Timeline for the homebuyer tax credit
Keep this in mind: The closer you get to the April 30 deadline, the more difficult the negotiation between buyer and seller can get. Why? Because urgency and greed enter the equation.
If you wait to make an offer on a house with two weeks or less remaining before the April 30 deadline, the seller can play hardball. After all, you have just a few days to seal the deal and get the tax credit -- and if you have waited this long, you might not have any serious options besides the house you're making an offer on. A gutsy seller could hold firm on price, in effect forcing you to share the gift from Uncle Sam.
As a buyer, you have a strong hand, too. If you don't reach a deal by April 30, you can walk away and the seller has to find another buyer. That's not a sure thing in this market.
To avoid this game of chicken, try to reach a deal before the second half of April.