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Up to $35,000 in Assistance for First-time Homebuyers in Florida

Are you looking to purchase your first property in Florida? Well, here’s some exciting news for you! As of July 1st, the “Home Town Heroes” program has expanded its eligibility criteria to include all individuals who live and work in the state, not just those in the healthcare, education, and security sectors. This modification allows first-time homebuyers to receive up to $35,000 in assistance for down payment and closing costs, making homeownership more achievable for many.

Enhanced Assistance for First-time Homebuyers

Administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, the “Home Town Heroes” program has also increased the loan limit from $25,000 to $35,000, thanks to a $100 million funding allocation from the state. With this boost, aspiring homeowners who qualify for a mortgage loan can benefit from a second mortgage equivalent to 5% of the total loan amount. The additional funds can be used towards the purchase of the property, with a minimum assistance of $10,000 and a maximum cap of $35,000. This assistance applies to mortgages below $200,000.

The Benefits of the Program

One of the most appealing aspects of this assistance program is that it is interest-free, and there are no monthly payments required. The loan has a 30-year term, but it must be repaid if the property is sold, refinanced, or transferred. This initiative aims to provide support to first-time homebuyers who have the desire to become homeowners but lack the necessary resources for the down payment and closing costs.

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Qualifying for Assistance

To qualify for this program, there are certain eligibility conditions that must be met. Firstly, individuals must be first-time homebuyers, meaning they have not owned a property during the three years preceding the purchase. Additionally, the property being purchased must be the buyer’s primary residence and not an investment or vacation property. Meeting the minimum credit score requirement of 640 is crucial, as is being eligible for a mortgage loan.

Required Documentation and Criteria

Applicants will need to provide various documents to determine their eligibility for a mortgage loan. These typically include identification, a copy of their Social Security card, the past two years’ tax returns, the previous two personal bank statements, and the most recent pay stubs (if employed). For those who own a business, the company’s past two years’ tax returns and bank statements are also necessary.

Once the necessary documentation is in order, a financial consultant can assess whether the applicant qualifies for a mortgage loan. It’s important to note that applicants must work a minimum of 35 hours per week for an employer based in Florida, with the exception of retired individuals who can still qualify if they are veterans.

Assistance for Every Floridian

In terms of employment, it’s also essential for aspiring homebuyers to work for an employer with a presence in Florida. If the employer has a corporation in another state, they must have at least one office located in Florida. For those who work from home, confirmation of their employer’s Florida-based business can be obtained through the state’s Division of Corporations. Self-employed individuals can provide a copy of their 1099 form, demonstrating that the company they provided services to has offices in Florida.

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When calculating the loan, the gross annual income of all occupants over 18 years old will be taken into account, even if they are not applying for financing. Successful applicants must also attend a first-time homebuyers course at one of the designated institutions specified by the “Home Town Heroes” regulators and obtain the necessary certification.

This assistance program has no geographic limitations within the state of Florida, allowing homebuyers to purchase single-family homes, townhouses, properties with up to four units, manufactured homes built after 1994, and condominiums.

Condominium Considerations

For condominiums, it’s important to note that if the condominium association does not allocate at least 10% of its budget to reserves, the buyer will be required to make a down payment of 20% to 25%. However, even with these requirements, the buyer may still be eligible for assistance, with a maximum amount of $35,000.

Seeking Further Information

For more information regarding this program, visit the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s website at www.floridahousing.org/live-local-act/hometown-heroes-program. Remember, this opportunity can provide you with the financial support you need to make homeownership a reality in the Sunshine State.

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