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From Our Team: Do You Want to 'Move Up?' The Clock Is Running!

While you’ve probably heard a lot in the media about the government’s efforts to rejuvenate the housing market with the first-time home buyer tax credit, you might have missed the fact that the most recent expansion of the legislation also includes a $6,500 credit for current homeowners who want to purchase a new home…commonly referred to as “moving up.”
Our team has worked with many homeowners who have wanted to move to a new home over the past year, but have stayed put due to a lack of confidence in the market. Now, however, thanks to the tax advantages of the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, these homeowners are moving off the sidelines and purchasing the homes they’ve always wanted.
But the time to act is now—there is only a short window of opportunity! The move-up buyer credit expires in April of 2010, which means you must contract and close on your home purchase by June 30, 2010. As you know, selecting a home is not a simple process, so start your search now so you don’t miss the deadline.

For starters, here are the key facts you need to know about the move-up buyer tax credit:
1. A qualified current homeowner who wishes to move to a different home (a “move-up” buyer) must have owned and resided in their residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight. It’s not enough that you have been homeowners for five years—you must have been in the same home for five consecutive years.
2. Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with a joint income up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit. According to Goldman Sachs, these income limits make approximately 70% of current homeowners eligible for the credit.

3. The maximum credit amount for current homeowners is $6,500. Under the new legislation, a tax credit may only be issued for homes purchased for $800,000 or less.

4. Even though the term “move-up” is used to describe these buyers, the credit is not predicated on buying a home of higher value than your current home.

5. Move-up buyers are not required to sell their current home to qualify for the credit. They must reside in the new home for at least three years, but they can keep their existing home and either leave it vacated or use it for rental purposes.

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