Archive for August, 2008

Exciting news for FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS!

Posted on August 13, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

There is important new legislation that is beneficial to first time home buyers. We strongly recommend you take advantage of this tax credit by the deadline of mid-2009. Thanks to J. Lennox Scott, for the following information about The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Buying smart in today’s market got a little easier recently following the signing of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 by President Bush. There are significant advantages to assist first time buyers, such as a repayable first-time home-buyer tax credit. First-time buyers are important to the health of the housing economy because their home purchases help to stimulate the economy. Through the home-buyer tax credit, buyers who are purchasing for the first time or who haven’t owned a property in the last three years can now qualify for a tax credit equal to 10% of their home purchase price, up to $7,500.

It is important to note that to qualify, the home must be purchased between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009. The credit phases out if the buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a couple filing jointly and it must be paid back over a 15 year period in equal installments. The credit can be claimed on the buyer’s 2008 tax return even if the purchase is made in 2009 (it’s important to note that this is a tax credit and not a tax deduction).

Another key point of the housing bill includes much needed FHA modernization which aims to adjust loan limits so that they are more aligned with current home values. The bill allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve more home-buyers by raising loan limits in high cost areas above the standard conforming limit to 115 percent of the median house prices and up to 150 percent of the conforming loan limit.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act is expected to play a critical role in strengthening the housing market and overall economy. The last time Congress passed legislation like this in the 1970s, the housing market saw a significant increase in activity.

The passing of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act marks the beginning phase of the next ten-year housing cycle in which prices in the more affordable markets will only continue to appreciate. This landmark legislation will contribute to the stabilization of the overall real estate economy.

The Weeks team strongly believes this is a buyers market and can customize a home search for you that fits your lifestyle. Contact us for more information. We are here for all your housing needs!

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Tips for Earthquake Safety

Posted on August 2, 2008. Filed under: First Time Buyer help |

The Chino earthquake on July 28 was the largest since the Northridge earthquake, over 14 years ago!  Here are some earthquake safety tips from Doug Copp the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world’s most experienced rescue team.  We can’t promise all these tips will succeed, but they are logical and written by an expert! 

TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY-CREATE A TRIANGLE OF LIFE

Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. 

 If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting asign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the side of the bed during an earthquake.

 If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

 Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different ‘moment of frequency’ (they swing separately from the main part of the building).
The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads – horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn’t collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

 Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible – It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

 People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed  newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Although these tips may be best for a large magnitude quake, it is always smart to be prepared and knowledgeble when the next one hits Southern California.

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    Orange County, CA Real Estate for hip first-time buyers and investors. Plus, fun things to know and do in OC.

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