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Editor's  Note:  Our columnist, Judith Seid, has been a featured guest on NBC and San Diego News Network recently, for those who want more of her "Good Money" advice.


GOOD MONEY: Your guide to profitable & socially responsible investing

By Judith L. Seid, CFP ®
President, Blue Summit Financial Group


August 15, 2009 (La Mesa) -- It doesn’t get much better than this for first-time home buyers. Low interest rates. Home prices at a five-year low--and free government money for your purchase!

In an effort to jump start our national economy and with housing markets across the board taking severe hits, Congress agreed on a program to increase housing demand by offering an $8,000 tax credit. In addition, San Diego Housing Commission is offering local incentives for buyers of foreclosure properties.

This federal credit, unlike other's labeled as such in the past, is a dollar-for-dollar match AND it is refundable so even if you do not have $8,000 worth of federal tax liability for 2009, you can still take advantage of this program to the fullest. For example, say you would have normally paid $5,000 in federal income tax after all other deductions and credits are taken into account, then you will receive a $3,000 check from Uncle Sam!



So how exactly do you take advantage of these opportunities?


Some of the main criteria to qualify for this program include:

First-Time Home Buyer: Anyone that has not owned a home in the last three years is considered a first-time home buyer.

Purchase Date: You must CLOSE between 1/1/09 and 12/1/09

Your Income:
This benefit begins to phase out for taxpayers who file as Single at $75,000 and those that are married and file jointly at $150,000. The credit is reduced incrementally with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) above these limits and is reduced to $0 after $95,000 Single and $170,000 MFJ.


As with all tax related issues, every individual is different and you should make sure to consult your tax advisor for specific details.



In addition to this Federal tax credit, the local government of San Diego is also administering several programs to help prospective buyers get into their first home. Thanks to a $9.4 million grant from the Federal Government buyers who purchase a foreclosed property are eligible to participate in specific assistance programs. These benefits are being offered by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) and are only applicable in specific areas of San Diego, for precise locations please see website link below.

All potential buyers are required to attend an eight hour home buyer education class before placing an offer on a property. Any buyer considering participating in NSHP should enroll in a class today as soon as possible.

The SDHC is accepting pre-approval applications and first-time home buyers are encouraged to contact a certified NSHP lender to assist with the process; or the buyer can complete the pre-approval application on their own. For questions regarding the pre-approval you can contact: Vicki Monce 619.578.749, .

Here is what you could receive if you qualify and get on board with the program:

NSHP Deferred Payment Loan

SDHC offers eligible buyers a 0% interest, deferred payment loan up to 17% of the sales price to assist in the purchase of the home with no payments required for 30 years, unless the property is sold, refinanced or not owner occupied, at which time the loan must be repaid. A minimum of 3% buyer down payment is required and the mortgage obtained must have a 30-year fixed rate.


NSHP Closing Cost Assistance Grant

SDHC will provide eligible buyers with a closing cost assistance grant up to 3% of the sales price. The grant can ONLY be used to pay closing costs which are not covered by seller concessions or other subsidies. The grant is recoverable, and must be repaid plus 5% interest if the property is sold, refinanced, or not owner occupied within the first six years. After six years, the grant is forgiven.


NSHP Rehabilitation Loan

SDHC will provide eligible buyers with a 0% interest rehabilitation loan up to $50,000. The rehabilitation loan must be used for repairs related to health and safety, curb appeal, and energy efficiency. Loans up to $10,000 will be forgiven in 5 years; loans up to $30,000 will be forgiven in 10 years; loans up to $50,000 will be forgiven in 15 years. If the property is sold, refinanced, not owner occupied, or if the repairs have not been maintained within the term of the loan, the rehabilitation loan must be repaid plus 3% interest.


With housing prices down over 30% from previous highs (some locations have seen an even more dramatic decline) many current renters are considering purchasing their first home and these programs can help make that a reality. Remember these local loans and grants must be used on foreclosed properties in specific areas but if you do find an applicable property the benefits can truly be great.

Additional information on all of the above programs can be found at:

Federal Incentives:
San Diego Housing Commission:

Judith L. Seid, President and founder of Blue Summit Financial Group, Inc, is a Certified Financial Planner who has actively used Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for her clients since 1992. She firmly believes that “We can influence corporations to change their policies by avoiding investments in irresponsible companies and by seeking investments in companies with positive practices and products.” Socially responsible investing (SRI) exists for investors looking to use the power of financial investment to create sustainable social change.

For more information on Sustainable Investing, contact Judith at Blue Summit Financial Group in La Mesa, (619) 698-4330; Securities offered through Pacific West Securities, Inc. (Pacific West) Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services provided through Pacific West Financial Consultants, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Blue Summit Financial Group, Inc. and Pacific West are not affiliated.


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