The First-Time Homebuyer Credit was introduced in 2008 in the Housing and Recovery Act. They made some improvements and changes since. But if you haven't jumped on board and taken advantage of this credit you need to do it very soon. They have extended it until 6/30/2010.
Here's some insight on the credit and how you qualify, because there are rules and guidelines to follow in order to receive the credit.
For those who purchased in 2008 the 7500.00 credit was considered a no-interest loan to be paid back over 15 years. We can only hope they amend this and make it a credit instead of a loan as they have done for 2009 and 2010 home buyers, we'll have to wait and see. The $8000.00 maximun credit given to buyers who purchased or will pruchase in 2009 and 2010 have a sweet deal that is a true credit and doesn't have to be paid back. It's based on 10% of the purchase price of your home with the maximun credit of $8000.00 and a limited purchase price of 800K. I know some of you thought everyone got 8K, sorry to burst your bubble but it's still a great reason to get out there and buy a house. Prices are low, rates and low and WOW you get a credit from Uncle Sam you don't have to pay back. You will have to keep and live in your new home for three years, so no investors or flipper's are allow. As long as you haven't own a home in the passed three years.
First thing to do is call a mortgage broker, your local bank or someone you know in the mortgage business and get qualified for the loan. They will be able to tell you how much you can spend on a home depending on your income and debts. Then find a trusted Realtor, ask around, someone in your family or friend can hopefully refer you to someone they like have worked with in the passed.
Then go shopping for your home. Your Pre-qualification letter or better yet your Pre-Approval letter from your lender will make your offer stand out from the others without a letter. It's a buyer's market but you may be dealing with REO's meaning the lender is the sellers, in most cases that lender will want to make sure you are qualified and run your credit again, this is really not good if you don't get the home and your back out looking again, this could happen over and over again and possibly lower your fico scores. Be careful your letter should be adequate for any lender along with your fannie or freddie approval. You'll want an experience agent for this and a tough negotiator.
There are some new rules being released by IRS as this article is written, but if your claiming this credit on your 2009 tax return you will not be able to file electronically, any return asking for this credit must be filed by mail. Plus they are raising income levels for people who purchased after Nov 6,2009. This is great because it will allow more people to qualify. Best to seek the advise of a qualified tax professional for all the details about the credit.
The feds have taken it one step further by adding current homeowner's a credit too. It's call the "long-time resident credit" of up to $6500.00. It's a great time to upgrade and buy a new home.