how does the $8,000 first time home owner’s credit work?

i am trying to buy a house for my first time and want to know what this actually means. yes i know i have only 2 months and yes i know all about buying a house. i am working on my pre-approval letter as we speak but i just dont understand how the money works. one person told me they got a check up front and the other told me it was credited to their taxes then got money

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