6 Florida Assistance Programs for Home Buyers
Buying and keeping a home in Florida can be financially straining at times, with life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Luckily, you’re not without help.
Florida offers several down payment assistance and monthly payment assistance programs.
In this article, we’ll review both, providing an overview of the different Florida assistance programs available, including the eligibility requirements and application process for each.
Whether you are a first-time home buyer, a veteran, or someone facing financial hardship, there is likely a program that can help achieve and keep your dream of home ownership in the Sunshine State.
3 Down Payment Assistance Programs from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) was established more than 40 years ago by the state legislature to help provide a variety of affordable housing options for residents and make Florida a great place to live, work and do business.
Florida Housing strives to be the leading provider of innovative, measurable, data-driven, and fiscally sustainable solutions to address Florida’s affordable housing challenges.
Outlined below are X the homeownership loan programs in Florida offered by Florida Housing, which provide financial assistance, such as down payment and closing cost assistance, monthly payment assistance, counseling, and education services.
These programs are designed to help different groups of people, such as first-time home buyers, low-income families, veterans, and homeowners simply facing financial hardship.
Florida Housing Homebuyer Program Requirements
The Florida Housing program provides a homebuyer opportunity for first-time buyers to access 30-year fixed-rate first mortgage loans through approved lenders and lending institutions across the state.
Additionally, eligible borrowers can participate in one of Florida Housing’s second mortgage programs, which provides assistance for down payments and closing costs.
To qualify for the Florida Housing programs, there are certain requirements that must be met:
- Minimum credit score required: 640
- Mandatory to work with a lender that is approved and participating in the program.
- Requires a ‘home buyer education’ class.
- The purchase price & income must be within the county’s limits.
- To qualify as a first-time homebuyer, you should meet the IRS definition which means, you should not have owned and occupied a primary residence for the past three years prior to purchase.
Down Payment Assistance Program Overviews
Florida Housing provides assistance for the down payment and closing costs in the form of a second mortgage loan to eligible homebuyers.
This assistance is only available when used in conjunction with Florida Housing’s first mortgage loan, and it is not offered as a standalone option.
The following Down Payment Assistance Programs are available to eligible buyers:
1. Florida Assist (Pay Back via Lump Sum – After Main Mortgage)
The Florida Assist program provides up to $10,000 on FHA, VA, USDA, and Conventional Loans.
This loan is a 0% non-amortizing (meaning the loan payments do not go towards the principal., ie interest only), deferred second mortgage.
It is important to note that it is not a forgivable loan, and repayment is deferred until the sale, transfer, satisfaction of the first mortgage, refinancing of the property, or the borrower no longer occupies the property, at which point the FL Assist will become due and payable in full.
2. Florida Homeownership Loan Program (FL HLP) Second Mortgage (Pay Back Immediately via 15 Years of Monthly Payments)
The FL HLP Second Mortgage program offers $10,000 for down payment assistance.
It is a fully-amortizing loan with a 15-year term, and it comes with a monthly payment.
The unpaid principal balance is deferred except in the case of the sale, transfer of the deed, satisfaction of the first mortgage, refinancing of the property, or when the borrower no longer occupies the property as a primary residence, then the FL HLP Second Mortgage will become due and payable in full.
Important to note is that since the FL HLP loan has monthly payments, these payments needs to be considered when evaluating a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio during credit underwriting.
3. Hardest-Hit Fund Program (Monthly Payment Assistance Program)
The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Program is intended to help struggling homeowners who are facing financial hardship, such as unemployment or underemployment.
Unfortunately, this program is no longer taking new applicants and may be closed entirely in the future.
3 Other (Not State Funded) Down Payment Assistance Programs
There are several private and federal down payment and closing cost assistance programs available outside of those offered by Florida Housing.
If you did not happen to meet the requirements above or happen to be a veteran etc., these programs may be better suited for you and your family.
1. Federal Home Loan (FHL) Bank of Atlanta – Affordable Housing Program
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBA) program provides grants to eligible home buyers for down payment assistance and costs at closing.
10% of FHL Bank of Atlanta’s annual net income is allocated towards our Affordable Housing Program (AHP) each year to invest back into the communities of our members.
Even though Atlanta is in Georgia, this program is available to residents in Florida as well.
The program is administered by participating financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, and is available in all Florida counties.
For more information, visit their website here.
2. Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Program
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan program is available to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and surviving spouses.
This program provides a variety of benefits, including no down payment, no mortgage insurance, and no minimum credit score requirements.
3. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Home Loans
While not completely void of a down payment, FHA loans require 3.5% of the home purchase price as an out-of-pocket cost.
The 3.5% is for the down payment and you can roll the closing costs into a seller concession of up to 6%. This seller concession of up to 6% is added to the price of the loan, but can be used to cover all of the closing costs.
FHA loans are widely available and can be a great option if you’re struggling with a down payment and do not quality for any of the other programs above.
Additional Eligibility Requirements for Down Payment Assistance
In this section, we will delve a bit deeper into the various criteria that applicants must meet in order to be considered for a program.
These requirements may include income limits, credit score requirements, residency criteria, property qualifications, and other necessary qualifications.
Understanding these requirements is essential for identifying the programs that you may qualify for, and for ensuring that you have all the necessary documentation when applying.
Income and Credit Score Requirements
Eligibility for down payment assistance programs in Florida may depend on the applicant’s income and credit score.
The specific requirements vary by program, but in general, applicants should have a credit score of at least 640 and an income that falls within certain limits based on the county and household size.
Some down payment programs may have residency requirements, such as being a first-time home buyer or a current resident of Florida.
Some down payment programs have specific requirements for the property being purchased, such as the location, type of home, and condition.
Other Misc. Qualifications
Other qualifications for help with the down payment may include completing a homebuyer education course, meeting specific employment or income requirements, or being a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
How to Apply for Down Payment Assistance
Applying for a Florida Homeownership Loan Program can seem intimidating, but with the right guidance and preparation, the process can be manageable.
In this section, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply for assistance, including information on the necessary documentation and the timeline for the application process.
We will also provide contact information for program administrators, so you can easily get in touch with the right people if you have any questions or need additional assistance.
By following the instructions in this section, you will be well on your way to securing the financial assistance you need to buy a home in Florida.
Steps for Applying to Florida Housing Programs
The application process for the Florida Housing assistance programs will vary depending on the program, but you will need to start on their website using the:
The general process includes filling out an application, providing documentation such as income verification and a copy of a signed purchase contract, and attending a counseling session.
The required documentation may include proof of income, a copy of a signed purchase contract, proof of insurance, and a copy of the applicant’s driver’s license or other government-issued identification.
Timeline for Application Process
The timeline for the application process will depend on the program, but in general, it can take several weeks to complete.
Contact Information for Program Administrators
Contact information for program administrators can be found on the program’s website, or by contacting the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) at (800) 814-HOME (4663) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you are now more familiar with the Florida housing homebuyer programs offered, as well as the eligibility requirements and application process for each.
Whether you are a first-time home buyer, a veteran, or someone facing financial hardship, there is likely a program that can help you achieve your dream of homeownership in the Sunshine State.
Some additional resources for home buyers in Florida include the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), which provides information and assistance on all state-funded programs, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which offers a variety of programs and resources for home buyers nationwide.
For more of the latest information on Florida real estate, be sure to visit GatorRated.com.