Coming Down the Final Stretch - Can You Still Get in on the Home Buyer Tax Credit?

Real Estate Agent with The Buyers' Counsel

Horse Racing PhotoComing Down  the Final Stretch - Can you Still Get in on the Home Buyer Tax Credit? 

With just about six weeks left to get into contract on a home, time is running out on the government's program to give first-time and existing home buyers a tax credit. Everywhere you look these days you see symbolic clocks ticking and widgets with the hours dropping away, reminding home buyers that that it's time to act quickly. 


Is there really still time?  

In a word - yes.  If you have been looking and there are potential properties in your sight, you still have time to make the deadlines. 


What do you need to do to make it happen?  

  1. Make sure your financing is in order.  Have a solid pre-approval ready and in-hand from a qualified lending institution.
  2. Work with an experienced buyer agent who knows the area you are looking in and can move things along.
  3. Take a good and thorough look at the home you are interested in and go back a second or third time, if necessary.
  4. Get the property under agreement - only at the right terms and price. Don't be so anxious about the tax credit that you pay too much for the home.  Make sure that your buyer agent does a thorough analysis of everything that is on the market and everything that has sold.
  5. Line up a good home inspector and schedule your inspection early so your buyer agent will have plenty of time for any re-negotiations.
  6. When all home inspection issues and any other matters have been responded to and handled in a way that you find acceptable, sign the purchase and sale agreement.  You will need to complete the signing by April 30.
  7. Schedule your closing to be well within the cut-off of date of June 30. Your home purchase must be completed by this day.  So, give everyone - your lender, your movers and the seller as much room as possible.  Closing on July 1 will not get you the tax credit.

The Fine Points  

First-time home buyers are eligible for an $8,000 tax credit.  To qualify as a first-time buyer you cannot have owned a principal residence in the last three years. 

Move-up buyers are eligible for a $6,500 tax credit. 

The home purchase must be an "arm's length" transaction.  Buying a home from your parents or other family members will not qualify you for the tax credit.  

The Home Buyer Tax Credit is still within reach.  If you act now - you can avoid having a photo finish. 


 Copyright 2010 "Coming Down the Final Stretch - Can You Still Get in on the Home Buyer Tax Credit?" 

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Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - a Buyer Broker Since 1992

If you have questions about buying a home in Massachusetts please give me a call at 

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Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Time is definitely running out to still qualify for the tax credit. So, if you're still looking for a home, step up the pace and take advantage of the low rates, the free money the government is providing for you and the fact that it's a buyer's market still.

Mar 18, 2010 09:13 AM #1
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


That is great advice on all of those points - the rates, the tax credit and the fact that it is still a buyer's market.


Mar 18, 2010 09:26 AM #2
Craig Richardson
National Realty - McLean, VA

Claudette, I've got one client trying to get in under the wire and other who hopes to.  It's working as incentive for some, that's for sure.

Mar 18, 2010 12:08 PM #3
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


If I was a buyer, I wouldn't wait until the last minute. The tine to move is NOW!

Mar 18, 2010 01:45 PM #4
Christine Hynes
American Capital Corporation - Laguna Beach, CA
Orange County Senior Loan Consultant

Well we're finally down to the wire here, lets hope that the end of this program doesn't negatively effect home sales too much!

Mar 18, 2010 01:46 PM #5
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


I hope your clients make it in time. I am sure you will help them both find properties as soon as possible.


Buyers need to be looking right now to find that property quickly and get it under agreement if they want to make next month's deadline.


We will see what happens after April 30. There has been some talk about extending it again but I don't think that is going to happen.



Mar 18, 2010 02:42 PM #6
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

My fear is that all this tax credit has done is pull forward people who would have bought during the year. I have spent most of my life in the automotive industry, and most of the time all incentives do is cram 6 months worth of sales into 2 months. Hope I am wrong.

Mar 18, 2010 03:34 PM #7
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


That is an interesting perspective based on your automotive experience. Time will tell whether or not that has been the case in the housing market.


Mar 18, 2010 11:35 PM #8
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