Tax Credits for Real Estate Purchases Still Available—Even if You’re Not a First-Time Buyer

If you’ve paid any attention to the Chicago real estate market, you know that now is a prime time to be a buyer—whether you’re first-timers, homeowners looking to upgrade or have decided it’s time to downsize.
That near-perfect timing could continue for first-time homebuyers: the tax credit of up to $8,000 has been extended into 2010. Eligible taxpayers who purchase a home by April 30 (and close by June 30) can claim the credit on their 2009 taxes. So if you’ve been on the fence wondering if now is the time to buy a Chicago home, this tax credit provides an opportunity we likely won’t see again.
But what if you already own a home and are looking to purchase another? While much of the tax perks have been extended to first-time buyers, repeat homeowners have their own incentive for real estate purchases—a separate tax credit of up to $6,500. Homes purchased for less than $800,000 are eligible for a tax credit of 10 percent of the purchase price if buyers have an income of less than $225,000 (for married taxpayers). Even those with an income of up to $245,000 (for married taxpayers) may qualify for a credit along a “phaseout” range based on your modified adjusted gross income.
Those looking for a good value in the purchase of a Chicago home or Chicago condo could be perfect candidates to take advantage of this tax credit. The home you are selling must have been your primary residence for five years in order to qualify. Buyers must be in a contract to purchase the new home before April 30 in order to claim the credit on 2009 taxes. If the purchase doesn’t close before tax day, you may need to request an extension or amend your return later in order to file for the credit.
And finally, there is also a tax incentive for Chicago home owners who aren’t looking toward a real estate purchase. Instead of purchasing a new home, making “green” improvements to your primary residence could qualify you for a tax credit of up to $1,500. The credit is available through 2010. Eligible changes include things like installing energy-efficient windows or heating systems, and the residential energy property credit could return up to 30 percent of the cost of improvements.
If you’re ready to take advantage of these limited-time tax incentives and see what the Chicago real estate market has to offer, please contact agent Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or email him at