Buying your first home in Florida can be a significant investment, but state and local programs designed for the first-time homebuyer can help you achieve that dream more affordably. To be eligible for the programs, you must meet income and creditworthiness criteria, and in some cases attend homebuyer educational classes.
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Florida Housing First Time Homebuyer Program
Florida Housing's First Time Homebuyer Program offers low-to-moderate-income buyers low-interest fixed-rate 30-year mortgage loans. Various lending institutions partner with Florida Housing to provide these loans. To qualify, you must be a first-time homebuyer who meets income and purchase price limits. You must attend a 6 to 8 hour homebuyer training course, qualify for a mortgage and have a credit score of at least 640. As of 2015, the rate for the Florida First program in Broward County is 4.25 percent.
Down Payment Assistance
As an add-on benefit for Floridians who qualify for the FTHB program, you may also be able to receive up to $10,000 toward down payment and closing costs through the Florida Assist program. Under this program, you get a second mortgage loan through a participating lender approved by Florida Housing with zero percent interest, in conjunction with your first mortgage. You pay off the second loan when you sell or refinance your home, or when the first loan terminates, or if you no longer occupy the residence.
Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate Program
Under the Florida Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, first-time Floridian homebuyers can receive up to $2,000 annually, as of 2015, in the form of a tax credit on up to 50 percent of paid mortgage interest. Any mortgage interest not included in the credit, can be claimed as a home mortgage interest tax deduction. The MCC credit can be used with any participating lender's fixed-rate first mortgage loan, with the exception of the First Time Homebuyer Program. In Palm Beach County, the income limit for a household of two is $82,440; in Glades County, that limit is $57,600.
State Housing Initiatives Partnership program
Another resource for the first-time Florida homebuyer is the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program, which operates on the local and county levels. Low- and middle-income first-time home-purchasers get assistance with down payments and closing costs. As with other programs, you must meet income and purchase price limits. For example, as of 2015, the maximum income for a family of two in Orange County is 80 percent of the Area Median Income, which is $37,350. To see if you qualify, contact your local SHIP administrator or community improvement manager.