5th April 2020

First Time Home Buyer Florida

First time home buyer Florida programs amount to a total of 240 programs available to Florida residents, coming in at 2nd for the state with the most programs available, California having the most. These home buyer programs vary in purpose and requirements, and can be in the form of loans, tax credits, and grants. Although each program has its own guidelines and requirements, they do have commonalities. Both you and the property must meet certain criteria, which vary by program. First time home buyer programs are for owner-occupant buyers only and do not apply for investment properties. First time home buyers make a minimum investment, qualify for a first mortgage, and complete home buyer education. The home’s sales price, buyers income, and home ownership history will be a factor as well.

Who is providing First Time Home Buyer Programs in Florida?

First time home buyer Florida programs are offered by several sources. The government offers programs at the Federal, State, and Local levels. HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government. You can get more information on HUD at www.hud.gov. Down payment assistance programs are also offered through private sources, such as, corporations, community groups, non-profit organizations, and churches. Private programs have less restrictions than government programs and their availability varies with corporations having the most options available.

Why First Time Home Buyer Programs?

The purpose of home ownership programs varies depending on who is offering the program. A large percentage of the home ownership programs are government sourced. The governments primary purpose for offering these programs is economically driven. Assisting in home ownership strengthens the housing market, which in turn strengthens the economy. Private down payment assistance programs also help the economy and are preferred over government programs due to their far less restrictions and requirements. Although less common, churches or non-profit organizations can offer charitable down payment assistance programs. Corporations offer the majority of the private sector down payment assistance programs and can be in the form of an employee benefit package, or as an incentive program for prospective buyers. First Time Home Buyer Florida Pre-Qualification

Do I have to be a First Time Home Buyer?

A first-time home buyer is defined as anyone who has NOT owned and occupied a home within the last three years. Government down payment assistance programs do require that you be a first-time home buyer. Private down payment assistance programs however, are not limited to first time home buyers only. Private programs generally do not have location restrictions or home price restrictions but will usually have some form of income requirements. We can get you going with one of these programs quickly.


Best For

  • Low down payment
  • Limited mortgage insurance premiums

Conventional mortgages are home loans that are not guaranteed or insured by the federal government. Conventional mortgages that follow the requirements implemented by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac usually require down payments of at least 3%. With a conventional mortgage, borrowers who put at least 20% down do not need to pay mortgage insurance.


Best For

  • Low credit scores
  • Low down payment

FHA Loans are great for first-time home buyers with lower credit scores. FHA allows for down payments as low as 3.5% for those with credit scores of 580 or higher. Mortgage insurance is required for the life of the loan and cannot be canceled. The FHA will insure loans for borrowers with scores as low as 500 but requires a 10% down payment for a score that low.


Best For

  • Low down payment
  • Rural locations

The USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers a home buyers assistance program. The program covers rural areas and provides 100% financing by giving lenders a mortgage guarantee. Requirements include income limitations which can vary by region.


Best For

  • Military Personnel
  • Low down payment

VA Loans are offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The department helps service members, veterans and their surviving spouses purchase homes. VA loans usually require NO down payment or mortgage insurance. In terms of debt and income, VA loans only have a few requirements that are easily met by most borrowers. However, some VA lenders may add additional requirements.

What is a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker is the intermediary between you and potential lenders. The broker works on your behalf with several lenders to find the best fit for your needs and the lowest rates. Mortgage brokers have an established list of lenders they work with and special programs they may be offering. Mortgage brokers are licensed and regulated financial professionals. They do all the work involved in obtaining a loan, from gathering the required documents, pulling your credit history, and confirming your income and employment. Once you have agreed to a loan and lender that fits your needs, the mortgage broker will work with the banks underwriting department, the closing agent, and your real estate agent to facilitate the transaction through to closing day.

Choosing a mortgage broker

Mortgage brokers have established relationships with local, regional, and national lenders, and can use these connections to get some loan fees waived for you. Depending on their network of lenders, they can also find down payment assistance opportunities for you. A good mortgage broker should have access to a good variety of these opportunities and be able to identify which ones are best applicable to your situation. Choosing the right broker in this aspect, can save you a good amount of money. Another aspect to look at is the volume to quality ratio. Consumers are far too familiar with this dilemma. Big-name mainstream brokerage firms typically have hundreds of applicants at any given time. With you being one applicant in an ocean of hundreds of other applicants, big-name firms have the benefit of cherry picking the easy applicants (A-paper). The right mortgage broker will give you one-on-one attention that you likely won’t get when working with a large bank or big-name mainstream firm.

What is an “A-Paper” loan?

In the mortgage industry, A-paper is a term to describe a mortgage that meets the following criteria:

  • The borrower has a credit score of 680 or higher
  • The borrower’s debt to income ratio does not exceed 35%
  • The borrower has fully documented their income and assets
  • The borrower injects at least 20% equity into the home
  • The borrower has retained two months of mortgage payments in reserves after closing

A-paper loans are very low risk to lenders. Unfortunately, most of us don’t fit in this category. A-paper or not, we find and match you to the best programs, rates, and savings possible. We have helped countless families that were declined and turned away by big-name brokerage firms achieve their dream of owning their home.

Licensed and serving all of Florida.

The information below will get you started on your way to obtaining your new home. A licensed loan officer and down payment assistance specialist will be assigned to you for a one-on-one consultation. This will help us identify the best opportunities and assistance for your specific situation.

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