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November 7, 2009

Who's eligible for the repeat-buyer tax credit?

Many people are homeowners, so it's not surprising that many people have been asking if they'd be eligible for the new, $6,500 tax credit intended for repeat buyers. One sticking point has been the legislative language used to explain eligibility:
In the case of an individual (and, if married, such individual's spouse) who has owned and used the same residence as such individual's principal residence for any 5-consecutive-year period during the 8-year period ending on the date of the purchase of a subsequent principal residence, such individual shall be [eligible for the credit] with respect to the purchase of such subsequent residence.

Does that mean people who lived in their homes for the past five years and want to move on? People who lived in their homes for at least five years after late 2001, have since been renting it out and now want a new primary residence? People who lived in their homes for at least five years after late 2001, sold the place and now want to buy again?

I posed this to a Senate Finance Committee aide, and he said yes. Yes to all three.

I wondered that to begin with, but the "ending on the date of the purchase of a subsequent principal residence" part made me second-guess myself.

I urge you all not to spend that $6,500 before it's a sure thing that you can get it -- let's see what the IRS has to say, eh? But Wonk reader SSK, it does look like you can take advantage of the credit. (SSK posed this question: "I lived in my Baltimore house for 12 years. Just sold it in July. I re-located to Ohio and am renting. I'm about to bid on a new home. So, I lived in my home for more than 5 years, but I'm temporarily renting now. Do I qualify?")

And you, too, Mark. (He notes, "My wife and I sold our previous home on 9/10/09. We had owned that home for 9 years. We have been living in an extended stay hotel ever since, while we are looking for our next home. We expect to purchase our next home before the end of this year. We meet the income requirements of this bill. So will we be eligible for this $6500 tax credit even though we have already sold our previous home about 2 months ago?")

But you can't qualify if you already bought the new home, the situation that reader Carrie Nelson is in. "We closed on our new home on September 18, 2009. We have just rented our old home because we were unable to sell it. Will we be eligible for the repeat home buyer credit? Why can't they just approve it for any home purchased in 2009. Isn't that something that was done for the first-time homebuyer tax credit?"

The $8,000 version of the first-time buyer credit, passed in February, was made retroactive to the beginning of the year. But the IRS said Friday -- as the legislation was signed into law by President Barack Obama -- that the new provisions would go into effect today, Nov. 7.

Exactly who qualifies should be clearer as soon as the IRS offers more details, as it did with the first and second versions of the first-time home buyer credit. On its home buyer tax credit page, it promised "more to be added soon."

UPDATE: If you're thinking of asking a question, please take a look at this frequently-asked-questions piece -- and the questions and answers in the comments below this post -- to see if it's been answered already. Then, and only then, ask your question here.

Seriously, folks.

I MEAN IT.

I'm happy to help, but not so much if I've already answered the question several times. If you ask a question that shows you disregarded this plea, I might have to break out the snark.

Comments

I have a couple questions. I got the impression that the purchase date would have to be after Dec, 1st 2009. Is that correct or does it just need to be after Nov th? What will be defind as a purchase date, the date of closing or the date that the contract is accepted? I have a home under contract since about Oct 25th so the contract date is before, will I still be eligable and when do we need to wait to close?
Thanks.

The IRS says Nov. 7, and the IRS is probably the key authority on this one. (The legislation itself said the provisions "shall apply to residences purchased after the date of the enactment of this Act," and it was signed into law Friday.)

The IRS defined "purchase" for the earlier first-time buyer tax credit as "date of closing." So I'm guessing that people who signed a contract before Nov. 7 but are closing on or afterward will be eligible. But we'll have to wait and see what the IRS says.

so im in my house for 19 years and intend to stay, am i entitled to a tax credit in 2009 or 2010.....thank you....

Maureen, if you're not buying a new place, you're not eligible. That's the point of the credit -- to get people to buy.

I have question: Do I have to live in the same place for exactly 5 year to qualify for the repeat-buyer tax credit? For example, if I bought my current house Dec 27th, 2004, do I have to sell my house after Dec. 27th 2009, then buy a new house?

Thanks a lot!

We have lived in our home for 10years just sold it July24th move brought a new one July 24th. This should be retro to the beginning of the year this is not fair

So someone who closed on Monday evening Nov. 2 won't qualify!&%^$%#$$@#!!! Talk about luck of the draw.

Angela, I haven't seen your question addressed specifically by folks in the know, but I'm assuming that five years means at least a full five years. Better safe than sorry, anyway.

I bought my house On Jan 2000 and sold it in May of 2009. I am currently renting while my house is being built. I intend to close on the house Dec 2009. Will I qualify even though I lived in my house 8 years and 5 months?

As far as I know, Shay, because the "five years" part is an "at least" situation.

My husband and I have owned a home for 15 years,because of the economy we ended up with a lease option. I needed to buy a home closer to work, we closed Sept. 28, 2009, will we qualify for the new 6500.00 tax credit.

MI, do you mean you closed on the deal to have someone lease your home with an option to buy? Or did you close on your new purchase? If you've already bought your new home, then no, you don't qualify. The start date for eligible purchases was Nov. 7.

I owned a home for 6 years and sold and bought in march of this year. I didnt get the 8,000 tax credit due to I was a previous home owner. Does this mean that I get the new 6,500 tax credit?

Jaimie - My Mom is going through a seperation and she is being bought out the house. Since she has lived there for 5 years, would she qualify for the $6500 tax credit? Also does anyone know if you are able to use the credit at closing?

Ernie, people who bought before this new law went into effect don't qualify. Not surprising -- Congress is trying to encourage new purchases.

JB, is your mother planning to buy another house? Then I believe she would qualify.

do you qualiafy if you refinance

Bob, please tell me you're wondering if someone who refinanced, say, midway through their five-year ownership of a home is still eligible if they now want to buy a new home. (The answer would be yes.) If you're asking whether you qualify for $6,500 just because you're planning to refinance in a month, no. (For Pete's sake.)

Jaime, Can the tax credit be used at closing?

Thanks

JB, I don't know. I haven't seen that addressed yet.

Anyone? Bueller?

I sold a house in June (lived there 8 years) and am about to buy another. I re-married in Aug, can we both be on the loan, or does it just need to be me to get the credit?

Mike, I think this is one of those things that the IRS will have to weigh in on before we know for sure.

But I'm guessing that the IRS will nix the idea of fashioning loan documents in order to get the credit. Either it'll say that only one spouse has to meet the repeat-buyer criteria or that both do, but that it doesn't matter if one or both are on the loan. We'll see if my guess is right.

I have lived in my present home for 30+ years. I am purchasing a new home because I am getting remarried and plan to sell my present home. The closing will be after Nov. 7th. The new home loan will be in my name. Do I qualify for the tax credit?

If I own and lived in my house for ten years. Can I still qualitfy if I buy a new house as my primary residence and rent the old house that I'm vacating

The Amendment was signed into law on the 7th, The Enactment was placed into law on January 1st, and this is just an "AMENDMENT" to the already existing law.

Jewell, it sounds to me like you qualify. (We're still waiting to hear how the IRS will treat home-buying couples with one person who qualifies as a repeat buyer and one person who doesn't.)

Dan, the reports I've seen on the new provisions say you don't have to sell your current home -- you just have to be getting a new primary residence. So renting out the old one is OK.

Good point, Rob. Of course, lots of things Congress passes are amendments to previous laws. :-)

What about new construction. We closed on our construction loan in August, it will convert to a 30yr fixed in the next few months. Which date determines eligibility?

Anonymous, here's what the IRS said earlier this year for the first-time buyer credit: "For a home you construct, the purchase date is considered to be the date you first occupy the home."

I agree that the repeat buyer tax credit should have been made retro-active. We closed on our new house in September, having no idea that a repeat homebuyer credit was even on the table, or that the first time homebuyer credit was going to be extended at all. We had lived in the old house for over 7 years. My husband is not a very happy camper right now.

I bought my house in 1991 and sold it in 2004 to move in with my fiance. She bought her home in 2001. We were married in July of 2005. I bought a new home in March 2009 (my name only), we moved in during July 2009, and she is selling her home in Dec. Will I qualify as a new home buyer?

What if I am a first time homebuyer, and I became for the first time someone with an interest in a home via the home being refinanced?

Chuck, the IRS says a married couple only qualifies for the first-time buyer credit if ~both~ spouses meet the requirements: "you can qualify for the credit if you (and your spouse, if married) have not owned a home in the three years prior to a purchase."

Sue, are you saying you didn't buy the home but your spouse, parent, etc. added you to the loan when refinancing? I haven't heard that one addressed, but I'd be very surprised if the IRS would allow it. The point of the credit is to get people buying to move homes off the market, not to encourage homeowners to add additional people to their mortgages. (Also, if it's your spouse, see my answer to Chuck immediately above.)

Anyone hear differently? Please weigh in.

My husband and I are settling on our new house later this week. He bought a home in 2001 and it was his primary residence until 2008 (more than 5 of last 8 years). On the other hand, I have never owned a home. Do we still qualify?

I'm confused because if not married, I would qualify for the first-time buyers credit and he would qualify for the repeat-buyers credit. It would make NO SENSE for us to not qualify because we got married last year!!!

I have owned a primary residence for over 5 years. Last year I got married, and my wife has never owned a home. We are buying a new place together and settle next week. I know that we don't qualify for the original first-time home buyer credit because of my previous ownership. Does this mean we don't qualify for the repeat-buyer credit either because she hasn't owned a primary residence?

Do I have to have owned the same home for 5 years? Example, we have been home owners for many years, most recently living in our previous home for 4 1/2 years and before that 4 years in another home?

Kait and Joshua, I'm hoping to get some clarification on whether a couple will qualify for the repeat-buyer credit as long as one of them meets the requirements.

Ron, the answer is yes, you do have to have owned the same home for five years. Here's what the law says: "In the case of an individual (and, if married, such individual's spouse) who has owned and used the same residence as such individual's principal residence for any 5-consecutive-year period during the 8-year period ..."

so i does the date have to be exact? for example i bought my house on feb25th 2005, do i have to stay in it till feb25th 2010 to be eligible or is it just the start of the new year, like jan 1st, 2010 for example.

Dave, tax experts are saying five years means five full years, no fudging.

Unbelievable - my wife and I upgraded to a larger home (expecting a child), had to rent our condo due to market conditions, bought a new house 4 weeks ago and have already sunk upgrade dollars into it. We are exactly the type of couple who are helping grow the local economy yet stand to gain absolutely nothing since this is not retro-active. Very glad to see my tax dollars benefit everyone else.

I bought my house in 2000...haven't moved...don't intend to...is this $6500 for "repeat" buyers only? This was my first home...I know I don't qualify for first-time buyer tax credit. I think the way the proposal reads is confusing. I've lived in my atleast 5 years of the last 8...but I'm not a repeat buyer....but I am still a "home buyer"...it's not paid off...=)

Yes, Anita, it is a repeat-buyer tax credit. That means you have to be buying something -- starting Nov. 7 of this year -- to qualify.

I have owned my home for 5yrs 8 mos, but, bought another house, moved to the other house for 6 months, sold it moved back to home that I've owned for 5yrs 8 mos. I have a buyer for the 5yrs 8 mos home. If I buy another home after Dec 1 do I qualify for repeat buyer tax credit?

Kind of poetic "justice"!! My wife and I sold our house that had been our primary residence for the past 8 years this past September (job relocation). We were basically low-balled into losing a good deal of equity by "first-time" buyers that not only were getting the tax credit, but also using FHA financing so they could put only 3% down. And, to top it all off, we had to float them $3500 cash to essentially subsidize their closing costs! SO, they bascially received $11,500 for free. Luckily we decided to build in our new location so it looks like we can get some of our $$ back!! Most likely, the buyers of our old house (and many others) will end up in bankruptcy court in the next couple of years. Then we can give them some more free money so they can make the same mistakes again!

I live in my house for 49 years and my mom past inheartied the house in aug of 2005 and selling 11/20/09 would i quaify for the 6500 tax credit

Karen, my understanding of the law is that the same home has to be your principal residence for five consecutive years of the last eight. You'll want to check with a tax expert to see if a six-month stint elsewhere disqualifies you.

Dom, you need to have lived in AND owned the home for at least five years. So it doesn't sound like you would qualify.

I have owned and lived in the same mobile home for 20+yrs so as far as I can tell don't qualify for the 1st time credit but I do know that it is 10% of the cost of a home up to $80k, what I can't find is how the other credit is calculated.

Everybody just flings around $8k & $6.5k without pointing out that those are the maximums, I'm looking at a house that costs $40k to replace this mobile.

Dan, I usually don't get into the "10 percent of the cost of the home up to $8,000" because most of the homes in the Baltimore metro area sell for far more than $79,000.

I see no reference to "10 percent of the home's cost" in the newly passed legislation, but the Associated Press has reported it this way: "The credit is equal to 10 percent of the purchase price of a primary residence, up to a maximum of $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and $6,500 for others."

My mom and I bought a home in 2002 that me and my husband lived in and paid for. In Feb. 2005 we refinanced to take my moms name off and add my husbands name on the loan. My question is do either one of us qualify? Our current home is in escrow, and so is the home we intend to buy. Should close in mid December.

I've owned & lived in my current home for 10 years. I bought land about five years ago and just completed building my new home on it. I used savings to build the home, not a bank loan. A family member has offered to make me a loan to pay back savings instead of going to the bank. I fall within the income limits of the $6500 tax credit. Being i already owned the land and if i don't get a bank loan can i still get the tax credit? if so, how do i prove to the irs i just built this home to get the tax credit???

Desi, we're still waiting to hear how the IRS will handle the situation of spouses who don't both meet the credit's definition of repeat buyers.

Mark, here's what the IRS said about newly constructed homes in a Q&A for the earlier versions of the tax credit: "For a home you construct, the purchase date is considered to be the date you first occupy the home."

My husband and I have lived in our current home for 3.5 years, but were homeowners for 2 years before that for a total of 5.5 years. We will be relocating out of state for a job in the next few weeks. We do not qualify for the credit because we have not lived in our current home for 5 consecutive years, but have any exceptions been allowed for families/individuals who have relocated for employment reasons?

I owned a home from March '03 to Sept '08, just over 5 years. The last two years my ex-wife lived there while I rented an apartment (while I paid half of the mortgage and expenses, of course). Now I'm looking to buy a home and the IRS rules can be, um, vague...I just hope I don't get boxed out. Any thoughts?

Kim, I've heard nothing about exceptions except for military.

Brian, the provision states that the home must have been your primary residence for at least five years of the last eight, so I'm guessing you wouldn't qualify for the repeat-buyer credit. But this is definitely a question for a tax expert, not a reporter. For instance, you've been out of this property for more than three years now, right? You might then qualify as a first-time home buyer -- I think the key is not having owned a primary residence in the past three years.

I have owned my house for 22 years & am going to start looking for a house to purchase after the 1st of the year. I will be selling the house I currently live in.

Will I qualify for the $6500 tax credit if I purchase a house that is $65,000 or over even if I haven't completed the sell of my current home?

Sylvia, I've seen reports that say you don't have to sell your current home, you only have to be buying a new primary residence. The IRS hasn't weighed in yet, though.

Make sure you sign a contract by April 30 and close by June 30, of course.

This kinda sucks. I closed on my home in nov of 2007 so I wasn't eligible for either the 7500 for 2005-mid 2007 credit nor 8000 credit passed in 08 and extended through 10. Now I'm needing to upgrade (baby and my mother was not expected to be residents in the house at the time) So I still don't qualify for the 8000 credit because I have a home, nor will I receive a credit for buying a new one since I lived here two years and it takes about at most a year to build and close on a house. So there are those in limbo. So those 0 and 5+ buyers get a break, but not the 1-4.

I have owned my place long enough, but my husband and I just got married last year. He is not on the title. Do we both have to have lived there for 5 years to qualify?

Michelle, this is the most popular buyer-credit question from readers, but I just don't know. I asked the IRS and was told it is still working through the details of the legislation.

My husband and I bought our first home in Aug 2006 we had to sell it this year due to employment in another state. We are currently signing a contract to build a new one. Do we qualify for any of this new tax credit?

Sheri, take another look at this post -- repeat buyers don't qualify if they didn't own their previous home for at least five years.

My Wfie has been living in her condo for 6 years +. We were married in June of 2009 and are now looking for a new home which would be purchased jointly. I personally have never been a home owner, but I'm wondering if we would qualify for the $6500 tax credit because my wife qualifies. Or am I too assume that we don't qualify for either because we don't both meet the criteria for a first time home buyer or an existing home buyer? Please advise.

That's the real question,Eric, and we're still waiting for the IRS to weigh in on it.

We sold our home in August after living there 30+ years, and plan on buying a lot in December and building in the spring. The home won't actually be done until after the closing deadline of July 1st. Will we still qualify for the $6500.00?

Anonymous, the IRS has said in earlier iterations of the credit that people building new homes don't qualify until they occupy the place. So it sounds like you won't qualify.

Where is my credit. I am 24, and trying to do something for myself, I purchased a home 2 years ago and sold it, another was purchased last year in December, which is my primary residence, and I also have another place that I am fixing up. I would say yah I have "moved up" from renting bedrooms the size of my parents shower, but I don't qualify for anything. Don't even get me started on why I didn't qualify for the stimulus payments. Sorry government, I know I should have skipped college so I could bathe in free money.

First off, thanks for answering everyone's questions. We closed on and occupied our current residence on Dec. 22 of 04. We are looking to close on our next home on Dec. 23 of 09, which would be 5 years and 1 day of ownership. Should I push our closing date back a week "just in case" so I'm not pushing it to the day? I'd hate for some silly clause to come up and have us lose out.

Cam, five years should mean five years exactly, so closing the day afterward sounds safe. (Safer than the day of!) But don't rely on my take on it. If you want immediate guidance, check with a tax pro.

Or, better yet, ask the IRS. Our Consuming Interests blog (baltimoresun.com/consuminginterests) is going to have a Q&A with an IRS official next Tuesday at noon. You can ask your question then, or email it now to eileen.ambrose(at)baltsun.com so the IRS can start researching it.

Hi Jamie,

I lived with an ex girlfriend in a home from 2003 to 2008 and I am was on the Deed for the those 5 years also. I have been renting for the past 1 1/2 years, therefore, my question is will I qualify for the 6,500 home tax credit if I buy a house - without the sale of the ex's house?

Wayne, it sounds to me like you qualify. One thing the IRS has weighed in on is that you don't have to sell the previous house -- you just have to be getting a new primary residence.

What I don't know is how the IRS treats situations where one household unit has become two (i.e. would you only be eligible for half the credit, particularly if your ex-girlfriend is also buying a new place).

Cam, I just heard back from the IRS, and yes -- as long as it's been at least five years, you're good to go. So you can safely close on the day you're scheduled to close.

Seems like the million dollar question is the exact situation I find myself in...bought my condo Jan 21st, 2004 and looking to buy a new home. Obviously I would want to close after 1/21/2009 to receive the $6500 but the problem (blessing) is that I got married last August to someone who has never owned a home. Are we really going to cancel each other out? I wouldn't be totally surprised, it is the government. My question: could I get divorced for a week and qualify? Thanks!

I have lived with my spouse (soon be ex-spouse) in home that he only owns, and mortgage is in his name only. We are divorcing, and incident to the divorce he is signing over home and mortgage to me, which is close to fair market value of house due to his refinancing over the years. Can I qualify for first time homebuyer credit?

We are being told different things by the IRS - we sold our home and closed late Sept 2009. We are looking for a home now and hope to buy soon. We were told we qualified for the $6500. Realtor, though says we don't because we sold our home before Nov. 6. We did hold our house for 10.5 years before Sept 2009. Realtor says IRS told them and their main city realty board - that it is not retroactive - so you have to be in your home on Nov. 6. Again, IRS told us we would qualify - and I say why would the rule be in there of holding the home for 5 of the last 8 years? Who is right? Can you clarify for many of us out here?

I bought a mobile home in 1998 and lived in it until I built my new house in May 09. I moved in at the end of May and sold the mobile home. I am on the same property, but had the trailer moved off. My dad loaned me the majority of the money to build and holds a vendor's lien. I make my payments to him. The land and house is in my and my spouse's name. Will we qualify for the 6500 credit?

Josh, the IRS is saying that you and your spouse do cancel each other out -- tax-credit-wise, at least. (More here: http://bit.ly/8dgZZv) If you're honestly considering a week-long divorce, get some advice from a tax attorney about whether the IRS could come after you for fraud.

Kelly, I don't know the answer to that one but I suspect the answer is no. That's because the IRS, for purposes of the credit, has been saying that marriage "imputes ownership" of the home upon the spouse. So it might not consider this a new purchase. Check with a tax expert, though -- don't take my word for it.

C&D, your real estate agent is wrong. It's true that you must ~buy~ after Nov. 6, but you can have sold your previous home beforehand. That's why the law was written as five consecutive years of the past eight.

Felicia, you bought before there was a $6,500 credit for repeat buyers, so the answer is no. The credit went into effect for purchases made after Nov. 6.

We have lived in our current home 40 years. Dec 4th 09 we closed on FL condo. We plan on making it our residence in January when we get there. Will we Qualify for the 6500 because we did not move in on Dec 4th? We meet all other qualifications.

Robert: Except for a home you build, the key is when you settle, not when you move in. But you're eligible having settled on Dec. 4, because the $6,500 went into effect for purchases made after Nov. 6.

Jamie,

I married my wife in August 2004 and moved into her house which she had purchased in March 2003. I actually moved in April 2004 but that's splitting hairs. I was not on the deed of that house, but she sold that house in November of this year and we both closed on a new house on Dec. 11. This seems to be a murky situation that the IRS seems to have no real answer for, but, in your opinion, do we qualify for the repeat homebuyer's credit? It seems that if marriage "imputes ownership", then it should follow that we qualify. And "imputes" doesn't seem to be the right word usage in this situation. Wouldn't "confer" be a better choice?

If we declare the condo we bought on dec 4th as our primary residency. Then sell the home we owned for 40 years say two years from now do we lose capitol gains exemption because it no longer is our primary residency?
Thanks Bob

Rich, this is a question you'd want answered by a tax expert, but it certainly seems to me that you qualify. As you say, if marriage "imputes ownership" for purposes of disqualifying someone from getting the $8,000 credit, you'd think it would qualify someone in your situation for the $6,500 credit.

Robert, this is another question for a tax expert. But my read of the IRS rules is that you indeed would lose the exemption -- eventually. The IRS says, "To claim the exclusion, you must meet the ownership and use tests. This means that during the 5-year period ending on the date of the sale, you must have owned the home for at least 2 years (the ownership test), and lived in the home as your main home for at least 2 years (the use test)."

More details here (search on the phrase "Lived in the home as your main home for at least 2 years"): http://www.irs.gov/publications/p523/ar02.html

I am building a new house, acting as the general contractor. The majority of the labor is being done by one individual. We plan to be closed on the final loan by 30JUN10. I have a construction agreement with this contractor with completion date of 21JUN10.

Will we qualify for the $6500?

Trying to understand the implication of the 30APR10 date and if we need to be moved into our house by that date. It seems to be a rather bogus date, as who would substantiate that we are moved in on that date.

Jeff, I don't think the April 30 date matters for you. That's just the deadline to have a house under contract. If you're building a house, the IRS has said, you need to not only close on the deal by the deadline (in this case, June 30) but also OCCUPY it by then. Here's a link: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=206291,00.html

Is there any chance the IRS would make the $6500 "Repeat Buyer" credit retro-active for all 2009? Should be the same as 1st time buyers to be fair!

I got a divorce in 2007 and we sold our home in november of 2007. we owned and lived in that house for 10 years. I have been renting since then. I am looking for a home right now. If I close before the deadline of June 2010 will I qualify for the 6500.00 tax credit???

Stephen, I think it's very unlikely. Congress was expanding the program in November, not saying, "Oops, we meant to include repeat buyers months ago and just forgot." Had the politicians wanted to make it retroactive, they would have -- and they didn't. They're trying to encourage sales in the future, after all, not spend money on ones that already happened.

Lisa, it sounds to me like you're eligible. Just make sure you sign a contract by April 30, which is the first of the two deadlines.

I am in the camp that wants it retro'd back to Jan. I lived in the same house for 12 years with my husband. I recently bought a new house for me & kids. Still own the other house - pretty sure I would qualify for the 6500 EXCEPT I bought in April 09. How can we BEG to get it retro'd back .. who should we contact???

Jill, you'd want to contact your Congressional representatives. I understand your frustration, but I'd be very surprised if they do make it retroactive. That would be a lot of money spent on sales that already happened, which isn't what they're trying to encourage.

My girlfriend and I have owned our current home for 5+ years.
If we were to buy a new home together, would be each be eligible for the $6500 credit, for a total of $13K?

Kevin, the IRS has said that two unmarried people buying a house together can share the credit or can decide to give all of it to one of the people, but you can't double up.

More details here (keeping in mind that this publication was written with the original first-time buyer credit in mind): http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-09-12.pdf

We bought our house June 21, 2005, and we are building right now. Planning on moving May-June once the house is ready. Is there a partial refund, if we have the house for 4.75 years? If it is leased back to us before we move, would that qualify?

My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We moved into her grandparents home when we were married in 1999. When her grandparents passed away the home was left to my wife's mother and Aunt. My wife's mother gave us her half of the house and in July 2006 we took out a home equity loan to purchase the Aunt's half of the house and a warranty deed was filed moving the property into our name. In July 2008 we refinanced that loan with a new lender to get a lower interest rate and shorter loan terms. We have now purchased a new home, closing on Dec. 30, 2009, and will be selling our existing home in the coming months. My question is this: Will we qualify for either one of the homebuyer tax credits? Based on what I have read I feel we will NOT qualify for the first time homebuyer but that we will qualify for the move-up tax credit. Any clarification provided will be of great benefit. Thank you so much!

I bought a home before I got married. I am the only listed owner of the home. I got married in 2007. We are looking to buy another home for our primary residence. I know we don't qualify for the 1st time buyer credit. WONDERING IF WE QUALIFY FOR REPEAT BUYER CREDIT? as spouse hasn't owned a home and I owned current one before we were married. If we end up canceling each other out for getting married and not getting the credit then I will have to assume that getting married is a mistake for all (unless one or the other is rich enough to not have to care about marriage penalties and stimulus money)It seems the benefits of not getting married out way the benefits of getting married. Lets continue to construct laws that prove marriage is a penalty in our government! No surprise marriage rates are dropping.

Adam R., are you asking whether you'd qualify for part of the credit if you're in your previous home for 4.75 years rather than the full five? If so, the answer is no. But for a new home, the key date is when you move in. So, as I understand it, if you move into your new place between June 22 and June 30, you would qualify.

Tracy Shipp, I pondered your question, and my best guess is that you don't qualify. Certainly not as a first-time buyer, but also not as a repeat buyer, because you would have had to OWN the home for at least five years. If you had half-ownership for at least that long, you might want to check with a tax professional to see whether that's good enough for IRS purposes.

Jess, I'm afraid that you do cancel each other out. Whether Congress really meant to or not, the way it wrote the law suggests that BOTH homeowners must qualify either as first-timers or repeat buyers, with no mixing and matching, and that's how the IRS is interpreting it.

Question of the day? I am sure it has been asked before but: my situation...

Acquired my previous home from my parents in 2004 - got married in 2006 (husband's name never on title) - we did take out mortgage against home in 2007 (both names on mortgage) - sold property (close date) Oct. 30th, 2009 and we BOTH bought current house (close date) Oct. 31st, 2009...

We are screwed aren't we???????

Also - mobile homes (previous home) in my state (SC) are titled through the Department of Motor Vehicles - are they still considered property or would that have any bearing on possible tax credit situation?

I qualify for the repeat-buyer based on living in the home for 15 years. I was divorced last year and the house has been on the market for a year now and the price reduced 3 times. There has not been a single offer and my ex has purchased her own home. If I were to refinance and buyout my ex would that qualify?

i like to know if I am qualfied for repeat - home buyer credit. I had my current home since 2000. I bought a home and rent it out last year (May/2009). I want to buy a new one to move in before April 2010. I do not know if my second investment home disqualify me for this $6500 credit?

Owned my house for more than 5 years, got married 3 years ago and my wife never owned a houseprior to our marriage. Sounds like the IRS is saying we do not qualify as "first time buyers" nor as "repeat" buyers. Can this really be true?

Melanie, I'm afraid you're right -- you don't qualify. Setting aside all the issues of ownership, the repeat-buyer credit didn't go into effect until Nov. 7.

Jack, I don't think that would qualify you for the credit because you already own the house (even though you don't own the entire thing). But you'd probably want to check with a tax expert.

Anonymous, I think you'd still qualify because the repeat-buyer credit is about purchasing a new primary residence, and the place you bought last year was never your primary residence. (On a related note, the IRS has said that someone "who owned rental property within the past three years is still eligible" for the $8,000 credit.)

Ray, the answer is yes, you don't qualify for either credit. You're not the first to feel caught in a Catch-22.

We own our current home over five years. We are going to purchase a newer home and move in. However, the property we are in the process of buying was rented out by its current owner, with its lease expiring in June 2010. If we are to buy this property, we will close around April and take over the existing lease. Then, when the tenants move out in June, we will move in and use it as our primary residence. Are we eligible to claim the repeated buyer credit after we close the home in April? Shall we wait to claim the credit in 2010 Tax return rather than 2009 tax return? Thank you.

Annabelle, because the repeat-buyer credit is for people getting a new primary residence, you probably can't claim it until it is your primary residence. But as always, don't take my word for it -- I'm a reporter, not a tax expert.

I have owned my home for 5 years and seem to meet all requirements for the 6500 credit. However my wife has lived here for 5 years but we have only been married for 3 years. Also, she is not on our home loan. I am buying a new home and selling ours, our new home will be in my name alone again. Do i qualify even though i am married and she doesn't meet the owning a home for 5 years. Also she is a stay at home mom and has no income if that matters.

My wife's father and aunt owned a home in which we bought out the aunt's half in February 2009. My father in law, wife, and I are all on the deed. My wife and I have never owned a home before. It doesn't sound hopeful that we qualify but it's worth a shot. Thanks

Roger, you might want to consult a tax expert, but I think the ownership issue will disqualify you. The IRS has this to say about the $6,500 credit: "Both spouses must have owned and used the same previous principal residence for five consecutive years out of the 8-year period ending on the date of purchase of the new principal residence to qualify for the credit."

DJ, I don't know how the IRS treats partial ownership by a parent, but I do know that buying from a close relative disqualifies a person from the credit. The IRS has defined "close relative" as including "your spouse, parent, grandparent, child or grandchild," but it doesn't say whether other relatives, such as aunts, are also considered close.

Hello,
you may have already answered this question, but please let me know.
My wife and I bought a home back in April 2007 with our aunt and uncle.
A couple of months after, we were able to rent it out and it has been rented out to the same family ever since. So we have never actually lived in it ourselves.
My wife and I are in the process of buying a new home and hope to close by the end of this month. ( JAN 2010 )
Would we qualify for the $6500 existing tax credit? Thank you very much for your reply.

Rahal, you don't qualify because you didn't use it as your primary residence for at least five of the past eight years. But that's probably a plus in your case, because it sounds like you qualify for the $8,000 first-time buyer credit, assuming you didn't own another place that you used as a primary residence in the past three years.

Here's what the IRS says: "A taxpayer who owned rental property within the past three years is still eligible for the credit. The taxpayer cannot have owned and used a home as his or her principal residence within the last three years."

My wife and I signed and offer to purchase on our previous home in November 2004 and put down ernest money. We moved our things in the same month (November 2004) but did not actually close until January 2005. We sold our house in November 2009 and purchased our new home in January 2010. Do we quality for the $6500 tax credit?

Hi, Darren -- to the best of my knowledge, you wouldn't qualify. In its earlier discussions of the $8,000 first-timer credit, the IRS has said that you don't count as the owner -- and thus can't file for the credit -- until you settle. That would leave you two months short of meeting the five-year ownership test.

I always warn people not to take my non-tax-expert word for it, though, so you might check with an accountant.

I am 24 and my dad has owned a mobile home on a 3 acre lot for 10 years with my grandmother as a co-buyer, In June 2009 my dad refinanced his home and I took over as the co-buyer of the home with my dad, and it has been my primary residence since I was put on the morgage as co-buyer. I know he doesn't qualify for either one but do I qualify for the first homebuyer tax credit

Adam, the IRS says people buying from "a close relative," including a parent or grandparent, do not qualify for the credit.

My husband and I bought our current home in 1992, purchased and closed on another smaller house Nov 20, 2009. We are working on, improving the smaller home as it was built in 1962 and needs many updates. Our plan is to move in after upgrades etc (date is currently unknown). We refinanced our current home of 17 years in order to purchase the other. Do we qualify for the $6500 tax credit?

Sherry, I think you'll qualify as long as you move into it by June 30 (and don't claim the credit before that point). But this might be a gray area -- wouldn't hurt to check with a tax expert.

"Adam, the IRS says people buying from "a close relative," including a parent or grandparent, do not qualify for the credit."

Does anyone know WHY the government disallows the tax credit if you buy the house from a close relative?

ok please bear with me here. We are current home owners since 2Aug 2006 prior to this date i was forced to live in Germany (military) and IRAQ since May(ish) 2003.And prior to 2003 i was single living in an apt and my spouse was a single dutch lady.Were planning to close on a new home (retirement) on 1 Apr 2010 would we qualify? I keep getting mixed answers, very confused in killeen TX

Chuck, I believe the government disallows the tax credit on purchases between close relatives because those sorts of sales would be the easiest to manipulate in order to get the credit. For instance, a parent might decide to sell to his or her adult child living at home, even though that sale wouldn't have happened without the $8,000 (and nothing about the living arrangement is changing). But you would think transfer and recordation taxes would be a disincentive ...

Jesse, to the best of my knowledge, you wouldn't qualify. The $6,500 credit for repeat buyers only applies if you're getting a new principal residence after owning one for five of the past eight years. If you're buying April 1, you'll have owned for less than four years. (There is an exception that extends the deadline for the credit by a year for certain people in the military, but that doesn't seem to affect your situation. Even if you were eligible and put off closing for a year, that wouldn't get you to a full five.)

Can I qualify for the repeat buyer's tax?

As a single person I purchased a home in 2001 which I owned until March 25 of 2005.

In 2004 I got married and we refinanced my husband's home into joint ownership in May of 2004. My home finally sold in April of 2005.

Unfortunately we are now separated but living in the same house. We are poised to refinance again so I can be off the mortgage/deed and go ahead and buy a new home for myself. I would like to purchase a new home for myself as soon as possible and take advantage of the tax credit if possible.

So I have definitely been living in my current residence for 5 consequtive years. But, since I technically owned two homes from May 2004 to April 2005, am I eligible 5 years from May 2005 or April 2005? Can I qualify at all?

Thanks you in advance for your reply -

Kari

Kari, you should be eligible five years from May 2004. That's because the key is how long you owned the property you were using as your principal residence, not whether you owned other property on the side. Once you moved out of the home you bought in 2001, that wasn't your principal residence anymore. (Usual disclaimer: I'm not a tax expert, I'm just a reporter.)

I bought my home in 2002 and it has been (my wife and my) principal residence since 2002. When I bought it, it was under my name although in reality it was a community property as all the mortgage payments, taxes, insurance came from our joint account. In 2009 I refinanced and added my wife on the title so it is a joint property now.

We are planning to buy a home next month which will become our principal residence. The price is below the IRS limits. We will rent the existing home. My income is below the limits. My question is: Do we qualify for long time homeowner credit of $6500.

My concern is that as a supporting document i.e. Form 1098 or homeowner insurance records etc. has my name until 2008 and then both of our names in 2009. Is there anything I could do now i.e. filing married separately or something else to avoid denial of the credit by IRS.


Ken

My son purchased his home in 2004 and lived in it until it burned down January 2010. He lived in it a little over five years consecutively.

He is now looking for a home to buy. Will he be eligible for the $6500 homebuyer tax credit under these circumstances, if he
closes before the deadline?

Also, if he purchases my home, will he be eligible for the tax credit?

Please specify what the exact deadline is for this credit.

Thanks in advance!

Ken, you'll probably need a tax expert's advice about what paperwork to file. But to the best of my knowledge, you qualify for the $6,500 despite not having your wife's name on the property until 2009. In answering questions about the $8,000 credit, the IRS has specifically said that "marriage (and legal separation) imputes ownership of a previous home upon the other spouse." So, by being married and living together in the home for more than five years, ownership should be, ah, imputed.

Linda, it seems to me that he should be eligible, since he's planning to buy a new principal residence. (I'm not sure what the IRS would think if he were simply rebuilding on the same property -- that wouldn't be a new purchase.) But he definitely wouldn't be eligible if he buys your home. The IRS says buyers are ineligible if the seller is a close relative, including a parent. And to answer your final question, he'll need to sign a contract by April 30 and close on the purchase by June 30.

A reminder, folks: I'm not a tax expert. I'm a reporter. Don't take my sense of things as gospel.

My husband sold our home in 10/08 lived there 5 years and bought a hud home in april 2009. do we qualified for the repeat buyers credit

Question for the repeat-buyers tax credit $6500: My wife and I sold our home July 15th, 2009. We lived there for approximately 15 years. We purchased a new home and closed August 4, 2009. Are we eligible for the repeat buyers tax credit?

Anonymous #1 and #2 (you can use screen names, you know!), neither of you qualify for the repeat-buyer credit. That's because the credit didn't exist when you were buying. It was created later, for people making purchases after Nov. 6.

Sorry, folks.

My case is kinda like Ken's.

Bought P.R. in '02. Got married in '07. Spouse moved in for just a couple years but was never on lease and now has seperate rental address.

Have I become disqualified?

Plasmo, if your spouse didn't live there for at least five consecutive years, then I'm afraid so.

I hope I am not repeating here..... My husband and I have owned our home 4 1/2 yrs. We were told by our realtor we could quailfy for the 6500 repeat buyer credit- I'm confused?? He did say we wouldn't quailfy for the 8000 credit because its been less than 5 yrs, but the 6500 credit would apply to us? are we being misinformed??

Amber, it sounds like you are being misinformed unless you'll have been in your home for a full five years before you get a new place. (I haven't heard back from the IRS about whether the key is five years of ownership when you sign a contract or five years when you close.)

The $8,000 credit, on the other hand, is only for first-time home buyers (defined as people who haven't owned a primary residence for at least three years). So your agent is definitely wrong on that count.

Do i get the $6500 tax credit off a second house bought if the first house doesnt sell and is being rented out, essentially i would own both still.

Sal, you don't have to sell your first house -- you just need to be changing your primary residence to the new place.

The only way to get approved for a loan if you rent out your existing house and purchase a new one as a primary is if you are able to qualify for both mortgages. No underwriter will allow you to use rental income for the loan without a rental history. If you document enough income and reserves to get the loan approved, then it can be done. Even then, you may have an issue because lenders are leery of a "buy and bail" tactic. So the lender may not even approve the new purchase as a primary because of this.

I was divorced in January of 2009. I owned a home with my ex for more than five years within the last 8 years (May 2003-January 2009). He kept the house. Now we are each looking to buy (he's selling the old house, I'm currently renting). Does each of us qualify for the $6500 tax credit if we each are able to close before April 30?

Hey, Frank, good point -- sal would qualify for the $6,500 under IRS guidelines, but that's no guarantee of getting a loan.

Azure, I'm not certain on that one. It seems like you probably would each qualify because you're divorced, not simply separated. But I haven't seen the IRS address that specifically.

I'm trying to figure out how the government is defining relative for the purposes of exclusion of the $6500 credit. I only see them reference parent, grandparent, child. Does this also include sister or brother? Anyone have any solid information on where to locate this?

Jessica, I don't know. But I just sent your question -- and Azure's, too -- to an IRS spokesman to see if he has answers.

My husband and I bought a house feb 2004. we separated (not divorced) April 2009. he's still there but i've been renting. I am buying a house on my own, it's due to close Feb 26, 2010. Do I qualify for the $6500 tax credit?
Thanks for your help

I would think you'd qualify, Judy, assuming that the house you shared with your husband was your primary residence that whole period you mentioned. But I don't think you'd both qualify if he happened to be in the market for a new place, too.

Usual disclaimer: Reporter, not tax expert.

i moved into my girlfriend's home in january of 05 which she owns for more than five years, we got married in 08, do we qualify even though we have been married for only a little over a year and if so do we have to prove when i moved in

Andy, this is a question for a tax expert. But my best guess is that you don't qualify.

Here's why: The IRS has specifically said that BOTH spouses must meet the length-of-ownership test. You've lived there for five years, but you didn't become a co-owner when you moved in, did you?

The IRS treats marriage as "imputing" ownership, so it'll see you as an owner currently -- just not before your marriage.

But I'm no tax expert, so don't take my word for it.

We have owned our current home for 12 years. We have also owned some rental property for 20 years. The building on the rental property has been demolished and we plan to have a builder build the house, but only to the point where it is dried in. We will finish off the interior. We can enter into a contract by April and it is possible for the builder to complete his part by June 30. Will we qualify for the $6500 credit?

Ellen, I don't think you'll qualify. That's because the IRS says that people building new homes have to move in by the deadline in order to qualify: "By statute, a residence which is constructed by the taxpayer is treated as purchased on the date the taxpayer first occupies the residence."

Ellen's story is a little confusing. Is the home being built the investment property that is demolished? If so, you are not purchasing a home. Rather, you would be refinancing to do construction, or using y our own cash to pay for the cost. The contract with the builder is for the construction job, and not a new purchase, no? You are already on title for that property. If you were purchasing the property, where title is transfered, then you might qualify. But since you have owned the property for 20 years and no title is transferred, you won't qualify.

The fact that we already own the land is not an issue. Mobile homes qualify for the credit. We would be purchasing a new substantially( but not totally complete) home. We will use the home as our primary residence once completed.

I think that the issue is whether it is a purchase under 36(c)(3)(A) or as construction under 36(c)(3)(B)

From the IRS.GOV first time buyer scenarios
S8. A qualifying taxpayer bought a home in August 2008 that needed a lot of work before occupying. They finished the renovations and moved in the home in January 2009. Can they claim the $8,000, since they did not occupy the home until 2009?

A. No. Taxpayers who purchase an existing home and renovate the property before moving in are eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit based on the date of purchase, not the date of occupancy.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=206294,00.html

Ellen, definitely a question for a tax expert. But it seems to me, a layperson, that if you're having a home built, the IRS will go with this one: "a residence which is constructed by the taxpayer is treated as purchased on the date the taxpayer first occupies the residence." What would be more like the example you offer is if you were purchasing, say, a Baltimore rowhouse in need of rehabbing.

My best guess, anyway.

There are not many lenders out there that will finance mobile homes anymore. I assume you really mean a manufactured home. Make sure you are able to get the manufactured home with a permanent foundation. You will need an engineering report to verify the permanent foundation. You should definitely see if you can find a lender that will approve the loan first before doing anything else.

I lived in a florida house for 19 years with my husband. He died Dec, 13, 2006. I sold the house on June 15, 2007. Do I qualify? And what do I do to get the forms for the credit?

Sheila, you should qualify. If you close between June 16 and June 30, though, I think you'd actually qualify for the $8,000 first-timer credit rather than the $6,500 repeat-buyer credit. That's because a time-time buyer -- for purposes of the credit -- is someone who hasn't owned a primary residence for at least three years.

Go here for more details, including a link to the form: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=204671,00.html

Jamie, I keep reading mixed information to determine if my wife and I qualify for the $6,500 credit. We purchased our current home (primary residence) on 6/17/2005. If we enter into a contract by April 30 and close after 6/17, would that qualify as 5 years? Some information I've read seems to support this, while other information seems to set the 5 year deadline at 4/30.
Thank you for your time.

Hi, Spliffa -- I put that question to IRS spokesman Jim Dupree. He said it's the closing date that matters. So if you close after 6/17 -- and you qualify on all other counts -- then you're good to go.

Thanks for looking into this Jamie. I really appreciate it.

Hi Jamie. I am currently in the process of building a new home, and will be closing on a construction loan in the next week or two. My builder says the house should be completed by the end of June weather permitting. My question is does my closing on the construction loan entitle me to the $6500.00 tax credit now, being i have closed on the construction loan.

Hi Robert -- the IRS says the key date for someone building a new home is when you actually move in. So make sure your builder knows that you have to be in by June 30 if you want that $6,500.

Here's a question for those of us just closing in on 5 years of homeownership. I closed on my current house on 6/8/2005. Which of the following are true if I want to get the $6500 credit. I would think only #2, 3 and 6, but who knows? (#3 would be to establish 5 years in current residence, #2 and #6 to qualify for dates the credit is available.)

1) Must have a signed contract on the sale of my current home on 4/30/2010 or earlier?

2) Must have a signed contract on the purchase of my new home by 4/30/2010?

3) Must close on the sale of my current home 6/8/2010 or later?

4) Must close on the purchase of my new home 6/8/2010 or later?

5) Must close on the sale of my current home by 6/30/2010?

6) Must close on the purchase of my new home by 6/30/2010?

If I'm following your number system, Andrew, yes. You'll need to sign a contract on 4/30 or earlier for the purchase of your new digs -- that's the deadline for signing contracts. Then you'll need to close on the purchase after 6/8 but before 7/1.

You don't have to sell your current residence at all. (Well, to qualify for the credit. Your lender might insist before giving you a new mortgage.) To qualify for the credit, you'll just need to switch your primary residence to the new place.

I purchased a house under construction from builder who went under. We closed on the construction loan in September 2009. i completed building the house, got C/O and moved in, in January 2010 and am completing loan modification to permanent loan in February 2010 - do i qualify? It appears to be a gray area, if i built from gorund up, move in date would be considered purchase date. if i bought complete from builder it would be contract date - i'm in t he middle

We purchased a new home in Florida. We qualify on all items. The only question how long do we have to decide if we want to change our residency from Wisconsin to Florida, and receive the $6500.. Thanks Bob

My wife and I refinanced our house and closed in jan 09. She was the only on on the title, but now we both are. Will we qualify for either of these tax credits? That was a major reason to refinance, and the bank told us we would get the credit. What do you think?

My boyfriend purchased his home Feb 2001. I moved in with him May 2004. We got married May 20, 2005. (I was never added to the loan).
Since he disqualifies us from the first time buyer $8,000 credit, is there a possibility for us to qualify for the $6,500?
I put in an offer today on a new home for us (thinking I would be eligible for the $8,000 credit). I now know that is not the case.
Should we aim for a close date after our 5 year anniversary date (May 20, 2010), for me to meet the 5 year occupancy rule or does my 5 years begin when I moved in (in 2004?) Thank you

Chris, that does sound like a gray area. It's possible you won't qualify, based on this IRS Q&A:

Q. A qualifying taxpayer bought a home in August 2008 that needed a lot of work before occupying. They finished the renovations and moved in the home in January 2009. Can they claim the $8,000, since they did not occupy the home until 2009?

A. No. Taxpayers who purchase an existing home and renovate the property before moving in are eligible for the first-time homebuyer credit based on the date of purchase, not the date of occupancy.

--

Me again. Your situation is different in that the home hadn't been completed, so perhaps the IRS won't throw you into the same category as this renovating taxpayer. It's a question for a tax expert, I'm afraid.

Addendum: The IRS has said that for newly constructed homes, the key date is when you actually move in. So if you can convince them that this is a new home, you've got that going for you.

Bob, I'm not sure how quickly you'd have to switch residency -- I haven't seen the IRS address this one. I'd guess by June 30, but that's just a guess. It's possible that the IRS wants to see pretty much immediate changes after the purchase.

Jeff, the key for the $6,500 credit is whether you and your wife have both lived there for at least five consecutive years of the last eight. If so, and if your wife owned the place the entire time, then you should be fine because the IRS has said that marriage "imputes" ownership to the other spouse. (That's what it has said when addressing questions about the $8,000 first-timer credit, anyway.)

Tricia, I think you'll qualify if you close after May 20. The IRS has said that marriage "imputes" ownership, so your clock started when you walked down the aisle.

Me and my girlfriend bought a house together in November 2009. This is her first home and she qualifies as a 1st-time homebuyer. However, this is my 2nd home and I do not qualify for the tax credit. Since we are both on the deed, can she till qualify for the tax credit?

My husband lived in his house for 17years. We married in 2004 and I moved into the home but never put my name on the mortgage. We sold the home in Sept. 2008 and moved to another state where we are currently staying with family. Now that we both have become employed again we are ready to buy a home. Will my husband be eligible for the tax credit even though I didn't live in the home with him for 5 years?

I bought my primary residence on 1/25/2005 and purchased a new on 1/19/2010 do I still qualify for the 6,500 tax credit???

Terry, the IRS covers some scenarios for unmarried couples here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-09-12.pdf. The upshot for your situation is that your girlfriend should be able to claim the entire amount.

Rachelle, the IRS is a stickler: When they say five consecutive years, they mean it -- and to many married couples' consternation, the agency says both spouses must meet the test. Sorry. (Congratulations on the new jobs, though!)

Craig, I'm afraid you would have had to wait several more days to close on that new place in order to qualify. (By 1/19, you're referring to your settlement date, correct?) If you were working with an agent, you were not well advised.

I purchased my home January 2006 do i qualify for the 6500 tax credit?

After I purchase the house, I know I have to move in and stay in it as my primary home to be able to take the tax credit. Is there any stipulation on how long do I need to stay in it? Is 6 months long enough ?

Demi, you didn't read my FAQ post as I pleaded, did you? (Tsk, tsk.) You don't qualify, sorry. Easy answer -- FIVE consecutive years required, not four.

James, six months is not long enough. Here's what the IRS says: "If, within 36 months of the date of purchase, the property is no longer used as your principal residence, you are required to repay the credit."

About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie
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