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Congress passed legislation that provides a tax credit of up to $8,000 for individuals purchasing their first home. Help spread the word - get your online real estate license and begin a rewarding career where you make a difference.

As a licensed real estate salesperson, here's what you need to know in order to help first time buyers take advantage of this exciting opportunity:

-Your client must purchase a home sometime between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009

-The buyer or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence for at least three years prior to buying the home

-The maximum amount of tax credit given to those who qualify is $8,000

-There are two main factors involved in determining the total for each buyer: the price of the home and the annual income of the purchaser

-While the credit will be equivalent to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000, single buyers who make $75,000 or less, as well as married couples who earn up to $150,000, are eligible to receive the most credit

-If a buyer's income surpasses these limits, but does not exceed the maximum, they may still qualify. The credit amount decreases for single buyers who bring in between $75,000 and $95,000, and for buyers filing jointly who gross between $150,000 and $170,000 per year. (Those with incomes that exceed $95,000 for singles and $170,000 for couples are not eligible for the tax credit.)

-Buyers who occupy the home for a period of at least three years are not required to repay the tax credit and, since it is fully reimbursable, can get their credit returned to them in the form of a payment

With the recent announcement of the eagerly anticipated guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there is even more positive news for first-time buyers. FHA-approved lenders have been given the okay to begin the development of bridge-loan products which will make it feasible to use the benefits of the federal tax credit upfront. Home buyers can use these loans to help cover closing costs, buy down their interest rate, or put down more than the minimum 3.5 percent.

First time home buyers are often unaware that these programs exist. Obtain your real estate license, educate first time buyers and transform them from renters to proud home owners - a dream they may have never thought possible.

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