Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

6 of 13
BACKNEXT
Define 'first-time buyer'
Define 'first-time buyer'
Todd Sorg, 38, is a manager of accounting systems for the auto industry. He is seen here with his wife, Sylvia.
Question: "Is the new homebuyer tax credit really only for first-time buyers, and if so, who qualifies as a first-time buyer? How does it work if one spouse qualifies as a new buyer and the other does not?" - Todd Sorg, Auburn, Ind.

Experts: Robert Dietz, economist, National Association of Homebuilders

Answer: First-time homebuyers must not have owned a principal residence for at least three years prior to their purchase. For married couples, it's a test of both spouses: If either fails the three-year test, neither can claim the credit.

You are permitted to own an investment property or a vacation home and still qualify if you live in an apartment most of the year. Homebuyers must remain in the home for three full years to keep the rebate.

NEXT: Unemployment benefits
Last updated February 24 2009: 6:58 AM ET
More Galleries
Five most expensive cars sold at Pebble Beach These classic cars went for seven figure sums at the world's premier classic car event. More
Seats that move! Rain! Movie-watching goes beyond 3D How can movie theaters compete when many prefer to watch streaming video from their own comfy couches? Some hope a new interactive technology will lure audiences with immersive effects. More
15 cool cars for sale at Pebble Beach While these events are best known for seven-figure classics, just about everything crosses the block at Pebble Beach. More

Special Offer