Home Buying in 19114>Question Details

Steve, Other/Just Looking in 19114

first time home buyer

Asked by Steve, 19114 Tue Dec 15, 2009

i would like to purchase in springtime 2010 . when does the 8000 tax credit expire, could i use the 8000 towards my down payment ? what percent do i have to put down for an fha loan? is my first step pre approval? i would like a isngle home 3 bedrooms fireplace fixxer upper, is this feasible for 200,000 in the 19114 area? if i want to purchase by april when should i start the process of becoming pre approved for a mortgage?

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Dan, if you ever forget the original question again.............just look on top of the page to refresh your memory, then the backslapping won't distract you. :)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Sculptormjm......your point is well taken.

Fortunately, within the 39 responses, a good number ( at least 15) dealt directly with Steve's questions. I went back, and read them all, and his questions were most definitely covered and answered thoroughly. I feel he has a comprehensive overview on what to do in regard to purchasing his first home.....and I know we all wish him much success in his search.

Unfortuantely, one person decided to criticize where some advice was coming from, and that led the conversation to another tangent.

I agree with you that the discussion should have stayed on topic. It's difficult, however, not to respond when accusatory statements are made.

In any event - I hope Steve found value in the numerous suggestions and responses he received, and I hope he updates us when he buys a home!

Sculptormjm.............. I think if you look at other threads on Trulia, you will see that trulia voice members are very willing to take their time to help and advise people on a regular basis, and most threads do stay on topic.

Thank you for your comment, though ,as it's a reminder that we are always being judged and evaluated by what we say on an open forum.

Best wishes to you...............and I wish you a very happy holiday seaon!
Debbie Rose
Prudential NJ Properties
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 21, 2009
Steve - you have gotten a lot of useful information, and your question was thoroughly answered. I am sure you will make a decision that is right for you.

Let me say that Sean Dawes is someone I would gladly refer clients to - he is sharp, enthusiastic and knowlegeable........and you have nothing to lose to take him up on his offer for a chat and some coffee (hey, it's a free cup of coffee, why not!! - maybe he'll even throw in a donut ) :)

Jeff - let me say that I have always found your responses on trulia to be well thought out, articulate and informative. Even if you're not a "pro", you are certainly entitled to share your opinions and offer advice. Consumers can decide what advice they want to follow. This is an open forum - all may participate. Just because someone is considered a "Pro", doesn't mean they go to the head of the class. I have seen many answers here that make me cringe - and they were from "pros".

So, Jeff, by all means - join in whenever you want. I look forward to your contributions.

Yours, too, Dunes....you non-pro you! (or, are you really a secret agent, and we don't know it??)

Steve.........good luck in your home search...............it's an exciting time buying your first home!!

Best wishes..........
Debbie Rose
Prudential NJ Properties
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

"I would be careful when taking advice from people who are non Realtors. They often can provide misinformation and I do know that there are many people on Trulia who claim not to be a Realtor but actually are or they are working for Realtors and they try to get clients for them."

LOL.......Just one example do ya got just one example you can show to back up your OPINION that you are attempting to pass off as some kind of knowledge......

You made this comment in this thread where there are just a couple non-Realtors.

Do you wish to state by name any non-realtor in this thread that falls into your little " claim not to be a Realtor but actually are or they are working for Realtors and they try to get clients for them." scenario

I guess Steve is just suppose to take your word for it because..................
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hi Steve,

See this link about the tax credit:

Yes, your first step is pre approval, speak with a mortgage person regarding to see what you can afford to buy and then find a good local Realtor to help you with your search. By "good" I mean someone that will take the time to help you do you due diligence in finding that property that can make this all work out for you.

Start your search for an agent.. interview a few, call email, talk.. then get pre approved by a bank, not a mortgage broker and not an online mortgage company. if you need a good mortgage person, email and I will connect you with a very good PNC Bank person.

Good Luck and let us know how it works out for you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Barbara doesn't identify herself as a Realtor...............because she ISN'T one!

If anyone wanted to take the time to read Barbara Q's profile, they would see that she isn't a Realtor - her company offers creative financing options/programs for buyers and sellers.............it's right there - all you have to do is read it.. There's no deception going on..........no mystery of life............her program is clearly explained..............you just have to take the time to read it...then you have to understand what you read
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
"Put at least as much effort into choosing an Agent as you do when choosing what Toppings to put on the Pizza you order. "

Dunes - I think that is EXCELLENT advice!
But...why would anyone value my opinion?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Any Realtors or agents giving advice here (or anywhere else, for that matter) should have their correct name and contact information available, as that's what the law requires.

Non professionals giving advice, are giving it as "non professionals", who've had some experience either buying, selling of searching for a home, and their advice is valuable too. And just because they haven't chosen to print their name and contact information (probably so that they don't get calls from angry Realtors) doesn't make their advice any less valuable.

I have not run into any "Realtors" disguised as "non-pros" shilling for their bosses or themselves... Trulia is an open forum, and, in my opinion, any and all are welcome to participate. Many of those asking questions will respond well to those who've been in their shoes before, and their opinions, do NOT take anything away from my opinion... in fact, I feel they enhance it.

And this is by no means meant to discredit Renee, or any of her comments. This comment is meant to express my opinion, and my opinion only.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

My position is only qualified people should be giving advice whoever they may be. Renee is a Broker and its alot of work to get a Brokers license so I'm sure she is. I suspect most others posting are too but I think it should be a requirement to have a full name and photo to post on the site if you are responding to a question. It might even be reasonable to list background and experience on your profile. It only takes a few minutes. Maybe we have bankers, investors, attorneys, etc. which would be great for the discussion, but we don't know that without knowing who people are and that's my point.

As for my "(assuming you are not one)", it was meant as a joke but I really don't know who anyone is that does not identify themselves.

I do know Steve's question has been asked and answered several times so he should have good information at this point.

Have a good evening....
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
>> I would be careful when taking advice from people who are non Realtors. They often can provide misinformation and I do know that there are many people on Trulia who claim not to be a Realtor but actually are or they are working for Realtors and they try to get clients for them.

Hi Renee,

Wow, now that is one interesting accusation. So who is it exactly that is "claiming to not be a realtor but is one" or am "working for Realtors to get clients for them"! I assume that this is directed toward me?

If you wish to attempt to discredit me, you would be well-advised as to do so BASED ON THE FACTS, rather than by this rather weak attempt to foster Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt in a prospective customer. But we can all be very confident that you have now put yourself ahead by this ill-conceived attack on me (sarcasm intended).


Sorry about that. This is your link. Hopefully, the rest of the posts will be to help address Your Question. That's is what we are supposed to be focusing on.

To clarify. The link that I provided to you with 49 properties is directly from Trulia. Is Trulia 100% accurate or complete? Probably not, but it should be very close to the MLS. And it's a good starting point. That's why we are all here, right?

Now I'll readily admit that I ran the report against "the map", instead of just against the 19114 zip code. I personally find this helpful for finding a few homes that are "just beyond a certain zip code but still in the right area". Please do feel free to modify the search criteria to whatever works best for you. And we will do our best to help answer ALL of your questions to the best of our abilities!!!

On a side note, the MLS isn't complete or accurate either. There are lots of FSBO (for sale by owner) that aren't in the MLS. We have no idea if you are interested in a FSBO. Also, just because there is "data in the MLS" doesn't mean that it's perfect either. I've seen plenty of listings with one or more pieces of bad data. For instance, many townhouses and condos have the wrong square footage. Any database is only as good as the information that is input to it.

And please note that I did not "recommend" that you buy a multi-family. I merely brought it to your attention, so that you may possibly consider it, as to whether it's appropriate or not, given your situation and your inclinations. You are the ONLY person here that understands your finances, how handy you are, whether you would like being a landlord, or what property is best suited for your current needs and future plans (family, business or otherwise).

My most recent property is a multi-family. I had NOT planned to buy one. It wasn't on my radar at all. I was looking for a single family and came across a great multi-family by accident. Life works out that way sometimes and I'm really happy about it.

Best regards,


Oh yeah, and I'm not a realtor, agent, broker or associated in any way with one. Really!!! :-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hi Steve,

There are 49 homes asking less than $200K in that area, many more nearby. Here's the link to them. I've sorted it by largest square footage but you can change that to price, etc as you like.


I'd recommend that you get a free copy of your credit report, so that you know what you are dealing with, and can have time to improve things if needed before you buy.

When it comes time for you to find an agent/realtor, please take your time to find the right person. I can't stress this enough. There are LOTS of agents out there. Only a small percentage of them are really experienced. You'll probably need to interview some 5-6 agents to find one that has the expertise and one that you can really work with. It's super important that you pick the correct person to provide you with the the right advice and support in buying a house.

Also, please don't rule out multi-family homes. They can be a very good investment. You live in one unit, and the other units can pay for your mortgage! So long as you are willing to be a landlord, and find the right property, it can be a very good investment. This also means that your top end would likely be higher than 200K - just a thought.

I know a really good guy out of Yardley, but I'm not sure if he covers Philly. If you want his info, just email me directly through my profile.

I'd definitely recommend that you meet with Sean, and also review the fantastic materials that Dunes put together.

Good luck!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

In my opinion for anyone who is beginning to learn the Homebuying process the Hud site has excellent steps to review...Nine steps to buying a home

1. Figure out how much you can afford
2. Know your rights
3. Shop for a loan
4. Learn about homebuying programs
5. Shop for a home
6. Make an offer
7. Get a home inspection
8. Shop for homeowners insurance
9. Sign papers

and also has many resources/tools to begin learning the type of questions you need to ask when selecting a loan source and an RE Agent....http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/buying_a_home

If you would like to review the current Fed loan programs then this Fed gov. site is the place to look....You can get specific information, compare options, or take a short questionnaire to determine your eligibility for each program......http://www.govloans.gov/govloans_en.portal?_nfls=false&_…

If you just want to Browse Actual Foreclosures...You might wish to check out the Bank/Gov sites created to give the public access to view the Listed Foreclosures/Properties for sale and to provide information on the purchase process used plus much more information it's Free and updated constantly...Sites like..

.... http://www.wamuproperties.com/ .... http://www.hud.gov/homes/index.cfm

https://www.citimortgage.com/Mortgage/Oreo/SearchListing.do ...

The links to all of these Bank and Gov. sites can be found here.... http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/wiki/REO_Database_List.asp http://www.biggerpockets.com/bank-reo.html

If you ever need to find Public Records this search engine might come in handy.. http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/ ... to help find things like.... http://publicrecords.onlinesearches.com/Pennsylvania-Foreclo…

When you decide to hire the services of an RE Agent to assist you in the process you will being deciding who to work with on what may be the largest financial obligation of your life so choosing wisely will be extremely important to you...Put at least as much effort into choosing an Agent as you do when choosing what Toppings to put on the Pizza you order.

You need to inform yourself enough about your market and the process to be able to ask the questions necessary to ensure choosing a Professional who will work with you to attain your goals...Do not just hire an Agent, choose an Agent carefully and wisely, there are many available so give your choice the time it deserves as one of the most important decisions you may ever make...Use the internet, be informed....

Good hunting, Dunes
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
Contracted by April 30th 2010 (signed contract, lending in place) , settled by June 30th 2010 (Go to Settlement- home changes hands). For 200k you might find a home already fixed up . Start the process by getting approved by a mortgage lender. At Keller Williams Real Estate, we have a 3 floor cutting edge facility with mortgage lenders on site to make your home buying experience less stressful. Contact me if you need any help.
Good Luck!
-Robert A. Martini
Keller Williams Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 11, 2010
Hi Steve,

You must be under contract by April 30th and settle by June 30, 2010. The following website will give you an in depth overview of how the tax credit works.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
Hi Steve,
Thank you for your question. The average home buying transaction takes about 60 days. Therefore, to comfortably meet the April 30 deadline to be under contract and close by June 30, buyers should be shopping now. If you have specific questions about this would affect your taxes, check with your tax accountant or attorney.

Basic information for 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credit on our website: http://coldwellbanker.com/servlet/News?action=viewNewsItem&a…

Being pre-approved for a mortgage is the most important step for the success of your home search!
Preapproval is also the foundation for your negotiating position with sellers. You need to find your purchasing power prior to searching properties.

Kind Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 6, 2010
Steve, regarding the $8000 when I mentioned filing your taxes or doing an amended return..I meant that you do that after you purchase..just want to make sure I was clear.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Hey Steve, I'm a mortage banker in the Philadelphia area. I'd be more than happy to assist you and appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. To get the tax credit you need to have an agreement by Aprtil 30th and close by June 30th. You get your $8000 when you file your taxes, OR even if you already filed this year you can do an ammended tax return and get your money. Your first step for a pre approval is having a loan officer take an application from you and analyze your income/credit/assets, etc. Have you thought about what your comfortable monthly payment would be (including taxes and insurance?) I'd start looking now and link with a quality realtor...but your realtor will want to know if you are pre approved and for how much. I also can link you to a very advanced home search engine through Home Buyers Scouting Report. I can also refer a realtor to you as well. I'd be happy to assist you. Either way, good luck with your search. You should definitely try to get an agreement by April 30th. Chad 610 622-2212 cbahnsen@mortgagenetwork.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Hi Steve. I'll be brief as many have given you sound advise. To quaqlify for the tax credit you'll need to be in a fully executed contract no later than April 30th, 2010 and close by June 30th.

Get yourself pre-approved by a mortgage consultant as it is the first step. Bring a copy of the last 2 years 1040's and any Bank statements that show liquid assets. Also any statement that show any other assets like a 401K or IRA accounts. They are after all, assets. Make sure your mortgage person runs your credit. Based on your price point, you should check this link to the IRS instructions for form 5405. As always, it is best to consult your accountant as well. Here's the link:


You can also go the the IRS site, left hand side and check under "forms and publications" to download form 5405 "first-time homebuyers credit." http://www.irs.gov/index.html

Best of luck to you with your purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
You should start the process right now to be able to sign contract by the april 30.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 4, 2010
Hi Steve, I hope you have been pre approved by now. You have already received advice from others about the expiration date for the credit.
For details you should go to the irs web site. http://www.irs.gov. There are going to be changes for the FHA program in April, so make sure you talk to the lender who qualified you and ask for details if you are getting an FHA mortgage. If you are making an offer on a short sale please note that it may take time for seller to accept the offer so allow plenty of time. An experienced agent can help you.
You can visit my web site http://www.gitabantwal.com and look up listings in the area.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 3, 2010
Hi Steve, I'd get pre approved (quick process) ASAP to see where your credit/income/asset situation stands so you're ahead of the game when you want to purchase in April. I'd be happy to assist you if you don't already have a loan officer. Happy New Year! Chad
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 29, 2009
Renee- My profile is not deceiving...if you look - you will see exactly who I am and what my company does.
I am not an Agent or Broker... that makes me a "non-Realtor" one of those from whom Steve should "be careful when taking advice..."

I have been involved in the Real Estate and mortgage industry for 25 years.
I know a little bit about buying, selling, financing. I don't claim to be an expert, just trying to be helpful.

Happy New Year!
Web Reference: http://www.321advantage.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Hi Barbara

No doubt that you are a nice person!

Your profile is deceiving. At first glance, you come off as a Realtor. Why not list yourself as a real estate pro because you are in the profession.

You are not an "other/just looking correct?

I think this was beaten to death.

Back on point here which was that all I was doing was giving advice to Steve to be careful when taking advice from non Realtors. I still stand by my advice.

Barbara, would love to talk to you about your services some time.

Everyone have a great holiday and a very happy and safe New Year!!!! Heres to everyone having a great year in 2010!!!

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Thank You Debbie, and in your own inimitable style, as always, you are correct.
It's the "understanding" piece that stumps most.

Renee, you are a supersleuth! However, you are going to have to dig a little deeper to prove your point.
You are correct in saying I am a nice person...
But, incorrect in saying I am a Realtor and I am misleading and deceptive.

We are " Financial Home Stagers" - We make homes more attractive from a financial point of view.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Web Reference: http://www.321advantage.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Always happy to be of help...................but I wasn't to the rescue - I was simply correcting an incorrect statement.

And a happy New Year to you, too............and to everyone !!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Debbie to the rescue as always. Good for you Pro, VIP! Good to see you!

Happy holidays.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Jefferson, Dunes

Let me prove my point.

Barbara Q posted something on here. I have nothing against her nor do I know her. I'm sure she is a very nice person however her profile is very misleading. You asked for me to show you a person who doesn't disclose themselves as a Realtor.

Under her picture is says Other/Just Looking from Bergen County. When you view her profile her tag line is
Helping Sellers Sell & Buyers Buy" She also lists a real estate website.

Well, if that doesn't prove my point, I don't know what does. So, is she a Realtor and if so, why didn't she create a profile identifying herself as one. She is by law supposed to identify herself as one and if she is not, why does she have a profile which states what it does?

Seems very deceiving ether way to consumers.

Hey Dunes, there you go, just one example for you.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Hi, Steve,

I am a little surprised at the comments that were sent out to you. So I am not going to address any of that, but WILL address your questions exactly:

1. The tax credit expires on 06/30/2010. You MUST be on a contract by 04/30/2010 and settle by 06/30/2010.
2. There were a few programs which allowed for you to use a portion of the $8,000 as closing cost money; these things change from week to week so when you are ready to get started is the best time to explore this opportunity.
3. An fha loan requires 3.5% down. The money can be yours; a gift from a family member or significant other; grant; etc. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for up to $3,500 from the State for your purchase.
4. Definitely get a pre-approval. Try to go to a direct lender or a bank; brokers typically charge higher fees. Also, a broker cannot get you the grant from the state. If you need help with this I can send you a few links to very reputable lenders who are local.
5. If you get a fixxer upper you can get an FHA203K loan...that will give you money for the repairs. Sound like a good idea?
6. If you want to have a contract by APRIL, start the process TODAY!!!
7. Once you are pre-approved we can figure out what would be a realistic purchase price for what you want to achieve.

If you need other help, I would be glad to be there for you. Good Luck and Happy Holidays.

Carol Cei
ReMax Millennium
215-379-1100 x1720
215-643-9661 direct
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Hi Steve,
I am a ReMax Realtor and I live in Torresdale 19114. I know this area well! As you may already know from other responses the 8000 credit expires 4/30/10 and you must settle by 6/2010. To answer your questions....YES a good first step is to get Pre-Approved. If you belong to a credit union, or the bank you use, that is a good place to start. OR I could recommend a loan officer I do alot of business with from Wells Fargo. FHA requires a minimum of 3.5% down. After the holidays would be perfect timing to start the process. If you would like to give me your email address, I will send you what is currently on the market and as new listing come on the market, send those too. Academy Gardens will probably have more to offer in the 200,000 price range. I hope toto hear from you. I would love help you find what you're looking for and welcome you to the neighborhood!
Jeannie Borbidge
ReMax Centre
215-343-8200 x237 office
215-385-0523 cell * best contact #
email: borbidge@verizon.net
Web Reference: http://jeanborbidge.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009

The Link works for me. Trend does not work in chrome or safari browsers I still think so try opening it in IE.


Trulia Pro is an awesome feature for agents who want to put their sellers properties ahead of the competition. It allows for their listings ahead of all the others. So say there are 49 listings in 19114, then that agents home will show up in the search results before others. There are also other great features such as client listing reports to show sellers how much traffic their properties are getting on trulia, as well as the agent gets local spotlight ads to advertise for them self to get their brand out there. You must be a realtor to have a Pro account. Just like you must be licensed to have your properties appear in the search results of trulia.

So you will not find any FSBO's on trulia in the search results. Do I recommend looking at FSBOs? Sure. I am not saying to avoid them because a house is a house. But when dealing with them, I would recommend dealing with a realtor as most FSBO's tend to be overpriced and a realtor can negotiate the price to what it is really worth and provide the comps to back it up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Hi Jefferson,

I will certainly love to talk with you via email.

Steve, you may notice the word "pro" under some Agent's names. All that means is that that agent pays a fee to Trulia so that their name appears before those Realtors who do not pay Trulia. As another poster brought up in their response. I'm not sure if a non Realtor or non licensed person can also pay Trulia to be able to have that name but it wouldn't surprise me.

It seems that because I gave you "PROFESSIONAL" advice to be careful when taking advice from non Realtors, those non Realtors and now it seems that an actual "agent" has taken issue with that. Why an actual Realtor would take issue with my simply trying to protect their profession and their "professional" name is beyond me. But I would think that you or anyone for that matter wouldn't simply take advice from someone who wasn't a licensed doctor or lawyer and real estate is no different.

Again people let's not miss the point here, I am not saying anything personal about Jefferson or Dunes. Though many will try to make it seem that way and distract from my actual comment. I'm simply saying that just because people buy homes or sell homes, it doesn't qualify them to give professional advice to consumers. They can share their stories with them of their home buying or selling experiences but to sit here day in and day out and give detailed information about neighborhoods, mortgage information, property information, guidance for absolutely no reason other than they are just a "nice" person seems extremely odd and it also takes away from all Realtors the sense of professionalism. It screams out to the general public that anyone is qualified to give real estate advice and that is sad.

If non licensed people want to give real estate advice for whatever reason, there should be a separate forum for them with a disclaimer informing the consumer that they are taking advice from non licensed people and they shouldn't be lumped in with professional, licensed Realtors and Brokers.

Dan is correct when he says to Jefferson and Dunes why don't you have any information about yourselves in your profile? Where is your photo and your background?

Steve, I am sorry that my advice to you created such a stir. I was just again giving you "professional" advice.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009

When you are ready to reply and have a discussion on the facts, I would be more than pleased for such a discussion, and I will gladly stick entirely to the points thereof. We can agree and disagree as we like. You are also welcome to write to me off-line, where the subject matter is inappropriate for a public forum. You have the address.

However, when you choose that you are entitled to direct a personal attack on my honesty and integrity ... well .... you just might possibly expect that there might be some type of response. This is hardly unique to me by the way. Now, you may not agree with this but most people would consider my response to your attack as fairly civil.

FYI - the your Trend link doesn't seem to work ... so ... how many homes is it ...?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hi Dan,

First, let me state that I liked your initial response to Steve. It was thoughtful, detailed, and comprehensive. I also find your follow-up remarks, whether they were directed at me or more general comments, to be equally well-considered. While you are likely very busy, I do hope that you might find the time in your hectic schedule to post more regularly. I think that most of us would look forward to, and benefit by your increased participation.

You made a suggestion that is compelling. I think that it would be wonderful if a consumer had access to "properly screened" applicants for them to then choose from. At this time none exists. No one in their right mind would suggest that "all licensed agents or Realtors are created equal - or provide equal service or expertise". And we would LOVE to know, up-front, who the 2-3 people are that we should interview first. If you have any suggestions, I am all ears.

While I personally like the idea where all agents have a publicly available "professional resume", I can't imagine that this idea would be popular among agents that already aren't in the top 20% ... :-) As with any field, a wide swath of expertise exists.

We seem to find points of agreement also. For the consumer, a real estate purchase or sale is about the largest single financial transaction they will have in the next 5-10 years. When a consumer is getting close to the point where they will initiate the decision-making criteria for the Professional who will "represent their interests in a transaction of huge financial importance", then that person should choose wisely indeed. In this particular case, there's $200,000 on the line, right? And you seem to agree on this point?

So, I respectfully can't agree that 5-6 hours of interviewing is a waste of his time. It's his money, and as he's not done this before, it should be time well-spent. After all, if he already KNEW an expert in real estate that he trusted implicitly then it's not likely that he'd be here.

We can continue to assume what we think we know about Steve but that's all conjecture. I assume that Steve is a reasonably intelligent and educated person, who is more than capable of reading all this, forming his own opinions, and taking next steps as is appropriate for his own interests.

On other points, we will have to agree to disagree. :-)

With respect and regards,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

Thanks for sharing your thoughts......

Renee's comments/opinions have value and mine don't...got it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

"doesnt suprise me that you had to put your two cents in"

Wasnt trying to disgaree with you. You just put down that Jefferson was incorrect which he was actually right in his search of $200k. No hard feelings.


Dan brings up a good point about multi units. But for some people a multi unit might make more sense. I remember a few times where someone was renting one part of a duplex for more than it cost to mortgage the whole thing. So if you review the risks associated with being a landlord as well, it may or may not be worth it. For some it might. Doesn't hurt to explore it but don't just assume renting out another unit is a walk in the park.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

"I would be careful when taking advice from people who are non Realtors. They often can provide misinformation and I do know that there are many people on Trulia who claim not to be a Realtor but actually are or they are working for Realtors and they try to get clients for them."

I haven't seen you provide anything to back that accusation up..You state it as a fact so back it up or is part of a Realtors expertise stating unsubstantiated meanderings as fact?


Are you in agreement with Renee that Non-Realtors should not be answering questions on this site?

You also implied there was truth to Renee's comment..."(assuming you are not one..)"

Do you have anything to back up that type of insinuation?

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Thanks Dan.

It's usually the same few who no matter what I say, try to discredit me.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hi Alan,

Most of my friends are non Realtors as well. What I mean by that is that when non Realtors give advice to consumers it takes away from our expertise and it makes it seem like anyone who buys a home is qualified to give advice. Our profession is the only profession where everyone thinks they are a Realtor and I don't know about you but I've gone through a lot of school, continuing education and more school to obtain my Broker's license.

I don't want to discuss this here on Steve's thread but I did want to address your post.

We are all allowed to our opinions and not everyone will agree with them.

And to Sean, the difference between your search and mine is that I did from $0 to $199 not $200. I didn't want to go above that since he wants to be at $200k. That's all. It doesn't surprise me that you would put your two cents in.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Office Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009

Thanks for the kind words.

And to back up Jefferson, his is 100% correct that there are 49 homes on the market. This link should work.

It is all the listings in 19114 from $1,000-$200,000 so that means ALL listings up to $200,000. I did not include multi units but can.

Here ya go:
View real estate information
If the above link does not work, copy and paste the link into the address bar of your browser.
This link can be viewed up to 10 times over the next 90 days.

Any questions, like I said Im here and can chat. Sean.Dawes@LNF.com if you have any questions

Sean Dawes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
April is correct... you need to be under contract by April 30, 2010, and you must close by June 30, 2010. There has been a lot of talk about programs that will allow the credit (or a portion of it) to be used as a downpayment. While those programs may be out there... they are third party-charitable organization programs that you can access... through your lender. Check with your lender.

FHA typically requires a minimum of 3.5%, again, check with your lender.... and yes, pre-approval (as opposed to pre-qualification) is a great first step. It spells out for you exactly what you can afford... (and just because they tell you that you're approved for $200,000... doesn't mean you have to BORROW the full amount). The process of becoming pre-approved should take anywhere from a few minutes on the phone with your lender, to a day or so. Not long.

oh, and "some of my best friends are non-realtors".

Good luck, and congratulations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Hi Steve,

I would be careful when taking advice from people who are non Realtors. They often can provide misinformation and I do know that there are many people on Trulia who claim not to be a Realtor but actually are or they are working for Realtors and they try to get clients for them.

Jefferson is incorrect in that currently in my area, there are 43 homes currently on the market ranging from $83,000.00 to $199k. Many are in need of major rehab and I am not sure of your situation or how much money you will have to rehab a home that you will occupy. I got my information directly from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which is where all of the current active homes are listed.

Also, if you plan to purchase before April 30th, the market will have changed and many of the homes that are priced right now for the area and are in good condition will be gone. Only the homes that are priced incorrectly and are in need of major work will remain. So, your buyer agent will need to research the area once you are actually ready to view homes.

I would not recommend a first-time home buyer buying a multi unit place as more times than not, money is limited and if they are lucky enough to find a credit worthy renter when the economy is good, they still need to have the money in the bank to cover the entire mortgage if the renter doesn't pay a month or two or beyond.

I hope this helps.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Ask for Renee
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hello Steve,

First, let me commend you on starting your research now and not waiting until the last minute.

I didn't read the other answers so I do apologize if I repeat something someone else already said.

My advice to consumers is first and most importantly find a buyer agent. Having someone who is solely going to represent your best interests at all costs. AT ALL COSTS! I stress that because there are Realtors out there who will put their own financial interests BEFORE yours. I am not going to get into that here because every time I do, there are Realtors here on Trulia who then send me hate mail.

If you do not know any buyer agents, you can certainly find one here on Trulia by simply reviewing answers to your posts and viewing profiles, websites and blogs.

You definitely want a buyer agent who is an expert negotiator. There are ways to find out if the agent is a good negotiator. Hiring someone who is afraid of confrontation will wind up costing you thousands of dollars.

Make sure your agent knows the Agreement of Sale like the back of their hand. It is extremely important.

There are other qualities that are important but I don't want to lag on and on.

Once you have your buyer agent, they can assist you with finding a reputable mortgage consultant. You don't want to put the cart before the horse.

The market will be different by the time you start to your house hunt so at that time your agent can let you know if your price is reasonable for the area that you want to purchase in.

The $8000 first-time home buyer credit expires April 30, 2010 so you need to be under contract prior to that.

You should hire your buyer agent now and then take care of everything else that needs to be done. It takes at least 30 to 60 days to close on a home and if you purchase FHA you will need no less than 3.5% to put down and don't forget closing costs.

I'd love to talk with you further about your situation. Feel free to email me or contact me at 215-669-0589.

In the mean time, take a look at my website, I think you will find it very helpful and I also have a mobi for your cell phone so that you can have everything you need right at your fingertips.

Here is my mobi: http://www.pahomes4sale.mobi

I also live in the 19114 area. I am extremely familiar with the area and beyond.

Renee Porsia
Associate Broker
(215) 669-0589 Direct
(215) 358-1100 Ask for Renee

Renee Porsia
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Steve, your first step is pre approval. Have a loan officer analyze your credit, income, affordability ratios, and max purchase price. You should then compare that to your comfortable monthly payment. 3.5% is your minimal down payment with FHA, you can get up to a 6% seller's assist as well with FHA. You will then want to find a realtor that you trust. The pre approval process only takes about 10 minutes. I'd be happy to assist you if you don't have a loan officer. Chad
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
As a first time home buyer taking advantage of the $8,000 tax credit, you may be able to get up to $5,000 from PHFA to use for closing costs. It is considered a loan that you have to pay back but you can do that with the tax credit you get. In effect, you are getting $5,000 of the $8,000 in advance. There are restrictions and PHFA only has limited funds so check with your lender to see if it is available when you are ready. You are not using PHFA for your mortgage, this is a separate loan/advance that is available to home buyers in PA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
I believe both agents below gave you some wrong information. You must have a home under contract by April 30, 2010 and close by June 30, 2010 in order to qualify for the $8,000 credit. As of today, I have not heard anything saying that buyer's can use the money for a down payment or closing costs. You must file your tax return in order to get the $8,000. There are a few other restrictions and you can see them by going to my website http://www.AprilandPaulCrowder.com . The information is from Coldwell Banker so it should be correct. FHA loan does require 3.5% down and you should first get pre-approved. You can get approved by calling Coldwell Banker Mortgage at 1-888-229-7114. If you need help finding an experienced agent in your area that fully understands the tax credit and mortgage process, I would be happy to refer you to a local agent, even two if you would like. Then you can choose the one you like best. Simply email or call me and I would be happy to help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
Hello Steve,

You may be able to use the credit as a down payment subject to the following rules:

Home buyers can use $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit for down payment, closing costs.

June 12, 2009

A new federal government program will allow some home buyers to use the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit at closing. Prior to the new program, buyers could claim the credit on their 2008 or 2009 federal tax return, but couldn't immediately make use of the funds.

Through this new program, the home buyer tax credit can be used:

*as a down payment
*to pay settlement fees or other closing costs or
*to pay discount points to buy down the interest rate on the loan.

How to use tax credit at closing

To use the tax credit at closing, home buyers must obtain a loan that's insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). To obtain an FHA-insured loan, be sure to apply through an FHA-approved lender. Keep in mind that not all lenders can accommodate using the tax credit at closing. If you're interested in applying the tax credit to your closing costs, ask your lenders in advance. You may also want to consider working with a state housing finance agency that enables the tax credit to be applied towards closing.

The credit can't be used toward the first 3.5 percent of the down payment on an FHA loan. That means borrowers who want to use the tax credit as a down payment must still bring at least that amount to the transaction in addition to the tax credit. The 3.5 percent down payment must come from the buyer's own funds or a gift, subject to FHA rules. However, if the borrower obtains a loan through a state housing finance agency, the minimum down payment requirement to use the tax credit at closing may be waived.

$8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit guidelines
If you want to take advantage of the first-time home buyer tax credit, make sure you understand the rules. Here’s an overview of how the tax credit works:

The first-time home buyer tax credit is worth $8,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever is less.

The amount of the tax credit is reduced for single home buyers who earn more than $75,000 and married couples who earn more than $150,000.

It's phased out completely for single and married buyers who earn more than $95,000 and $170,000, respectively.

The tax credit can be taken by buyers who haven't owned a home in the last three years.

The home must be purchase between Jan. 1, 2009, and Nov. 30, 2009.

The credit is refundable, and there is no repayment requirement.

More information about the first-time home buyer tax credit can be found on the IRS website.
Web Reference: http://www.dan-rich.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009

As I can see you have a lot of questions which is GREAT!

To answer them one by one here you go:

When does the $8000 credit expire?
April 30th, 2010 you must settle by.

Can you use it towards your downpayment?
To my knowledge you cannot. There was talks of bridge loans to do this but maybe someone else can chime in and say if they have had any work this way.

What percent down on FHA?
3.5% down

First step pre-approval?
That is a great step. If you are looking in spring, I would suggest contacting Robert LaPierre at Robert.Lapierre@prosperitymortgage.com
He will be able to get you preapproved.

As far as what you like and can it be had in 19114, define fixer upper. I personally live in 19114 and duplexes are selling for that amount. Single family homes by me sell for $350-$525,000 now. Would you consider a twin or row?

If you have any questions or want to meet for coffee and chat let me know. You can email me at sean.dawes@LNF.com or call me on my cell 215-858-2266

Sean Dawes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 15, 2009
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