Friday, January 30, 2009

First Time Homebuyer Tax Credits

Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
*Preprinted from an article by Sam Licklider

You may have already heard about this program from your Representative or Senator but, if you haven’t, MHDC (Missouri Housing Development Commission) has announced a new program to work in conjunction with the Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program. Included is the explanation from the MHDC web site immediately below this paragraph as well as the URL for the MHDC.

Quote from MHDC web site
With over 30 years experience funding mortgages for first-time homebuyers, MHDC knows that the biggest barrier faced by first-time homebuyers is acquiring money for down payment and closing costs. As a result, MHDC created a program that allows homebuyers to receive the value of the tax credit at the time of closing.
How the Federal First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Works:

First-time homebuyers receive a tax credit worth 10% of their home purchase, up to $7,500. The credit is claimed on the homebuyer’s federal tax returns. The credit is refundable, which means that the homebuyer receives a refund for the amount of the credit minus any federal tax liability. The credit is essentially an interest-free loan from the federal government and must be repaid through an increase in federal income taxes over a period of 15 years.

How the MHDC Tax Credit Advance Loan Program Works:

MHDC makes a second mortgage to the homebuyer at the time of closing worth up to 6% of the home purchase price or a maximum of $6,750, which is used to cover down payment and closing costs. The tax credit advance loan is paired with MHDC financing for the first mortgage in the form of a safe 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. The homebuyer then files for the federal tax credit and uses the credit refund to pay off the MHDC tax credit advance loan. If the tax credit advance loan is paid off by the designated deadline (no later than June, 2010), the homeowner pays no interest other than a modest servicing fee. If the tax credit advance loan is not paid in full by the deadline, principal and interest payments to repay the loan over 10 years begin automatically.

MHDC loan programs are available for households with incomes up to $85,500.

The federal tax credit and the MHDC tax credit advance loan program are both currently set to expire June 30, 2009.
Visit Missouri Housing Development Commission for more information.

To begin looking for that new home contact The H Team today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saving Money While Dining Out in St. Louis, MO.

Saving Money While Eating Out with the Children
The H Team

Everyone is trying to save money these days and one of the best ways we’ve found is going to restaurants that offer “kids eat free”. Here are some St. Louis restaurants that offer free meals for children;

Culpeppers 9 Locations
Kids under 12 eat free on Mondays with each paid adult meal.

Dickeys BBQ 8 Locations
Kids Eat Free on Sundays with Paid Adult Meal.

Kriegers 3 Locations
Kids 12 and Under Eat Free on Tuesdays

O Charleys 8 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free Every Weekday

The Pasta House 16 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free on Sundays

Steak and Shake 37 Locations
Kids under 12 Eat Free Every Weekday

Another great way to save money at St. Louis, MO., restaurants is to visit Here
There is a small fee but you can get a $25 Gift Certificate for only $10 to some of the area's best restaurants.

Learn how to save money on your next Real Estate transaction by visiting The H Team today

The H Team

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keeping Your Home Safe Using Electric Space Heaters

Keeping Your Home Safe Using Electric Space Heaters

The H Team
• Adapted from an article written by The Fire Protection Agency

As temperatures continue to remain below average Home owners are substituting electric space heaters instead of increasing the thermostat level.

But using a space heater isn’t as safe as it is simple. According to The Florida Fire Protection Agency, electric space heaters were responsible for:

• 32% of home heating-related fires
• 57% of home heating-related property damage
• 73% of home heating-related civilian deaths

Space Heaters cause a disproportionate amount of damage versus central heating systems and fireplaces. Therefore it is very important to practice safety and care when using electric space heaters.

Some basic safety tips include:

• Do not place anything that can catch fire or burn within 3 feet of the appliance
• Make sure your appliance is approved by Underwriters Labotories, it should have a sticker on the appliance or cord.
• Never use an extension cord.
• Turn appliance off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Follow the manufacturers safety instructions

Provided as a community service by H Team.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

5 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes
The H Team

They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.

Check out our web page to view the entire local MLS

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeping Your Auto Winter Ready

Keeping Your Auto winter Ready
The H Team

Taking a few moments to check a few things can prevent being stranded or in need of a service truck.


Clean the battery with warm water. Remove the terminals and wire brush them and the battery posts with warm water and baking soda. Reattach the terminals and coat all exposed metal with petroleum jelly. You're not done yet–using some sort of household cleaner, clean all traces of dirt and oil from the battery's top and sides, particularly near the terminals. Traces of dirt can trap moisture, especially during damp winter days. This moisture acts as a conductor along a path that normally doesn't conduct electricity at all, and can leak enough current between the battery posts to prematurely drain your battery. In fact, consider replacing your battery if it's more than 4 years old. Newer cars tend to use smaller batteries to reduce weight and improve mileage, and, combined with high under hood temperatures, that spells an earlier demise than you may have gotten 10 to 15 years ago.

Light Bulbs

Check all light bulbs and replace any that aren't working. The days are short during the winter, and you'll depend on these bulbs for visibility a much larger proportion of the day. Check all turn signals, brake lights and headlights. It's also a good time to check your headlights alignment too.

Windshield wipers

Windshield Wipers are essential for winter driving, and after a summer of sunshine, the rubber squeegees are probably in sorry shape. Play it safe and replace them. Be sure the wiper arms and springs are in good shape, and that the blade is held square to the windshield surface. You may need to bend it slightly to keep everything square. Make sure your fluid level is full and that the washer solvent your using is safe for the low temps in your area.


Check the date on the coolant. (Remember many new cars have extended drain intervals–but not permanent coolant. Read the owner's manual.) If it's due to be replaced, use a 50-50 mix of fresh coolant and water.

These few easy to follow tips can help reduce any problems with your automobile during the extreme cold of St. Louis winters.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Preventing Frozen Water Lines

Preventing Broken Water Pipes
The H Team

Arriving home to a flooded basement because of broken water pipes is a preventable situation. By following a few simple precautions your home doesn’t have to be damaged;

Disconnect exterior hoses
Once you’ve disconnected the hose from the faucet allow it to drain. Turn off the hose bib in the interior and open the valve to drain. If you do not have an interior shut off install heat tape over the first 10 inches of the interior pipe.

Install Insulated Pipe Sleeves
These rubber like covers just slip over pipes in an unheated area and available at most Hardware or Home Improvement Centers. A piece of duct tape over the ends will insure the cover stays in place.

Close up crawl spaces
And seal all access doors, vents and cracks. Cold air seeping in can freeze pipes and other plumbing fixtures.

Open Cabinet Doors
Under sinks to allow heat to keep pipes warm.

Know location of shutoff valve
To turn off all the water in your home, in case of breakage and flooding. Shutting the water off can prevent additional damage.

Always leave heat on
Your thermostat should be set no lower than 55 degrees if you are traveling or will be gone for an extended period of time.

Winterize your home
This consist of all pipes being drained and blown dry by a licensed plumber. Normally this is done if your home will be vacant for an extended time.

Are you in need of a licensed local plumber? Contact The H Team today for a qualified plumber.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Unique Way To Get Your Home Sold

A Unique Way To Get Your Home Sold
Frank J. Helderle

With today’s market being what it is and buyers being in control, sometimes a real estate agent has to become creative, aggressive and think “outside the box.”

After being on the market for 120 days with tons of showings, we couldn’t get anything to happen on our listing. It was a nice listing, only 3 years new in a very upscale subdivision. It offered every builder option available, and was priced $20,000 under what the seller paid. Why, it wouldn’t sell was beyond me.

Finally another agent called who had a re-location client who was looking for a quick closing and was a cash buyer. I held my breath and crossed my fingers, nothing happened. The agent called the next day and said they liked it but that they were trying to decide which property they liked the most of the ones they had toured and wanted to go back in for another look. I asked which properties they were comparing our listing to and did some quick comparisons and even visited and toured the other two homes.

The next day the other agent called and said they really liked our listing but had decided to write an offer on one of the other properties. Since that property was about $15,000 less than ours with fewer amenities I asked the agent to give me a couple of hours to discuss some possibilities with my seller.

I immediately got on the phone with my seller. Since this seller had transferred out of town and purchased another home already he very much wanted this home to sell. In some of our previous discussions my client had confided in me that he was prepared to reduce the price lower but only if we had a qualified buyer who was ready.
I suggested he reduce his price to the point he was willing to go and that we write a reverse offer.
We wrote the offer and presented to the buyer’s agent, who after a brief education on reverse offers, presented the offer to his buyers. The buyers were elated and accepted the offer. The seller was able to get his home sold with a minimal reduction in his asking price.

There are just too many choices out there for buyers today and by offering an incentive to them it should make them take notice. Sellers have to become more aggressive and let the buyers know they are serious.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Is 2009 The Year To Buy A New Home

Is 2009 the Year To Purchase A Home?
Frank J. Helderle

As a buyer in 2009 the decision lays entirely in your court. With low interest rates, an over supply of homes for sale and the lower prices 2009 is a great time to purchase a new home, with a few items to consider;

Buying Too Aggressively So you’ve located a few houses you’re interested in, make sure it’s something you can easily afford. Everything you read today about the economy tells us that our current recession will last longer than a year or so and that unemployment could hit over 8% which means trying to stretch your income just won’t work. Most lenders will tell you how much of a home you can afford, but by buying a home that costs 50% of your take home pay is just inviting problems. Consider what happens if you get laid off or your company shuts down? It can happen, so buy conservatively.

Purchasing A Foreclosure Yes a foreclosure can be a real bargain, with deep discounts, these properties can come with a great deal of baggage. After a home sits vacant for months or years things begin to deteriorate, such as no water running through the stacks, dishwasher pumps tend to dry out, carpet and vinyl begin to get loose when the house has no heat or cooling. Always know what you’re getting into. Before you begin looking at foreclosures hire an expereienced real estate agent and a certified building inspector. Make sure all utilities are on, even if you have to arrange for them to be turned on..By spending a few dollars in the beginning will save you much more in the long run.

Search For The Best Deal Home prices are expected to continue to fall most of 2009, those people considering buying a home are in the driver’s seat and should be looking for the very best deal. Since it is such a buyers market look for the deal and low ball the offer, you never know, you may get lucky. While low balling is common in today’s market don’t go overboard. Making an insulting low offer may upset the seller which may result in any offer you make on the property unacceptable

Understand The Local Market It’s really easy to listen to all the doom and gloom about the Real Estate market but savvy buyers need to be paying attention to the market area they are considering making a purchase. What’s happening in one area may be the total opposite in another. Remember, an individual market is not the same as a national market. Again hiring an experience local Real Estate Agent will insure you’re well educated about the market you’re shopping.

Buy For The Long Term As home prices continue to decline 2009 will not be the year to make a return on your investment. Actually your new home may continue to loose value throughout 2009. But, eventually home prices will rebound. Any home you purchase in 2009 you should plan on living in for at least 3 years

2009 is the year to purchase a new home if you know where to look, how to look and when to look. Contact The H Team today to begin looking for your new home

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Now Is The Time To Buy

Why Now Is The Time To Buy A Home

YES, now is the time to buy a house for a number of reasons. Regardless if you’re a first time home owner, an investor or a move up buyer. If you don’t get on the boat soon, once it leaves port, you won’t be able to get on board. It will move that fast. Just why do I and a lot of other professionals think 2009 will be the start of the rebound?

1. Low Prices Home prices are at a record low. The median price in St. Louis, MO., is now at $179,900 down from $200,000. With a decent credit score payments are going to be affordable once again.
2. Low Interest Rates FHA rates as of today are 5.125% on a 30 year fixed and as low as 4.750% on a 15 year fixed with only 3.5% down-payment required. My friends in the mortgage business tell me applications are up.
3. New White House The new White House is beginning to talk stimulus once again. Car manufacturers are reducing required credit rating requirements to get people back into the showrooms. Once the population starts spending money again Americans will get use to spending money again.

Once people start spending money again our economy will begin moving very fast. Interest rates will go up; sellers will want more money for their homes and will receive multiple offers on their homes.

Getting on board today by getting pre-approved, signing a buyer’s agency with a full time Realtor and beginning to look you can be sailing away in your new home at a great price with a low interest rate before the rush.

For a list of available homes that meet your criteria contact The H Team today. For free pre-qualification or to determine your buying power contact Christy

Frank J. Helderle

Friday, January 02, 2009

It's 2009 "Happy New Year"

I got up this morning and it suddenly dawned on me it’s a New Year, and a New Year means “New Business” Think about it for just a few moments; after the parties, the noise makers, the party hats there are a million different kinds of calendars out there. What a way to remind a client or potential client that it’s a New Year and maybe time for a New Home?
Yes, I know we all do the promotional calendars but like the one I sent my number two brother, “Hot Rod Cars” or the one I sent to my Doctor “Joke For A Day”, it’s better than a picture of me hanging on their wall. Who would of imagined how many different calendars are out there and guess what, you can get them for 50%. A twitter friend from Connecticut suggests appointment books also.

A New Year also brings resolutions and new goals. Looking at Amazon. Com. Three of the top ten best sellers deal with health or financial well being. I’ve noticed on television over the last two days at least 3 ads for weight loss surgery and at least 5 for gym memberships. I long for the political season to return. Those ads at least were comical.

Putting your financial and health goals on the front burner is great to start with, but another great goal for 2009 is to purchase a new home. Regardless of what the boo-hoers are saying now is the greatest time in 20 years to buy a home. Inventory is up, sellers are motivated and interest rates are at a historical low. Why not consider moving up and getting that extra bath and bedroom you’ve needed for so long. Or as many first-time home buyer’s have discovered home ownership is still the greatest investment they can make. And with a basement or extra bedroom they could purchase my hardly ridden exercise bike and start their own in home gym.

As a Realtor it’s time to get out there and start drumming up that “new business”. Everyone else it’s time to consider getting that new home, setting goals and staying on track towards those new resolutions.

To begin the search for that new home visit The H Team and search the MLS.

Happy New Year