The extension and expansion of the homebuyers tax credit that passed Congress November 5 allows more first-time buyers to qualify and creates an entirely new credit for existing homeowners who buy a new home.
The effective date was the date the President signed the bill, Friday November 6. It is not retroactive. However, first-time buyers who have been rushing the meet the November 30 deadline for the existing program need not worry. They can qualify under the new one. Existing homeowners who are also in the process of buying a home should consider delaying closing until December 1 or later to qualify for the credit.
Both credits expire next spring. Buyers must have a contract on a home before May 1, 2010 and they have until June 30, 2010 to close in order to qualify. [Read this article]