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
Homes in these ZIP codes are selling like crazy Strong job growth, growing interest from Millennials and affordable home prices are attracting home buyers to these cities. More
Working class whites & the government: It's complicated These Clearfield, Pennsylvania, residents are mad at D.C., but want more help. More
Dear Trump and Clinton: Here's what swing voters want These voices are based on interviews with American voters from the key swing states of Florida and Ohio. It's part of a special report titled "Your money, your vote," that will air on CNN on October 15. More

Special Offer