Buying a home can feel overwhelming: do I have enough for a down payment? How much house can I afford? What do I do if unexpected repairs pop up (and they will!)? What if my credit score is less than stellar? What happens if I don’t qualify for a mortgage; do I have to give up my dreams of home ownership? First time home buyer programs can help you find your answers – and move into a house you can call home.
Florida: First Time Home Buyers Can Get Help
Florida Housing (also called Florida Housing Finance Corporation) offers a number of programs to help you buy your first home. There are also national programs designed for people with lower credit scores and/or income levels. Let’s look through some great options:
- Florida HFA Preferred Conventional Loan – With FHA loans, you must pay mortgage insurance (it reduces the risk to the lender). The HFA Preferred Conventional Loan can reduce your mortgage insurance, offsetting some of the initial costs associated with home ownership. You may also be able to combine this with programs for lower down payments and/or closing cost assistance.
- Florida HFA Preferred 3% Plus Conventional Loan – This vehicle is combines the benefits of lower mortgage insurance rates and lower down payments. When you qualify for a 30 year fixed rate loan via this program, you pay a 3% down payment and receive a closing cost grant, which do not have to be paid back.
- Military Heroes Government Loan Program – Eligible veterans and active duty service members can receive a 30 year fixed rate FHA or USDA loan. You’ll be able to take advantage of lower interest rates, closing cost assistance, and down payment help from Florida Housing.
- HFA Preferred Grant – This grant provides qualified borrowers with 3% of the purchase price to use as a down payment or put towards closing costs. It does not have to be repaid.
- Florida Assist Second Mortgage – If you qualify, you can borrow up to $7500 for your down payment at 0% interest. Payments are deferred, so you don’t have to pay it back until you sell, move out, refinance, or pay off your mortgage.
- Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate Program – Eligible first time home buyers and veterans can receive a credit on their federal taxes thanks to the MCC program. Every year you occupy the home, you’ll be able to claim 50% of your paid mortgage interest (up to $2,000).
What to Know About First Time Home Buyer Programs in Florida
In general, these programs give you access to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages if you’re a first time home buyer and/or veteran or active duty service member. They are available across all counties in the Sunshine State and can be used in conjunction with closing cost/down payment assistance programs.
To be eligible for these programs:
- You must complete a home buyer education course.
- You must meet income, credit, and purchase price requirements.
- The property must be located in the state of Florida.
- The property must be your primary residence.
- You must meet any additional requirements of the specific programs, if/when applicable. For example, Florida Housing works with a network of lenders who may have their own regulations regarding income, credit, and properties.
You can learn more from Florida Housing Finance Corporation and/or from individual lenders.
National Home Buyers Programs
You can also look into national programs designed to clear away some of the obstacles to home ownership, including:
- FHA Loans
- VA Loans
- USDA Loans
Synergy Homes is happy to answer any financing questions you have. We also offer a special Hero Program, designed to assist military, police, firefighters, first responders, and EMS professionals with purchasing or closing costs. Please inquire about this program and other ways we can help!