Many people view Florida as a place for retirees, but those who live there know that it’s a great place to settle down at any age. It’s also consistently one of the best markets to purchase a home for your family, an investment or retirement. With so much incredible real estate on the market, Florida is a great place for first-time homebuyers, but it’s vital that new buyers know their options before they settle on a new home.
If you’re looking to purchase your first home in Florida, here are a few resources available to first-time homebuyers that you need to be aware of.
Determine What You Can Afford
While it can be tempting to buy a larger home than you need, it’s better to purchase a home that fits your budget and lifestyle. Our mortgage calculators can help you determine your mortgage affordability and what you can expect for monthly mortgage payments.
Loans for First-Time Homebuyers
Florida residents looking to purchase a home for the first time have a wealth of options at their disposal, so it’s important to choose a lender that knows what loans will fit your needs. New American Funding has a number of a first-time homebuyer programs and home loan experts that can help match you with the right loan.
Florida First-Time Homebuyer Program
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers its first time homebuyer program through a variety of lenders. The program offers a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, but the program requires a minimum contribution of funds, as well as a 6-8 hour homebuyer education class. The program will offer different rates in counties throughout the state, but the FTHB program offers two programs that assist with down payment and closing costs
Florida Down Payment Assistance
Florida offers two down payment assistance programs through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP), a program that provides funds through local governments in all 67 counties.
- Florida Assist offers up to $7,500 in assistance for low-income households. The zero-interest loan does not have to be repaid until the house is sold or you have paid off the mortgage.
- Homeownership Assistance for Moderate Income (HAMI) is for moderate income families (a family of two cannot exceed income of $66,720). The HAMI loan is repayable over 10 years and includes a 5% interest rate.
Individual Development Account (IDA)
An IDA is a matched-savings program specifically geared to help low income households develop a savings plan that can be used to help purchase a home. Florida has a number of non-profit organizations that will match between 100 – 300 percent of savings. This first-time homebuyer grant is dependent on meeting monthly savings goals and a homebuyer education course provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Home Tax Credits
Though the large federal income tax credit of 2009 may be gone for new homeowners, the Mortgage Credit Certificate program allows first-time homebuyers in Florida to claim up to 50% of mortgage interest as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their annual tax return. Though the credit is available for first-time buyers, it is not available with the official Florida first-time homebuyer program mentioned above. Like in other states, the program has limits on income and purchase price, so be sure to ask your loan officer.
If you know a Floridian, or future Floridian, who is interested in taking their first step toward becoming a homeowner, please share this blog with them!