-time home buyer credit, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Holy schmoly… the Senate just voted and included a $15,000 tax break to homebuyers!

It was an addition that Senate Republicans wanted in order to leave “their mark” on the economic stimulus package President Obama has called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. At an estimated cost of $19 billion, the $15,000 tax credit is very much like the $7,500 tax credit given to first time homebuyers. It will be a tax credit of 10% of the value of new or existing homes, up to a $15,000 limit and everyone would be eligible, not just first-time homebuyers (defined in the previous bill as someone who hadn’t owned a home in the last three years).

From a reader:

Check out the potential big changes to this credit…increased amount to $15,00, a proposed no repayment/recapture, plus a new 5% down payment requirement. Downside is it’s not really retroactive but meant for purchases after December 31st, 2008.

Original Rules:
IRS.gov

Proposed Amendment introduced today into the economic stimulus package (two pages of Congressional record when the amendment was introduced in the Senate, February 4th, 2009):
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2009_record&page=S1493&position=all
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2009_record&page=S1494&position=all

Absolutely stunning… you almost have to buy a house now.

 Government 
15
comments

American Recovery & Reinvestment Plan Details

The Committee on Appropriations released an executive summary on the details of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Plan, the formal name for President Obama’s stimulus package, and it’s thirteen pages long with a decent level of detail. First I’ll list the high level overview then point out some of the things that might affect you. If you’re curious about a stimulus check, it’s not in there.

(click here to continue reading…)

 Government 
11
comments

Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan: Economic Recovery Plan Details

1/15: The Committee on Appropriations just released the an executive summery of the details of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

Obama offered some more details on the economic recovery plan he plans to put forward to Congress after the inauguration in his weekly radio address today, a program he called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

Some of the salient details were that he wanted to plan to create three million new jobs, up from 2.5 million, and to :

  • double renewable energy production and make public buildings more energy efficient;
  • rebuild crumbling roads, bridges and schools; computerize the health care system; modernize classrooms, labs and libraries;
  • and provide tax breaks to American workers.

His advisers have estimated that the cost of the plan could be anywhere from $675 billion to $775 billion, while others expect it to be closer to $1 trillion. With how the government has been printing money lately, an extra $1 trillion, especially invested into programs that will help Americans stay employed and improve our infrastructure (rather than prop up banks and their epic failures), is better than the alternative. The question remains, will there be more pork stuffed in there or will this truly be a focused bill? We will have to see.

You can watch the address yourself (four minutes long):

Full transcript available here.

 Government 
7
comments

Fannie Lets Foreclosed Renters Stay

Foreclosure Averted!Fannie Mae announced today that it would allow thousands of tenants remain in foreclosed homes as long as they stayed current on their rent. About 4,000 renters signed new leases and were permitted to stay in their rentals even though the property’s owners had been foreclosed on. While it turns Fannie Mae into a landlord, something it’s probably ill-equipped to handle efficiently, it’s probably the first action they’ve done in a long time that has made people smile.

The reason they’re doing it is because it makes financial sense (and they were forced to do this by the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act). In a hot housing market, a foreclosed home can be sold fairly quickly. In the current housing market, foreclosures can sit for months, slowly (or quickly) eroding in value. By letting renters stay in those homes, instead of evicting them, Fannie Mae can leave those properties on auto-pilot and worry about the rest. Also, as someone who has considered buying rental properties, an occupied property is more valuable than a vacant one. It’s unorthodox but we live in challenging times.

I’m also glad renters aren’t getting screwed because their landlords were financially irresponsible. The renter shouldn’t be punished because the landlord made a mistake. I once knew a guy at one of my former employers who owned four homes during the housing boom. He would buy them with a low rate ARM, wait a few months, then use whatever equity he had built up to buy another. I used to hear me argue all the time on the phone with tenants about broken water heaters and I had no doubt he was a miserable landlord. Well, I heard now that all those properties are behind and now those tenants would probably be evicted.

One of the benefits of owning your home is control. When you own a home, you are in control. It may not seem like it sometimes but you truly do control your destiny, more so than if you are a renter. Unless you agreed to an ARM, your mortgage payment remains the same each year (it may go up because of taxes, but the principal and interest are the same). You won’t one day discover you have to move because your landlord was foreclosed.

That being said, I’m glad 4,000 families won’t have to be searching for a home in the winter. What do you all think of this?

(Photo: respres)

Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2014 by www.Bargaineering.com. All rights reserved.