When the Homebuyer Tax Credit was extended to include long-time homeowners buying new houses and getting a $6,500 credit, a whole new group of questions came into play.

Unfortunately for a few clients of mine (and I am sure many others out there), the answers were not what they were hoping.

  • One person owns a house that s/he has lived in for 5 out of the last 8 years. S/he got married in 2009, and the partner has never owned a home. Do they qualify for either credit? Unfortunately, according to the IRS, NO. From the IRS site below, the answer:
  • A. No. Both you and your spouse must be first-time homebuyers in order to qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit. Since you had an ownership interest in a principal residence during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase, neither you nor your spouse qualifies for the credit. Similarly, both you and your spouse must be long-time homeowners of the same previous principal residence in order to qualify for the long-time resident homebuyer credit. Since your spouse is not a long-time homeowner of your current principal residence, neither of you qualify for the credit.

  • A newly married couple each has owned their own personal residences for 5 out of the last 8 years. Do they qualify for the $6,500 credit? Also, unfortunately, NO. They must have owned the SAME residence together for that time period. From the IRS site below:
  • A. No. Both spouses must have owned and used the same previous principal residence for five consecutive years out of the eight-year period ending on the date of purchase of the new principal residence to be eligible for the credit. Since you and your spouse owned and used different principal residences, neither of you qualify.

If these couples were unmarried, and co-buying a new house, they would qualify.

For people who are planning to buy something in 2010 and were counting on that tax credit, this is not very helpful. That being said, if you have a house to SELL, you need to keep in mind that the buyers of the house you are SELLING may still qualify, so you should try to sell while people will still be buying.

Many times sellers forget how these credits may impact the sale of their home, because they are only indirectly affected. My thoughts are that if you are considering selling your Baltimore or Towson home in 2010, get the sale in BEFORE the credit runs out. With the number of days on the market averaging 60-180 in some areas of Baltimore and Towson, then that means getting your home ready to sell NOW!