More Time to Qualify for the Home Buyer Credit

Congress has extended the deadline for closing the deal on home purchases made by April 30.

To qualify for the new home buyer tax credit -- worth up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and up to $6,500 for long-time residents of their previous homes -- buyers had to sign a binding contract by April 30. Before this last minute change in the law, they also had to close on the deal by midnight June 30 (see FAQs on the Home Buyer Tax Credits).

The problem was, according to the National Association of Realtors, as many as 180,000 buyers who met the April 30 deadline for buying are still waiting to close. This is a particular problem for folks buying foreclosed properties; the complexities of such deals simply take more time. NAR president Vicki Golder, of Tucson, Ariz., says these buyers are “at the mercy of a work-flow jam with lenders” that could cost them the credit. (For estimates of how many buyers are in jeopardy of forfeiting the credit, see below.)

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Kevin McCormally
Chief Content Officer, Kiplinger Washington Editors
McCormally retired in 2018 after more than 40 years at Kiplinger. He joined Kiplinger in 1977 as a reporter specializing in taxes, retirement, credit and other personal finance issues. He is the author and editor of many books, helped develop and improve popular tax-preparation software programs, and has written and appeared in several educational videos. In 2005, he was named Editorial Director of The Kiplinger Washington Editors, responsible for overseeing all of our publications and Web site. At the time, Editor in Chief Knight Kiplinger called McCormally "the watchdog of editorial quality, integrity and fairness in all that we do." In 2015, Kevin was named Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President.