Florida First Time Home Buyer Grants-Free Housing Grant Money
A variety of programs are available to first time home buyers in Florida from the state and federal government as well as private agencies. Most programs have income limits and other criteria that applicants must meet. The programs are designed to encourage home ownership in Florida and extend the opportunity to as many citizens as possible.
First Time Homebuyer Program
The Florida First Time Homebuyer program makes a first home attainable. The first time homebuyer program (FTHB) provides loans at fixed interest rates through participating lenders. The loans are guaranteed by the state increasing the buyer's ability to obtain a mortgage. Applicants must complete a home buyer education class and have a FICO score of 600 or higher. There are income eligibility requirements, for example, in Seminole County. A family of four cannot have a combined income higher than $84,000 and cannot purchase a home for more than $377,791. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation has more information. Contact a lender such as a local bank or mortgage company to apply.
Two down payment assistance programs are available in Florida through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) which has offices in all 67 counties. Florida Assist is a zero percent loan of up to $10,000 toward down payment and closing costs. The loan does not have to be repaid until the home is sold or the mortgage is paid off. There are income eligibility requirements for this program. Home ownership Assistance for Moderate Income (HAMI) provides up to $5,000 toward down payment and closing costs at five percent interest. This program assists those whose income exceeds the requirement for Florida Assist.
Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program (FL HOP)
Florida offers an advance on the federal tax credit to help home buyers. The FL HOP program offers Florida home buyers an advance on the $8,000 first time home buyers tax credit offered by the federal government as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program has the same eligibility requirements as the federal program. FL HOP will provide $8,000 in purchase assistance to successful applicants and the money must be paid back when the applicant receives the federal tax credit. The program is administered through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) which has offices in all 67 counties.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat For Humanity is a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to assisting low income families become home owners. Habitat uses volunteer labor and donations to build or rehab houses, then offers them with zero interest mortgages. Average mortgage payments are from $350 to $550. Applicants must contribute $1,500 toward the cost and spend 500 hours working on Habitat housing projects as well as meet minimum and maximum income guidelines. A complete list of program requirements is available through a local Habitat For Humanity affiliate. There are 64 affiliates in Florida.
Homeownership Voucher Program
The Homeownership Voucher Program allows low income families currently using the Housing Choice Voucher program toward rent to apply the voucher toward buying a first home. The house must pass an inspection by the Public Housing Authority; the family must meet minimum income requirements and all family members must be first-time home buyers. One adult family member must be employed full-time for a year to qualify and the family must complete a home ownership and housing counseling program. This program is administered by the local PHA and may not be offered by all of them with one exception, the program must be made available to the disabled. There may be a waiting list for this program.
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