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Florida First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
Florida First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2018
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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 traditional mortgage. That’s why the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, known as Florida Housing, offers several programs to help Floridians buy a first home.

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. 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.

IN THIS ARTICLE:
National first-time home buyer programs
Florida first-time home buyer programs

National first-time home buyer programs to consider


FHA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with low credit scores or looking for low down payments. This is the go-to program for many Americans, especially first-time home buyers and those who have a credit history that’s … let’s say shaky. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees a portion of home loans, which


Conventional Mortgage

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers with good credit looking for low down payments or limited mortgage insurance premiums. A conventional mortgage is a home loan that isn’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government. Conventional mortgages that conform to the requirements set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie


USDA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for home buyers living in rural areas and looking for low down payments. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a home buyers assistance program. And no, you don’t have to live on a farm. The program targets rural areas and allows 100% financing by offering lenders mortgage guarantees. There


VA Loans

National program

What you need to know

Best for military home buyers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. But like a lot of military operations, the approval track is built for

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
  • Can be combined with down payment or closing cost assistance programs
  • Mortgage interest tax credit available

Eligibility

» MORE: 25 tips for first-time home buyers

Florida Housing first-time home buyer loan programs


Military Heroes Government Loan Program

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

What you need to know

Best for military home buyers. This program also provides 30-year fixed-rate FHA, VA and USDA loans to all qualified veterans and active-duty military personnel, even those who may have recently owned homes. In fact, the Military Heroes loan offers lower interest rates than the Florida First


Florida HFA Preferred Conventional Loan

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for low mortgage insurance. By giving borrowers access to more affordable mortgage insurance, this 30-year fixed-rate loan offsets some of the initial costs that may put conventional loans out of reach for first-time buyers. Those who qualify for an HFA Preferred loan


Florida HFA Preferred 3% Plus Conventional Loan

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for low mortgage insurance costs and/or low down payments. In addition to getting reduced mortgage insurance costs, borrowers who qualify for this 30-year fixed-rate loan can take advantage of Florida Housing’s 3% down payment and closing cost grant, which doesn’t have


Florida Assist Second Mortgage

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for a low down payment. This assistance program allows qualified applicants to borrow up to $7,500 for their down payment. The Florida Assist second mortgage is offered at 0% interest, and payments are deferred, meaning the loan doesn’t have to be repaid until you move


HFA Preferred Grant

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for down payment and/or closing cost assistance. This assistance program provides qualified borrowers with 3% of the home’s purchase price to be used as a down payment or to pay closing costs. The HFA Preferred program is a grant, which means it doesn’t have to be


Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program

State program

Learn More

at FHFC

Best for

What you need to know

Best for home buyers looking for additional tax savings. Using this program may deliver additional savings to qualified first-time home buyers and eligible veterans in the form of a credit on their federal taxes. Participants can claim 50% of their paid mortgage interest, up to $2,000, every year

Your next step

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 Corporation 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.

» MORE: See the best Florida mortgage lenders

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