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$100 Million in Tax Credits is Available to Californians

$100 Million in Tax Credits is Available to Californians

My friend, Mike at Cafe Pasadena, just sent me information about the new incentive plan that the State of California is offering to encourage home buyers purchasing new home construction.

This tax credit is obviously not being promoted by the state of California since I’m hearing about it for the first time. But, here at the Pasadena Real Estate blog with the help of our friends, we are able to bring you the scoop!

$100 million has been allocated and is available on a first come, first served basis. So if you are thinking of buying one of the new Pasadena condo developments like Granite Park or Lake at Walnut , make sure to take the opportunity to apply for this credit.

Here are the California tax credit rules:

  • It is only available for NEW HOME PURCHASES.
  • This tax credit is only available for qualified buyers who purchase a qualified residence between March 1, 2009 and March 1, 2010 and only until the tax credit allocated amount lasts.
  • The property purchase must never have been occupied before, i.e. new construction!
  • The buyer must reside in the new home for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date.
  • Be eligible for the property tax homeowner’s exemption under California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 218.
  • California Tax credit amounts

    California allocated $100,000,000 for this tax credit. Buyers must apply for credit allocation from us. Applications will be reviewed and credit allocations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Once $100,000,000 has been allocated, the tax credit will no longer be available.

    Total credit allocated to date by California: $0

    Remaining credit available: $100,000,000

    To check how much Tax Credit Allocation is available, visit the Franchise Tax Board New Tax Credit for New Construction Home Buyers Page.

    California allows qualified new home buyers a total tax credit amount equal to either five percent of the purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less. Taxpayers must apply the total tax credit in equal amounts over three successive taxable years (maximum of $3,333 per year) beginning with the taxable year (2009 or 2010) in which the new home is purchased.

    How to apply

    Within one week (seven calendar days) after the close of escrow:

  • The seller must complete Part I of Form 3528-A, Application for New Home Credit, certifying that the home has never been occupied, and provide a copy to the buyer or escrow person.
  • The buyer will complete Parts II & III of Form 3528-A.
  • The escrow officer on behalf of the seller and buyer will fax the completed Form 3528-A to FTB at 916.845.9754, and provide a copy to the buyer.
  • Fax is the only delivery method that will be accepted and considered for credit allocation by FTB (Franchise Tax Board), as the date and time stamp on the fax will determine the order in which credits are allocated.

  • Fax only one completed application per residence with all qualified buyers listed. Do not include information on nonqualified buyers. An incomplete application may delay or prevent credit allocation.
  • Do not fax the application to FTB before escrow closes.
  • Do not fax the application to FTB more than once. We will process the applications in the order received as quickly as possible.
  • Escrow companies should only send one application per fax transmission.
  • The buyer keeps a copy of the completed Form 3528-A for their records.

    Don’t miss your opportunity to take advantage of this tax credit for new construction homes!

    UPDATE: The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) recently announced that the $100 million allocated by the state in new home tax credits will soon be gone. The FTB has received more than 9,800 applications, claiming nearly $95 million as of June 17, and plans to accept 12,000 applications to allow for duplicates, revisions, or invalid applications.

    This tax credit is available for qualified buyers who, on or after March 1, 2009, and before March 1, 2010, purchase a qualified principal residence that has never been occupied. The buyer must reside in the new home for a minimum of two years immediately following the purchase date. To apply, an application for new home credit must be completed by the buyer and seller within one week after the close of escrow and faxed by the escrow person to the FTB at (916) 845-9754.

    The FTB will continue to report the certificates issued on a weekly basis until the full $100 million has been allocated. FTB expects to complete processing all certificates in August. Each applicant will receive a notification indicating the amount of credit allocated or denied.

    Posted on March 2nd, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev


    Non-Jumbo Loan Amounts Extended for Pasadena Home Buyers

    Non-Jumbo Loan Amounts Extended for Pasadena Home Buyers

    For those who are considering taking advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive for first-time homebuyers which is included in the president’s economic stimulus bill, there is some more good news that could make doing so easier and more accessible.

    An extension is now officially in place on the higher loan limits for mortgages in the tier that lies just below what is considered a “jumbo” loan.

    First established last year, and now extended through the end of 2009, limits on this additional tier provide opportunities for many who are looking to either refinance or, better yet, take the plunge into first time home ownership and grab a piece of the highly publicized $8,000 tax incentive.

    Here are some key points about this higher loan limit extension, announced by the Fair Housing Finance Agency this past week:

    The non-jumbo, middle tier of home loans begins at loan amounts greater than $417,000 for single-unit homes.

    The top end for this tier is $729,750 for single-unit homes.

    The rates for these loans will again be slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard “jumbo” loan rates.

    This higher limit on the non-jumbo tier is available in Los Angeles and 249 other counties across the United States.

    If you are not sure if you if you can take advantage of the $8,000 tax incentive, here are some examples to help you better understand the income limits and phase-out structure.

    The $8,000 incentive starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000 and is phased out completely at incomes of $170,000 for couples and $95,000 for single filers.

    To break down what this phase-out means, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:

    Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out threshold is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer incentive to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

    Example 2: Assume that an individual home buyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible to reduce the tax liability by $2,800. Remember, these are general examples. Borrows should consult a tax advisor to provide guidance relevant to their specific circumstances.


    Posted on March 2nd, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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    Home Buys around Pasadena and San Marino

    Home Buys around Pasadena and San Marino

    Many beautiful homes came up on the market this week. Here are some of my home picks in various price ranges for the Pasadena and San Marino real estate markets:

    Pasadena Craftsman under $450,000:

    1543 North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena
    Priced at $429,000
    Offers 2 bedrooms and 1 bath on a large lot
    Read More: Pasadena Craftsman


    Read More: Pasadena City Guide

    San Marino Luxury Estate:

    1104 Lorain, San Marino California
    Priced at $2,750,000
    Loved this San Marino estate… every inch of space was smartly used. It offers the best in luxury living with tennis courts, outdoor kitchen and entertainment area, wine cellar, guest house, pool and more.
    Read More: Colonial Luxury Estate in San Marino


    San Marino Home Under $1.3 Million

    1858 Palmas Drive, San Marino California
    Priced at $1,298,000
    A rare find in San Marino – beautifully updated and charming throughout.
    Read More: San Marino Home Pick Under $1.3 Million

    Read More: San Marino City Guide


    Posted on February 21st, 2009
    Posted in Homes for Sale
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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    San Marino’s Huntington Middle School present…

    San Marino’s Huntington Middle School present…


    The Sound of Music!

    THE SOUND OF MUSIC will be performed by Huntington Middle School students on February 26, 27, 28 and March 1 in the Kenneth F. White Auditorium.

    Directed by Janet Jackson, this production has a cast and crew of over 60 talented HMS students.

    This classic tale of Captain Von Traap and his seven children meeting Governess Maria from the Abbey is a heartwarming family and love story. Set in the conflict of Vienna as Hitler’s Nazi’s are taking over Austria, it is a story of choices, passion and country that is universal.

    You’ll recognize the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs! Don’t miss seeing your friends perform.

    It is a truly great show that is sure to be another sell out – a treat for children and adults alike!

    Tickets are on sale now. Tickets are $15 and seating is assigned on a first come, first served basis.

    Three evening performances are on Thursday, February 26, Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28 at 7 pm. One matinee performance will be at 2 pm on Sunday, March 1.

    Students: There’s a $5 Student Ticket Special on Thursday night only (February 26th)!

    Huntington Middle School is at 1700 Huntinton Drive in San Marino next to Crowell Public Library.

    Don’t miss this performance!

    Posted on February 18th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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    Luxury New Construction Pasadena Condos Debut

    Luxury New Construction Pasadena Condos Debut

    Lake@Walnut’s Luxury Condos and Live/Work Spaces Grand Opening debuts this weekend February 21st!


    Pasadena’s Chic New Residence opened it doors last weekend for a sneak preview to their VIP guests. The turnout was a great success with over 10 units already reserved.

    Luxury home designs span from 945 to 1,767 sq. ft and six of the eight home designs are single-level—which is very rare in urban living.

    Lake@Walnut condominium prices range from the upper $300s to the upper $600s and homes include 1-2 bedrooms and 1-2.5 baths. Almost all units come with a patio, deck or porch. The HOA dues are very low and range approximately $233-$289 per month based on home size.

    Read More: Investing in Pasadena real estate
    Nine Stupid Things Buyers do to Mess Up their Home Purchase!

    On February 21st, bring a friend and come admire Pasadena’s new development – Lake@Walnut’s glorious architecture, lush landscaping and tour all seven model homes.

    Private model tours are now available by appointment by calling Irina, Pasadena Real Estate Home Specialist, at (626) 627-7107 or email her at

    Posted on February 18th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

    No Comments »

    Changes in the Tax Break for New Pasadena Home Buyers

    Changes in the Tax Break for New Pasadena Home Buyers

    Last week, I wrote about the $7,500 tax credit when purchasing your new Pasadena home.

    With the new stimulus package there have been some significant changes. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 allowed first time home buyers to receive up to $7,500 tax credit which would then need to be repaid over the next 15 years.

    Obama’s Stimulus package raised this amount to $8,000, BUT this tax credit does not need to be repaid.

    Here’s a quick summary of the Stimulus Bill credit:

    The tax credit in the Stimulus Bill has been scaled down to $8,000 from its previous level of $15,000, or 10% of the value of the home for any first time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November.

    It starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000, and Pasadena home buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

    Obama’s administration is still trying to come up with a new program to subsidize mortgages to fight the credit crisis. The plan would seek to help homeowners before they fall into arrears on their loans, whereas current programs only assist borrowers that are already delinquent. There are no details yet on this plan, but I will be monitoring this news closely in the weeks ahead.

    Posted on February 17th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

    No Comments »

    My Search for a Pasadena Character Home under $450,000

    My Search for a Pasadena Character Home under $450,000

    I am representing a very nice couple that moved to the Pasadena area and are looking to buy a character home under $450,000.  So… armed with a list of homes that we have not seen yet, I set out to preview five Pasadena homes.

    Up to about six months ago, it was almost impossible to find a Pasadena home in this price range, but a character home like a bungalow, Spanish or a craftsman – just unheard of.

    Not anymore, Pasadena real estate market has trended down enough to give home buyers opportunities that were not there before.  And, with the short sales and foreclosure/bank owned homes hitting the market lately there are actually quite a few choices.

    So here are the homes that I previewed in order of preference:

    1.  1340 Locust Street in Pasadena

    This is truly a sweet Craftsman home that is bank owned, but the exception to the rule.  It is clean, updated and priced right!

    READ MORE:  Pasadena Crafstman at a sweet price


    This beautiful bungalow is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for $449,900.

    2. 351 E Elizabeth Street, Pasadena

    On a beautiful tree-lined Pasadena street surrounded by character homes, this Spanish is waiting for someone who is not afraid of a little work.  It has beautiful tiled fireplace and many special features.  Loved the huge yard.  It has 4 bedrooms (2 in the front and 2 in the back) and 2 baths and was built in 1924.  It is a bank owned home, but has tons of potential.  Offered at $429,800.


    3.  246 East Howard Street, Pasadena

    Now this is an interesting property.  It’s impossible to see from the street since this home is on a flag lot and is behind another Pasadena house.  It is more of a PUD (Planned Unit Development) or a condo/townhome style than a single family home.  It is a stand alone property with its own little yard and is totally updated.  Beautiful San Gabriel mountain and Pasadena views from the second floor bedrooms and gorgeously updated bathrooms and kitchen, hardwood floors and french doors.  If you’re looking for a model home and don’t mind HOA (Home Owner Association fees) of $135 this home is for you.

    One more thing… the setting is very peaceful with lush greenery.

    It is 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and is priced at $399,000.


    4. 1288 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena

    This is a very cute bungalow which was nicely updated, but sits right next to apartment buildings and is surrounded by foreclosure homes.  Priced at $369,900, this home offers 3 bedrooms and 1 bath adn was buliltin 1922.


    5. 708 Cypress Avenue in Pasadena

    I couldn’t get into see this home so no photos are available.  This home needs some TLC and sits right next to the 210 freeway.  It is offered for sale at $417,000 and has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath and was built in 1888.

    Have you seen any cute homes in the $450,000 range or lower?  Let me know.

    Pasadena homes for sale, give me a call at 626-629-8439.

    Posted on February 14th, 2009
    Posted in Homes for Sale
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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    Is Refinancing Your Pasadena Home in Your Future?

    Is Refinancing Your Pasadena Home in Your Future?

    Are you thinking of refinancing your Pasadena home or buying a new one, but think the mortgage rates are still going to move down?

    If you’ve been following the financial news, you’ve probably heard that the Fed’s been buying Mortgage Backed Securities and will continue to do so as needed. Unfortunately, some media outlets have picked up on the news and mistakenly reported that these purchases will continue to cause rates to drop lower into the summer.

    But is that really what it means? No.

    The truth is, the Fed has been buying Mortgage Bonds. BUT… more precisely, they’re buying a lot of FNMA 30-yr 5.0% and 5.5% Bonds. Many of the mortgages in these pools are outstanding home loans with rates between 6.0% and 6.5%, as the rate that a borrower pays is different than the coupon rate given to an investor buying into that mortgage pool, with the difference being taken by Wall Street firms and government agencies. The loans in these pools the Fed is buying hand over fist are likely be refinanced and paid – because current rates make it very attractive to refinance a loan over 6.0% – and thus giving the Fed a quick recoup on some of their investment.

    Bottom line: The Fed’s purchase of higher rate coupons will not necessarily help rates to move lower, as their actions do not impact the loans being originated at today’s low rates.

    The Problem Is…
    Many Pasadena consumers are in situations where they can refinance now and save hundreds of dollars a month on their mortgage payments. But when they hear the media throwing around teases of lower rates ahead, they decide to hold off on making the decision to save, in the hopes of gaining a few more dollars of savings per month if a lower rate came their way. Of course, while they’re waiting, rates could turn higher – and this window of opportunity could pass them by entirely.

    Here’s the Clincher:
    Even if consumers are ultimately able to time the market perfectly and save another few bucks per month, they could still end up losing. That’s because while they delayed, they lost the savings each month they could have gained by taking action sooner. In other words, they may have lost hundreds of dollars for every month they waited. So even if they got lucky and obtained the rate they were looking for, it could take years to make up what they lost by waiting.

    READ MORE: Pasadena Real Estate and Economy Review for week ending Feb. 8, 2009

    I don’t want anyone to miss an opportunity by either waiting or misunderstanding the media headline. Let’s talk further on this. Call or email me, and let’s discuss what this might mean for you.

    Posted on February 8th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

    No Comments »

    North San Gabriel Home for Sale with Temple City Schools

    North San Gabriel Home for Sale with Temple City Schools

    New home for sale on the San Gabriel Real Estate market:

    6802 Lotus Avenue in San Gabriel


    List Price: $818,000

    MLS#: 22120892

    Year Built: 1992

    Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 4 bedrooms and 4 baths

    Schools: Temple City School District

    Parking: Enormous 5 car garage

    Interior Square Footage – Data per Assessor: 2,898

    Lot Size – 7,416

    Special Features: Separate guest quarters or in-law apartment, 3 fireplaces, dual zoned alarm system, intercom system throughout the house, dual pane windows, Italian tile, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, coffered ceilings, full wet bar, therapeutic outdoor spa, tankless water heater and much more.

    This beautiful custom built home sits in a peaceful neighborhood of North San Gabriel adjacent to San Marino and Pasadena.

    This is a two story Traditional with four bedrooms and four baths, a formal living room, family room with a full bar which opens to a huge kitchen perfect for entertaining.

    The living room greets you with plenty of windows, coffered ceilings with recessed lights and a chandelier, marble wood fireplace and access to a lovely side yard.

    Family room is more of a “great room” perfect for entertaining with a full bar complete with a mini fridge, wine rack and glass and oak cabinetry.  A marble fireplace, french doors leading to a spacious back yard, dining area and an open kitchen complete this entertainer’s dream.

    The kitchen features an extra large island, custom built-in appliances, a large eat-in bar perfect for buffets and special occasions.  Lots of storage with pull out drawers, three kitchen “appliance garages” for easy access and storage of small appliances.

    The front downstairs bedroom is a suite with a full bathroom.

    At the back of the home, a separate bedroom and bath with its own entry and security system is waiting for your in-laws, guests or in-home business area.

    Upstairs is a landing with plenty of windows showcasing the beautiful San Gabriel mountains and fruit trees that are on the property.  It leads to the Master Suite and another bedroom suite.

    The Master Suite is enormous and features a sitting area and a cozy, marble gas operated (just turn the switch on!) fireplace.  This is truly a paradise for the ladies with a 22 ft walk in closet and a stand alone walk-in shoe closet.  Master bathroom has a stand alone shower with beautiful custom tiles, a step down jet spa, a bidet and double sinks.  A fun and very convenient feature is a laundry chute which leads directly to the downstairs laundry room.

    Master suite leads out to a large balcony overlooking the back yard and offering spectacular views perfect for that morning cup of coffee.


    The fourth bedroom has mirrored closet doors and its own full bathroom with custom tile work.

    Throughout the house you will find recessed lighting, ceiling fans, dual pane vinyl windows with custom drapes, valances and shades.  Tons of storage throughout the house.  This home has even been pre-wired for Christmas lights.

    Back yard has an above ground therapeautic spa, vegetable garden and plenty of fruit trees including apricots, figs, avocados, grapefruit and more.  Automatic sprinkler system for front, back and side yards.  Motion and manual outdoor lights have been installed for evenings out.

    A five-car extra deep (4 ft deeper than usual) garage has double doors that open both to the street as well as the interior of the back yard.  What an opportunity for entertaining!   The garage is separated into two separate, but connecting garages – a 3 car garage and a 2 car garage.  Plenty of built-in cabinetry and a loft above for additional storage.

    Special care was taken when this home was constructed to reinforce it with sheer paneling for extra earthquake protection, silent floors and a light composite roof.

    This home truly has to be seen to be appreciated.  A wonderful opportunity to own a house of your dreams!



    San Gabriel Real Estate Market Report for December 2008

    How does this North San Gabriel home compared to other homes in the area:

    This custom home is priced at only $282.26 per sq. ft.

    Current homes available for sale in a quarter mile radius from 6802 Lotus Avenue are priced at $371.54 sq. ft. (Pasadena Foothill Multiple Listing Service as of 1/31/09)

    Sold homes in a quarter mile radius from 6802 Lotus Avenue closed escrow at $337.06 per sq. ft. (Pasadena Foothill Multiple Listing Service as of 1/31/09)

    Posted on February 4th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

    No Comments »

    Pasadena Offers Help to Residents Impacted by Job Losses

    Pasadena Offers Help to Residents Impacted by Job Losses

    Ann Erdman, Public Information Officer for the city of Pasadena, wrote a great article titled Looking for Work? We’re Here to Help.

    Ann’s post outlies various resources available to Pasadena residents including a Career Services Division where you will find computers connected to CALJOBS which matches applicants to available jobs, various free library activities and workshops focusing on essential skills and more.

    Give it a read… it might help you or someone you know!

    Posted on January 27th, 2009
    Posted by: Irina Netchaev

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