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Timeline for the First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit

  • Time is running short for those who want to buy a home and take advantage of the homebuyer tax credit. To collect tax credit, buyers have to buy homes under contract by April 30. That means that buyer and seller must have signed the purchase contract by that date. After that, there is another deadline; the transaction should be closed by June 30. Don’t waste your time and start to hunt for the right house. Here is the timeline for you to know how long each step takes.

    March 1st

    Determine how much you can afford. Shop around and find the best mortgage rates. Find a mortgage lender, and understand what it takes now to qualify for the best rates. Get pre-qualified for a loan.

    March 15th

    Start shopping. Hire a real estate agent who will help you to get the best deal. He or she better understand all the terms and rates, and know the condition on the market at the moment. Moreover, he or she can recommend you the best home inspector, title insurance company and attorney in your area.

    March 22nd

    Start looking at homes that meet all your criteria. Ask your realtor to give you the information about the recent listings before go and see it. Try to find the perfect home as far as possible; in this case you will have more time if something goes wrong.

    March 29th

    Have access to the recent sales, list-to-close price ratios, local inventory and other fresh data. Once you find the right home for you, there are few days for negotiations for you to take the best deal.

    April 1st

    When you find a house that you like, start to organize a home inspection. Now you are under contract, be ready for the challenges that might appear. Don’t forget also about the Easter holiday, which may slow the process down, because many people are out of town at this time of the year.

    April 12th

    Be ready financially for the closing cost, such as title inspection, home inspection and other. Compare the prices for the services you need. In this case you may be able to get the services at a lower price.

    April 26th

    Get the deal done now. As the April 30 deadline nears, it will be harder to bargain with seller. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time.

    April 30th

    By this date the buyer and the seller must sign a valid purchase contract for the buyer to claim the credit.

    May 3rd

    Be ready for the down payment and escrow now.

    May 17th

    During this week make a closing appointment at your title company. Remember, closing costs are typically between 3 and 7 percent of your total purchase price. You must have money in cash for this purpose.

    June 1st

    If the purchase of your home is in order, it’s the perfect time for you to plan the move, decorating your future home and request a change of address.

    Use this timeline as a general guide and as motivation to take action quickly. The following dates aren’t ironclad; they may be changed because of your situation or location.

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