Paul Weideman | For The New Mexican

 
I’m heartened by the news that several young people I know have either recently purchased a home or are currently working with a Realtor to finalize a home purchase. My daughter’s best friend, Jill, and her husband bought a charming home, recently renovated, in an established neighborhood to grow their new family. Jill is pregnant and expecting the birth of her first child in May.

Amanda, the daughter of one of my closest friends, and her husband are in the process of buying a home that was constructed about six months ago. The negotiating has begun and I’m sure I’ll hear soon if the deal has been struck. Amanda is a schoolteacher and has shared with her mother that she is ready to have children of her own.

What is not surprising and in fact quite reassuring to those in the real-estate industry is that there was no hesitation by these young people to make the important decision to invest in a home. Their families have enjoyed the benefits of homeownership and clearly conveyed this to their children. They understand, as so many of us do, that owning a home is one of the best and most reliable ways to grow net worth over time. In Santa Fe and many other communities across the nation, home values have held steady or only dropped modestly compared to other types of investments during the recent economic uncertainty.

It is a great time to buy a home. There is ample inventory across the price spectrum, offering buyers a wide choice of options. Sellers are open to offers and more responsive to market adjustments. If you’re a first-time buyer, you can take advantage of the new $8,000 federal tax credit. If you need more space due to a growing family, in-law suite or home business, it’s a perfect time to buy a larger home with interest rates at 50-year record lows. And there are a wide variety of mortgage products and programs available to help those eligible for down-payment assistance or to provide extra funds to help rehab a fixer-upper.

If you are a first-time homebuyer, there is a sense of urgency, as the federal tax credit will expire on Nov. 30, 2009. Realtors across the country worked hard to ensure that the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama included a first-time homebuyer tax credit that no longer had a repayment provision. The new $8,000 tax credit is refundable, which means that if your total annual tax liability is less than $8,000, the IRS will send a refund for the balance.

One word of caution: Certain mortgage products may not be available for those with poor credit. Homebuyers with credit concerns should sign up now for free, local financial literacy courses where they can learn how to improve their credit and financial health. I can state with confidence that Realtors are eager and ready to work with buyers to help them access these programs and guide them through all aspects of the home-buying process. Let’s Buy Into Santa Fe by finding your Santa Fe home today.