SOURCE: Georgia Association of REALTORS(R)

Georgia Association of REALTORS(R)

August 06, 2009 07:20 ET

REALTORS® Urge Buyers to Act Quickly, Tax Credits to Expire Soon

Less Than 120 Days Until State and Federal Tax Credit Opportunities Expire

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - August 6, 2009) - The Georgia Association of REALTORS® (GAR) is encouraging potential homebuyers to act quickly, as there is limited time to qualify for the $8,000 first-time home buyer federal tax credit as well as the Georgia state tax credit in which consumers can qualify for up to $1,800 in tax credit. As of today, there are less than 120 days for purchasers to take advantage of the credits. In order to qualify, the transaction must close before 11:59 p.m. on November 30, 2009.

"November might seem like it's several months away, but real estate transactions can be lengthy, particularly if you're dealing with an REO or foreclosure," said 2009 GAR President Steven Fischer. "Starting the process now should hopefully allow enough time to reach closing before the expiration of the credits."

All transactions vary, and there are different circumstances for each of them that could lead to a longer buying process. In addition, most consumers don't realize that an average real estate transaction has over 180 steps. "Services vary not only from firm to firm, but with individual agents as well. Still, an agent who is doing a thorough job is going to perform the majority of these steps," said Fischer.

Prospective buyers should factor in the following steps that are typically involved in the purchase of real estate: shopping for and securing a mortgage, finding a REALTOR®, creating a list of preferable features for the home, searching for homes that fit that criteria, settling on a home, presenting an offer, obtaining a home inspection, shopping for homeowners insurance, and selecting a closing attorney. Buyers should factor in extra time to allow for unforeseen circumstances and any additional steps that may be necessary in their particular transaction. The transaction involves several parties -- appraisers, mortgage brokers, closing attorneys, etc. Numerous third parties present the potential for delays. As the clock ticks down to November 30, buyers will have less time to prepare for such delays.

Fischer added, "Buyers should realize that several factors make this an unprecedented time for great deals in Georgia real estate. Low interest rates, plentiful inventory, low prices -- this combination is virtually unheard of and makes for the strongest buyer's market I've ever seen in my 24-year career."

The $8,000 federal tax credit is available to buyers who are purchasing a primary who have not owned a primary residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase. The credit does not have to be repaid, and it must be claimed on your federal income tax return.

The Georgia tax credit equals 1.2 percent of the sales price of the home for a maximum credit of $1,800, and is available to buyers in Georgia purchasing a home for their primary residence. Unlike the federal credit, it is not limited to first-time homebuyers and does not have an income cap.

Talk to a REALTOR® about initiating the home purchase process today. For more information on the tax credit, or to find out more about taking advantage of the current real estate market in Georgia, visit www.garealtor.com/fence.

The Georgia Association of REALTORS®, the Voice for Real Estate in Georgia™, is a voluntary professional association of approximately 33,000 licensed real estate brokers and salespersons engaged in all aspects of the real estate business throughout the state of Georgia.

GAR is the leading advocate for the real estate industry in Georgia, committed to protecting private property rights and free enterprise, maintaining ethical and professional standards, and enhancing the public's awareness and confidence in REALTORS®

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