Deadline approaching for home buyer tax credit

South Carolina - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - Home buyers are running out of time to take advantage of the home buyer tax credits. To qualify, buyers have to sign purchase agreements before May 1 and close before July 1.

Dale Jones, who works for a security company in the Grand Strand, is working to get the keys to his first home.

"I've been sitting on the fence for a couple of years now," Jones said. "I thought that housing prices were a little high and wanted to wait till they came down a little bit, because I knew they would."

He says the $8,000 tax credit was enough to get him off the fence and into a real estate office.

"It's a pretty good sized tax credit," Jones admitted. "It's kind of surprising that the government would give you that much money."

"[For] fence-sitters, those who were on the edge waiting to see what would happen, the tax stimulus has been a Godsend," broker Alex Holbert said.

Holbert is the current president for the Coastal Carolinas Association of REALTORS. He says they have seen an increase in the last few weeks of people like Jones rushing to get their paperwork finalized. It is not just the tax credit though that Holbert believes is nudging people through the door.

"Interest rates are starting to creep up a little bit - we're starting to see signs of that," Holbert said. "I think any time that happens it generates some push."

Real estate agent Wendy Hodges says she wishes the government would offer another extension to allow more buyers time to get their paperwork through.

"It is going to be sad to see this go," Hodges said. "We have so many people that have a few little things to work out before they can actually purchase."

Holbert added, "I would say they're running out of time. The sands of the hour glass are going down, so if they're on the fence any realtor will be happy to help them."

With the deadline quickly approaching, Jones says he is anxious to get the paperwork complete and be handed his own set of keys.

Holbert says that although it will be hard to see the tax credit go, he remains optimistic about the rest of 2010, noting the still rock bottom home prices and interest rates that remain low are two positive remaining incentives for potential home buyers.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.