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By Luke Mullins

Posted: February 17, 2009

While the proposed $15,000 home-buyer tax credit died in negotiations between the House and the Senate, the $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday includes a similar--albeit smaller--measure designed to help revive the real estate market. Here are six things you need to know about the freshly-enacted $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.

1. Eight grand, new buyers: The tax credit included in the economic stimulus legislation is much narrower than the $15,000 proposal. This credit is equivalent to 10 percent of the purchase price of the home--although it's capped at $8,000--and applies only to first-time home buyers and principal residences. But unlike an earlier $7,500 home buyer tax credit, this one does not have to be repaid.

2. First time buyers defined: That means if you've owned a vacation home--but not a principal residence--within the past three years, you would still qualify for the credit. For the purpose of this legislation, a "first-time home buyer" is someone who hasn't owned a principal residence for three years before buying a house.
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