The old package that was created in July of 2008 allows a 1st time home buyer (someone that has not purchased a home in the last 3 years) that purchased a home as their principle residence on or after April 9th 2008 and before January 1st, 2009 to claim the lesser of 10% the cost of the home or $7,500. The purchaser could make an adjusted gross income of no more than $75,000 ($150K if joint) and needed to repay it back starting in 2010 at $500 per year for the next 15 years. If you sold prior before the 15 years the ballance becomes fully due.
The new one is effective for purchases on or after January, 1 2009 and December 1, 2009. It allows a 1st time buyer eligable for an $8,000 credit. The change here is it's for all principle residences (condo's, duplexes where you rent out a portion and live in another) not just for single family principle residences. The same income limits still apply to the buyers though and there is NO repayment. BUT...there's always a but... if the home is sold prior to 3 years, the credit is fully due back to the government.
I hope this helps explain things a little... This information was referenced back to the Realtor.org web site under the American recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. I don't believe this was a members only page.
Wilkinson & Associates
If you are a first time buyer in the year 2009, you get an $8000.00 credit for taxes in 2009. (those that you file in 2010)
I am not sure if it is "signed" but you can read the letter I posted and "pasted" in the blog from the president of the National Association of Realtors.