The deadline is looming ever closer for first-time home buyers who want to take advantage of the current $8,000 federal tax credit. To qualify, potential buyers must close before midnight Nov. 30, which means starting the process as soon as possible. For first-time buyers, or anyone in the market to buy or sell a home, it helps to have a good understanding about how the housing market works. Here are a few Web sites that help explain the process. — McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers
Type "9 tips for home buyers" in the search box and you'll actually find a total of 18 tips: Nine for buyers and nine for sellers. No. 1 for buyers? "Cash is the new king." For sellers? "Price correctly from the get-go."
Although written at an earlier stage in the recession, this Financial Web article provides sound advice, no matter what the market. Research is one of the top tips: "The more you know, the better equipped you'll be to handle the process."
HOME BUYER'S INFORMATION CENTER
This clearinghouse of information features more than 200 pages of information, from a time line of how long the home-buying process takes to an explanation of financial terms. The budget section, with a printable worksheet, is helpful for buyers and sellers.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Click on "Home Buyers & Sellers" under the resources menu to find newsy items, such as the federal tax credit and consumer protection tips. The site also feature links to guides for buyers and sellers.
REAL ESTATE ABC
Learn the basics of home insurance, why buying a home is a good idea — and what not to do before you buy a home (don't make any major purchases or move money from account to account, which shows up as large deposits and withdrawals).