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Question 1: Do I need to establish a business license to continue collecting rent from the current tenant?

That's up to your local city/county. You'll have to ask them.

Question 2: Can I write off needed renovations(bathroom, kitchen, etc.) as a business expense if I establish my business license now, before purchase?

The business license is irrelevant for this. Renovations are probably going to be added to your cost of the property. If they're done to the rental portion, you'll recover the cost through depreciation deductions over the next few decades. If they're to the residence portion, there is no current deduction.

Question 3: Will I still qualify for the 1st time homebuyers credit?

Maybe. The type of property and all the other stuff you've posted are irrelevant. To get the first time home buyer's credit, you need to have the property under contract by 4/30/2010 and you need to close and occupy the property as your principal residence by 6/30/2010.

Question 3: Other than loan interest, what are other tax benefits of owning a commercially zoned property and using it as my residence/business?

There's nothing particular about the property being zoned as commercial that is of interest to the tax deductions. Except, perhaps, your ability to legally occupy it as a residence. If that's not a problem, then you simply have to split up the property between the residence portion and the business portion and deduct various expenses accordingly.


PS - And, like Phil said, go get some professional advice to get this all set up correctly to begin with.
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