Mobile home is eligible for tax credit
Q: My wife and I are considering a permanent move to Florida. We would buy a manufactured home in a retirement community on a lot we would rent as part of our HOA fees. Is this eligible for the government stimulus tax credits?
A: Either the first-time buyer's or the repeat buyer's tax credit is intended for the purchase of a principal residence. The IRS uses the same definition of principal residence it does elsewhere in the tax code. Your main home is the place you live most of the time. It can be, says the IRS, a "House, Houseboat, Mobile home, Cooperative apartment, or Condominium." For repeat buyers, the tax credit is 10 percent of purchase price, with a limit of $6,500.
Agent's disinterest deserves scrutiny
Q: My husband and I have been interested in a house since the end of summer. It needs work, so we made a reasonable offer. However, someone else made a higher offer, and theirs was accepted.
Since then, that offer has dragged with the banks, and the seller's agent assured me twice that he would call our agent once the seller gave up on the other buyer. Now I have learned the house is going into a short sale and someone else's offer is expected.
Our agent has repeatedly asked the seller's agent to keep her updated; however, the seller's agent never returns her calls.
We're wondering what's going on. We've made it clear we've prequalified for a mortgage and we're ready to offer more than we originally did, yet the seller's agent basically refuses to deal with us and our agent.
We are a different race from the seller's agent, and we think from the current owner, and we're beginning to wonder if that might have something to do with his ignoring us. Do we have any recourse if a seller's agent refuses to communicate with us or our agent?
A: I'm getting lots of mail lately from would-be buyers and sellers who complain that once a property goes into a short sale, there are all sorts of obstacles, delays, lack of communication and the like. Perhaps you've simply run into that. But failure of a broker to return phone calls has sometimes been considered proof of unlawful discrimination. You may want to look at the Federal Fair Housing Law on HUD's Web site, and at the state laws against discrimination also. Let that agent's managing broker know if you plan on filing a complaint anywhere.
Edith Lank will respond to questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, NY 14620 (please include a stamped return envelope), or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.