Tips on taking the homebuyer tax credit

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Editor's note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1. The down payment remains the deepest chuck hole on the road to home ownership. First-time buyers and folks starting over after divorce or bankruptcy, however, now have more workable, flexible loan programs than any other borrower category. And now, as they say on television, "for a limited time only" first-time homebuyers are eligible for a huge bonus -- an $8,000 tax credit, thanks to the recent housing stimulus package. It's called a "tax credit," but if you read all the details, even if you pay less than $8,000 in taxes, you would get credited back the difference with a check from Uncle Sam next year. In a recent column, we explored how the $8,000 tax credit could now be used for the down payment or closing costs for buyers who apply for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration before Dec. 1, 2009. This week, we'll take a look the options the tax credit offers plus check...