First Time Homebuyer Programs in Florida

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Jan 11, 2023

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, Florida has programs designed to enable individuals and families to more easily get into a house for the first time. As a first-time homebuyer, you can use many national programs, but the Sunshine State provides many exclusive offerings.

First Time Home Buyer Programs in Florida

First-time home buyer grants and programs are generally offered by federal, state, or local governments, but there are also credits and rebates offered by mortgage lenders and real estate brokerages. These programs are designed to help first-time homebuyers overcome the financial barriers of homeownership and make the home buying process more accessible.

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Florida First Time Home Buyer Grants

Grants are funds that you do not have to pay back. However, some of these grants function as deferred loans. With these loans, you have to pay them back if you don’t meet the requirements.

  • HFA Preferred Grant: This funding source provides up to 3% of the home’s purchase price for a down payment or closing costs.
  • HOME Homebuyers Program: Available in Pensacola and Escambia counties, this $12,500 grant can be applied toward down payment and closing cost assistance.
  • Pensacola Housing Incentive Program: This forgivable loan program provides up to $15,000 for a down payment and closing costs.
  • State Housing Incentive Partnership (SHIP): The First-Time Homebuyers Program helps current and future Panama City residents purchase affordable homes. The program provides up to $50,000 to eligible individuals and families to lower up-front costs (like down payment and closing costs) and keep mortgage payments affordable. In addition to funding, program participants will also receive first-time homebuyer counseling.
  • Tallahassee Purchase Assistance Program: Low-income Tallahassee homebuyers can use this program to receive up to $7,000 in assistance.
  • Down Payment Assistance Program: Available in Gainesville, this program offers first-time homebuyers up to $8,000 for a down payment and closing costs, and up to $2,000 for home repairs. Recipients must live in the property for at least 10 years.
  • Homebuyer Assistance Program: Available in Volusia County, this grant offers up to $30,000 for a down payment and up to $6,000 to cover closing costs.
  • Affordable Home Ownership Assistance Program: This Daytona Beach program provides up to $50,000 toward a down payment, closing costs, and home rehabilitation.
  • Mortgage Assistance Program: Tampa homebuyers can use this program to get up to $14,999 for a down payment and closing costs. This deferred payment loan is forgiven in full if the borrower lives in the home for at least five years.
  • Seminole County Purchase Assistance Program: In Seminole County, first-time homebuyers can get up to $50,000 for a down payment and closing costs.
  • Homeownership Assistance Program: In Miami-Dade County, first-time homebuyers can get up to $7,250 for closing costs and a down payment.
  • First-Time Homebuyer Program: In Hallandale Beach, homebuyers can get up to $50,000 for a down payment and closing costs. This no-interest loan is forgiven if the resident lives in the property for at least 10 years.
  • Home Purchase Assistance Program: In West Palm Beach, a grant of up to $60,000 is available for down payment and closing cost assistance toward purchasing a new home.

Explore these grants for additional help as a first-time homebuyer in Florida. And if you’re looking to stretch your budget, consider buying in one of the most affordable cities in Florida.

Who Is Eligible To Be A Florida First Time Home Buyer?

First-time homebuyer Florida programs are typically available for applicants who haven’t owned a home within the last three years. These loans and grants are offered only for homes within the state of Florida. Many grants are provided for specific counties or cities. Applicants need to meet income and credit score requirements, and the home must generally fall within a certain price range.

A homebuyer education course is also required for most of Florida’s first-time homebuyer mortgage and grant programs.

Other Mortgage Programs to Apply For in Florida

As a first-time homebuyer, you can take advantage of several national home mortgage programs. However, Florida also offers these programs specific to homebuyers in the state.

  • Military Heroes Government Loan Program: Available to veterans and active-duty military personnel, this loan program has a low interest rate.
  • Florida HFA Preferred Conventional Loan: This 30-year fixed-rate loan is an affordable option available to first-time homebuyers in Florida.

Required First Time Homebuyer Workshops for Florida Grants

A first-time homebuyer class or workshop is required for many Florida grants and loan programs. These educational opportunities help prepare you for the process of purchasing your first home, and they offer beneficial information to you even if you’re not required to take the class.

You can find a class through HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, local governments, banks, and real estate brokers. These classes cover budgeting, shopping for a home, and securing a mortgage. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process of purchasing your first home, these types of workshops are a great place to start.

Other Ways First-Time Homebuyers in Florida Can Save Money

These programs provide additional benefits that will help you reduce the costs of your new home purchase.

  • Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program: This specific program offers a federal tax credit of 50% of a paid mortgage interest up to $2,000 a year for first-time homebuyers.
  • Florida Assist Second Mortgage: This loan provides up to $7,500 at 0% interest for a down payment. Payments are deferred until you pay off your original loan or sell, refinance, or leave the home.
  • Homebuyer Loan Program: This second mortgage program offers up to $10,000 at a 3% interest rate, which is paid off monthly over 15 years.
  • Commission Refund: The SimpleShowing refund program gives you $5,000 on average that you can put towards your closing costs or receive as a check at closing. The refund is equal to up to 50% of the buyer’s agent commission and is given to anyone who buys a home with a SimpleShowing Agent.

Buying your first home is a major milestone. This costly investment is difficult to obtain if you’re not selling an existing home to help you fund your move to a new home. That’s why these first-time homebuyer grants, loans, and programs are available to make the transition easier. With these options on hand, a new home can be far more obtainable for a first-time homebuyer in Florida.

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