Florida First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2020

NerdWalletOctober 15, 2020
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Homeownership can feel out of reach, especially if you’ve never purchased a home and aren’t sure whether you’ll qualify for a mortgage. That’s why the Florida Housing Finance Corp., known as Florida Housing, offers several programs to help Floridians buy a first home. But the good news doesn’t stop there.

National mortgage programs can also help you overcome obstacles to homeownership, especially if you have a low credit score or aren’t able to save a big down payment. Learn more about all of your options for buying a home in the Sunshine State below.

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National first-time home buyer programs to consider

These national loan programs, offered by most lenders, are always worth consideration, especially if you need flexible credit requirements or low down payment options.

Florida Housing highlights and eligibility

Highlights

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for first-time home buyers, veterans and active military.

  • Available in all 67 of Florida’s counties.

  • Loans can be combined with down payment or closing cost assistance programs.

  • Mortgage interest tax credit available.

Eligibility

  • Property must be located in Florida and be a primary residence.

  • Borrowers must meet income, credit and purchase price requirements.

  • Home buyer education course required.

Florida Housing first-time home buyer loan programs

If you’re a first-time home buyer — typically someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years — Florida Housing programs may provide an affordable path to owning a home. Qualified veterans and anyone considering a home purchase in one of Florida’s federally designated target areas may also be able to take advantage of the programs, as well. Designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a targeted area is a neighborhood, street or block where at least 70% of households earn 80% or less of the state median income.

Summary: 2020 Florida Housing first-time home buyer programs

  • Florida First Mortgage for a government-backed loan and help with down payments and closing costs.

  • Florida HFA Preferred or Advantage for a conventional loan with down-payment and closing cost assistance.

  • Florida HFA Preferred or Advantage Plus for a conventional loan that combines a low down payment with a closing-cost grant.

  • Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan Program for veterans and active-duty military, providing low-interest loans with down-payment and closing-cost assistance.

  • Florida Assist Second Mortgage for 0% interest and deferred payments on a down payment loan of up to $7,500.

  • Florida HLP Second Mortgage for assistance with down payments and closing costs.

  • Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate Program for a federal tax credit on paid mortgage interest.

Now that you’ve been introduced to the first-time home buyer programs available in Florida, it’s time to decide which one is the best fit for you. For full details and tips on how to apply, visit the Florida Housing Finance Corp. website.

Florida Housing doesn’t actually approve applications or lend money; instead, it relies on a network of participating lenders. These lenders may have their own rules about income limits, credit scores and eligible properties. If you’re unsure about which program is best suited to your situation, reach out directly to a lender for more information.

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