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FHA-approved lenders received the go-ahead to develop bridge-loan products that enable first-time buyers to use the benefits of the federal tax credit upfront, according to eagerly awaited guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on so-called home buyer tax credit loans that was released today.

Under the guidance, FHA-approved lenders can develop bridge loans that home buyers can use to help cover their closing costs, buy down their interest rate, or put down more than the minimum 3.5 percent.

The loans can't be used to cover the minimum 3.5 percent, senior HUD officials told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.

Thus, buyers applying for FHA-backed financing with an FHA-approved lender that offers a bridge-loan program can get a bridge loan to bring down the upfront costs of buying a home significantly but would still have to come up with the minimum 3.5 percent downpayment.

There remain many sources of assistance for buyers needing help with the 3.5 percent downpayment, including many state and local government instrumentalities and nonprofit lenders.

In addition,
some state housing finance agencies have developed their own tax credit bridge loan programs, so buyers in states whose HFAs offer such programs can monetize the tax credit upfront to cover all or part of their downpayment. These programs are separate from what HUD announced today.

The first-time homebuyer tax credit was enacted last year and improved upon earlier this year--to help encourage households to enter the housing market while interest rates are low and affordability is high. The credit is worth up to $8,000 and is available to households that haven't owned a home in at least three years. The credit does not have to be repaid, and is fully reimbursable, so households can get their credit returned to them in the form of a payment.

Learn more about the credit, including how to apply for it this year even if you've already filed your taxes.

Source: Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine Online

17 Things Owners Need To Do To Get Their Home Ready For Property Management

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

A common question Virginia Beach area homeowners ask is what do they need to do to get ready for property management.  Here is a list of things that should be helpful to most owners. The important thing is to create a baseline to work from, so when your tenant leaves they know what is to be expected of them.  

1. Whole house, attic, garage & shed clean and free of all personal property. Anything left behind may not be there when you return.

2. All doors, window facings and baseboards cleaned and touched up as needed.

3. Blinds and ceiling fans clean and in good working order.

4. Ensure all light bulbs, switches and fixtures are in good working order.

5. All appliances, vents & filters clean and in good working order. 

6. Kitchen & Baths need to sparkle. Sinks and tubs have to have working stoppers and properly caulked where needed.

7. Have carpets professionally cleaned.

8. Have dryer vent, fireplace & chimney professionally inspected and cleaned.

9. Install "heavy duty" door stops behind each door.

10. Heating & A/C system serviced and new filter(s) installed.

11. Provide current code and instructions for security system.

12. Each floor is required to have working smoke detector with fresh batteries.  Carbon monoxide detector (gas homes) and halon fire extinguishers recommended, but not required by Virginia law.

13. Garage door opener & remote(s) need to be in good working order and have fresh batteries. Provide current code and instructions for using exterior key pad.

14. Have grass freshly cut, all flower beds clean & weeded and install fresh mulch. Provide name & number of who will cut grass until rented if necessary.

15. Provide 4 keys for each unique lock. If more than 2 unique locks, have locksmith re-key locks to one matching key. Please verify all keys work, including new keys!

16. Repair wall holes and touch-up and/or paint where needed.

17. Provide good notes and instructions for unique things about your home that can help the tenant and your property manager in the future.

I hope you found this list of items helpful.  If you have any questions or need a referral to hire someone to help perform any of these tasks to prepare your home for property management, please feel free to give me a call.  Jorge Gonzalez, RE/MAX Allegiance 757-287-3400.



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Jorge Gonzalez primarily provides Real Estate and Property Management services for rental properties for the following areas of Hampton Roads:

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