Intero Real Estate Services
Sophia Delacotte
Realtor in San Jose
 

Tax Incentives for Real Estate Home Buyers and Sellers


Tax and Loan Tips for

Real Estate Investors in Silicon Valley


 
Here are a few helpful links as well as information about tax incentives, deductions and housing loan programs that all home buyers, including first time home buyers, should keep in mind when embarking on a quest to purchase a home in Silicon Valley.

Please remember that some of the key tax deductions related to home ownership include:

  • Mortgage interest and costs
  • Cost of improvements (repairs, upgrade)
  • First Time Home Buyers credit
  • Energy Tax Credit (e.g. energy efficient heaters, doors, windows, etc)

For a more comprehensive list of tax deductions, here is a useful link.

 

You can also check out this useful website which outlines local down payment help programs in your area.


FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a section of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help you insure your loan, which means higher loan amounts (up to $625,500), lower down payments (as low as 3.5% of the home purchase price),  lower closing costs & fees (can be included in the loan) and easier qualifying criteria.

FHA’s 203(k) Loan Program allows home owners to purchase a property including the cost of its rehabilitation. So, if you are not afraid of buying a fixer upper and/or a home in need of repairs but do not have the cash to pay for the renovation, do not forget to ask your loan officer about this program. Please note that real estate investors are no allowed to use the 203K Loan Program.

Currently, The Federal Housing Administration allows borrowers to cancel private mortgage insurance coverage, which is mandatory for loans contracted with less than 20% down payment, under two conditions:

  • Borrowers’ loan-to-value ratio reached 78 percent of the original loan balance;
  • Borrowers have made payments for five years.

Starting June 3, 2013, FHA will require borrowers to pay the premium as long as the loan is in force. In other words, the only way to stop paying PMI is for the borrower to refinance or otherwise pay off the loan.

On June 3, 2013 as well, FHA also changed its Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) Cancellation Policy.  This change will stop many homeowners from losing their right to cancel the annual MIP. You can read about these guidelines on the HUD portal.


On August 26, 2014, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued its final rule to eliminate post-payment interest charges on FHA-insured single family mortgages. The policy change will prohibit mortgagees from charging borrowers interest on their home mortgages after a principal balance pay-off.  The final rule will go into effect on January 21, 2015.

 

You can also review all FHA loan programs on the FHA website.

  

 

Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Loan Programs

 
On December 4, 2014 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced new loan programs that could make it easier for well-qualified, first-time and lower-income home buyers to purchase a home. Both Fannie and Freddie will back mortgages with down payments of as low as 3 percent.

 

Fannie Mae “My Community Mortgage,” program is available to first-time buyers, and eligible homeowners who wish to refinance their Fannie Mae-owned mortgage but don’t qualify under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Fannie’s program is available since December 13th, 2014.

 

Freddie Mac “Home Possible Advantage” program is open to first-time buyers and other qualified borrowers with limited down payment savings.   Freddie Mac’s program will begin on March 23rd, 2015.Both programs require private mortgage insurance.

 

 

California Housing Finance Agency (CalFHA)

If this is your first home purchase ever, the First Time Home Buyers Program from the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is for you.  The California Housing Finance Agency offer low interest rate first mortgage programs and a variety of down payment assistance programs to eligible first-time homebuyers. Here are the top 3 programs applicable to San Jose and Silicon Valley in particular:

  • The CalHFA FHA Mortgage Loan Program, which is applicable to properties located in federally designated targeted areas. This program is designed for low and moderate income home buyers. Borrowers do not need to be first time home buyers.

  • The California Home Buyer's Down Payment Assistance Program (CHDAP) is a deferred payment options with a simple interest rate subordinate loan. Low to moderate income first-time home buyers can use this loan to make a down payment and/or closing cost assistance up to 3% of the sales price or appraised value, whichever is less.

  • The CalFHA Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP). CalHFA has partnered with over 300 localities (cities, counties, housing authorities, nonprofit entities and redevelopment agencies) that offer local down payment assistance. This program allows borrowers to combine a Cal HFA first mortgage loan with down payment and/or closing cost assistance from an AHPP.

  • The CalFHA Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP). The ECTP provides a deferred-payment junior loan for eligible teachers, administrators, classified employees and staff members working in county/continuation or high priority schools in California.
  • The CalPLUS FHA program is a first mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The interest rate on the CalPLUS FHA is fixed throughout the 30-year term. The CalPLUS FHA is combined with a CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP), which is a deferred-payment junior loan of 3.5% of the first mortgage loan amount, for down payment assistance.

  • CalHFA’s ZIP Extra Down Payment Assistance Program. This new program is designed to reduce the amount of money needed to close on the purchase of a home for buyers who may not yet have the funds for a large down payment, closing costs, or even an upfront mortgage insurance payment. The new program will include an additional $6,500 on top of the 3 percent down payment it currently offers as part of its CalPLUS Conventional with Zero Interest Program (ZIP). The ZIP program provides 3 percent of the loan amount at 0 percent interest on a fixed-rate, 30-year conventional mortgage. The additional $6,500, ZIP Extra, will also be provided at 0 percent interest.

You can review all home buyers programs on the
CalFHA website.

City Of San Jose Home Buyers Programs


Closer to us in Silicon Valley, you may want to check out programs available to home buyers in the city of San Jose, CA. 

You can review all programs on the City of San Jose Department of Housing website.

The most notable programs from the city of San Jose are The Teachers Home Buyer Program and the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP)
.


Housing Trust Silicon Valley

If you live in Silicon Valley and you are a first time home buyer with low to moderate income, you should check out the loan programs offered by the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley which are as follows:

  • The Purchase Assistance Loan Program (PAL) is designed to help low to moderate incomes families acquire foreclosed and abandoned homes or those at risk of foreclosure in the San Jose area only. The program offers a deferred second loan of 20% of the purchase price up to $50,000, providing home buyers have already secured a primary loan. This loan is a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 0%.
  • GAP Assistance Program: This new housing program is intended to support low income first-time home buyers purchasing homes in Santa Clara County (SCC). The GAP is a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 3%. Since January 2015, the Housing Trust provides appointments for first time home buyers interested in this program.
  • Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP): The Housing Trust of Silicon Valley has established the Mortgage Assistance Program to help home buyers finance their first home, condominium or town home. It is one of the three loan products currently available from the Housing Trust and is an amortizing 30-year second loan.
  • Closing Cost Assistance Program (CCAP): This program has helped Santa Clara County's teachers, engineers, nurses, cooks, and other qualified individuals and families buy their first home in Santa Clara County by providing 3% of the purchase price up to $15,000 towards the down payment, closing costs or other transaction expenses associated with a home purchase. This loan is due on refinancing or sale of the home or 30 years, with a 3% deferred interest rate. No interest or principal payments are due during the term of the loan.
Please note that I am Certified by the Santa Clara County to help you with any of these housing programs if you qualify.


Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency

The following tax credit applies to both existing homes and new constructions whether it is a principal or a secondary residence : 30% of cost, with no upper limit until December 31, 2016, for the following items: Geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines and solar energy systems.

The following tax credit only applies to an existing home which must also be the principal residence:

  • 30% of the cost, up to $500 per 0.5 kW of power capacity until December 31, 2016, for installations of fuel cells;
  • 10% of cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50–$300 for the following items: Biomass Stoves, Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC), Insulation, Roofs (Metal & Asphalt), Water Heaters (non- solar) and Windows & Doors. Credits are available for homeowners of residential energy efficient property placed in service in 2012 or 2013, and in extended program between 2014 and 2016.

Regarding solar energy, effective January 1, 2015, the Assembly Bill 1888:

 

  • Extends the sunset for a solar tax exemption for new active solar energy systems on new construction.
  • Extends the exemption through 2023-24, and the sunset through January 1, 2025.
  • Specifies that this exclusion for the construction or addition of an active solar energy system applies through the 2023-24 fiscal year, and remains in effect only until January 1, 2025.

 
For further information about tax credit for Energy Efficiency, click here.


 

What my clients are saying  

Sophia has been my agent twice, one time to sell and the other to buy. Thanks to her skills and experience, she was able to help us through each step of the process and get us great deals. I particularly appreciated her proactive attitude to get things done, and her amazing attention to details to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks. Each time we also got praise from the other parties about her professionalism.

 

~ Julien R.

Sophia has gone above and beyond in regards to helping my wife and I find a new home for our expanding family. She is very informative in all aspects of buying a home! I highly recommend her!

 

~ Josh M.

Sophia Delacotte is an outstanding real estate professional. She brings great understanding of her clients' needs, diligence, and taste. I highly recommend Sophia for any endeavor within her scope of expertise.

 

~ Michel R.

Working with Sophia was a great experience. She is not only a trustworthy person, but she also always had my best interest in mind. She showed me various condos and explained the pros and cons of all properties which made my decision to choose the right condo easier. She constantly followed up with all the parties involved to make sure the home buying process went smoothly. This is evidenced by the fact that we closed right on time! She even made sure all the repairs were completed to my condo before I moved in. I would recommend Sophia to anyone who wants a realtor that will fight for them every step of the way.

 

~ Sean M.

I worked with Sophia Delacotte several times of the last 18 months. She sold my home with suave and suggested some another great agents remotely for my relocation. There was: honest and frequent communication; clear expectations; and fairer than average rates from the start; no sandbagging; a watchful eye and excellent management of all aspects of the process and contracts. Other realtors in the last decade had really left me with a negative opinion of agents, but Sophia made a name for herself and removed my bias. I'm also glad for Sophia's eagle-eye for legal trouble, so when it came to here recommendations for covering ourselves, I followed them without hesitation. Suggestions on what needed fixed, and encouragement for transparent disclosures is important in California. Buying and/or selling a home can stressful, but it was fun with Sophia for myself and my family

 

~ Kyle B

Sophia Delacotte is thorough, knowledgeable, and helpful. She assisted me with the sale of my townhouse in San Jose. It sold after one open house, and I received multiple offers. Sophia screened all of the offers and recommended the offers which would close with the least amount of hassles or surprises. She is extremely knowledgeable about the real estate market. With her legal background, she is a strong and effective advocate for your side of the transaction. Sophia always kept me in the loop, was clear with what she needed, and the timing of the response to what she needed. She is a pleasure to work with, responsive, and committed to making the entire process go as smoothly as possible. I highly recommend Sophia and would definitely work with her again in the future.

 

~ Bonnie B.

Sophia has been very professional throughout the process of my house purchase. She was very patient as I was quite particular about what I want with the budget I have. Sophia was also very helpful and very knowledgeable. She is a very good realtor.

 

~ Jackson T.

When we met Sophia for the first time, on a Sunday afternoon, we were immediately struck by her professionalism and competence. With skill and patience, she navigated us through the complex and confusing steps of getting pre-approved for a loan, viewing the house, putting down an offer, and learning when to walk away. As first-time home owners, we were nervous and uncertain. Sophia gave us invaluable advice and encouragement during the ups and downs, and her knowledge of the real estate business and housing market always led us in the right direction. One of our favorite things about having her as our agent was that she made herself constantly available. She met with us every weekend for three months to check out houses we liked, and she was always savvy about the state of the house and what might appear on the disclosures. She struck the perfect balance between giving advice and allowing us to form an opinion ourselves.

 

~ Maria J.

Sophia was a dream to work with. She handled a very difficult short sale for my wife and I. Without her help we would have been lost. She was a great negotiator and partnered with us to help explain every piece of paper that we had to sign as well as assisting us gather proper documents an information all the parties needed. I can't recommend her more highly.

 

~ Nate M.

Sophia helped my wife and I during our house search this summer. She was incredibly diligent, honest and forthright. Unlike a typical agent she actually advised us against couple of houses due to issues she discovered in the disclosures (she reads every word). As first time buyers we were easily seduced by appearances but Sophia kept us grounded! Definitely look forward to working with her again and would definitely recommend her services to friends.

 

~ Sarang R.

Sophia has a sign in her office which reads "tenacity" which describes her commitment to her clients and her ability to follow through on a transaction. She's a great (full time!) agent to work with, and as a first time home buyer. I can't express how important it was to have her by our side to help us every step of the way. She's straight-forward (former lawyer), and french (former Parisian city girl), which only adds to her charm. Beyond her great work ethic, she conducts herself by the book with an uncommonly high degree of professionalism. Sophia will look out for your interests, and protect your privacy. While I'm happy to have a home (thanks Sophia!), my wife and I will miss having her as our agent.

 

~ Stephen R.

I am so thrilled that I chose Sophia Delacotte to handle the sale of my condo. Having had my first sale fall through two years ago at the fault of my realtor and title company, I was very nervous about going through the process again.Sophia’s confidence and ability was unwavering. She is very thorough and detailed, and her great follow-through skills assured me that nothing would slip by unnoticed.Everything went smoothly with the sale, even with my many unconventional secondary loans. Escrow closed on time, and I received my funds quickly. I would recommend Sophia to anyone buying or selling a home.

 

~ Radel S.

I was a first time home buyer in the US market, and Sophia has been fantastic helping me understand the whole process. I am so glad I hired her as my agent. She made every step go really smoothly and I have now found my dream house in the Bay area! She has been very responsive and quick to react when I needed offers to be put together. I strongly recommend Sophia for a Bay area acquisition, especially for non US citizens who are not familiar with local practices.

 

~ Sylvie B.

Sophia Delacotte is thorough, knowledgeable, and helpful. She assisted me with the sale of my condo. The condo sold after one open house, and I received multiple offers. Sophia screened all of the offers and recommended the offers which would close with the least amount of hassles or surprises. She is extremely knowledgeable about the real estate market. With her legal background, she is a strong and effective advocate for your side of the transaction. Sophia always kept me in the loop, was clear with what she needed, and the timing of the response to what she needed. She is a pleasure to work with, responsive, and committed to making the entire process go as smoothly as possible. I highly recommend Sophia and would definitely work with her again in the future.

 

~ Laurie O

I had to sell my house fairly quickly because of a move and imminent wedding. Sophia proved to be the best choice I could have made. She was extremely resourceful and guided me expertly through paperwork and expectations. The house sold after only two open houses, and we received multiple offers. I was also very satisfied with the price obtained. In addition, she made the whole process as painless as can be. Sophia provided very solid support, and her legal background was very helpful to navigate the documents required. I was glad she was on my side! I highly recommend Sophia Delacotte as your real estate agent.

 

~ Yves E.

It was wonderful having Sophia help my mother sell her house. She went above and beyond our expectations, and was very patient when addressing my mother’s concerns, making the process as smooth as possible. The house sold on the first open house, and we received multiple offers. Sophia screened all offers to make sure the one we chose would close without any surprises. I highly recommend Sophia to anyone needing a great realtor.

 

~ Phil R.

We used Sophia again this Spring as we had to move to reduce my commute. Sophia not only helped us to sell our house in record time but also was very diligent in managing the multiple offers market - she carefully analyzed all the options and helped us dot the i's and cross the t's with choosing the right offer and family. When it came to finding our new home Sophia pulled out all the stops to ensure we got the home we wanted. Sophia built a strong relationship with the selling agent and ensured that our interests were protected. Staying up late into the night negotiating she secured the home we were looking for. Sophia also advised us throughout the process and made sure we did not just settle on any home - someone we can rely on with strong values a great work ethic and her customers interests being number 1.

 

~ Amin D.

We have Sophia as our realtor for close to 3 years and think she is really awesome. She makes it a point to understand our needs and gives us good advice on the market swings and how to offer on the properties that we were interested in. She doesn't push us and respect our thoughts and looks out for us. She always makes time to see us even if it is at the very last minute and helps us through the whole process from inspecting the house and seeing if it fits our needs and personality, to thoroughly asking the buyer's realtor and being absolutely professional in giving a good image to the seller and his/her agent. We bought our new home in 2014. Sophia stayed with us throughout the whole process till escrow was completed and was always still available to help us after.She is well connected and referred us to a great loan agent who gave us the best interest rate and helped us close in 14 days. We will definitely ask her to assist us again if we are going to buy or sell in the future.

 

~ Stan A.

Sophia is the kind of person who makes your house dream come true. That was our case. Sophia listens to you and suggests places that work for you. She tailors time and resources for your special needs. Since we met her the house hunting was accurate and in a few weeks we were able to bid and get our dream house. After many years of house ownership, my wife and I feel very lucky we met her.

 

~ Angelo M.

It's really hard to find an agent who is looking out for you and your needs. Sophia cares for her clients deeply and understands what we want. She will go above and beyond to assist us in meeting the deadlines and helps us with understanding the intricacies of offering and the market trends.

 

~ Surt A.

Sophia Delacotte was the selling agent for our home in San Jose, California in September 2013. We were in contract for the sale in about three weeks. Sophia was a consummate professional from our first meeting, to our open house and through to our move out of state. She is extremely knowledgeable about the real estate market and, with her legal background, a strong and effective advocate for your side of the transaction. She is also a pleasure to work with, very responsive and is committed to making the entire process as stress free as possible. I highly recommend Sophia as an agent who is head and shoulders above most others in the profession. I feel we were fortunate indeed to have had her as our agent.

 

~ Kathy D.

Because of Sophia's clever strategy we made our offer sight unseen. We are now the proud owners of a Condominium. Because of her tireless efforts she made the whole process seamless. Thank you Sophia for all your hard work!!

 

~ Margie A

Sophia made my short sale purchase as easy as it could be. Honest, tough, does what you ask. I was very pleased. She Made sure I had all the right inspections to protect myself.

 

~ Paul B.

As a mortgage originator for over 15 years, I have worked with hundreds of real estate professionals. Sophia is actively involved with the purchase from the time of pre-approval to closing. However, it does not end there. She maintains a business relationship with her clients and is there to assist with any needs from service providers to home information. Her clients are her priority and they are fortunate to have such a fine professional representing them.

 

~ Camille D.

Great advice , incredibly efficient! Sophia successfully guided us to buy a house in a very competitive market, and helped manage the transaction every step of the way. You'll want her on your side!

 

~ Caroline M.

I have found Sophia to be a thorough, ethical, and extremely competent real estate professional. Her knowledge of this challenging real estate market and her passion to advocate for her clients is remarkable. I have worked with many realtors and I count Sophia at the very top of her profession. I have complete confidence that if you are looking for a no-nonsense real estate professional, you will find one in Sophia Delacotte.

 

~ Marc A.

Sophia is the most honest, ethical and loyal realtor I have ever worked with. To this day, I remember her telling me that if the sale wasn't in my best interest, she wouldn't feel comfortable representing me. It was very refreshing to know that the client's best interest was her foremost concern. She stands by her clients from the beginning of the process until the ink is dry on the final document, and follows up after the sale to ensure no hidden obstacles have emerged. She is diligent in her efforts to manage the process of a home sale with all parties involved. She keeps her clients informed every step of the way and works tirelessly to forge a positive outcome. Sophia is also like a member of the family. She displays a true and genuine concern for the welfare of her clients and displays this not merely through words but through her actions. Without hesitation I would recommend her to anyone in need of a realtor that is transparent, ethical, and a true professional.

 

~ Greg Z.

Sophia is very thorough, knowledgeable and helpful. The short Sale process is confusing and worrisome but Sophia was able to help me navigate the paperwork, deadlines and legal jargon. She was respectful, responsive and most importantly, she delivered results! I recommend her.

 

~ Ann A.

I will relocate with my family from Europe to Silicon Valley in summer 2012. Early in my quest to find a home, I was very fortunate to identify and work with Sophia Delacotte, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Almaden San Jose. Her help has been invaluable every step of the way from presenting our offer to the close of escrow a few months later. She has been remarkably helpful in particular with regards to dealing with all financial complexities attached to a cross border transaction. Thanks to an amazing sense of attention to details, she masterfully coordinated the entire transaction with all stakeholders and parties involved and made us feel completely safe about buying our first home in the USA. She has clearly exceeded all my expectations and provided a level of service largely beyond the call of duty of a regular real estate agent. I highly recommend Sophia to anyone looking to make a real estate investment in the Bay Area.

 

~ Nadia K.

My wife and I met Sophia socially, and she offered to advise us in our search for investment property in another city. Since then, she has been incredibly generous with her time, and has given us precious recommendations on what deals to go for, or run from. We are very grateful and wish her the greatest success.

 

~ Michel B.

Working with an agent like Sophia is like a breath of fresh air. She is diligent about providing information when requested and quick to respond to needs, or concerns. Her dedication to her transactions, from beginning to end, helps to insure quick and timely closings.

 

~ Heather C.

Sophia helped us purchase our first home, she was patient and addressed all our concerns. She's very responsive and I couldn't have picked a better real estate agent. She is the best!!!

 

~ Sal C.

Sophia is a straight shooter. I learned very quickly that it is of essence to have a Realtor who is bullish and will help you get what you need. Sophia was always keeping us in the loop, very clear with what she needed, the timing of it and the why she needed it piece. The short sale process if very confusing and frustrating for a buyer and yet she seemed to make it as seamless as possible. I would recommend her to anyone that is looking to sell!

 

~ Cindy L.

We met Sophia at an Open House and immediately clicked with her. We have worked together for several months now on various property and development projects. As her clients, we find her exceedingly smart, dependable, and thorough. On our very first collaboration with Sophia, she worked long and hard, carrying us through every detail. She had our back the entire time so we had peace of mind throughout. She's a real pleasure to work with; any client would be lucky to have her in their camp

 

~ Nora N.

Buying a home is stressful, meeting Sophia was a blessing. With our busy schedules she kept us focused and worked too many late nights with us "sorry Sophia" with us on offers. She was the calming factor for us during inspections and negotiations. When we did find the right house, we had a great team, but if it wasn't for Sophia overseeing everything and keeping everyone in the loop, I know we would have had undue stress that we didn't need. Sophia truly goes above an beyond. We owe her a lot

 

~ Lisa B.

More Reviews

Want to Know How Much Your Home is Worth?

Get Your FREE Home Market Analysis Report Right Now!

YES, SHOW ME NOW