7 Steps to get home buyer tax credit

By Marcie Geffner - Cyberhomes

The federal government has extended and expanded the popular home buyer tax credit, which is now worth up to $8,000 for buyers who haven’t owned a home in the previous three years or $6,500 for buyers who have occupied their current home for at least five consecutive years in the last eight.

The rules to qualify for the home buyer tax credit have become more complicated as the credit has been extended and expanded. To help ensure you’ll qualify, follow these seven steps:

Read on: http://www.cyberhomesmedia.net/content/news/09-12-11/home-buyer-tax-credit.aspx

GAO tells HUD, DOT to collaborate

By Marcie Geffner
Partnership for Sustainable Communities

The General Accounting Office (GAO) has some advice for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Develop a plan, develop another plan, and adopt a formal approach.

That’s a summary of the recommendations in a new GAO study, “Affordable Housing in Transit-Oriented Development: Key Practices that Could Enhance Recent Collaboration Efforts Between DOT-FTA and HUD.”

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Deed-for-lease lets former homeowners rent

By Marcie Geffner - Bankrate

Homeowners who can't afford their mortgage payment, but still want to live in their current home may be keen to learn more about Fannie Mae's new Deed for Lease program, which allows homeowners to sign a deed in lieu of foreclosure and then rent back their home and continue to live there.

The program, known as "D4L," is another option for homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure but aren't eligible for a loan modification, according to Fannie Mae Vice President Jay Ryan.

"This new program helps eliminate some of the uncertainty of foreclosure, keeps families and tenants in their homes during a transitional period and helps to stabilize neighborhoods and communities," Ryan said in a Nov. 5 statement.

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LED lights make holidays safer, brighter

By Marcie Geffner, Cyberhomes Contributor

Homeowners who are in the market for new Christmas lights might want to consider LED lights, which are more expensive, but offer many advantages over standard incandescent bulbs. These advantages are so great that LED lights may be one of the hottest trends of this holiday season.

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New rules for appraisals

Real estate appraisals aren’t new. Indeed, lenders have long required an appraiser’s opinion of a home’s value before they will approve a loan for a buyer to purchase that home. What is new, however, is that the rules that dictate how lenders order home appraisals have changed significantly this year.

The new rules, known as the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, or “HVCC,” became effective May 1, 2009, and apply to most, though not all, mortgages. The rules were intended to reduce appraisal fraud and help ensure that appraisers aren’t subjected to improper pressures to inflate the home’s value.

Accurate and credible appraisals are certainly a laudable goal, yet the new rules also have resulted in some unintended consequences.

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