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
Best-loved new cars of 2016 These cars are the most beloved among American drivers based on JD Power's annual survey of new vehicle buyers. More
This Indian university cranks out top-tier tech execs Many graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology have gone on to start and lead global tech companies. Here are a few of the most notable alums. More
Most valuable American car up for auction Carroll Shelby's own very first Shelby Cobra will be sold in August. It's almost certain to be the most valuable American car ever sold. More

Special Offer