Buy a home for the first time and get an $8,000 tax credit. What could possibly be wrong with that? New homebuyers receive financial relief at a time when they are arguably making the largest purchase of their life, real estate agents increase the number of properties they turn and sellers stand a better chance of getting out of their current homes. It seems like peace and love in the real estate market—that this tax credit not only infuses life back into the market, but also makes its players work in harmony with one another.

Not so fast.

The problem is this: The $8,000 tax credit does stimulate the market by encouraging potential buyers to purchase a home; but this idea of a future helping hand is bound to make already naïve first-time homebuyers even more likely to rush into a bad deal and/or forgo research and negotiation altogether. What’s worse is that many of these new homeowners have yet to receive their credits because the IRS has been swamped with an unprecedented amount of fraudulent claims relating to the tax credit(1,950 of them, for instance, were filed by people who were in jail when the credit was being offered).The end result for new buyers is not receiving—or having delayed—money that might have been meant to help them get them through the first year of their mortgage. And in these tough economic times it’s no stretch of the imagination to think of a family or couple whose ship could be sunk by not having this extra cash.

The point is this—empower yourself. By using easy to access, but incredibly powerful online resources you can ensure yourself that misleading incentives do not mar the monumental decision of a first-time purchase. Tools on the Internet not only give homebuyers a more accurate picture of market values, they often give them the power to set what they are! Better yet they give you the piece of mind of knowing that you got the best possible deal. In an age where information is abundant, accessible and free it’s hard to imagine why anyone would not take this simple step to ensure that they made the most prudent decision possible.

This is filed under Home Buying.


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