Are there tax credits for first-time home buyers?

Many city and county governments offer Mortgage Credit Certificate programs, which allow first-time home buyers to take advantage of a special federal income tax write-off, which makes qualifying for a mortgage loan easier.

Requirements vary from program to program. People wanting to apply should contact their local housing or community development office.

Here is a list of four general requirements to keep in mind:

  • Some credit may be claimed only on your owner-occupied principal residence.
  • There are maximum income limits, which vary by locality and family size.
  • You must be a first-time home buyer, which means you must not have had any kind of ownership interest in a principal residence during the past three years. This restriction may be waived, however, if you are buying property within certain target areas.
  • Allocations must be available. A local MCC program may have to decline new applications when it runs out of funds.