The $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers and the $6,500 credit for current homeowners may be claimed for the purchase of both new and existing homes. However, there are slight differences between a newly constructed home purchased from a homebuilder and one built by a contractor for a property owner.
For new homes purchased from a builder, tax credit eligibility is determined by settlement date. To qualify, the transaction to purchase the property must close on or before April 30, 2010 (or June 30, 2010, as long as a binding contract is in place by April 30, 2010).
Conversely, in instances where a property owner hires a contractor to construct a home on an existing lot, the home is considered “purchased” on the date the owner first occupies the house. The eligible occupancy dates are the same as those listed above.