Time running out for first-time buyers

Is it too late for first-time homebuyers to snag the federal government’s $8,000 tax credit?
The credit – intended to boost flagging home sales – is set to expire Nov. 30. Congress is weighing
several proposals to extend the tax break into 2010, but passage remains uncertain.
Procrastinating home shoppers racing to beat the late-November deadline still have a narrow window to
wrap up their purchases, says Jeff Lazerson, president of Mortgage Grader, a mortgage broker based in
Laguna Niguel, Calif.
"But buyers better hurry," he says.
Lazerson urges tax-credit hopefuls to work with at least three agents simultaneously until finding one
who "demonstrates that he or she is really hustling." Buyers should also take an aggressive,
hands-on approach to their search, he says.
"Proactively drive through neighborhoods and knock on doors to learn more about appealing homes for
sale that are nearby," he says.
David Kuiper, a mortgage planner at First Place Bank in Holland, Mich., also says buyers still have time
to qualify for the credit, but only if they "enter a contract in the next week or so."
He suggests getting preapproved for a mortgage immediately and asking a trusted real estate agent to
recommend a mortgage professional who has a record of closing on time.
"Plan to close by Nov. 20, if possible," he says. "Nov. 23 starts the week of
Thanksgiving, ward News Service.)