DC Tax Abatement Program 2018 Updates

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For the latest DC credit program, please view information here on DC’s Newly Enacted First-Time Homebuyers Recordation Tax Reduction program that went into effect October 1, 2018.   

Purchase price and income thresholds to qualify for the popular DC Tax Abatement Program have increased, making it easier for more homebuyers to become homeowners.

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue increased the purchase price threshold to $464,000 from $456,000.

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5 Things to Know About DC Tax Abatement

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As a homebuyer, it is important to be aware of programs you can benefit from in order to reduce the overall cost of the process of buying a place to live.

The DC Tax Abatement program is one such opportunity that a homebuyer can and should take advantage of.

However, there are qualifications that a homebuyer must meet in order to become eligible for this program, and it is important to stay informed on what these are.

 

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Close It! House of the Week: Cozy condo in the heart of Columbia Heights

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This week, we’re headed over to Columbia Heights to this cozy 654 square foot, 2-bedroom condo. This garden-style suite is conveniently located near the Metro which makes the commute easier. This lovely property is listed for $499,000.

This beautiful condo features a modern kitchen with granite countertops and luxurious stainless-steel appliances. Brazilian hardwood floors lead the way to the two marble bathrooms. In addition, this property features a private balcony for owners to enjoy. What makes this property so appealing is its fully equipped fitness room that is perfect for anyone who likes to stay active. Something else that makes this property so special is its central location near plenty of restaurants and shops for the owners to explore.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, their cash to close number will be approximately $114,825.64. Monthly payments will then be around $2,224.50 per month (this does not include HOA fees). For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller’s side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.

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Workshop today on recent changes to DC’s TOPA law

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Did you know TOPA was amended as of July 3?

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development will hold a workshop to provide an overview of the newly enacted Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2018 (Bill 22-0315, Act 22-339). today from 1 to 3 pm.

For those who cannot attend in person, the DHCD Facebook page will also broadcast the workshop live.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics including:

  • Types of single family properties that are exempt
  • Criteria that an elderly or disabled tenant must meet to still have a limited opportunity to purchase
  • Notice and documentation requirements

If you wish to attend today’s workshop in person, you must register. The workshop is free and will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, located at 441 4th Street NW, Old Council Chamber Room, Washington, DC 20002.

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5 Things to Know About DC Homestead Deduction

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In the process of purchasing a property, it is hard to keep track of all of the elements involved.

Such elements can even include things that could be beneficial to the homebuyer. Therefore, we here at Federal Title do our best to keep homebuyers informed about their options in the homebuying process, like the DC Homestead Deduction, so that they can make the best decisions.

What is there to gain?

The DC Homestead Deduction provides valuable savings when it comes to what amount of the assessed value for your property is taxable.

Currently, the property tax rate is $0.85 per $100 in DC which means that .0085 of your property’s assessed value must be paid as a tax. However, if you are eligible for the DC Homestead Deduction, your property’s assessed value is reduced by $73,350.

Therefore, because the amount the government can tax is less, the money you must pay for the real property tax is less. However, the value by which your property is reduced changes annually and so it is important to stay up to date on that number.

Qualifications

In order to be eligible for the DC Homestead Deduction, there are four qualifications a homebuyer must meet.

First, a Homestead Deduction application must be filled out and on file with the Office of Tax and Revenue (link for DC Homestead Deduction application: https://otr.cfo.dc.gov/node/1299251).

In addition, the property, which cannot include more than five dwelling units, must be the principal residence of the owner/applicant.

Principal residency can be determined by where you pay your taxes, where you vote, what address is on you driver’s license, etc.

Finally, you must be domiciled in DC which means that you have a DC government issued ID, you are registered to vote in DC, and you file DC Personal Income taxes.

If these conditions are met, then you are eligible for the DC Homestead Deduction.

When do you begin receiving the benefits of the DC Homestead Deduction?

When the DC Homestead Deduction goes into effect depends on when the application for it was filed. If an approved application was filed between October 1 and March 31, then the DC Homestead Deduction will go into effect for that entire tax year and every tax year after that.

If an approved application was filed between April 1 and September 30, then the property will receive half of the deduction amount and then the following years after that it will receive the full deduction.

When should you cancel your DC Homestead Deduction?

There are several instances in which you must cancel your DC Homestead Deduction.

It is important that you can recognize the situations so that you don’t fall victim to the District of Columbia’s Homestead Deduction Audit Program.

Essentially, if the property is no longer your principal residence then you must fill out a Cancellation of Homestead Benefit form.

This means that if you moved off the property and are renting it out you must fill out the form. If you purchased another property in DC and filed for a Homestead Deduction on the property then you must fill out the form.

Are you still eligible if you are only a co-owner of a property?

If you are only a co-owner of a property and the other owners will not be living with said property as their principal residence then you are still eligible for the DC Homestead Deduction.

All that is required is that you meet the three qualifications which are that you are a principal resident, your property only includes five or fewer dwelling units, and you are domiciled in DC.

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Close It! House of the Week: Garden-style condo is refurbished relic

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This week, we’re headed over to the U Street – Cardozo area to see this stunning unit that was originally built in 1895, but has been remodeled and updated since. This charming, garden-style condo is 987 square feet and is within walking distance to Cardozo Education Campus. The property is listed for $619,000.

This condo has a lot to offer with its stunning exposed brick that runs throughout it, along with beautiful hardwood floors and tile. The unit has a gorgeous kitchen that includes granite counter tops, stainless-steel appliances, and a breakfast bar that overlooks the living room. In addition, this unit contains two bathrooms, each with their own unique features, one with multiple shower heads and another with a bathtub. What is perhaps the highlight of this unit are the two gas fireplaces that accompany the house.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $141,747,20. Monthly payments will then be around $1,733.42 per month (does not include HOA fee). For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller’s side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.

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Upcoming workshop on recent changes to DC’s TOPA law

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Did you know TOPA was amended as of July 3?

The DC Department of Housing and Community Development will hold a workshop in a couple weeks to provide an overview of the newly enacted Single-Family Home Exemption Amendment Act of 2018 (Bill 22-0315, Act 22-339).

The workshop will take place Wednesday, July 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, located at 441 4th Street NW, Old Council Chamber Room, Washington, DC 20002. The workshop is free but you must register to attend.

For those who cannot attend in person, the DHCD Facebook page will also broadcast the workshop live.

The workshop will cover a variety of topics including:

  • Types of single family properties that are exempt
  • Criteria that an elderly or disabled tenant must meet to still have a limited opportunity to purchase
  • Notice and documentation requirements
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Close It! House of the Week: Sleek, modern penthouse in Adams Morgan

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This week we’re heading over to a brand-new condo in Adams Morgan. This beautiful property boasts of a spacious 1600 square feet and a professional, state-of-the-art kitchen. It’s listed for a cool $1.6 million.

This unit was built in 2018 which means that it is equipped with all the newest appliances out there. The 2.5 bathrooms that accompany this house are all up to date and the pride and glory of this house, the kitchen, comes with a gorgeous Viking stove, a commercial fridge, and marble countertops. Another outstanding feature is that both bedrooms have their own private terrace for the owner to use while enjoying the view of the surrounding area. This property is right in the thick of things with plenty of restaurants and hotspots nearby to visit.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $359,471.02. Monthly payments will then be around $4,669.31 (HOA fees not included). For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller’s side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ or download the free Close It™ iOS app.

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Close It! House of the Week: Jaw-dropping views of the Capitol, spiral staircase feature

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This week, we’re headed on over to a spacious penthouse loft of 1,369 square feet. This beautiful property has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and is fitted with gorgeous, modern amenities. Also included in this residential, garden-style loft unit, is an assigned parking space and, its most unique feature, its cascading spiral staircase. It’s listed at $869,000.

This condo has a two stunning, upgraded bathroom and includes two industrial style bedrooms with exposed ducts on the ceiling. In addition, the unit has a gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, new stainless-steel appliances, and an electric stove. Hardwood floors flow throughout the condo until they reach the condo’s spectacular 200 square foot private terrace that overlooks the city. Also, nearby the condo is Meridian Hill Park, perfect for those who like spending time outdoors.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $197,834.79. Monthly payments will then be around $3,905.84 (this does not include HOA fees). For a complete picture of the cash to close, including the seller’s side of the transaction, try the Web version of Close It™ download the free Close It™ iOS app.

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Real Estate Headlines: Tiny Homes, Tall Views

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HERE’S A LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN REAL ESTATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLOMBIA AND BEYOND.

Tiny house movement makes its way to DC

The Independent model single-family manufactured by Kasita is coming to DC to be available for touring. –Washington Post

Rosslyn shares its corner of the sky

Rosslyn’s Observation Deck at CEB Towers will be available to the public for no cost, offering flawless views of the skyline. –Curbed DC

Architect David Adjaye’s first skyscraper makes its debut

Designs for David Adjaye’s 66 story skyscraper are revealed drawing inspiration from New York’s past. –Wallpaper

Dispute over plans for Anacostia’s Big K site

Residents of Anacostia disagree with DHCD over the development of the Big K lot in Anacostia. –Washington City Paper

Alexa making an entrance into the hotel industry

Amazon’s Alexa is to be introduced to the Hotel Marriott chain and is expected to be seen in every Marriott location late summer. –Washington Business Journal

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What’s the status of e-closings in DC, Maryland and Virginia?

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It’s about time. The title insurance industry is catching up and rapidly integrating technology into all aspects of the real estate transaction.

The ESIGN Act was federally passed in 2000 to enforce the viability of electronically signed documents, but ironically, an industry that thirsts for more efficiency has been slow in adapting to technology.

Eighteen years on, homebuyers and refinancing homeowners still come to our closing table every day to sign their closing documents, some 50+ pages, with pen in hand. But that all may be changing in the very near future.

With the emergence of online mortgage solutions and the increasing availability of technology to simplify the process of finding a home for purchase, the title insurance industry may be next on the fast track to online integration.

In the next year there will be a major shift toward electronic closings, or e-closings, as legislation is being proposed and adopted all over the country to make way for a faster and more secure way to close real estate transactions.

In 1996, Federal Title became one the first companies in the nation to offer an online service to shop and compare closing costs, and more importantly, order title and settlement services.

We are now positioned to be among the first in the country to offer e-closings in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. We’re still waiting for clearer legislation in Maryland and DC to make e-closings viable, and not all lenders have a system in place yet for tracking them.

How does an e-closing work?

Once the parties have a ratified contract, any party in the transaction may order settlement services at https://federaltitle.com/order. The title company and lender will work to finalize a closing disclosure and coordinate a settlement date with the borrower.

The closing documents from the title company and the loan documents from the lender will then be uploaded to an online portal where the borrower, lender, agent and seller (if a purchase), will have the ability to review and sign their documents in front of a video notary.

Can I close remotely now via e-closing?

Federal Title is up to date with the latest software to provide an online closing for our clients. However, there a few caveats to be ironed out this year.

Legislation in DC and Maryland does not yet explicitly state that the use of a video notary is acceptable, although no legislation against it has been passed.

Meanwhile, Virginia was the first state in the United States to allow the use of video notary and thus is a viable option for e-closing.

The second caveat is on the lending side. The Note and Deed of Trust are essentially the two most important mortgage documents that the borrower signs.

Some mortgage lenders have already established an “E-Note” and “E-Vault” platform and are capable of closing your entire loan electronically. Essentially, the E-Note allows for the Note to be enforceable when electronically signed, and the E-Vault stores the E-Note.

Many mortgage lenders are diligently working to transition to e-closings, and it will be no surprise to see a major influx of e-closings in the very near future. We’re also keeping an eye on e-closing legislation in DC and Maryland.

To see if you qualify for a remote closing or have more questions regarding the e-closing process, please contact us at services@federaltitle.com.

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To protect your data from being shared with affiliates, opt-out

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You would be surprised at how many people I meet at the settlement table who have never opted out of their information being shared with their bank’s or lending institution’s affiliates.

People often complain about solicitations via mail, email and phone. If you have a credit card, bank account or mortgage with a lending institution, they are often allowed to share your information with their affiliates unless you specifically ask them not to share.

I hear, “I don’t want to be on the phone for hours waiting to opt out.”

Most of the institutions allow you to set up an account online to handle payment and inquiries. Usually there are privacy settings in the same online account you can set up – opt out of their marketing to affiliates, sharing credit information, etc.

If you would rather be on the phone, you can certainly call and opt out of your information being shared with affiliates or used for marketing. Just a few minutes of your time may save you hours sorting mail and/or emails.

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Assignment of TOPA rights (Tenant’s Opportunity to Purchase Act): Q&A

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Q: Can TOPA rights be assigned without a contract?

A: With our without a contract, TOPA rights can be assigned.

Q: How much (consideration) does the landlord/owner need to pay the Tenant to make the assignment valid?

A: Most title insurance underwriters agree that there must be at least $300.00 of consideration which can be in the form of rent abatement/waiver, moving expenses, or cash payment.

Q: What forms must be provided to the tenant prior to the existence of a contract?

A: The landlord/owner must provide TOPA Form B by certified mail before tenant signs the agreement to assign. Because the rights of first refusal will be assigned concurrently with the rights to purchase, it is not necessary to provide Form C.

Q: What forms must be provided to the tenant with the existence of a contract?

A: The landlord/owner must provide TOPA Form A by certified mail before tenant signs the agreement to assign.

Q: Once the Assignment is signed by both landlord/owner and tenant, is there a waiting period before settlement can occur?

A: No. However, do note that either Form A or Form B must be sent by certified mail in order to satisfy the legal requirements such that the rights become legally assignable.

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What’s the benefit of the DC First Time Homebuyer Recordation Tax Deduction

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What’s the Benefit?

DC First-Time Recordation Tax is reduced to 0.725% from customary 1.1% or 1.4%.

Qualifications*

  • Homebuyer* has never owned a principal residence in the District of Columbia.
  • Homebuyer must qualify for the DC Homestead Deduction.
  • Purchase price cannot exceed $632,500.
  • Total Household Income cannot exceed defined thresholds listed below:
  • Persons in Households / Income Limits
      • 1 / $147,780
      • 2 / $168,840
      • 3 / $189,900
      • 4 / $210,960
      • 5 / $227,880
      • 6 / $244,800
      • 7 / $261,720
      • 8 / $278,640
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What’s the Benefit of the Maryland First-time Homebuyer Tax Credit?

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What’s the Benefit?

The Maryland First-Time Homebuyer Credit exempts the buyer from paying the State Transfer Tax.

Qualifications*

  • All homebuyers must be individuals (cannot be a trust or other entity) who have never owned in the state of Maryland residential real property that has been the individual(s) principal residence; and
  • The residence will be occupied as the homebuyer’s principal residence.

* There is an exemption that will allow a homebuyer to qualify if a co-buyer is on title solely for the loan qualification and will not occupy the property as a principal residence.

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Seller Property Disclosure Requirements in DC

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Question from an Agent:  My client, a seller of a DC property, has recently purchased a property and has never occupied it.  Is the seller still required to complete the property disclosure form or is the seller exempt?

Answer from an attorney:  There is no statutory exemption that would preclude the above seller from providing the property disclosure statement.   DC Code § 42-1301 (b), provides guidance and lists certain types of property transfers that are exempt from anyone having to fill out the Disclosure statement.  Some, but not all of these include:  transfers between co-tenants; foreclosure sales; court ordered transfers such as probate, bankruptcy, divorce; and transfers made by a person of a newly constructed residential property that has not been inhabited. 

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Close It!™ House of the week: A special Valentine’s Day edition located in Chevy Chase

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Featuring a wide side hall brick Colonial house, in the desirable Chevy Chase area, with over 3,300 square feet. The home has four bedrooms and four baths, perfect for a growing family that needs a lot of space and storage. The backyard is BREATHTAKING – a walkout, covered patio area that overlooks a beautiful fenced-in garden. The property also includes a detached garage with a private entrance. It’s listed for $1,149,000.        

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent, their cash-to-close would be $259,754 and monthly mortgage payments would be approximately $3,421. You’ll also receive a credit of $750 when you choose to use Federal Title & Escrow Company for settlement services when ordered online. For a complete picture of what your cash-to-close figures would be, including seller’s net proceeds from the sale and such, please view the Close It! Web version or download the free Close It! iOS app.  

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