First, the Good News

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News, Old House History
Restored Old House in Historic Cape Girardeau, MO

Restored Old House in Historic Cape Girardeau, MO

I am normally a fairly easy-going person; it usually takes a lot to set me off. But every once in awhile something does, and an article I read today managed to do it. But first I wanted to start with a good news story–an old house story with a happy ending.

An Old House Restoration in a Historic Missouri Town

I came across an article in the Southeast Missourian about a family who fell in love with an old house in the historic town of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Cape Girardeau is over 200 years old and is located on the Mississippi River. The house was built in 1898, but the land can be traced to when it was originally purchased from the Spanish government.

The house was built for Mr. Harrison, the postmaster of the town in 1898, and the Harrison family lived in the home until 1986. The old house didn’t have any major structural issues when it was purchased in 2003 by Robert and Kaye Hamblin, but it needed quite a bit of cosmetic work. They decided to do a period restoration, and the only modern part of the home is the kitchen. They tried to stay true to the old house’s past in all the other areas of the home. As you can see from the picture, they did a great job of restoration on the beautiful old house, and it was featured during National Preservation Month activities.

Tax Credit Extension May Bite the Dust

I mentioned in a post last week that there is a movement in Congress to possibly extend the June 30 deadline for the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit. The extension would benefit only those who already have a sales agreement on a home, but who are having difficulty meeting the deadline for closing on the sale due to the lengthy time it’s taking for appraisals and loan approvals. The National Association of Realtors fear that as many as 180,000 sales are in danger of missing the deadline for closing.

The addendum for the extension was attached to another bill–one which failed to pass for the third time today–and now may be shelved altogether. How could this extension possibly not be passed? The tax credit for these buyers was already approved, and they have done everything they were required to do to qualify for the tax credit. The only reason they won’t be able to close now is that the paperwork won’t be complete by June 30, through no fault of their own.

You would think that with new home sales dropping off by 33 percent last month, Congress would be doing everything possible to allow these sales to happen.

Evidently not.


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  1. 4 Responses  to “First, the Good News”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    Hi Chris, I agree with a lot of your observations. Easy money caused a lot of the problems with the housing bubble, I saw many, many people purchasing homes that they would not have had a chance of qualifying for 10 or 15 years prior. I believe there are both pros and cons to the tax credit, but I agree that the credit is taking sales from future months, I don't think it is causing too many people to make the decision to buy who had planned not to.I believe it did cause quite a few people who were concerned about the state of the housing market and home values to go ahead and take the plunge now rather than waiting. My problem with the situation is that these people were told that they had to have a sales agreement by April 30 and settle by June 30 to get the credit, and they believed they were going to satisfy the requirements only to have a third party they have no control over hold things up. I can understand the lenders being cautious and taking their time to qualify the buyers after the mentioned lending fiascoes of the past. I can also understand it taking longer to get appraisals with the recent fluctuations in housing values. I would think that Congress would appreciate the extra time being taken to ensure correct decisions were being made and would not be penalizing the purchasers for exceeding the deadline. The addendum doesn't allow new buyers into the program, it just allows those already in to continue the process. I do agree that the $8,000 should not be allowed to be used for a down payment and that only qualified purchasers should be buying homes
  3. Ricky
    Aug 29, 2011
    Well there are people going without feeding their family and you'd think congress would have extended jobless benefits, but they didn't. It's not surprising that they didn't extend this tax credit..It's a shame though, it would have only helped the housing industry give you more incentive buying a home.
  4. Bob
    Aug 29, 2011
    This tax credit did help spur the real estate market. Today's buyer's need a reason to purchase, just because there are so many reasons not to purchase(ie, tough loans, market declines, Etc.)
  5. Chris
    Aug 29, 2011
    I fear that my take on this may "set you off" again, Conrad. As a taxpayer, I hope that none of these people get the tax credit. It was a stupid idea to begin with, and it is a colossal waste of money. The 180,000 sales that NAR is referring to amounts to nearly a billion and a half dollars of tax money! And for what, to borrow from future sales so that we can maintain the illusion of a recovering real estate market for a few more months? $8000 should not make the difference in whether or not someone purchases a home, and if it does, than that person cannot afford to own a home anyway. I live in Massachusetts, and there is a program here that allows people to get an advance on the $8k to use for their down payment and closing costs. And I'm starting to hear radio ads for ARMs again. Obviously we have learned nothing from the real estate slump, and we are determined to prolong it by repeating the same mistakes.