Here’s the Scoop on Florida Down Payment Assistance Programs

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Buying your first home may seem like a completely daunting experience, between qualifying for credit and trying to secure the down payment. But what you may not realize is that there are state assistance programs available for first-time buyers in Florida. In fact, some counties have their own specific type of program and they are only offered through approved lenders, like us at VanDyk Mortgage. Let’s take a closer look at the type of assistance that is available for Florida residents and how first-time buyers may qualify, as some of this has changed for 2016.

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  • First time home buyers or spouses who haven’t owned a property for at least three years can apply for up to $7,500 in interest-free down payment assistance. The down payment will be paid back upon any of the following conditions: the home is sold, refinanced, rented out or is no longer a primary residence.  The type of residence must be a single family residence, town home or condo and you must live in the property as your primary residence.
  • As a bonus, sellers are allowed to pay money towards the buyer’s closings costs, sometimes as much as up to 6% of the purchase price.
  • All funds must be used towards the purchase as there will be no cash back at closing. Any unused down payment assistance funds will be used to pay down the first mortgage at closing.
  • This program does not allow co-signors who do not live in the property.
  • The minimum credit score to qualify is 640.
  • There is a total household income limitation, meaning even if not all people living in the home will be on the loan, we must count their income towards the income limitation for the property, the amount depends upon the county, but can reach over $68,000 per year for a family over three living in Pinellas County.
  • Hillsborough County qualifies for special assistance program where buyers can get up to $15,000 and the assistance is forgiven at a rate of 20% per year so if a buyer stays in the home 5 years the entire amount is forgiven and not required to pay back.

 

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about down payment assistance or any other lending topic. You can contact me at: bforrester@vandykmortgage.com. I am passionate about helping Tampa Bay-area residents realize their dreams of home ownership!

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