Florida provides various programs to assist low-income homebuyers with purchasing a home. Some programs provide down payment assistance, while others cover closing costs or reduce loan interest rates. The state also offers a first-time homebuyer's program specifically funded to aid low-income homebuyers purchase a first home.
Down Payment Assistance
The State Housing Initiatives Partnership program, commonly referred to as SHIP, provides down payment or closing cost assistance to low-income homebuyers. The program requires homebuyers to meet certain income eligibility standards that vary based on the city or county of residence in which the funds are granted. To receive SHIP funds, potential homebuyers must attend a series of classes that provide education on personal finance, mortgage payment responsibility and credit repair.
Low Interest Mortgages
First-time homebuyers can receive assistance through Florida Housing, a finance corporation developed to assist homebuyers in accessing affordable housing options. Florida Housing offers two first-time homebuyer programs: Florida First and Military Heroes. Under the Florida First program, a potential buyer with decent credit and the ability to contribute at least $1,000 toward the down payment or closing costs of a home purchase may qualify for a 30-year mortgage with a low interest rate of under five percent.
Below Median Income Assistance
Florida Housing's Homeownership Pool helps homebuyers with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Such buyers may be eligible to receive down payment assistance up to 25 percent towards the purchase price of a home. Income limits gradually increase, so a family of five -- earning more than a family of two -- and still qualify for assistance on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Interest Free Assistance Loan
Low income homebuyers can qualify for up to $7,500 for down payment or closing cost assistance under the Florida Assist second mortgage program. This program provides funds in the form of a deferred second mortgage at zero percent interest. Funds do not have to be paid back until the original home mortgage is paid or the homeowner sells the home. Combining Florida Assist for closing costs, with HOP or SHIP for down payment assistance, makes it possible for a low-income homebuyer to qualify for a mortgage with $1,000 or less out of pocket expense.
- Florida Housing Finance Corporation: Homebuyers and Renters
- State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program: SHIP Program Manual
- Florida Housing: A Summary of Florida Housing's Programs
- Florida Housing: First Time Homebuyer (FTHB) Program
- Florida Housing: First TIme Homebuyer Wizard
- HUD User: FY 2014 Income LImits Documentation System
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