Gov. incentive helping sales say East Texas realtors

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - $8,000 from the government sounded good then and still does, but for how long? The White House is considering extending an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers. November 30th still stands as the deadline.

"We just love the quaintness of it," said Tabatha Lesmeister.

With character and charm it was the perfect first home for the first-time buyers.

"I've heard a lot of horror stories about lending, and getting a home, and this was easy," said Nic Lesmeister.

The Lesmeisters just closed on their home, Monday morning. With three bedrooms and two baths aside, the extra $8,000 makes a nice selling point.

"We wouldn't have done it as soon," said Nic Lesmeister. "We would have waited 'til the spring."

"There's a sense of urgency because the credit is getting ready to end," said Tanya Redic, a realtor.

Redic says it's the incentive that lit a fire under the East Texas real estate market. She and realtors across the country are writing their congressmen and women, urging them to keep the program going a little longer. Under the rules, first-time home buyers can get back 10% of their purchase price, or up to $8,000. The income limit is $75,000 for single buyers. $150,000 for couples.

"We have a lot of people calling in, just wanting to know how it works," said Margie Fisher, with Primelending.

Fisher says, here in Texas, there's even a way for potential buyers to get their credit up front.

"The idea is: You come in, we advance that money to you in the form of a bond with the state," explained Fisher, "that money is used for the down payment and the closing costs...immediately, after closing, you're going to amend your tax return for 2008, or you can do it for 2009." help even more people take advantage while there's still time. The Lesmeisters have no regrets.

"We are real owners, so yeah, there we go," said Nic Lesmeister.

A White House spokesperson says the administration's economic team is evaluating the tax credit's impact on home sales and will make a recommendation to the president.

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