JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - More than five-million new homeowners purchased homes in 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. The NAR said home buyers are taking advantage of the government's first-time homebuyer credit program. The program allows first-time homebuyers to obtain $8,000 in tax credit.
"The first time homebuyer is eligible up to $8,000 tax credit if they purchase a home and close on it before November 30," said Michele Gibson with The Mortgage Source. "Even if you've owned a home but you've not owned a home within the last three years, you would still be eligible for this tax credit."
Gibson said realtors across Region 8 have sold a slightly higher number of homes to first-time buyers this year because of the tax credit program. Gibson said qualified applicants must close on their property before the deadline.
"We are at that point. If you think about it, everyone in the nation is trying to meet a deadline right now," said Gibson. "We expect November to be pretty much in the swell with everyone trying to meet the state."
Gibson said potential homeowners with an interest in purchasing a new home should fill out Form 5405. A copy of that form can be found here.
"You have to be able to qualify for the mortgage based on your income, credit and of course the appraisal of the home as well," said Gibson.
Gibson told Region 8 News some people have applied for the tax credit despite poor credit histories. She said people can check their credit history once a year for free. To check your credit history, click here.
"We do have some people that would like to try to buy; however, we have found that they would not meet the qualifications to obtain the mortgage necessary to get the tax credit," said Gibson.
To qualify for a first-time homebuyer credit, an individual must purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009, according to www.realtor.com. "To qualify as a "first-time home buyer" the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase."
"It might have went ahead and pushed people to go ahead and do this. Maybe they were thinking about it, but now with this, it kind of pushed them into the mode to take care of it," said Gibson.
According to realtors in the area Gibson has talked to, more properties are being foreclosed on this year compared to last year.
"We noticed just an increase in foreclosed properties and what we see is usually job curtailment or change in marital status," said Gibson. "If you don't have anything in the property, it's easier to walk away from the property than if you had some financial investment in it."