$15, 000 Homebuyer Tax Credit

Big news tonight… The Senate just voted to give a tax credit of up to $15, 000 to homebuyers check federal income tax. While I haven’t found details of the proposed implementation, I know that Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia was pushing for a larger credit that would be available to all buyers of a primary residence, not just first-time homebuyers. He also wanted to extend the eligibility period to December 31, 2009 and waive the repayment requirement. I’ll update when I know more.

Update: From Isakson’s press release:

Specifically, Isakson’s amendment to the pending economic stimulus bill would provide a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who purchases any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15, 000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid.

The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principle residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7, 500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

So… It sounds like that people who already bought might be out of luck. This reads like they’ll be subject to the rules that were in place when they bought. It’s still possible, of course, that the repayment requirement on the $7500 tax credit will be waived. Of course, none of this means anything until it’s actually signed into law.

Update: The Senate version of the $15, 000 homebuyer credit has been removed from the stimulus package.

Update: Looks like it will be an $8, 000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

242 Responses to “$15, 000 Homebuyer Tax Credit”

  1. Anonymous

    Credit or no credit….Now, if only we would send the capitalist pigs that made the real estate market a derivative market go to prison…one can dream. And perhaps the taxpayers should be punished to some degree, we all bought into the fantasy of money for nothing.

  2. Anonymous

    I need help with my home, If I don’t find away to get 15,000 my home will be foreclosed. I got divorced and the economy got bad and I got behind on my mortgage. I’ve been in my home 18 yrs. This is the only home my two boys have every lived in. I have tried to do this on my own and failed, I need help. So I hope this include the poor and middle class working people. Sometimes individuals need to be bailed out like big companies. So help people like me who want to keep their homes from foreclosure. Tax breaks are good but I need help now.

  3. Anonymous

    I think this is great! We just bought our home in June and it is nice to know that we have something to look forward to when we file next year.

  4. Anonymous

    Yes, it is actually true. Read the earlier posts – all the details are already in those posts. It’s all there. There’s nothing more.

  5. Anonymous

    Lauren – There actually is no $15,000 credit anymore, the bill was not approved. An $8,000 credit was approced for 2009 homebuyers that does not have to be repaid. For the 2008 homebuyers, right now there is the $7,500 credit that has to be repaid and no other options.

  6. Anonymous

    We bought our first house at the end of April 2008, I know that i qualify for the $7,500 that we have to start paying back in 2 years $500 each year for 15…but can I qualify for more money? The $15,000 is that only for the first time home buyers in 2009? Is it possible that i could qualify for the $15,000? I am a little confused and it doesn’t seem like there is enough info out about this yet? and if i don’t qualify for the 15,000 do i still have to pay back the $7,500….????????

  7. Anonymous

    Shawn: based on the info you gave, it appears that you may not have to pay it back (under current rules). I interpret it that you can’t sell it in the year you bought it and if you can demonstrate to the IRS that you didn’t profit (but remember, the cost basis on your house is lowered by $7,500 (or less if you already paid the IRS back an amount) – so if you bought for 200,000 – the cost basis is 192,500 (without other adjustments to the basis)) upon the sale, then you might be ok. Sorry about all of the parentheticals!

  8. Anonymous

    And one of those powers specifically delegated to the Congress is the power to legislate taxes…which is exactly what they are doing.

    You’re working rather hard to avoid facts that don’t support your opinion, e.g. “the mob rule of the majority vote” ? Would you prefer the mob rule of the minority vote? Ranting is fun till someone disagrees with you. I understand that you are upset about not being selected as an instrumentality of the government’s efforts – so are many, if not most, folks reading and posting here, including me. But your irrelevant (to this discussion) reference to equal opportunity suggests that you have a wide variety of fundamental disagreements with this administration rather than simply the Congress. It’s our right to be able to express our opinions freely, but that right doesn’t mean that others cannot point out logical inconsistencies in those opinions.

  9. Anonymous

    to summarize the text- senate version is eliminated – they basically take the current law ($7,500 interest free loan) and make the following changes:

    For homes purchased by first time homeowners (defined as not having lived in an owned house in three years prior to purchase) AFTER December 31, 2008 and before december 1st 2009:
    Increase credit from $7,500 to $8,000
    Wave the requirement to repay

  10. Anonymous

    Tyler, thanks.. that’s what I assumed, but I am okay with that. When I took it, I originally assumed I would be paying it back, so no surprises there. I should be able to lower my mortgage interest rate from 6.5 to 5.0 and pay off the few thousand I owe on a vehicle loan. In total this years federal tax return should stimulate my own personal economy to the tune of about $600/Mo. so I won’t complain about paying it back.


  11. Anonymous

    Robert – the money you already received is yours – you WILL have to pay it back at $500 a year for 15 years starting two years from now. The new bill (as it stands)only takes the current law, and changes it for homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 – and gives those people who purchased after January 1, 2009 $8000 instead of $7,500 and then waives the need to pay back the money as long as you stay in the house for three years…

  12. Anonymous

    So .. is the $7500 credit that we have to pay back still in effect? I bought a home in August 08, and I took advantage of that interest free loan on this years tax return. The Fed’s have already put that $7500 in my bank account, I don’t need anyone knocking on the door tomorrow asking for it back, I plan to use that cash to refi this week.



  13. Anonymous

    Ok, I’m done after this. I obviously didn’t expect to change anyone’s mind so there’s no point in going back and forth forever.


    The Constitutition is in place to specifically protect citizens from the mob rule of the majority vote. The power of congress is not just limited to its ability to gain a majority vote on a bill and a signature from a President. It’s powers are strictly limited to those enumerated in the Constitution.


    Dear God, man. “The fundamental objective of our government is to ‘provide for the general welfare'”? Noooo, it is not. The phrase you’re looking for is “Promote the general welfare”. The difference was not lost on the founders. Equal opportunity is guaranteed, its up to you to do something with it. And again, the government’s power to “promote the general welfare” is limited to those specifically enumerated.

  14. Anonymous

    Can someone please answer this?? Another quick question for anyone. I purchased a house in september of 2008. Say I took the first time homebuyer credit of 7500 but then sold my house this spring for what I piad for it or a slight loss, which I may have to because of relocation. Would I have to the 7500 back or since I didn’t make a profit I could keep it to pay for some of the selling fees. I looked at the IRS website which outlines this but it says if you sell it before the end of the year you must pay it back even if you didn’t make a profit. What it doesn’t say though is what year. Is it the year that you purchases the house. This is the way that i read it so if I bought a house in 2008 and sold it for a loss in 2009 I don’t have to pay it back???

  15. Anonymous


    On Monday I was going to receive a $15,000 refund – now – zip. C’est la guerre ; )

    The fundamental objective of our government is to “provide for the general welfare” of its citizens. Right now, there is a crisis, (regardless of what or who caused it) that can only be solved by stimulating the economy by increasing government spending. That spending, through the “multiplier effect”, stimulates many different sectors of the economy. In a democratic capitalist economy, by definition, some citizens or entities e.g. banks, must become the recipients of that spending in order to “prime the pump”. Our “comfort level” with the process is based on our knowledge and agreement with the proposition that some citizens, by dint of their own efforts AND the government’s needs, must become the instrumentalities of the government’s efforts to thus “provide for the general welfare”. The alternative; increasing government spending through government owned “means of production” failed globally in the late 80’s. Democratic capitalism is a terrible way to run an economy, except for all the alternatives. ; )

  16. Anonymous

    Here is the latest:
    Per LA Times

    First-time home-buyers could qualify for an $8,000 tax credit.

    The credit is slightly larger than the $7,500 credit in existing law, but it is substantially less than a proposal in the Senate bill that would have boosted the credit to $15,000 and broadened the eligibility.

    In addition, the compromise bill waives a requirement that the tax credit be repaid. The credit applies only to homes bought between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of this year.

    Homeowners who install new doors, windows or furnaces to make their home more energy efficient would be able to get as much as $1,500 back through new tax breaks.

  17. Anonymous

    Mike, I agree and well said and maybe you should re-read the forum , many people agree with you. So your “Every comment on this board has completely missed the mark. ” is not acurate.

  18. Anonymous

    Then don’t have kids if it costs so much and the truth is what I pay in federal withholding is only the amount I can get back so I’m just getting to keep my money

  19. Anonymous

    Those of us with children aren’t getting your tax money. We are getting some of our money back. Do you have any idea what it costs to raise a child? If you want the money have some kids. And quit complaining.

  20. Anonymous

    Every comment on this board has completely missed the mark.

    My question to everyone that is so excited about receiving this credit is, “Would you feel comfortable knocking on your neighbors door and asking him/her for $15,000 for you to buy a house?” Your answer should be, “Of course not. That’s too much money, why would they be required to pay for my new house?” So, then let’s spread it around a little. Instead of asking your next door neighbor for the entire $15,000, what if you went to 50 of your extended neighbors and asked for $300 for your new house. Your answer should still be “That’s too much money, why would they be required to pay for my new house?”

    Yet, look at everyone on this board that would take my money and every other American tax payer’s money to buy a new house. How can you explain this comfort level? Why am I responsible for buying your new house? What article, section, or clause of the Constitution allows Congress to take from one citizen or group of citizens to provide a private good for service to another citizen? In fact, the Constitution specifically forbids involuntary servitude. And isn’t that what this is? I am forced to provide my funds to the federal government for your home purchase. Am I not then forced to serve you?

    It is scary to me that an infringement of government of this magnitude doesn’t even raise any of these questions from any the previous posters.

  21. Anonymous

    wow, that is crazy…. since $0 down, $0 closing is long gone how else would the govt expect people to consider buying a home if they now get rid of the 7500 and/or the 15k in the market we’re in….ginger best of luck to u and your family, i hope they do keep the original plan too. i have two friends who are home shopping now and i’d hate for them to lose out on that deal. homebuyers will stimulate the economy. they will buy buy buy once they get into their home….i have to agree with jason, help the unethical billionaires on wall street but not the hardworking americans who need it….

  22. Anonymous

    Yep, looks like the $15k is likely to be wiped out, as they have pared the stimulus package down to $789 billion.
    I wonder if the $7500 will remain in effect until July, as originally planned? I hate to be a whiner, but it would really be a big blow to my family… we are closing 2/27, and would miss out on a tax free loan by less than 2 weeks. We were planning to use the money to make repairs, buy furniture, etc… and isn’t that the idea of stimulus?

  23. Anonymous

    According to the report I just saw on Yahoo the whole 15,000 plan has been nixed. If thats true it would not suprise me. Why help the little man when the billionaires need help. I love this government.

  24. Anonymous

    Just saw this on CNN. But it is Rumored the “$15,000 Tax Credit” in the Senate will not remain exactly as is (you know, as seemingly everyone on here said it wouldn’t). Looks like they are really trying to get the whole package under $800 billion.

    “A Democratic source also said a plan to offer tax credits to homebuyers that is in the Senate bill will be scaled back to make room for House priorities, and a Senate proposal to offer tax incentives to buyers of American-built cars will be nixed.” – CNN

  25. Anonymous

    Folks, here the text of the actual Amendment. BTW , nothing about 5% down at all…


    SA 106. Mr. ISAKSON (for himself and Mr. LIEBERMAN) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 98 proposed by Mr. INOUYE (for himself and Mr. BAUCUS) to the bill H.R. 1, making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and

    [Page: S1442] GPO’s PDF

    local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    Strike section 1006 of title I of Division B and insert the following:


    (a) Allowance of Credit.–Subpart A of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 is amended by inserting after section 25D the following new section:


    “(a) Allowance of Credit.–

    “(1) IN GENERAL.–In the case of an individual who is a purchaser of a qualified principal residence during the taxable year, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter an amount equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of the residence.

    “(2) DOLLAR LIMITATION.–The amount of the credit allowed under paragraph (1) shall not exceed $15,000.

    “(3) ALLOCATION OF CREDIT AMOUNT.–At the election of the taxpayer, the amount of the credit allowed under paragraph (1) (after application of paragraph (2)) may be equally divided among the 2 taxable years beginning with the taxable year in which the purchase of the qualified principal residence is made.

    “(b) Limitations.–

    “(1) DATE OF PURCHASE.–The credit allowed under subsection (a) shall be allowed only with respect to purchases made–

    “(A) after December 31, 2008, and

    “(B) before January 1, 2010.

    “(2) LIMITATION BASED ON AMOUNT OF TAX.–In the case of a taxable year to which section 26(a)(2) does not apply, the credit allowed under subsection (a) for any taxable year shall not exceed the excess of–

    “(A) the sum of the regular tax liability (as defined in section 26(b)) plus the tax imposed by section 55, over

    “(B) the sum of the credits allowable under this subpart (other than this section) for the taxable year.

    “(3) ONE-TIME ONLY.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–If a credit is allowed under this section in the case of any individual (and such individual’s spouse, if married) with respect to the purchase of any qualified principal residence, no credit shall be allowed under this section in any taxable year with respect to the purchase of any other qualified principal residence by such individual or a spouse of such individual.

    “(B) JOINT PURCHASE.–In the case of a purchase of a qualified principal residence by 2 or more unmarried individuals or by 2 married individuals filing separately, no credit shall be allowed under this section if a credit under this section has been allowed to any of such individuals in any taxable year with respect to the purchase of any other qualified principal residence.

    “(c) Qualified Principal Residence.–For purposes of this section, the term `qualified principal residence’ means a single-family residence that is purchased to be the principal residence of the purchaser.

    “(d) Denial of Double Benefit.–No credit shall be allowed under this section for any purchase for which a credit is allowed under section 36 or section 1400C.

    “(e) Special Rules.–


    “(A) MARRIED INDIVIDUALS FILING SEPARATELY.–In the case of 2 married individuals filing separately, subsection (a) shall be applied to each such individual by substituting `$7,500′ for `$15,000′ in subsection (a)(1).

    “(B) UNMARRIED INDIVIDUALS.–If 2 or more individuals who are not married purchase a qualified principal residence, the amount of the credit allowed under subsection (a) shall be allocated among such individuals in such manner as the Secretary may prescribe, except that the total amount of the credits allowed to all such individuals shall not exceed $15,000.

    “(2) PURCHASE.–In defining the purchase of a qualified principal residence, rules similar to the rules of paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1400C(e) (as in effect on the date of the enactment of this section) shall apply.

    “(3) REPORTING REQUIREMENT.–Rules similar to the rules of section 1400C(f) (as so in effect) shall apply.

    “(f) Recapture of Credit in the Case of Certain Dispositions.–

    “(1) IN GENERAL.–In the event that a taxpayer–

    “(A) disposes of the principal residence with respect to which a credit was allowed under subsection (a), or

    “(B) fails to occupy such residence as the taxpayer’s principal residence,

    at any time within 24 months after the date on which the taxpayer purchased such residence, then the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year during which such disposition occurred or in which the taxpayer failed to occupy the residence as a principal residence shall be increased by the amount of such credit.

    “(2) EXCEPTIONS.–

    “(A) DEATH OF TAXPAYER.–Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any taxable year ending after the date of the taxpayer’s death.

    “(B) INVOLUNTARY CONVERSION.–Paragraph (1) shall not apply in the case of a residence which is compulsorily or involuntarily converted (within the meaning of section 1033(a)) if the taxpayer acquires a new principal residence within the 2-year period beginning on the date of the disposition or cessation referred to in such paragraph. Paragraph (1) shall apply to such new principal residence during the remainder of the 24-month period described in such paragraph as if such new principal residence were the converted residence.

    “(C) TRANSFERS BETWEEN SPOUSES OR INCIDENT TO DIVORCE.–In the case of a transfer of a residence to which section 1041(a) applies–

    “(i) paragraph (1) shall not apply to such transfer, and

    “(ii) in the case of taxable years ending after such transfer, paragraph (1) shall apply to the transferee in the same manner as if such transferee were the transferor (and shall not apply to the transferor).

    “(D) RELOCATION OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES.–Paragraph (1) shall not apply in the case of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty who moves pursuant to a military order and incident to a permanent change of station.

    “(3) JOINT RETURNS.–In the case of a credit allowed under subsection (a) with respect to a joint return, half of such credit shall be treated as having been allowed to each individual filing such return for purposes of this subsection.

    “(4) RETURN REQUIREMENT.–If the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year is increased under this subsection, the taxpayer shall, notwithstanding section 6012, be required to file a return with respect to the taxes imposed under this subtitle.

    “(g) Basis Adjustment.–For purposes of this subtitle, if a credit is allowed under this section with respect to the purchase of any residence, the basis of such residence shall be reduced by the amount of the credit so allowed.

    “(h) Election to Treat Purchase in Prior Year.–In the case of a purchase of a principal residence during the period described in subsection (b)(1), a taxpayer may elect to treat such purchase as made on December 31, 2008, for purposes of this section.”.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.–The table of sections for subpart A of part IV of subchapter A of chapter 1 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 25D the following new item:

    “Sec..25E..Credit for certain home purchases.”.

    (c) Sunset of Current First-Time Homebuyer Credit.–

    (1) IN GENERAL.–Subsection (h) of section 36 is amended by striking “July 1, 2009” and inserting “the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009”.

    (2) ELECTION TO TREAT PURCHASE IN PRIOR YEAR.–Subsection (g) of section 36 is amended by striking “July 1, 2009” and inserting “the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009”.

    (d) Effective Date.–The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008.

  26. Anonymous

    Another quick question for anyone. I purchased a house in september of 2008. Say I took the first time homebuyer credit of 7500 but then sold my house this spring for what I piad for it or a slight loss, which I may have to because of relocation. Would I have to the 7500 back or since I didn’t make a profit I could keep it to pay for some of the selling fees. I looked at the IRS website which outlines this but it says if you sell it before the end of the year you must pay it back even if you didn’t make a profit. What it doesn’t say though is what year. Is it the year that you purchases the house. This is the way that i read it so if I bought a house in 2008 and sold it for a loss in 2009 I don’t have to pay it back???

  27. Anonymous

    Ginger & Robin,

    I am right with you on the 5% down payment stipulation. I did not hear about it until today. It will be nice to see the dust settle and have some real answers.

    We are looking to buy/close on a house in April of this year. This rebate would be fantastic. We would be doing it under a FHA 3.5% down payment, so if there is the 5% stipulation to get it then no go for us.

  28. Anonymous

    The tax credit was doubled after 8 months only. Shows the sorry state of the housing market. With median home price in the USA aroun $160K, the government is essentially paying the downpayment. Yet people don’t have the confidence to buy.

  29. Anonymous


    That would be true if everyone who bought a home were selling a home, but that is not the case. For one, there is a population of buyers who are currently renting. This added incentive along with the low prices of homes would motivate them to stop renting and begin buying. For two, there are people who earn enough to meet the new FHA guidelines who can rent out their homes and buy another, meaning they can qualify for a new home loan by being able to afford the old and new mortgage. So there are two populations of people who are potential buyers without selling their homes.

  30. Anonymous


    As it stands now with the Senate version, you would not be eligible for the 7,500 “loan” and that credit is “sunsetted” upon the enaction of the 15,000 credit. Thus, you only would be eligible for the 15,000 credit. If you already don’t pay any taxes, then you’re already receiving scot-free what most of the rest of us have to pay for (defense, entitlements, infrstructure, everything that keeps this country functioning, etc). Consider yourself lucky. As if currently stands, if you contribute zip as a non-taxpayer, you get nothing.

  31. Anonymous

    We are buying a house with a close date of March 20th. We don’t mind if we get the $7,500 and have to repay it back because it helps us right now. The $15,000 on the other hand would not help us because it will only zero out any debt owed on taxes… well we never owe anything, so we would get nothing out of it. Also, if they “sunset” the $7,500 Credit then we will not be eligible for that either! Is anyone in the same boat? Do you think we will still be able to claim the $7,500 credit anyways? Thanks in advance!

  32. Anonymous

    The Wall Street Journal online has a great blog explaining the two versions of the tax credit. It goes into details. I think this blog will be help

    As far as stimulating demand for housing is concerned, the prior and current tax credit legislation is geared toward the elmination of excess housing units. Real value creation and increased demand for housing will come over time due to real uninflated economic growth.

    Once the tax credit expires, what will the housing market do? Unless the economy grows due to value creation (i.e. not “stimulating” the economy by Congress paying twice the acutal cost for something like a hammer or a road) real increases in demand and value for housing will be stymied.

    Housing growth is a reflection of real wealth creation and is not a primary driver of real economic growth. This is why borrower “quality” is back in fashion.

    I’m not against the tax credits to elminate excess supply to stabilize a builder’s balance sheet and liquid working capital position, but you need combine it with a long term lower tax policy to spur real economic growth and future housing value and demand.

  33. Anonymous

    I agree with Cindy Girl, that there is a possibility in the future that re-payment will be forgiven for thos who bought in 2008. It would be tough to sort out who has to repay and who does not, especially seeing you can claim the $7,500 tax credit on your 2008 taxes even if you bought in 2009. If this was not allowed it would be easier to determine who has to repay, it would be anyone who claimed it on the 2008 taxes.

    It is going to help me out a lot if I have to repay or not repay, so I am taking it regardless. I have seen some articles that do feel all repayment will be forgiven, just going to have to wait and see.

  34. Anonymous

    Looking to buy a home? Ask your lender about the USDA Rural Home Development loan. It’s an FHA loan, 30 yr. fixed, NO PMI, no points, requires no money down, closing costs into the loan, and around 6% for int. rate Google this and find out your rural areas. This loan program has been around for 20+ yrs. but has just gained in popularity. Then get your $15K tax credit! 🙂 Hope this helps someone.

  35. Anonymous

    All – I believe there is always a possibility that, sometime in the future, repayment will be forgiven. I think, given its refundable nature, the Senate won’t “buy” the House version (which includes forgiveness for those buying after Jan 1 – this was before the Senate’s $15,000 credit, though). I think the Senate thinks this Bill is expensive enough and won’t add any more dollars to it. Also, it would become severely complicated and difficult to oversee (for the IRS, that is) to require some repayment of the 7500 merely upon date of home purchased. (although I suppose the government is much more effective when taking money FROM taxpayers as opposed to giving it back). I just think that the Senate version will be the one to become law – just my opinion. If you are eligible, could use the “loan” and don’t mind the fact that your refund will decrease (or amount of tax owed increased) by $500 yearly, then I would take it. Now, I wouldn’t, as some on other blogs suggest, take it if you’re not eligible. I’ve heard that many people who have filed for it, are being reviewed and some audited. I think the IRS will focus on this and the $15,000 credit and if you’ve claimed it and are not eligible – well, I hope you have alot of savings to use for attorneys’ fees.

  36. Anonymous

    Gaze –

    I am in the same situation as you, as I bought in 2008. I really do not think the $15,000 change will be retroactive to 2008 purchases. I am going to claim the credit as is when I do my taxes and if they waive the re-payment when the final bill is done, all the better for me.

    If for some reason they do make the $15,000 retroactive to 2008 purchases, I am sure you’ll be able to submit an amendment to your 2008 Tax Return.

  37. Anonymous

    As a first time homebuyer in mid 2008, is there any reason I SHOULDN’T claim the $7500 as it stands now? The way I look at it, the purchasing power of the dollar is only going to go down. $7500 today is worth more than $500/year will be over the next 15 years.

    I feel like the best case scenerio for me is that they wave the repayment. I don’t think there’s any reason to believe they will expand the $15,000 window to include those who purchased in mid 2008.

    So claiming the $7500 today seems to be the best bet, right?

  38. Anonymous


    As it stands now, if you elect to take the $15,000 credit (once you buy a new primary home) instead of the $7,500 “credit” (for the previous “first-time home you bought in 2008), and you have a tax liability of $9,000 (after all other deductions and eligible credits), then it appears you would get a refund of $9,000. If you, instead, took the $7,500 (for the 2008 home), it appears you would receive a $10,500 check (but with repayments starting in 2010 for the $7,500, I believe). With the 15,000 credit, you could then “carryover” the remainder of the unused $15,000 credit ($6,000, I believe based on your post) and use it for your 2009 taxes (depending on whether you would have any tax liability in 2009). But, fo course, this credit is not even law yet and could be drastically altered, and I’m not a tax person so my assumptions could be wrong. However, If I were eligible for the $15,000 (once enacted)(which I am not) and had sufficient tax liability (which I won’t because I have to use up an adoption credit), I certainly would use it if I was in the market for a new home, found the right home at the right price at the right interest rate, etc. I certainly would not run out and buy a home just because of this credit – but if the stars aligned, so to speak, it would be a wonderful added benefit.

  39. Anonymous

    I think one of the reasons that people think neither the 7500 or the 15000 credits will help is that many banks have tightened up their lending standards (where they should have been all along, IMO) that many/most will not be able to qualify. FHA is fine but typically is at least 1/2 % higher than conventional loan interest rates – then you have the issue of PMI with anything less than 20% down. Combined with the vast (and ever-increasing) job losses and the fact that most took a severe beating to their investments (if they have any), it’s a more complicated issue than just injecting the market with an additional 15,000. Those would are “qualified” and have enough tax liability certainly will benefit from this – however, since the real estate market/industry was so overbuilt and shall we say “bloated” over the last 10 years, it is very unclear whether any measure(s) will be able to overcome the vast overbuilding and overbuying that took place. And then we have the domino effect of other industries that “benefitted” from this bloatedness – home improvement stores, furniture, etc – will continue to feel a severe tightening because the economy is “losing weight” and constricting to, maybe, where it should have been all along before the economy (and many of Americans) started living financial lies. Anyway, enough of my blathering – these are troubling times and I’m afraid we haven’t seen the worst yet. 🙁

  40. Anonymous


    Explain to me why you think that this will not help home prices.

    Home prices are low currently because no one is buying homes due to the credit crunch. When homes are not selling sellers are forced to lower their prices in an attempt to make buying attractive. If the government adds a monetary incentive for buyers, buyers will start buying again. Once buyers begin buying again Sellers will be able to sell their homes for more for the simple fact that buyers are being given an incentive. Buyers are no longer just looking at low home prices, but at historically low interest rates and large tax credits. So I’m not sure why you say that this home stimulus will not help home prices.

  41. Anonymous


    I believe I have until the middle of april to officially submit my taxes for 2008 so i could wait and see. I would sell my house that I bought in September which I know I could sell fast and break even on even with the real estate comissions because of the deal that I got, however the new house would be a better deal. Help me clarify the 15,000 credit. Lets say my wife and I combined had 9,000 of Federal taxes tacken out of our paycheck in 2008. We will get a return of 3,000 back when we fianlly submit them. If I understand the 15,000 credit right we would get all of the 9,000 back that was withheld from us? And then the remaining amount we could use the next year?

  42. Anonymous

    Two questions. 1.I have a proposed close date in mid March and have qualified for a FHA loan. As many of you know the required down payment is 3.5 %. I read somewhere that in order to take advantage pf the 15k, a minimum of 5% must be out down. Any truth to this? 2. I read that the funds can be monitized so that they can be available at time of close, how can I go about this? Thanks.

  43. Anonymous

    Hi Shawn:

    I think you and your wife should do whatever you feel is in your best interest. The $7,500 loan is fully refundable but as it stands, now at least, there is a 15-year repayment plan unless, as you have pointed out, certain circumstances occur (i.e. death, selling house for no profit, etc). The advantage is that you receive the $7,500 all at once and on top of any refund you’re already due. You don’t have to start paying in back (in $500 yearly increments until 2010, I believe). But it’s only an interest-free loan. The proposed $15,000 tax credit is not refundable and can only be offset by your total federal tax liability. So maybe you should look at a couple of previous tax returns and see what, if any, remaining tax liability you and your wife had. The $15,000 proposed credit may be better as you could use the credit over a two-year period and you don’t have to pay this back. However, you are assuming that you will be able to qualify for another mortgage, etc and close before the time the $15,000 credit ends (now slated to end 1-year after enactment). There is a chance that the Senate and House will agree on something else as the $15,000 credit is not final. You do know that you qualify for the $7,500 for the house you recently purchased (as a first-timer) – that won’t change. You might want to wait a little to see what the final version of the Home Buyer credit will be and then reaccess your best options. However, you are in the best position to evaluate your individual circumstances and I wish you best in whatever course you take! 🙂

  44. Anonymous

    Maino: It looks like we will have to pay it back. We closed Nov. 08. At least we get something.

    *My parents closed Sept. 08 and were not considered 1st time home buyers, so they get nothing. It’s very frustrating to hear stories of so many left out in the cold here. Why doesn’t our gov’t just print out some Willy Wonka candy bars with golden tickets for crying out loud. What will they come up with next!? Like someone said, what is going to happen when this credit expires? My husband works in health ins. and we found out today that no one will be getting a raise this year. Merit increases go into effect in Apr. His company will re-evaluate in Oct. Obama’s FEAR campaign trail is sure working! Yes, we are thankful he has a job, but who knows what Obama has up his sleeve for healthcare! I was told today at a local Dr’s office that they will no longer be getting samples of Tylenol or ibuprofen… this is insane!


  45. Anonymous



  46. Anonymous

    The problem for me is that I am locked into a low rate only until next Thursday. Based on the difference between my rate and the rate we were quoted today it is a wash. We don’t know what the rate will be next week. It being a wash we would rather have that money now but there is no guarantee this will pass by the end of the month and our lease is up then.

  47. Anonymous

    i think the 7500 is a better deal. my take on it is that the 7500 benefits the lower income/working class more and the 15k benefits the people who make more than most Americans. U will get more UP FRONT with the 7500 and the ability to do what u need to do with your new home. do the math. of course, u just can’t mind repaying it the next 15yrs. READ TYLER & BILL’S posts, they are on the money & helpful for those who still do not understand. Heather who pd 15k in taxes should wait until the 15k bill passes.

    with the 7500, your downpymt with an FHA is 3.5% + closing costs, BUT you get your refund of 800 + 7500.

    with the 15k, your downpymt is 5% + closing costs BUT you only get up to a 15k TAX credit, in your given example if your refund is the same in 2008 and 2009, you only get back a total of 1600 over 2 tax years (you mentioned a 800 refund for ’08).

  48. Anonymous

    cindy girl,

    My tax guy did my taxes on Saturday but I have not signed the document to officially complete them. Do you recomend that I wait and keep them on hold until I know exactly what I am doing even if it is until the end of march so i don’t loose the opportunity for the $15,000.

  49. Anonymous

    HA! Welcome to the club. I’m not a first time homebuyer so I don’t get the 7500 and I am closing on Friday so I may miss the 15,000 by a day or so.

    You win some you lose some!

  50. Anonymous

    It appears that I cannot use either credit – boy it sucks to miss this $7500 (or 3750 for single filers) by just 14 days.

    By closing mid March 2008 – it looks like I’ll get no relief from this package.

    damn it….. oh well – least I have a nice home, although they screwed up my taxes – now I have negative escrow so my payments are going on… morons.

  51. Anonymous

    Hi Shawn:

    As the Senate Bill currently stands, you cannot take advantage of both the 7,500 credit and the $15,000 credit. Since you’ve already filed for the $7,500, I believe you’re out of luck with the $15,000. Now, you might be able to amend your 2008 taxes and no longer request the $7,500 “loan.” You’d have to talk to your tax professional about that one though. However, if you’ve already received the $7,500, I beleive you’re out of luck. 🙁

  52. Anonymous

    ok – so if I understand it – I purchased my first home (after years of saving and scrimping) in March 2008 – missed the April 1 deadline by 14 days.

    Is there ANY Tax credit/assistance for home owners in the same boat as I am?

  53. Anonymous

    Can someone explain what would happen if I did this… I am a first time homebuyer and my wife and I purchased a house in September of 2008. i just did my taxes and took the $7,500 credit. I just got a call and may be interested in selling the house that I just bought and buying a new one that I could get a good deal on. Would I be able to get the $15,000 credit on the house I would buy this spring and would I have to pay the 7,500 back if I didn’t make a profit on my house that I bought in september? How would this work? Thanks in advance.

  54. Anonymous

    all this info has been great. I closed on April 30, 2008, so I will be claiming the $7,500 refundable tax credit when I do my taxes.

    One question I do have and I thought I saw it somewhere once that I could not itemize my deductions and still claim the credit. Does anyone know that when I claim the credit using the 1040 (attaching schedule A) and 5405 forms, am I able to itemize my deductions and claim the $7,500 credit?

    Thanks in advance.

  55. Anonymous

    Tyler – again, Rangel’s proposal assumed the First-Time Homebuyer statute would remain in effect. His proposal amends it by rescinding the repayment obligations, changing dates and requiring a three year stay in the residence. That was before a whole new $15,000 statute was introduced which included provisions to sunset the 7,500 statute and amend dates to coincide with the enactment of the $15,000 statute. In order for the repayment amendment to remain valid, it has to be included in the provisions of the $15,000 statute which replaces the 7500 statute. If Congress puts those provisions in the $15,000 statute then the no repayment provision remains alive, if not it’s dead – no intent to argue but that is how statutes work – Rangel’s provision cannot and will not exist independently of the $15,000 statute. Look, I qualify if the repayment provision is rescinded but I have alot of experience in statutory interpretation and drafting and I’m afraid it would survive unless the provisions are “transferred” to the $15,000 bill. A good example of how Rangel’s proposal no longer is valid is that it extends the 7500 credit until 9/09 – well, that can’t be because the $15,000 statute sunsets the 7500 statute upon its enaction. I know this sounds like goobly-gook so I’ll just be quiet from now on. 🙂

  56. Anonymous

    Heather (and Chad),

    Remember, the $15,000 is non-refundable, so you may not be giving up $15,000 – you have to look at how much your tax liability is each year – if you have a $7,500 tax liability each year, then you would get the full $15,000. Keep in mind on an income of around 50,000, after other credits and such, you are likely to only owe around $4,000 in taxes…you need to look at the actual math to determine whether the refundable $7,500 will be better than the non-refundable $15,000. In my case, the $7,500 will be better. OBviously if they change the “waiver of repayment” and remove that from the $7,500 current tax credit, then the $15,000 will be better.

  57. Anonymous

    I don’t know if this helps but I just saw some high ranking Democrat say that he his confident they will reach an agreement by the congressional recess. That starts on the 14th. They are really pushing to get this to Obama by the 16th.

  58. Anonymous

    Well, Obama wants to sign this on Monday the 16th. Nancy Pelosi says she is confident they will have a bill for the President to sign by the middle of Feb..

    The Senate will vote on Tues. and it is expected to go through. Then it goes to committee(House and Senate members)and they work out the differences in the 2 bills. On the morning shows today politicians are saying that there is more that they agree on than disagreee. They want to push this through as fast as possible. If the committee gets this Wed. that will give them several days to hash it out. Of course, no guarantees.

    One thing to consider is that they are going to do a trial vote on Monday. I guess this will tell us what the vote on Tuesday will look like.

  59. Anonymous

    Chad- I won’t even qualify for the credit/load of last year because this isn’t our first house. It looks like it will be approved on Tuesday, it will go to committee on Wed. and they will work as fast as possible. The thing is it might not get through committee because the Dems in the House aren’t going to like that the education fund and the states fund has been cut. One of the Republicans who is now going to vote yes, says she won’t vote yes next time if it becomes even more expensive. I am thinking that we should definately hold off until the 20th but keep the option to close on the 27th. We have the apartment until the 28th. I know it will go through it is jus a mater of when. I can’t imagine they would let it go for 2 weeks. $15,000 is a lot of money to give up. We didn’t pay for our move but it is considered income. We were taxed on it and that plus the taxes we paid are about $15,000. I think it is worth the chance.

  60. Anonymous

    I’m in the same boat as you heather, We are suppose to close sometime towards the end of this week, but do we tell them to wait or not? We wouldn’t want to miss out on a 15k non payback vs a 7500 payback over time because of a possible few days difference. My family has been cramped in an apartment for the last 3 years, and we are so ready to get out of here too. I wish I knew what the answer was, it seems like our timing is always off.. We have had many other things like this happen to us, and it just seems like we are just meant to lose out over and over.

  61. Anonymous

    I would encourage those of who purchased in 2008 to write or call President Obama (via whitehouse.gov), and also your senators and congress people to encourage them to keep the dates the same. I would love for my 7/08 purchase to qualify. I read this sentiment time and time again. Make these public servants work for you! Good luck!

  62. Anonymous

    Thanks Heather and Tyler. The below is the latest news. I remember the House’s version($7500 no payback) is for people who buy houses after Jan 1, 2009, but the Senate’s $15,000 applies to homebuyers after the enactment date. Looks like House is more friendly to people like me who recently bought houses in 2009. Is it possible that the House will win on this issue? $15,000 sounds too much and too generous.
    according to NYTimes
    To stabilize real estate prices, the House would give first-time homebuyers a tax credit of 10 percent of a home’s cost, up to $7,500, with income caps reducing the credit for individuals earning at least $75,000 and couples earning $150,000.

    The Senate plan includes a more generous credit of 10 percent, up to $15,000, that would be available to all homebuyers, with no income limits.

    A formal conference to resolve the differences between the two bills is expected to begin by midweek.

  63. Anonymous

    Cindy – the 15,000 does include a “sunset” clause of the original $7,500 tax credit that the $7,500 becomes null and void the day they sign the new stimulus package into law. Up until that point, the $7,500 still exists. So if the stimulus package gets signed into law by the president on February 16, 2009, the $7,500 tax credit would still exist for those who purchased PRIOR to February 16, 2009. On top of that, if they keep the current “waiver of repayment” in the bill, that would STILL remain for those who purchased between January 1, 2009 and February 16, 2009. AGAIN – the two bills (house and senate) AS IS would do this. I would expect this MAY change between now and the final version of the bill, but it could also remain. It doesn’t make sense to leave the original piece (waiver of $7,500 repayment) in the bill if it no longer applies – wouldn’t they just have removed it when they put the $15,000 tax credit in? In fact, the senate “tweaked” the house version of the $7,500 tax credit by changing the date from July 1, 2009 to September 1, 2009. So they obviously new it was in there.

    David and Heather – both of you will be ok – you are eligible for the $7,500 tax credit (loan). There is nothing that will remove that from you – and I cannot imagine congress repealing the $7,500 tax credit retroactively. I am in the same boat as the two of you (we close escrow this upcoming week). So at MINIMUM we will have the $7,500 tax credit (loan). What we MAY not get is the “waiver of repayment” that currently is in the bill, or the $15,000 non-refundable tax credit. For me, I would RATHER have the $7,500 tax credit, mainly because it puts $7,500 in my pocket now, to do the repairs on the foreclosed home we purchased. Because I am middle income, my tax liability each year is only $3700, so the $15,000 credit would only put about $4500 in my pocket right now (what I paid in federal witholdings this past year) and probably allow me to not pay taxes next year. Either way, I’d be ok –

  64. Anonymous

    My wife owned a home before we got married. We just
    bought a new home together in AUG 2008 and were not allowed the 7500 tax credit because she owns a home.
    If this 15000 tax credit passes how is it worded since she owns a home but we bought this new home together? would we qualify?

  65. Anonymous

    David- Try being me. We are supposed to close this Friday. I’m thinking about moving it back to next Friday but there is no guarantee this will pass next week. We could move it back again the the following Friday but there is no guarantee then either. If this doesn’t pass for a long time I am risking losing my 4.6% locked in interest rate, paying another 1-2 weeks for storage of our stuff which will be hundreds of dollars and living in this apartment for a few more weeks which is driving us crazy. We have been in an apartment(5 of us) for 7 months while waited for our house to sell. We are dying to get into a house! One minute I think yes! we are definately waiting to close and then the next I am saying no! we have no guarantee this will happen in the next few weeks! I wish I had no decision to make because I would be saying Oh well, that’s just how it goes sometimes.

  66. So here’s the thing… The Senate version that everyone is talking about is just that — the Senate version. Once the Senate version is passed, the House and Senate will have to work out the differences between their versions. Only then will it be sent to the President. So… There’s still a ways to go on this, and numerous opportunities for things to change.

  67. Anonymous

    No intent to argue here but the Rangel proposal to rescind the payment requirement was an amendment to the exist 7500 statute. That statute is null and void once the $15,000 statue is enacted. In order to preserve the forgiveness requirement, Congress must place that modification in the section of the $15,000 statute where the sunset provision is. In order to amend a statute that will be null and void upon the enaction of a “superceding” statute, any modifications/amendments to that null and void statute must be in the “superceding” statute. Sorry that this is complicated but that is the way statutes (and statue drafting) work. Thus, unless the forgiveness provision is in the superceding statute (the 15,000 statute), it has no force and effect. Enough of the legal talk – at least we all still receive the 7500 tax “loan.”

  68. Anonymous

    We are considering building a home. We would sign a purchase agreement, put down a deposit and begin construction in jan of 2010, however, we would’t close untill nov. of 2010. Would we qualify for the credit?

  69. Anonymous

    Interesting thought from LA Times (see link) that the cost of this amendment may reach closer to $400 billion after gaming behavior is accounted for. I would certainly be tempted to swap homes with a neighborhood friend, especially as our massive pre-planned neighborhood with hundreds of homes consists of several variations of ~10 types of homes with the same floor plans. I could literally swap with a neighbor’s home two doors down and have the same floor plan, appliances, A/C system, garage, etc. Given incomes in our area, the parties involved could pocket the full $15,000 deduction. So even after accounting for all of the transaction costs, each party to the swap could probably pocket at least $10,000, and probably more, if we conduct the transactions without a realtor. $10,000 would probably be worth the hassle, and this would probably be true for a lot of others. The bill authors should probably try to put in a provision to prevent this type of gaming behavior, but this type of behavior would probably be very hard to stop. The only viable approaches may be to limit the incentive to first-time home buyers (since they have nothing to swap) or to reduce the incentive amount so that the net proceeds from a swap would be minimal (e.g., limit to $7,500 or make the $15,000 an interest-free loan). If the bill passes as it now stands, there will probably be a lot of people (including myself) looking into doing something like this. I could even see setting up a business to facilitate these types of transactions for a cut of the tax credit.

  70. Anonymous

    Just clarifying…we the home buyers between April 9th ’08 to Dec. 31 ’08 still qualify for the $7500 int. free gov’t loan, to be paid back, right? It was just said that 2008 buyers got screwed. And of course, the Jan 1 ’09 to the sunset date buyers are really screwed over. I would say that the $7500 was a HUGE incentive for us to buy. We closed in Nov. 08. Great analogy with the computer purchase. But even Best Buy would cover the difference if you bring your receipt back in. Our gov’t needs to make everyone happy. I completely agree with the 4% refinance for all w/ no closing costs. Could this happen or would it just be a paperwork nightmare? And how will this bill hold up our tax refunds? Do you think it will take the gov’t longer to process the refunds, even when done electronically. My husband still thinks we can tell our tax guy to go ahead in another week and still have our refund by the end of the month. We purchased a $245K home Nov. 08. I think we estimated $9K in fed. taxes last year, so would that have meant that we’d only be getting back $9K? (had we purchased in 2009) Thanks 🙂

  71. Anonymous

    i can understand the frustration and anger of someone who purchased before the credits – it’s like buying a computer and then 4 weeks later, a new model comes out at the same price range…i think that “might” be the impetus behind leaving in the waiving the $7,500 repayment for those who buy in 2009 before the $15,000 goes into law – sort of like a “buffer zone” like apple giving $100 credit to those who purchased the iphone before it came down in price….but who knows, anything can happen…but i DO understand the frustration…

  72. Anonymous


    In the current senate bill, the forgiveness of payment of the 7500 is still in there – it may get removed, but as it stands, they did not eliminate it – and they could have – especially when they introduced the legistlation – but the current version has BOTH the forgiveness and the 15,000 non-refundable tax credit.

    Andy – I agree with you (even though I would benefit from having the 7500 forgiven) – it doesn’t make a lot of sense – and if we can trust our government, by the time the stimulus package gets passed, i would expect the section to forgive payment will be removed in favor of the new 15,000.

    Believe it or not, I think that this might cause some discussion between the house and senate. The $15,000 is non-refundable, which is something republicans push for because they believe if you don’t pay taxes, the government shouldn’t give you more than what you pay them, for a net loss for government. I tend to agree with this. Democrats tend to want to give money and not require an individual to pay taxes to get the benefit – because it benefits the poorest americans. I think this will be up for a lot more discussion before it is all said and done – but Andy’s view is pretty spot on as it currently stands.

  73. Anonymous


    I think you are correct. If I close on my house Feb 9, 2009 like I am planning, assuming (big big word with this topic) that nothing at all changes with the current bill, the only option I would have would be the 7500, and it would have to be repaid. Again, that is just if nothing were to change before this is singed.

    I hope I’m right?

    I have saved a good amount of down payment for the house, and dont need the 7500 for closing costs or anything like that. The home doesnt need repairs or such, so I think I would pass on the 0% 7500, simply because I dont want to worry about paying back a 500/year debt for the next 15 years.

    The 15000 tax credit would work better, as I just looked at my W2. Total Federal withholding was just over 6500 dollars. So why I wouldnt be able to take advantage of the entire 15000 credit, between this year and next, it would be close.

    I dont know if its possible to delay closing, but I would hate to miss out on that kind of a tax credit because I closed a week earlier. And yes, I realize that I may sound greedy, and its designed to help people who need it, but … it would still help

  74. Anonymous

    Cindy, I believe that the legislation to forgive the $7,500 was passed by the Congress. The $15,000 credit is in the Senate. Before either of them can be signed into law, the differences have to be reconciled.

    The only thing I think is unfair is to change the rules midstream for lower income working professionals such as school teachers and police officers. Some of them started the process under the old rules and are depending on receiving $7,500. If their taxes are less than $7,500, they will receive less than was in the bill in effect at the time they signed their contracts.

  75. Anonymous

    I believe the proposed legislation (from Charlie Rangel) forgiving the repayment requirements for the 7500 loan (2009 purchasers) no longer is “on the table” and has been “superceded” by the $15,000 homebuyer credit statute. I sort of have to read legislation for a living so when I reviewed the $15,000 atatute I noticed it contained amendments to the First-time Homebuyer Statute (sunset provision, etc). As the $15,000 Home Buyer statute, in effect, supercedes the 7,500 First-timer statute (as the provisions of the 7500 statute end on the day the 15,000 statute commences), any provision to rescind the repayment requirement of the 7500 loan would have to be in the $15,000 statute. Sorry, but I believe the all those who took the 7500 (2008 & 2009 purchasers) will have to eventually pay it back – unless the Congress, in the future, takes separate action. 🙁

  76. Anonymous

    So, to make a long story short, the people who benifit the most from the bill are those who bought a home from January 1 2009 to the day before the bill becomes a law.

    2008 buyers got a 7500.00, fully refundable credit which has to be repaid over a 15 year period.

    Jan 1 2009-the day before the bill becomes a law buyers get a 7500.00 fully refundable credit that does NOT have to be paid back.

    Buyers who purchase after the bill becomes a law get a 15K non refundable tax credit, meaning their income tax liability is 0 until they owe more than 15K (to make a long story short)

    My bitch is simply, a buyer who purchased on January 9th was under the same law as I was on December 1 2008.
    Both of us get a 7500.00 fully refundable tax credit that must be repaid. Both of us were well aware of that fact when we purchased, however, now that this bill is going to be passed…I still have to pay my 7500.00 back, he dosen’t.

  77. Anonymous

    Has anybody thought about what will happen when the tax credit expires (e.g., March 2010)? The effective purchase price will go back up by 10%/$15K, and buyers will likely demand that home prices go down by 10%/$15K. All the bill seems to do is set up another housing crash in a year.

  78. Anonymous

    Brad – it is always hard to speculate – because anything could happen. As it currently stands – you have to do the math:

    Option 1: You close before the bill as it currently stands, you get $7,500 free and clear, PLUS you get a refund on any taxes you have overpaid in 2008. If you underpaid your taxes during the 2008 year, you would deduct what you owe from the $7,500. Of COURSE, if they change the bill and remove the waiver of repayment, this $7,500 comes as an interest free loan (as the current credit stands with no new legislation)

    Option 2: You close AFTER the bill is signed into law. You basically get a $15,000 credit towards any taxes you owe – meaning that over the course of the year, if the government took $5,000 out of your paychecks in 2008, you’d get it all back, but nothing more. Remember the $7,500 is REFUNDABLE (meaning you can take it even if you are liable for zero taxes in 2008) where the $15,000 is non-refundable (meaning you can only take back what you owe in taxes).

    For me (we are scheduled to close escrow next wednesday, so it’s looking like we’re staying with the $7,500) we owed $5,000 in taxes in 2008. I paid $6,000 throughout 2008 out of my paycheck. I am expecting to get back $1,000 from what I overpaid, PLUS $7,500 that I may or may not have to pay back – a total of $8,500. If the bill says I don’t have to pay it back, I get that $8,500 free and clear. If the bill changes, and I still have to pay it back, I get $1,000 free and clear, and $7,500 as a zero interest loan.

    IF somehow our escrow gets delayed, or the bill is signed before we close, THEN, I would apply the $15,000 credit towards the $5,000 in taxes I am liable for 2008 (leaving me with 10,000 in tax credits for the future), and I would get a full refund, meaning I would get all $6,000 back from what i paid the government during 2008. I would ALSO be eligible to not pay taxes in 2009 (assuming my tax liability doesn’t change – although with paying interest on my mortgage, it will likely go down). I could decide to change my withholdings from my paycheck each month to zero – meaning I wouldn’t pay taxes in 2009. I would then need to go back in 2010 and change my withholdings back. OR I could continue down the same path, and assuming nothing changes get another $6,000 check from the IRS in 2010 (based on my 2009 taxes). Of course, that $6,000 is just the money I paid the IRS in 2009, so it’s like i am giving the government a $6,000 loan for 2009 (if i do not change my withholding).

    Hopefully this helps – i can’t help you decide what to do, and whether it is worth it – but you can make the decision yourself…

  79. Anonymous

    I think I heard Obama set a goal of having the Bill on his desk by Monday Feb 16th. Im currently set to close on a house on Friday Feb 20th. Unless there is a big holdup in the house, do you think I should be safe in them having the bill signed by then? I’m a first time buyer, so I will get one or the other if indeed the new credit takes effect on day its signed. I think I can probably push the Closing date back a few days if thats the difference in getting the $15k.

    Thanks to Tyler. Your information has been very helpful.

  80. Anonymous

    GInger – here’s the link for the 15,000 tax credit – directly from the senator’s website:


    there is nothing about a downpayment directly listed in the amendment – what this means is that the amendment doesn’t add a downpayment requirement. That is not to say there isn’t a downpayment requirement somewhere else in the stimulus package – but as for the amendment, I cannot see anything that requires a certain downpayment in the amendment as it currently stands

    Some quick research indicates there isnt a downpayment requirement for the current $7,500 first time homebuyers credit, so my “guess” is that the current amendment doesnt change that

  81. Anonymous

    Tyler- thanks for outlining all of that! I’ve been researching and reading from different sources, and it only has proved to tangle itself in a huge knot in my brain. I appreciate your clarification, although I know that it could all change again before the final presidential signature.
    My biggest question now is, does anyone know if the new legislature for the 15k only pertains to people who are putting at least 5% down on their home? I’ve seen this several times in different places but no one seems to know for sure. My husband and I are closing on our first home on 2/27 and we are financing with an FHA loan at 3.5% down. I’m getting the feeling that we are going to lose out on this one.

  82. Anonymous

    Bill – trust me – i am in the same boat as you, we were expecting to close escrow at the end of the December on our REO, and our seller’s agent dragged her feet. It looks like it may be to our advantage.

    I will say, the $7,500 AND the $15,000 will stimulate the economy. I actually know four or five couples who were on the fence about buying a house, and these two options are pushing them towards purchasing. When you can find mortgages that are LESS than what people are paying for rent, it is a good time to get in – and to get some money out of it, you’d be crazy NOT to buy vs. rent. GRANTED not everyone in every part of the country is in this boat, but in certain parts of California, $150,000 are becoming reality. That’s generally a mortgage of $1000-$1100 a month – which is what many people pay in rent…

    What people don’t realize is that getting a loan right now is hard – so the stimulus will not help people with poor credit…the bill will help people who have saved, and it will motivate people to buy. For those who have already bought, the stimulus bill isn’t for them

  83. Anonymous


    Thanks for doing a thorough job. It was clear as mud before, and I didn’t have the discipline to compile all the versions including the original, put them in order, and slog through the dense language.

    Looks like I may luck out. Escrow’s been dragging due to failures of the selling agent on my REO but it looks like it may turn out to be good luck for me.

    I agree it’s generally bad public policy to pay people who can already afford to buy a house, and that it’d be way better to reduce the 4% mortgage with no/low processing refi costs to all homeowners/buyers. With the 4% mortgage, the govt still makes money since they’re offering 1-2% on treasury bills. With Isakson’s bill, it’s just a giveaway to the weller off folks (guess I’m counted among them. BUT, it feels nice to be rewarded for my discipline and not freaking out and jumping on the bandwagon when other people thought the bubble was sustainable and jumped out of fear they would be priced out entirely. Now they can pay their mortgage if they eat pb & j (maybe j only with the fear of salmonella) everyday.

  84. Anonymous

    Bill –

    You are correct – for those who have zero tax liability, the current credit(loan) is a better situation – which should stimulate THOSE people to try and purchase NOW before the law gets passed.

  85. Anonymous

    I disagree that this can benefit everyone. For a huge number of working lower income people, they already have non-refundable tax credits that reduce their taxes to 0 or close to it. This credit will have little or no benefit for people in that situation.

  86. Anonymous

    Peter, you are understanding it correctly. You would have to make much more money to take the Senate’s proposed 15,000 non-refundable tax credit. Under the House’s refundable version, however, you would get an a big fat check (800?+7500). If they don’t manage to pass anything, the current credit until July 1 would give you 7500 but you have to pay it back over 15 years at 500 a pop. It is essentially a no interest loan.

    Looking at your 1040, lines 47-54 are non-refundable tax credits. They reduce the taxes you owe but they can only reduce it to 0 – they can’t give you a refund. Lines 64-70 are refundable tax credits. They also reduce your tax liability but they can go past 0 and actually give you a refund.

  87. Anonymous

    So – just one more piece of clarification above – for those who are NEW homebuyers in 2009, you will benefit either way – for people who are NOT new homebuyers, you will only benefit if you purchase a home AFTER the stimulus package is signed into law

    Again, assuming nothing changes in the current legistlation (which it most certainly will)

  88. Anonymous

    Ok – as a homebuyer who is closing escrow next week, i did some research on this topic – the reason there is confusion is because people are reading different versions of the amendment, and not being drawn to other sections of the legistlation.

    First: BOTH the Senate and House versions of the bill as they currently exsist include waiving the need to repay the $7,500 current first time home buyers credit for purchases in 2009 (not for homes purchased in 2008). Certainly this could change before the final version passes, as the 15,000 Amendment in the Senate version may be intended to remove this section of the bill completely – however as it currently stands, there is a proposal to waive the need to repay the $7,500 loan for homes purchased by first time home buyers in 2009.

    Second: The ORIGINAL 15,000 package had it retroactive for all of 2009. The ACCEPTED version changed this to the date it is signed into law. So as it currently stands, the 15,000 will go into effect once President Obama signs the current stimulus package. Again – this can all change once the bill goes back to the house to reconcile the changes that the senate made to the bill. The term “sunset” means that the $7,500 offer will be off the table once the current package is passed. The reason the senate did this was because they a) didn’t want people “double dipping” meaning that they would take the $7,500 AND $15,000 because the current credit law has it expiring on July 1, 2009. They did not want there to be overlap between the two credits…

    Third: The current $7,500 first time homebuyers credit (loan) is REFUNDABLE – meaning that even if you owe $0 in taxes, you can still get the $7,500 and pay it back over the next 15 years. The current legistlation does nothing to change this – so if the legistlation becomes a law as it currently stands, you could take $7,500 and have it free and clear, no matter what you owe for taxes.

    Fourth: the $15,000 credit is NON-REFUNDABLE meaning that not only is there a limit based on the cost of your home, there is also a limit based on how much you owe in taxes. If you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get the credit. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about what kind of refund you normally get, we’re talking what you owe for the year in taxes – INCLUDING what gets taken out of your paycheck each month in federal witholdings. So even if you don’t get a refund, most working americans who have federal withholding will benefit greatly. You CAN take the $15,000 credit over two years – but it cannot be more than what you paid in taxes. So those who are currently purchasing a home, you will win either way – you’ll get $7,500 free and clear, OR you’ll not have to pay taxes for two years (assuming you tax liability is under $7,500). So no stresses, UNLESS things change (which they certainly could).

    I called the Georgia senator’s office, and confirmed that the legistlation as it currently stands is as outlines above. You can also read the pdfs of the version and go to the middle of each document. Do a search for “home” and go to the around pages 300-450, and you’ll find the amendments decribed here.

    Hope this helps to clarify…

  89. Anonymous

    Hi guys, I really didnt want to post, but the more of these comments I read, here and elsewhere, the more questions I have.

    I hope someone can take the time to help. I have most of the details down, except for what a “tax credit” means I guess.

    I am scheduled to close on my first home on Monday (2-9-09) I am a police officer and make about 45,000/year. I have NEVER had to pay taxes. I get about 800 dollars or so back between state and fed returns normally. I would need a much more substantial income and have to owe taxes totalling 15,000 to take full advantage of the bill?

    So, what I am kinda sensing is there is really no reason for me to worry about this tax credit, “IF” the bill was signed as it stands right now. Because if I were to get anything, it would be a credit for the 800 dollars or so, not a big fat 15,000 check from the good ol Gov. Am I thinking about this right, or am I way off.

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  90. Anonymous


    GET OVER YOURSELF! $200K (husband & wife duo) is a decent income, but don’t pat yourself too much on the back! I am not impressed. So why buy now? You’ve only been paying (if you have been?) someone else’s property tax & mortgage for ‘x’ amt. of years. Would you still buy if the $15K carrot wasn’t (potentially) at the end of the stick? Now don’t go out and buy a new car or anything. God forbid your relative’s neighbors would think you’ve got $ under your mattress. Perhaps a kind gesture would be to hand over the $15K to your relative for home repairs after you flee the coop!

  91. Anonymous

    Thank you Mary for your response. I am single, 28 and have bought my own home(albeit with a mortgage). I don’t make nearly half of what you make Linda, let alone you and your husband together!! I am a social worker. So obviously I don’t make a lot of money. I am a taxpayer. I handle my own budget and make sacrifices where needed, whether I want to or not. I am fortunate to not fear losing my job (at least this year). Also, stricter requirements have been set so you can’t even buy a house now without at least a 5% downpayment. Please don’t discount other’s troubles because they are beyond something that you can feel. That’s nice that you paid in taxes last year what would buy “two luxury cars”. Understand that you are not the norm. My taxes couldn’t pay for that. My disposable income couldn’t pay for that. I know that and live as such. I too work EXTREMELY hard. I know I am not alone. It is so sad to listen to your seemingly elitist view of things.

  92. Anonymous

    Linda, That’s great that you take so much pride in your austere lifestyle. However, your lifestyle is as much a choice as that of any of the “complainers” on this board. My husband and I also have NO credit cards, we pay cash for everything. We have never had a car loan in our 15 years of marriage, we have never had more than one car at a time, and we also work very hard. We choose not to buy because of our low income (even thought we could probably qualify), and we are not planning on buying now even though we can get an interest-free $7,500 loan if we do so. My point was that you and your hubby are not the “norm” for your income bracket. Almost all of our friends are in the six-figure income range and they all own their homes as well as cabins and rental properties. You also take pride in the fact that you can pay cash for your planned home purchase, but would you have that much cash on hand if you didn’t live in a relative’s home?

    Maybe some of the people who are “complaining” on here are tired of watching the government give multimillion dollar handouts to their ghetto fabulous corporate paymasters every year (after they skim some campaign cash off the top of course), while we all get priced out of the housing market and our wages can barely keep up with the rising cost of food (if we haven’t been laid off). Maybe they figure it would be better to get a “refundable” housing tax credit for their own family, than for some CEO whose company gets tax subsidies and bailout funds to get new jet or a $2.1 million dollar office makeover.

    If you are so bitter about paying half your income in taxes you are free to do what many of us do, and that’s work less and have more kids (i.e. dependent exemptions). Or work more, cheat the system, get ultra rich and hire an accountant to find tax loopholes. (Seriously, though, good luck. I hope you are able to get your home if the tax credit passes.)

  93. Anonymous

    You’re wrong and I’m proof. My husband and I make around the 200K mark. We don’t own a home. We are going to buy one when this is signed into law. We have never bought anything on credit. EVER. We live way below our means, we live in a very small older home owned by a relative. My husband drives a 11 yr old Civic. Many of you who don’t pay any taxes live better than us at our expense.
    I’m sorry but it’s true. We paid enough in taxes last year alone to buy 2 luxury cars outright. We have never received any stimulus check or benefited from any handouts from the government. We are self made and have worked EXTREMELY hard.
    Who do you think is going to bring the economy back? It is us. The “rich”. We carry the tax burden. That’s fine. But right now we’re not spending the money AND WE HAVE IT TO SPEND. Some of you are complaining that you don’t get more $$$ than you actually PAY IN TAXES. It’s disheartening to me and I fear this pathetic attitude is only going to get worse as our government becomes more of a nanny state.

  94. Anonymous

    Exactly Bill! That’s what I’ve been trying to say for two days. The Isakson amendment is a joke, the ONLY people who make enough money to take such a credit already own homes! Oh, and now that it’s been passed and grafted into the Senate version, he says, “Woops, I underestimated the cost, it’s actually going to add $37 billion to the package, not $19 billion.” How much do you want to bet that it was a trick to force even more spending to be trimmed from the final package?

    I hope that if the stupid Senate ever does pass something, the House throws this garbage amendment out of the final bill and sticks with the House version of the Housing Credit expansion. Keeping the current credit in place through the end of 2009, and ditching the repayment plan, makes way more sense if the goal is to spur people currently renting to snap up houses that are sitting on the market.

  95. Anonymous

    Looks like Steve was wrong above when he said:

    “As written, the refundable (yes, it is refundable) tax credit would be 10% of the purchase price of the new home up to $15,000. It would be for all home buyers without income limitation.”

    Sorry, Isakson’s 15,000 tax credit is definitely non-refundable.

    This was a nice trick by Isakson. He took the House’s proposed 7500 refundable tax credit that any poor person could get (of course, right now the credit is a 7500 no interest loan) and doubled it and changed it to a non-refundable credit that only more wealthy people can take.

    Let’s run some numbers. A family with a couple of kids would have to make over 68,000 to have enough tax liability to be able to take a 3750 credit in each of two years. That would equal a 7500 credit. They would have to make over 93,000 to take 7500 for two years and get the full credit. They would have to make over 123,000 to take the full 15,000 credit in one year. (These are very conservative numbers assuming no other deductions or credits to reduce tax liability.)

    Hmm…let me guess, Isakson is a republican, right?

  96. Anonymous

    everybody just needs to be patient….we will get the news soon. remember that it’s 10% or 15k whichever is less. when you are concerning yourself way too much about how someone else is benefiting and not you, you are truly coming across as greedy. i do feel sorry for those who will not qualify under the new bill but let’s just look at the big picture, we need to get out of this rut and we need a solution quick. this is a good start. it’s all about timing and those who will be able to take advantage of it should. if it makes those who are complaining feel better, under the new bill the buyer will have to meet the required 5% downpayment (AND not including closing costs). That’s $7500 on a 150k home, not everybody has that kind of money laying around so no this bill will not only benefit poor people. Those who do buy will help the economy period. Appliances, furniture, etc…. will be bought….let’s get it going!

  97. Anonymous

    Kendra-I have thought of moving the closing date. The seller is a builder so it wouldn’t be a problem. The thing is this could go on for weeks. I guess we’ll find out today. He would have to sign by Thursday for us to qualify.

    Thanks for the Fox News tip. I’ll look into that.

  98. Anonymous

    Heather – I’m in a similar position as I’m supposed to close on 2/20. Given that Obama has set a goal deadline of having this bill on his desk by 2/16, it might be worth it for you to push back your closing data, if the seller will agree.

    If you’re interested, Fox News is posting hourly updates on this site regarding the Senate negotiations – they hope to vote on it late this evening. Then it would go to Congress for approval, and then to Obama’s desk to be signed. Only homes purchased after the bill is signed will qualify.


  99. Anonymous

    That’s correct, Heather. You get a tax credit. That means however much they take out on your taxes for 2008, you will it back up to $15,000. If they only took out $5k, you only get $5 credited back.

  100. Anonymous

    I have been reading other boards and the way I see it, we paid out $15,000 in Federal taxes last year. This year we could claim $7500. We aren’t getting a check for $15,000 like many think. If you paid $5,000 in taxes last year you get the $5,000 back. That’s it.

  101. Anonymous

    “We have never owed taxes so this wouldn’t even apply to me if this is how it is going to be.”

    You would have to be making very little to not owe any taxes. You may not have to pay an additional amount at time of filing, but that is because your tax withholdings.

    “So many people think that if the government owes you a $1,000 rebate and you qualify for the $15,000 the government will send you a rebate for $16,000.”

    To be fair, that is, to my knowledge, how the $7,500 rebate works – you don’t need to have owed that much in taxes.

  102. Anonymous

    Ok I’m still not sure how this works. We paid out through my husband’s payroll checks last year almost $15,000(some of this due to a corporate move). Does that mean that when we file we will get the full tax credit?

    It isn’t just a credit based on what you owe after you file your taxes?

  103. Anonymous

    Jason-interesting. We have never owed taxes so this wouldn’t even apply to me if this is how it is going to be. So many people think that if the government owes you a $1,000 rebate and you qualify for the $15,000 the government will send you a rebate for $16,000.

  104. Anonymous

    I just read in the wall street journal that the credit is not refundable. So if I have no tax liability, then that means that I will receive nothing even If I purchase a home? Does that also mean that I need to have 15000 in tax liability (spread over 2 years) in order to receive the full 15000 tax credit? If so, then this program only helps high income people.

    Currently, I am unemployed and have no income due to a job loss. However, my family and I have been living frugally and saving for the past 30 years in order to buy a home, so we are able to buy in cash.

    I feel that economic policies unfairly benefit borrowers (through subsidized mortgage rates) and penalize savers (our certificates of deposits yield virtually nothing)


    “The credit is nonrefundable and can be claimed over two years, so buyers whose tax liability is less than $15,000 would have a second year to capture the credit. For example, a buyer who owes $10,000 in taxes would be able to take a $10,000 credit in the first year after their purchase, and a $5,000 credit for the year after that”

  105. Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure that the Isakson credit would NOT be refundable. First, I think the amendment says that the amount of the credit cannot exceed your tax liability. Additionally, the amendment allows the credit to be spaced out over two tax years specifically for that reason, that most people will not have $15,000 in tax liability in one year! In fact, they announced this morning that the amendment’s cost has now about doubled because Isakson did not initially fully account for this.

    There does not appear to be a repayment requirement, probably because it is a credit against tax owed, not a refundable no-interest loan like the current credit.

    Anyone with that much tax liability would already own a home, no?

  106. Anonymous

    No, Bryan. This credit will not flood the market causing more homes to go for sale and thus drive the prices of homes down even further.

    First, the criteria to qualify to buy homes are more strict than they were a few years ago. A few years ago anyone could buy a home, even people who didn’t have a job could qualify. This caused the prices of homes to go up because everyone was buying because it was easy. I mean, why not buy if I could I buy without producing any documents whatsoever?

    Ultimately, this caused the prices of homes to go down because those who bought homes really couldn’t afford it. In other words, people qualified for loans they could not pay back.

    That is no longer the case. You have to be able to afford the loan you are seeking. You have to prove that you make the money to cover the mortgage and that you can do so without strain.

    Second, people will not be able to move and buy due to the September 2008 guidelines to prevent the “buy and bail” schemes. A person wanting to a buy a new home today will have to 1) be able to afford the new mortgage AND the old mortgage, or 2) have enough equity to meet the new guidelines. Homeowners are no longer allowed to count rent as income if they are moving from their primary residence to purchase another primary residence.

    So by no means will this credit open the door for bulk purchases. The standards are still in place to protect against what has happened to place the country in the state that it is in.

  107. Anonymous

    Doesn’t anyone think that if they make this credit to every home buyer instead of only new home buyers, that it will absolutely flood the market with more homes for sale, thus driving the price of homes even further into the tank? This seems like a poorly thought out plan (imagine that)

  108. Anonymous

    Is it to my understanding (unless I am wrong here) but the house version of this stimulus bill had a provision where people who bought in 2008 and could claim the $7,500 would NOT have to pay it back. The senate version introduced this nes $15,000 tax credit that you do NOT have to pay back. My question is….does the senate addition do away with the house version, or are both in the stimulus package together? Can anyone clarify this for me? Thanks!

  109. Anonymous

    Once again asinine policy from Washington. Can you imagine a similar credit for first time purchasers of stock? Why not assistance to renters?

    I don’t get this.

  110. Anonymous


    I’m no tax guy, but it is my understanding that there are tax credits and tax deductions. The difference being a tax credit reduces tax where as a deduction reduces taxable income. Generally, a tax credit is far more beneficial because is reduces the tax owed more than a deduction would.

    If the $15,000 is a tax credit, and it looks like it is, they the $15,000 would be added to your $2,200.

  111. Anonymous

    Ok so I’ve read conflicting reports.

    I am middle income (make about $50K) and am currently negotiating on a housing purchase. If this bill passes as is before I close the deal, how will the $15,000/10% credit work? The purchase price is over $250K so then I’ll get the full $15,000 applied to my 2008 return. However, as my 2008 taxes stand I am due a refund of $2200. Even though I didn’t pay $15,000 in income taxes in 2008, would the $15,000 be added to my $2,200 return?

    Again, I know it hasn’t passed but someone please clarify. Thanks!

  112. Anonymous

    So let me get this right…

    I’m a middle income person who has a family. We bought a house in California which closed in Feb 2008. We did NOT qualify for the $7500 interest free loan since it wasn’t even being talked about until MARCH (lucky me).

    And now I see there’s a 15K credit for new buyers.

    So, if I understand this right…. MY tax dollars are going to pay OTHER people’s tax credit (15K worth per person!) for buying a new house. Do I understand this right??

    Didn’t republicans get all ticked off at Obama due to “income redistribution” ‘n such? This is DIRECTLY taking money from ME and giving it to OTHERS. THAT is income redistribution pure and simple!!

    WHERE IS MY BAILOUT? I get zippity doo dah. I pay my mortgage payments ON TIME every month and i’m struggling since the company i work for is laying off like crazy (could I be next? maybe!). A year ago, my company was doing great!

    I think a MUCH more effective plan would be the following:

    Allow EXISTING homeowners to refinance their morgages at 4% fixed interest at ZERO COST to do so – this means no closing costs… just some kind of streamline refinance at 4% fixed for people who have been DOING THE RIGHT THING and paying on time. For NEW homebuyers, give them a 7500 interest free loan and 4% mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed.

    THIS would prop up the housing market. People would be able to afford their homes (those that took out those stupid ARM loans), allows people to buy new homes with a lower payment thus propping up home prices, and overall, the money is spread around evenly.

  113. Anonymous

    Jason —

    There is no income requirement.

    The credit is fully refundable (it has to do with the section of the IRS code it is). That means you get the $15,000 in the form of a tax refund.

    The measure doesn’t require a home loan — just a home purchase.

    A principal residence is where you legally reside, ie. pay taxes, vote, etc. You can rent part out without undermining your eligibility. But, you must live in the house.

  114. Anonymous

    Do I need to have a minimum income? Do I need to get a mortgage loan? Right now I am unemployed. However, I have saved a lot of money in previous years so I can pay 100 percent cash. I live in Texas where the average house price is only about 150,000

    I understand that there is a requirement about the home being a primary residence. What if I rent out a room or two? Will that disqualify me?

  115. Anonymous

    Where does it say that the tax credit is refundable? If I pay no taxes, does that mean I will get the full 15000? Or do I actually need to have 15000 in tax liability?

  116. Anonymous

    So, who should get the “free” money?

    If the purpose is to write checks to get people to spend, how do you limit it?

    Assume that the feds wrote every American a check for $1000. That would total $300 billion. $10,000 would equate to $3 trillion.

    Obama already has his $1000 a family plan. . .

    My central point is that anything like this has got to have a significant public purpose behind it. Getting people to buy a new home certainly falls in that category because of the core impact of housing right now.

    Rewarding past home buyers doesn’t pass the test. . .

    Of course, this is all my opinion.

  117. Anonymous


    I disagree that the purpose of this portion of the bill should just be creating an incentive for people to buy new homes. As much as we need the real estate market to pick back up, how people spend the $7500 or $15000 is more important to the overall economy. While people who purchased during the original period knew what they were getting themselves into, rewarding them with free money to spend is equally if not more beneficial in the long term.

  118. Anonymous

    Glenn — The elimination of the repayment requirement was in the House version of the stimulus bill. The Senate version does not eliminate the repayment requirement.

    Ben — The Senate version eliminates the income limits.

  119. Anonymous


    Where did you get this information that the $7,500 credit would not have to be repaid? Do you have a link that I could check this out? Also, is this just talk right now, or doe it really look like first-time homebuyers might get a real $7,500 tax credit with no repayment? Thanks!

  120. Anonymous

    We have a bit of confusion.

    The House version of the stimulus bill eliminated the repayment requirement for first-time buyers this year.

    The Senate version strikes the first-time buyer credit and substitutes in the new buyer credit (up to $15k). Plus, no repayment requirement for that new credit.

    If the Senate version were to be signed as is, first time buyers through the date of the new version being signed would have to repay the credit (FYI: It is over 17 years — the first year you get the credit; the second year you do nothing; years 3-17 you pay back 1/15th each year).

    It will be interesting to see 1) If any stimulus bill passes (my guess is yes). 2) Which version prevails on the credit. 3) If there is any attempt to meld the provisions together.

    I used to work in the U.S. House. My guess is that they’ll take one version or the other with no combining. But, legislation is like making sausage . . it is kind of messy and you are never 100% sure as to the outcome.

    — Melissa, why is it unfair? You knew the rules when you bought. What public benefit would there be to reach back and give you cash? None, if any. Again, the simple purpose of this is NOT to put money into any one person’s pocket. It is to get new buyers in to the market to stabilize the housing market. Simply saying I want money for me isn’t going to get anywhere. . . nor should it.

  121. Anonymous

    I bought my home in 2008 during the qualifying period for the original tax credit. My home has lost value since then and I could use the tax credit as much as any one who buys a home in 2009. Excluding those who originally qualified seems unfair. I strongly recommend and urge anyone affected to call their Senators; otherwise, it’s likely it will remain written the way it is now. They still have a short period before the stimulus is passed to make any changes

  122. Anonymous

    Well unless I move my closing date I’m out of luck. I am not a first time homebuyer.

    I don’t know about changing the closing because this ammendment could be shot down and/or the whole thing could be shot down and then who knows what date I would close.

  123. Anonymous

    the 15k would only apply to those bought after the bill is signed, the people that bought b4 , it looks as though they will get the 7500 credit but with no repayment now as opposed to repayment over the 15 years.

  124. Anonymous

    Still confused. Based on what I posted from the Senator’s website it seems like it only applies to those purchasing after the bill is signed. Is what you posted an ammendment to this?

    I wish they would just say it outright!

  125. Anonymous

    Ok Richard, I need it in plain english. Reading what you posted has me confused again. Is what you posted only for first time homebuyers?

    I’m closing 2/13 what are my chances in your opinion?

  126. Anonymous


    The cost of the the $7,500 1st time home buyers credit is minimal to the taxpayer compared to the proposed $15M refundable credit (please do the TVM calcuation using the 15 year T Bill to match your time periods). At least I pay back the principal.

    You have now the opportunity to move and get the full credit. People who got the $7,500 1st tiem home buyer credit don’t necessarily have this opprtunity.

    I guess its ok for you to get $15M scot free if you chose to take advantage of the new proposed credit. I bet you are not worried about my tax dollars paying for that.

  127. Anonymous

    Because the bills all currently modify the existing program. I’ve read the text of the bills as presented, and none present a new program – they just modify the previously existing program. None of the bills that I’ve read (Inouye’s, Isakson’s, and Thune’s) do anything to modify the phase-out provisions in the existing program – they just change the dates, the repayment provision, and in Isakson’s and Thune’s, the amount and the scope (to allow all principal residence purchasers).

    Here’s the text of the relevent portion of Inouye’s bill (which Isakson’s modified further, and Thune’s is similar, just adding a 5% downpayment requirement):


    (a) Extension.–

    (1) IN GENERAL.–Section 36(h) is amended by striking “July 1, 2009” and inserting “September 1, 2009”.

    (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.–Section 36(g) is amended by striking “July 1, 2009” and inserting “September 1, 2009”.

    (b) Waiver of Recapture.–

    (1) IN GENERAL.–Paragraph (4) of section 36(f) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

    “(D) WAIVER OF RECAPTURE FOR PURCHASES IN 2009.–In the case of any credit allowed with respect to the purchase of a principal residence after December 31, 2008, and before September 1, 2009–

    “(i) paragraph (1) shall not apply, and

    “(ii) paragraph (2) shall apply only if the disposition or cessation described in paragraph (2) with respect to such residence occurs during the 36-month period beginning on the date of the purchase of such residence by the taxpayer.”.

    (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.–Subsection (g) of section 36 is amended by striking “subsection (c)” and inserting “subsections (c) and (f)(4)(D)”.

    (c) Effective Date.–The amendments made by this section shall apply to residences purchased after December 31, 2008.

    This noted would mean people who got their interest free loan now would have a 7500 credit and no repay, I will take that over having to repay any day of the week, even if I dont qualify for the 15000 credit since I made my purchase in 08.

  128. Anonymous

    Here it is-directly out of the bill:

    (1) DATE OF PURCHASE.—The credit allowed under subsection (a) shall be allowed only with respect to purchases made—
    (A) after the date of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, and
    (B) on or before the date that is 1 year after such date of enactment.

  129. Anonymous


    Going forward is my problem, not going back.

    With people who took the $7,500 credit in 2008, going back is necessary to go forward, and at least have the same opportunity as every one else does.

    Even the people who bought homes before 4-11-08 now have the opportunity to sell their home and get the refundable $15M credit when they buy a new home.

    I assume I do it. However, I still may have to pay the original $7,500 credit back and this is the rub.

    If anyone choses to take advantage of the $15M credit, they can and will get the full $15M benefit. For those who took advantage of the $7,500 1st time home buyers credit, they might not have the opportunity to do this. It’s the equity issue.

    I just think 1st time homebuyers shouldn’t be penalized; they should have equal opportunity to the full proposed credit or grace for the $7,500.

    I also beleive in supply and demand determining prices. I don’t think its a bad idea for this credit. Its inflationary but we have had a lot of deflation.

    I can’t disagree with any else you said.

  130. Anonymous

    i bought 5/22/08 but had alittle funding from a mortgage revenue bond so i couldnt get the 7500 credit, does this new credit have any promise for this (my) situation.

  131. Anonymous

    Mike, please stop whining. It is hard to work up much sympathy for your situation.

    Bottom line is that you got an unfair $7500 interest free loan. You get to pay it back over 15 years with future deflated dollars and my taxes have to subsidize that. It was a great deal for you at the time. It remains a great deal . Most of us didn’t get that fantastic opportunity. Why aren’t you outraged about that injustice?

    You got lucky. Be happy about that.

  132. Anonymous

    Well, we closed today. So, one way or the other we won’t get that sweet tax credit (2nd home, closed too early), but we sure will be stimulating the economy! Full kitchen’s worth of appliances, fixtures, you name it! This is what the country needs to get things turned around – people buying and fixing up all these homes that are languishing on the market.

  133. Anonymous

    A quick clarification — The Isakson Amendment specifies enactment on date signed by the President (as mentioned above) and then forward one full year. For instance, if signed on February 17, 2009, it would extend to February 16, 2010.


    It is about line-drawing.

    One could make the argument that those who bought in 2008 should get the same benefit as those in 2009.

    The same argument could be made about those in 2007, 2006, 2005, etc.

    Any government policy has a beginning date. Reaching back is always problematic because of people’s expectations. It feels capricious and is to some extent. But, it is hard to find another example of tax policy that reaches back very far. Sometimes they will reach back a bit. But, every dollar spent back will have no effect (because those folks have already bought).

    Remember the goal is not to put dollars in any one person’s pocket. It is to trigger more buyers buying. Doing so will have significant benefit.

    If I were a policymaker, I’d shorten the time frame to maybe just 6 months to get people moving — Now.

    Now, as to whether this will help, I believe in basic economic principles.

    Supply & demand drive prices and units sold. Right now we have a large number of homes on the market. And, demand is off. Increasing demand will have the benefit of reducing inventories which will help stablize prices.

    Stable prices = enhanced prosperity for many Americans.

    Over time, we will see greater demand for U.S. housing. Our number of households continues to increase. Right now we have some vacant housing but, once absorbed, we will need more.

    Our country has a bright future on many fronts. The trick is to get through this rough patch in a way that does minimal damage on the backend. I’m glad I’m not the one casting the votes right now.

  134. Anonymous


    If you wanted to sell you current home and get the “per family rebate”, which I assume is your term for the proposed $15M credit, you could do so and recoup some of your 2007 and 2006 taxes via the $15M payment you would receive.

    My position has nothing to do with greed.

    For those that took the $7,500 1st time home buyer credit, they have to pay it back. Essentially, they will be funding part of each proposed maximum $15M home buyer credit regardless of the tax bracket the home buyer is in.

    The 1st time home buyer pays back the $7,500 over 15 years or from the profit on the sale of the home (a zero sum game excluding time value of money and with bond rates where they are, TVM isn’t much). My repayment helps fund the refundable yes, Steve, I said refundabale) max. $15M credit.

    It is a question of equity not greed.

    If you go to Best Buy and buy something at full price, and it then goes on sale shortly after pruchasing it, you get refund between the sale price and the pruchase price, becuase that is fair.

    Same thing with the retroactive credit. In government years, 7 months is like 7 seconds. Why should I have to pay back my $7,500 credit over 15 years when a law with the same intent, that being home sales, could be passed just 7 months later, with 2x the benefits and no repayment.

    I guess in your mind it is fair that I should be the one subsidizing those with good credit and significant equity to buy a new primary residence? The way things are structured now, favorites are being played unless you make it retroactive. This whole thing reminds me of SSI notch babies.

    Since you mentioned it, I disagree with your argument about “shoring up home values”. This and the prior tax credit legislation is geared toward the elmination of excess housing units. Real value creation in housing will come over time due to real uninflated economic growth.

    Simply trading houses isn’t going to solve anything; it is the problem. Housing growth is a reflection of real wealth creation and is not a primary driver of real economic growth. All this proposal does is spur home value inflation, which will be discounted by banks because they can no longer sell mortgages to companies to make MBS. Credit scores and verified debt to income ratios drive mortgage finance now, not LTV.

  135. Anonymous

    ha ha, Matt, no can do! We are scheduled to close escrow tomorrow, so it’s too late to change what we are doing.

    I would like to say, though, that the tax credit is a good idea to stimulate the economy. We’ve already spent quite a lot in preparation to fix up our “new” home. It’s just going to continue, I’m sure!

    While it is a second house, it is a primary residence also. I think they should have allowed that as a tax credit. Allowed that and made it retroactive.

  136. Anonymous

    “So if it approved tonight in a vote than only house buyer from Feb. 6 to Dec. 31 will get the $15,000 credit.”

    I think Wilson thinks the bill is enacted the day it is voted and approved by the senate; it is not. It is in enacted the day Pres. Obama signs it into law; which he has set a date of Feb 16 for the bill to be approved and on his desk to sign.

    I agree with Wilson, that as it stands now, if Obama signs it on Feb 16th than the $15k rebate would only be eligible to homebuyer who bought from Feb 17th, 2009 to Dec. 31st, 2009.

    But we need to wait and see what the final amendment looks like.

  137. Anonymous

    Conversion to a True Credit?
    House Democrats recently outlined their $835 billion economic stimulus package, and one of the things that they’re hoping to do is make the homebuyer tax credit a true credit — with no repayment necessary. Of course, this is still subject to negotiations between the House and Senate, and to passage of the economic stimulus package itself, but…

    If it happens, buyers who qualified for the credit in 2008, or those who do so in 2009, will be relieved of the repayment requirement. Is this enough to make you go out and buy a house? Probably not. But if you’re buying one anyway, be sure to take advantage.

    Update: The Senate just passed an amendment to the stimulus bill that would create a $15,000 tax credit with no repayment requirement. Moreover, it would be available to all purchasers, not just first-time homebuyers.

    The “amendment” to this would be in addition if Im reading correctly, so while it sounds like homebuyers from last year( myself included) will not take part in the 15K credit, it looks as though we will not be required to repay the “loan” of the 7500 credit.

  138. Anonymous

    Stimulating the real estate market is one reason to offer the $15,000, but what about stimulating the construction business by offering a $15,000 tax credit to all middle class home owners. I purchased a house last summer and if I was given $15,000 to play with tomorrow, a solid $12,000 of that would go right into home improvements. Sounds like an awful lot of jobs could be created that way…

  139. Anonymous

    Too bad! I just closed in late January!!!
    So, am I going to miss the $15,000??
    Any possibility that they will make the purchase date starting from Jan 1, 2009?

  140. Anonymous

    “(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
    this section shall apply to purchases after the date of the
    enactment of this Act.”

    Read the last line of the amendment that passed yesterday, nothing will be retroactive unless it is changed before the stimulus bill is voted on. So if it approved tonight in a vote than only house buyer from Feb. 6 to Dec. 31 will get the $15,000 credit.

  141. Anonymous

    Solon, Well said. A lot of the reactions I see are focused on partisanship or based soley on how it benefits them. We are in crisis and have to act quickly, but we cannot afford to be ineffective.

  142. Anonymous

    We are purchasing a home. It will be owner occupied. It is a second home, but it is far enough from our first home to be considered a second primary residence. Our interest rate is at the primary residence, owner occupied rate.

    Will we qualify for this tax credit?

    Any ideas out there?

  143. Anonymous

    Not exactly. I think there are direct benefits of this plan that go towards those who need them, perhaps even moreso than the ones who do not. Perhaps not. But the economy as a whole needs help and there is not one solution that’s going to help. This is only one facet of what is going to need to be done to get things moving again, to get money in the pockets of those who need it, to get people working again, and to get people in homes that they won’t end up losing.

  144. Anonymous

    Solo, so you agree that the direct benefits are limited to those who don’t need them with the hope that they might indirectly help others. If I worked for IKEA I might be on board this money train. But, I think we can better stimulate our economy and help housing through the mortgage deduction. I don’t blame you for having your hand out and hoping, but let’s not pretend the $15K is any kind of solution.

  145. Anonymous

    Don’t know if it is true but someone on another board said they called Isakson’s office and anyone buying a house before the bill is signed into law will not qualify.

    I read the bill as it stands and it says houses purchased after 12/31/08 will qualify.

  146. Anonymous

    Yes, Bilbo, you’re right. But that was under the Bush Admin. Now, people with poor credit cannot buy homes even if they wanted to. Long gone are the days of no doc loans and flimsy lending. Today, you have to be pre-approved through a process that is quite stringent. So if one does qualify to buy a home it suggests that he/she can actually afford the home, opposed to two, three, and four years ago. So we won’t have to worry about people with no money and bad credit buying a home they can’t afford. Those days are gone.

  147. Anonymous

    Solo, you summed up one of the main causes of the housing bust quite well:

    “more people are buying homes, regardless of whether or not they have money, good credit or poor credit”

  148. Anonymous

    I had no plans to buy a new home in the next year but a $15,000 credit would certainly open up the idea. I’d have to keep my first home and convert it to a rental, since it’s underwater. The downpayment would still be an issue, I don’t have 20% down for a home I’d want to live in.

  149. Anonymous

    It’s not that they can’t afford a new home but for the $15k. They may not have the full downpayment as of today or next month or three months out to be able to buy a home. They may very well be able to afford the home, but having the money on hand may be the issue.

    This whole economic crisis is not solely about “benefitting” the poor. It’s more about stimulating the economy on a whole. If more people are buying homes, regardless of whether or not they have money, good credit or poor credit, if people are simply putting money back into the economy things will eventually open up for everyone.

  150. Anonymous

    If new buyers can only afford the home with $15K of taxpayer money than prices haven’t fallen far enough yet, trying to prop them up will not work. It’s a terrible strategy benefiting very few. If we want to subsidize homeownership the mortgage deduction is a better method. We will not get to 4% rates at least not across the board, another “solution” which only benefits those who don’t need the help as they only qualify with the income, credit scores, and equity that ensures they already have a low rate.

  151. Anonymous

    The interest rate issue is still in flux.

    The Federal Reserve & Treasury Dept. started to drive rates in December & January. Rates drifted down in the 4% and have bobbed up a bit to the 5% range. Much better than the 6% rates we saw in November.

    Since then, the Treasury Dept. and the new Administration have been dropping hints of some kind of additional efforts to moderate rates.

    Senate GOP members have a proposal to take rates to 1.6% above LIBOR rates. That would equate to around 4-4.5% for the year. The idea is to make those rates available for both new buyers and for refinances. This would increase home buying and put dollars in people’s pockets.

    Senate Democrats are balking at this idea. They think it will be too expensive (same folks wanted to spend $900 billion on the total stimulus package).

    The GOP Senators will put an amendment on the floor today or tomorrow.

    Should be interesting . . .

  152. Anonymous

    That would make sense, Steve. Since the new guidelines require buyers to come up with cash for the downpayment, this will be a relief to money-strapped buyers who may not be able to come up with 4, 5, or even 10% down. If that is the case it’s an even better deal than I thought. But I’m still wanting/waiting for the 4% interest rate across the board. Anyone hear anything?

  153. Anonymous

    The greed of some folks is amazing.

    You knew the rules when you bought. Why should you get anything retroactively?? I’d like to take the proposed per-family rebate and get it against my 2007 & 2006 taxes. Ain’t going to happen — nor should it.

    This amendment is designed to spur FUTURE sales. Doing so will strengthen home prices in general, helping every home owner. Shoring up values will make it possible for more to refinance at lower rates, sell when necessary and open up credit lines again.

    As written, the refundable (yes, it is refundable) tax credit would be 10% of the purchase price of the new home up to $15,000. It would be for all home buyers without income limitation.

    The buyer(s) could choose when to take it (ie. for the 2008, 2009 or 2010 tax year or even spread between two tax years).

    A key issue is whether the credit can be used for downpayment or closing costs. According to Sen. Isakson, it can be. But, I do not see language in the amendment that allows that.

    If you’d like to review the language that passed the U.S. Senate, it is here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?r111:3:./temp/~r111ddgKFx:e72182:

  154. Anonymous

    You need to call your Congressman and Senators and scream like hell to get this $15M credit retroactively applied to 1st time home buyer purchases done between 4-11-08 and 12-31-2008.

    I closed on my home in 5-08 and I am a first time home buyer.

    I have called Isakson’s (R-Ga) office (I live in Indiana). I was told that “unfortunately” there will not be any retroactive provision.

    To add a cherry on top, the old rule about having to pay back the $7,500 still applies. Yippee.

    And don’t even think about taking advice from anyone about being calm about this. The President has stated he wants a bill by 2-16-08. This leaves very little room for confrence committee negotiations. If you are going to call your Senators or Congressman DO IT NOW, DON’T WAIT.

    I have called my Congressman, both of my Senators and the President expressing my outrage and wanting retroactive implementation back to 4-08 if this bill is passed.

    It’s amazing. We have the Vice President in charge of a middle class improvement task force and Congress pulls this. How does this help the middle class? It’s only been 7 months since they announced the $7,500 credit and now they are changing the rules!!! They are hurting the very people they intended to help due to the repayment provision assoicated with original $7,500 credit.

  155. Anonymous

    Hopefully this doesn’t pass, it’s a ridiculus attempt to indirectly prop up home prices by giving money to those who do not need it. It would make much more sense to increase the mortgage deduction as it would give help to homeowners who are struggling, give incentive to stay in the home where possible, provide relief to those who don’t have the equity/credit to qualify for the low rates, and still encourage new purchases.

  156. Anonymous


    Nobody who has already purchased a home should get excited about this – it only applies to purchases after the legislation is enacted. Moreover, if you took the old credit you still have to pay it back. “Sunset” does NOT mean “supersede” – all it means is that when the new credit is enacted, the old law for the $7,500 credit is no longer in force as of that day (but still applies for people who purchased prior to that day).

  157. Anonymous

    I need to know if the income ceiling for couples to qualify will be lifted. Now couple’s have to make less than $170,000 to qualify for the $7500 credit. Where can I read the specific legislation that was voted on?

  158. Anonymous


    Isakson’s bill would spread the $15,000 credit over three years for the home buyer, and apply only to owner-occupied home purchases made from March 2008 to February 2009. It is one of many proposals introduced recently to address the growing housing crisis. Isakson said his measure is generating interest on Capitol Hill, but it’s unclear whether it will gain traction.


    You guys are quoting from a website and newsrelease over a year old, referring to different legislation from last year — not what was signed yesterday. So the March 08 – Feb 09 timeframe mentioned there is no longer valid.

  159. Anonymous

    Isakson’s bill would spread the $15,000 credit over three years for the home buyer, and apply only to owner-occupied home purchases made from March 2008 to February 2009. It is one of many proposals introduced recently to address the growing housing crisis. Isakson said his measure is generating interest on Capitol Hill, but it’s unclear whether it will gain traction.

    sounds like this would be retro for most people that purchased a home after the inital 7500 credit was put into place, however this means nothing until actually signed into law…

  160. Anonymous

    Before you run out and buy that new dream home, do some research on how much home prices are expect to fall in your area over the next one to two years.

    I live in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our median home price is about $350,000. Those prices are expected to fall at least 10% more over the next year or two, which means that the median price will be $35,000 less.

    So not buying still beats a $15,000 tax credit.

  161. Anonymous

    If I never took the $7,500 new home buyer credit than I probably wouldn’t really care one way or the other; their pissing away our future in so many ways what’s a few more billion?

    But for we few who actually used the credit in 2008, trying to help the market and the government out we are now essentially going to have to repay our tax credit (because the market was so much better for us, you know) so all of these new buyers can get double the credit we got and not even have to pay it back – that’s a tad insulting.

    It’s the principle of the point, it’s better than nothing but that’s not my point. Either you get the credit or you don’t, but don’t make it so much different for half than the other half by making one have to pay it back and not the other – if I would have known I gladly would have waited, but then what would that have done for the hosing market?

  162. Heather et al.: Nothing is set in stone until it’s signed into law. However… If you read the Isakson press release (linked above in Update1), it clearly states it will be effective for one year starting when it is signed into law, and further that the old ($7500) provision will sunset once this one is signed. In other words, it looks to me like the $7500 credit will be in effect until it’s replaced by the $15k version. I haven’t had time to read the actual legislation, but your best bet would be to read that keeping in mind that its subject to change until the it gets sent to the President. As for when that will happen, I have no idea.

  163. Anonymous

    I am supposed to close on a home Monday. I qualify for the $7,500 interest-free loan/credit. Should I wait, and lose the 4.5% rate I’m locked in at or go ahead and lose the $15,000?


  164. Anonymous

    This is great news. But it wouldn’t the 4% interest rate on all home purchases stimulate the market moreso than this tax credit? For the most part, people will need to wait until next year to get the money from a purchase they may make this month or next. But allowing purchasers to hold a 4% rate for 30 years, I think, is more of an incentive to buy.

    Anyone heard any news about this alleged 4% across the board interest rate for homebuyers?

  165. Anonymous

    I am still totally confused. I just can’t figure out if it is retroactive for this year or only for those who purchase after it is signed into law. I am hearing both.

    When will we know if this will be approved by congress. When will they vote. I have heard the president will get the bill late next week.

    I close next Friday!!!!!

  166. Anonymous

    If it were not for bad luck I would have no luck at all. My husband lost his job a few years ago, we had to file bankruptcy and had to lose our home, which finally foreclosed in 2006. We rebuilt our credit and was able to get a VA loan in June of 2008. We can’t qualify for the $7500 because we owned a home within the previous 3 years (title changed from our name in Nov. 2006 even though we walked away in August 2005). So we missed out on that. Now we can’t qualify for the $15000 if it only includes homes bought in 2009. Other than all of that we would qualify, our income is not too high and our house was bought for $15000. I agree with previous comments that the new proposal should absorb the old proposal and include the dates of the old proposal. It’s like chasing a carrot around on a stick. I would have been happy with the $7500 at this point.

  167. Anonymous

    Anyone have any insight about whether this credit would be available for purchasers of land with the intent to build a home within the next 2 years? We’re renting now and thinking of buying a few acres, then saving a little more and building a small house.

  168. Anonymous

    Carmelo, I saw that too — ” ‘a taxpayer may elect to treat such purchase as made on December 31, 2008’ So, the tax credit can be allowed in 2008, correct?”

    I had hope at first, but what that means (I think) is that if you buy a house in February 2009, you can claim it happened December 2008 for tax purposes (i.e. so you can get the refund on April 15, 2009 on 2008 taxes rather than waiting until April 15, 2010 on 2009 taxes).

  169. Anonymous

    I just re-read that and it indicates 10% of the value of the home, not 10% of the purchase price. The home I’m purchasing is valued at $150,000 even though we’re practically stealing it at $85,000. (Gotta Love those short sales)

    Man I do hope it’s based off the value and not the purchase price.

  170. Anonymous

    “The proposal would allow a tax credit of 10 percent of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit. Current law provides for a $7,500 tax break but only for first-time homebuyers.”


    So it appears this doesn’t really help me all that much, as the house I’m in negotiations to purchase is one that I can easily afford at $85,000. I could have bought a house for $150,000 and was pre-approved for $165,000. But instead chose to purchase modestly.

    I’ll take my smaller payments at $85,000 with only 8500 back than budget busting payments at $150,000 with 15,000 back.

  171. Anonymous

    I’m closing on a house next Thursday and all this news about the tax credit being 1) doubled and 2) a true credit rather than a 0% interest loan for the next 15 years – really makes me excited. The house I’m buying is about $60K undervalued (yes, it’s a foreclosure) and this $15K tax credit will really help me do alot of good around the house and with the rest of my finances.

    And Heather (closing next Friday) yes, we will qualify for the $15K credit since they’re making it retro at least back to Jan 1, 2009.

  172. Anonymous

    YArrrr…. We got our house in november…. i was excited for the new stimulus until i read at the bottom of the amendment that it would apply for dec 31 and later- please all of us who apply for the 7500 credit- email Isakson or your rep so that they can amend the whole bill!!!!! 15000 is a lot better!!

  173. Anonymous

    All this is going to do is drive even more people to get into homes that they a)can’t afford b)shouldn’t buy c)shouldn’t be homeowners d)drive home prices even higher.

    I’m in the bucket for the $7500 first time package currently available and I’m glad that it’s a payback program. Would I like it to be free? Sure, but I know that I can use that money to do good things to my personal investments. I’m not greedy and I don’t have wealth envy.

  174. Anonymous

    I bought a house last year too after the Act 2008 was signed into law, too bad, I will miss this one.
    For whoever qualifies under the previous act, maybe there is still a slim chance by writing to your Senators see if they can cover the dates on the original bill.
    There is nothing to lose, and we have already gotten $7500 interest free loan.

  175. Anonymous

    OK, we bought our house in 2008, but we closed before April. Why cant we get the credit? It says After April 8th. Why is that? are there any loopholes for us? we could use the credit,

  176. Anonymous

    I am closing on a house next Friday. Will I qualify for this if it happens at all or will it only apply to those who purchase after the bill is signed into law? If they sign it next week I may need to push back my closing. I need some clarification. This is cutting it too close for me.

  177. Ryan: Read my update, above. The Isakson press release says that it would be effective on the data of passage for one year.. The $7500 credit would likewise sunset with passage of this measure. So there would be no backdating. Or at least that’s how it sounds.

  178. Anonymous

    But again, if the bill would “retroactively” amend even to the first of the year, the principle is laid – if you already bought a house in January 2009 then why should you get the credit – you already bought?

    Amend it for all who have used the credit or amend it for nobody – it’s the government picking and choosing again.

  179. Anonymous

    I didn’t over pay for my home and its not falling apart. It needs repairs there is a difference. I’m just sick and tired always being in the middle. Not quite poor enough and not rich either! Where is all the credits in this crappy stimulus plan for the working poor. Yeah it sucks I bought my house in 2006 so I should have to foot the bill for someone else to get a nice tax break 3 years later? Why not a straight Home owner Credit for home owners who play by the rules!!! Not reward the one’s who profit on some other dumb-ass’s mistake.

  180. This will be an unpopular opinion amongst those of you who bought during 2008, but here goes… The goal of this measure is to get people to buy houses. If you’ve already bought a house, then you’re not one of the people that they’re targeting here, so why should they hand over the money? It sucks, but it also makes sense.

  181. Anonymous

    I understand the credit is to be allowed for two taxable years 2009 and 2010. However in section 3(h) on page 8 it does say that “a taxpayer may elect to treat such purchase as made on December 31, 2008” So, the tax credit can be allowed in 2008, correct?

  182. Anonymous

    If they are going to amend the dates so as to retroactively apply to January 1, 2009 forward, then why not just amend it for the entire credit?

    It makes absolutely no sense, especially since they readily admit there wasn’t enough people using the credit in the first place. I guess we just must have bought when the market was BOOMIN’!

  183. Anonymous

    I saw that too but also read that it was going to be from March of 2008 to Feb. of 2009. What’s the truth?

    I’m a first time home buyer, june of 2008, I bought a house that I could afford, I make my payments early, and pay my taxes.

    Don’t clump smart people that did their homework and bought houses they could afford at rock bottom prices in with the morons that move into a $400,000 house making 15 bucks an hour. Sounds like you’re pisssed because you over paided for your house 2-3 years ago and it’s falling apart.

  184. Anonymous

    No, I do not think this applies if you bought your home in 2008 (I bought mine in October).

    If you look at the text of the amendment (go to thomas.loc.gov — search for Isakson’s legislative record and look at his amendment) — it says:

    “(1) DATE OF PURCHASE.–The credit allowed under subsection (a) shall be allowed only with respect to purchases made–

    “(A) after December 31, 2008, and

    “(B) before January 1, 2010.

  185. Anonymous

    I’m am just sick of all this first time homebuyer crap, We bought a house we could afford!!! We make our payments!!! We’re my credit/bailout !! We could use a new roof and siding. I refuse to refiance for those costly repaires, but I’ll sure take a free credit .How about helping the people that pay thier taxes, I mean actual pay some taxes!!!

  186. Anonymous

    Ryan, I believe the text of the amendment said that the home would have to be purchased in 2009 only, and that the tax credit would have to be taken on the 2009 return, or broken up over 2009 and 2010 returns if the buyer did not have enough tax liability in 2009 to max out the credit, as this credit is non-refundable unlike the refundable $7,500 that this amendment would replace.

    Sounds pretty lame, since the purchase can still only be for a principal residence. Maybe if people could buy up forclosed properties to rent or resell it might have helped, but only the limited few who still have great credit, enough income to need a $15,000 deduction, and who would most likely be upgrading from a home they currently are going to be able to use this supposedly expanded credit. I think the current tax credit is more beneficial to more people.

  187. Anonymous

    “The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment”

    To me this means that this would replace the current $7,500 tax credit, but you would have to buy a house after the enactment of the ammendment to qualify for the full $15,000. So everyone who bought before would only be eligible for the $7,500 credit. I think the senate will eliminate the provision that requires it be paid back over 15 years.

  188. Anonymous

    I don’t know, it’s got to be a fairly telling sign if the amendment was unanimously passed in the Senate by both parties. Other stuff may be added, deducted, or altered, but I don’t believe any party has any interest in taking away from this amendment.

    The key here however is that regardless as to the fate of this “stimulus” bill, both sides are in favor of a separate if need be housing bill; I believe I read where Geitnher is working on that in case further housing stimulus is needed?

  189. People, people, people. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This amendment could get changed or completely removed before it becomes law. The sorts of details that some of you want aren’t yet available, and may be a complete non-issue by the time all is said and done. Patience.

  190. Anonymous

    i was not eligilbe for the 7500 rebate because of a mrb will this new bill allow me to get the tax credit.
    someone post if you know becuase i could use that dough. thx

  191. Anonymous

    From Sen. Isakson’s official press release – it sounds encouraging in that I interpret “sunset” to mean “supersede.”

    Specifically, Isakson’s amendment to the pending economic stimulus bill would provide a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who purchases any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid.

    The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principle residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

    In April 2008, the Senate passed legislation to stimulate the nation’s declining housing market that included Isakson’s proposal. However, the final version of the legislation that was signed into law included only a $7,500 tax credit for first-time homebuyers that must be repaid over a 15-year period. Isakson’s amendment that passed today would sunset that $7,500 tax credit.


  192. Anonymous

    I need homebuyer help also 15,000 would pay off WAMU at 24% which started at 9% from providian which is now chase because I was (1) 24 hours late with a payment in 4yrs and improve the home termedously but i’ve been in my home 4yrs everyone needs help. So I hope they include some people who need this help also it also would stop some foreclosures and allow refiance at a better rate to straighten this crap up.

  193. Anonymous

    Can I refinance my home and still qualify? Sounds like the new car tax incentive to get people buying homes again. Would be wonderful if someone snatched up the two foreclosures on our street soon.

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