Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homebuyers' Top Questions about the Tax Credit

WASHINGTON – March 30, 2010 – The Florida Open House Weekend, April 10-11, is the last, best opportunity to secure up to $8,000 in tax credits for first-time homebuyers (up to $6,500 for move-up buyers).
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the following are top questions asked by prospective homebuyers. In all cases, buyers should check with the IRS or a qualified financial advisor for specific personal advice.
How does a homebuyer claim the tax credit?
The credit is claimed when the homebuyer files or amends his or her federal income taxes. For qualifying homes purchased in 2009 or 2010, the taxpayer must complete IRS Form 5405 and attach a copy of the settlement statement. In most cases, the settlement statement is a properly executed Form HUD-1.
In circumstances where a HUD-1 is not provided, such as purchasing a mobile home or a newly constructed home, the IRS will accept an executed retail sales contract (mobile homes) or a copy of the certificate of occupancy (new homes).
Does the homebuyer have to sell their current home in order to qualify for the $6,500 repeat homebuyer tax credit?
No – a homebuyer does not need to sell their current home in order to be eligible for the repeat buyer credit. They can continue to own both homes and rent or use the former home for something else providing it no longer serves as their principal residence. The taxpayer is required to use the new home as their principal residence and live in it for at least 36 months; otherwise, they must repay the credit.
Do married couples both have to meet the eligibility requirements in order to claim the credit – even if they file taxes separately?
Both spouses must fully meet all the eligibility requirements for either the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit or the $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit, regardless of whether they file joint or separate tax returns. However, if an unmarried couple purchases a home and only one person qualifies, the eligible person may claim the full credit.
Do all home purchases need to be completed by April 30, 2010, in order to be eligible for the credit?
There are two exceptions to the April 30 deadline. If the buyer enters into a binding contract by the deadline, they have until June 30, 2010, to complete the purchase. The deadline has been extended a year, to April 30, 2011, for members of the uniformed services, Foreign Service or employees of the intelligence community who have been on qualified extended duty outside the United States for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010.
For more information on the tax credit and the Florida Open House Weekend, visit Florida Realtors website at:
© 2010 Florida Realtors®

Sunday, March 28, 2010

1st Annual Edible Molusk Oyster Eating Contest to be held on Sanibel!
When: Saturday, April 17th 2010, 11am - 1pm.
Where: The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market
Why: To celebrate "Oyster Love" and to raise money for the Bailey- Matthews Shell Museum Mollusk Exhibit.
Rules: Individuals have 90 seconnds to eat as many oysters as possible. Each contestant will receive a tray filled with 30 pre-shucked oysters on the half shell. Supplemental oysters will be given if needed. Each individual may have someone behind them cheering them on and each contestant will be assigned an individual judge to ensure all the oysters are swallowed. The judges will be the ones responsible for counting oyster shells to determine the number eaten. Contestants will be allowed to "flavor or dress" each oyster before the competition begins, but are not allowed to remove the oyster out of their shell prior to the start of the competition. For an oyster to be counted in the final total, it must be in the contestant's mouth at the end of the time limit.
All's Fair: Oysters can be slurped from the shell, hands-on grabbing and throwing them in the mouth or even dumping them in a pint glass and guzzling them. We don't care as song as they end up in the mouth and swallowed within the time limit!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sugar Contract
Extended For U.S.

On March 11 South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board cast a unanimous vote to extend the agency’s contract terms with U.S. Sugar Corp. over the pending acquisition of land that will be used to save the Everglades.
The contract extension was required to secure the acquisition of 73,000 acres of much-needed land that will be the cornerstone of a cost-effective water management initiative designed to sustain the water supply of millions of people and rescue the treasured Everglades ecosystem from certain peril.
“The members of the governing board demonstrated considerable leadership today by committing to this vitally important land acquisition within the Everglades Agricultural Area. This is the best opportunity we will have in our lifetimes to sustain our water supply and build the foundation for all future Everglades restoration projects,” said Kirk Fordham, CEO, Everglades Foundation.
“This land acquisition will save taxpayers money in the long term and provide the South Florida Water Management District an opportunity to prioritize projects around a water treatment and storage footprint that will provide the maximum benefits to residents and the environment.”
The Everglades Foundation has long advocated land acquisition in the Everglades Agricultural Area as the most cost-effective option available for Florida to fulfill its commitment to Everglades restoration. In addition, the foundation expects the revised proposal for U.S. Sugar Corp. land to provide the initial acreage to launch promising water quality projects and allows for the acquisition of additional land for restoration purposes in the near future.
The foundation’s position is that the health of the Everglades is not only vital
to the environment, but also to the economy and quality of life in South Florida.
The organization has assembled a team of scientists, policy experts and communications
professionals and works with partners on several fronts to educate, advocate and litigate -- when necessary -- to advance Everglades restoration. In addition, the foundation provides grants to like-minded local, national and international organizations and collaborates with other business, civic and environmental groups to form coalitions and set priorities to move restoration initiatives forward.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Insurance mitigation forms for Sanibel & Captiva High Value Homes

Insurance Tip:
High Value Homes
Mitigation Forms
by Marge Meek
Since all the Citizens wind policies had to be rewritten last year, many policy holders had homes just under the $750,000 rule for mandatory opening protection to get wind insurance.
Please note this refers to the value of the "building only", not the total property including the lot.
Many other customers had an additional year to comply. This is the year that everyone must
make the decision on how to meet the opening protection rules. And there are options, not always with Citizens, not always as expensive as people think. Opening protection means all windows, doors, sky lights, etc. must meet the guidelines covered on #8 of the uniform
mitigation form. Citizens will only accept the box marked “basic” or better in providing wind insurance to high value homes. By looking at the form’s explanations of what each category means, the typical customer has no idea which opening protections will satisfy the requirement. Therefore, a contractor or other licensed individual is brought in to fill out
the form. Even then, there is disagreement, as these individuals have been to different classes to get certified and the issue goes on.
Shutters, impact glass and even certain rated films will allow a home to be insured with Citizens. However, there are companies who don’t require those same rules be followed on opening protection to get coverage, thus giving the insured more options. Additionally, homes over $2 million are going to be non-renewed this year as well, unless the agent fills out
documents showing no other coverage is available, and then up to a three-year extension will be given. Once again, there are options. Too often high value homeowners are self insuring when alternatives haven’t been explained to them. Be informed before you discontinue such
important coverage. Take the time to ask your agent to explain the various options available, ask your neighbors what they are doing and ask local suppliers what different types of
opening protection they provide. This is an expensive decision that also affects the
ability to sell your home, if that is your goal.
Marge Meek is a local Sanibel-Captiva insurance agent, who can be reached at mmeek@rosierinsurance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Barron's Magazine -10 best places for Second Homes

Sanibel & Captiva Islands rated #8!!!!!

"8. Captiva/Sanibel Island, Fla. Sitting off the coast of Fort Myers, a nerve center of America's foreclosure crisis, the barrier islands of Captiva and Sanibel are the very picture of laid-back living. Linked by a bridge at Sanibel's northern point, the islands are renowned for their pristine beaches and abundant seashells. Then there are the hiking trails; half the island is a nature preserve. The late Robert Rauschenberg is, even in death, one of the largest landowners. His 35-acre spread, complete with studio, is intact on Captiva's northern end.Median Price: $3.5 million Drop From Peak: 40% "

Thursday, March 4, 2010

So there is is this little white egret that has been having trouble deciding which side of Periwinkle he prefers. Completely oblivious to the VERY confused drivers, he has been dashing from one side of the road to the other, only to change course mid stream and dash back the other way!. It's the funniest thing you ever saw and has the motorists in turmoil, bringing the already slowed traffic to a complete stand still as he darts left and right.
Periwinkle Way, the heart of Sanibel is usually busy at this time of year and as residents we allow an extra 20 minutes of journey time "just in case" So imagine the impact this little bird is having..............VERY funny if you're not in a hurry to reach your destination. Perhaps we should take this as a message from Mother nature to slow down and enjoy each day to the fullest!