Many people took advantage of the first time home buyers credit. You could deduct up to $8,000 on the purchase of a new home. Unfortunately that program has ended. The good news is that there are still many first time home buyer assistance programs available, you just have to know where to look.
Many government agencies such as Fannie May, Housing and Urban Development, V.A. and the FHA all offer some type of housing assistance for the first time home buyer. The exact programs will vary from one agency to another as will the requirements for each program.
A good place to start is with an online search. Go to each agency and see what programs they have and what the requirements are. You will most likely find a few that you qualify for. Some of them will require you to be pre-approved for a home loan from your local lender. Make sure you follow the instructions perfectly so you don't slow down the process.
Here is some general information for the first time home buyer:
1. You, and only you, can determine how much house you can afford. The bank will look only at your finances not your lifestyle. If you enjoy spending two weeks every year in Europe, don't overextend on your mortgage payments. Many people mistakenly think that if the bank approves them for a certain amount than that is what they can afford.
That's not always the case. Again, the bank only looks at the numbers and not your lifestyle. You should always keep a little space between what you have to pay and what you can really afford.
2. There are many things that have to be factored into that monthly payment. Not only will you pay the principle and interest for your mortgage loan, you will also have to include your home owners insurance premiums and property taxes (this is what's called: PITI).
So even if you can afford your principle and interest you have to make sure that you can also afford your property taxes and insurance too. I once owned a home where the property tax portion of my monthly payment was more than the actual mortgage amount! Needless to say, I don't live in that state anymore.
3. Do not skip the inspection. If you hire a qualified inspector you can save yourself a lot of grief down the road. While not fool proof, and inspection will give you a really good idea what problems, if any, your new home has. If the electrical or plumbing will need to be repaired sometime soon that will most likely be able to be found out by an inspection.
If you find problems with the home that doesn't necessarily mean it's a deal breaker. Many times you can use a slight problem as a negotiating tool to bring down the price.
Even though the tax credit has expired, it's still a great time to buy since there are still many first time home buyer assistance programs around.