Buy a home with free down payment assistance grants

Support for first-time home buyers

Florida Housing is a government financing company established over 20 years ago to help Floridians find safe, decent housing that might otherwise not be available to them. Their “First-Time” Homebuyer Program offers year-round low-interest mortgage loans and financial incentives to eligible homebuyers who have not owned a home as their primary residence in the past 3 years.

Program Highlights

The program offers low-interest 30- and 40-year fixed-rate loans, down payment and closing cost help, and access to credit counseling.

Teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, police officers, and active and veteran military personnel could be eligible for lower interest rates.

Eligible applicants include individuals who:

 have never owned a house,

 do not claim their mobile home as real estate,

 have not owned a home as their main residence in the last three years,

 have proven creditworthiness,

 have an annual income that does not exceed the program limits.

Down payment help

Florida Housing offers two down payment and closing cost assistance programs in the form of second mortgage loans and one in the form of upfront cash assistance to help eligible homebuyers meet their down payment and closing costs.

Down payment help

Programs: Offers until:

(Income limits apply)

FLORIDA ASSIST PROGRAM $10,000 – Applicants with an annual income of 80% or less of the area median income

ASSISTANCE FOR MODERATE INCOME (HAMI) $5,000 – Moderate income applicant

The City of Orlando offers a Down Payment Assistance program available to first-time low- and middle-income home buyers for home purchases within the Orlando city limits. Depending on gross household income, the grant can be $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000.

Middle-income teachers and public safety workers may qualify for a $20,000 grant. City of Orlando employees, educators, and public safety personnel who purchase homes within the Orlando city limits do not have to be first-time home buyers. Buyers must have the property as their primary residence for a minimum of ten (10) years. The down payment assistance becomes a grant when the period of affordability is met.

Orange County provides qualified first-time homebuyers with funds for down payments and closing costs associated with the purchase of a home. The program caters to qualified low- and middle-income individuals in Orange County on a first-come, first-served basis. The program also requires prospective homebuyers to complete a pre- and post-sales education program.

The buyer must:

 Meet the income requirements. The annual household income must not exceed 120% of the area’s median income.

 Provide at least $1,000 of equity.

 Complete a home buyer training seminar.

 Secure first mortgage financing.

The property must:

 Must be new or existing and located in Orange County outside the Orlando city limits.

 Not exceeding a retail price of $219,000.

 Receive competitive fixed rate financing.

 Be royalty free property.

The assistant:

 The maximum is between $20,000 and $35,000 depending on household income.

 County assistance is provided to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a 0% soft second mortgage that is forgiven after fifteen (15) years if the home remains owner occupied.

 In addition, the sum of Orange County’s first mortgage and second mortgage cannot exceed 105% of the appraised value.

Educational program for home buyers

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free homeowner education workshop. This provides educational and technical services to assist eligible low- and middle-income families with the process and procedure involved in purchasing an affordable, metered basic housing unit for a single family. Homebuyers Education covers topics such as choosing an agent, applying for a mortgage, inspecting a home, deeds of sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

The Orange County Finance Authority is a government organization that offers mortgage financing at lower interest rates than are available in the market. Their financing products reduce long-term mortgage costs. If you are eligible, you may receive additional down payment/closing cost support from other sources on top of this funding!

In order to qualify for home equity financing, certain requirements must be met:

 You have not owned a principal residence in the past three years. (Unless the property is located in a federally designated “target area.”)

 The property must be occupied during the term of the loan or until the property is sold.

 Have the legal right to reside permanently in the United States

 Meet credit and loan requirements

 Do not exceed the income and purchase price limit

 Veterans can waive the First-Time Homebuy Rule

The City of Kissimmee Community Redevelopment Agency provides financial grants to new homeowners in the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) District to provide economic support to downtown businesses. It is designed to attract new residents to specific areas within the community redevelopment district. There are no income limits for granting these funds.

The subsidy is based on the determination of owner-occupancy of the property in question. The scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served basis after certain qualifications have been met.

The agency offers first-come, first-served financial grants to eligible employees of employers in the CRA overlay district that can be used towards the purchase of a home. There are also incentives for teachers that can be used to purchase a home in the CRA Overlay District on a first come, first served basis.

Osceola County provides qualified first-time home buyers with funds for down payments, home closing costs, and financing at lower interest rates than are available in the market. The program caters to qualified low- and middle-income individuals in Osceola County on a first-come, first-served basis. The program also requires prospective homebuyers to complete an educational program.

The buyer must:

 Have not owned a home in the past three years.

 Attend a homebuyer orientation session and complete a homebuyer education program.

 Have at least $1,000 to contribute to the cost of buying a home.

 Have an annual income that is within the guidelines for average area income as defined by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Additional terms and conditions may apply.

The property must:

 Must be located in Osceola County.

 New homes or existing homes must not exceed $200,000. In the city of Kissimmee, apartments cannot exceed $240,000.

 No mobile homes.

 Crafted houses must have a DCA seal.

 It must be a single family home, condominium, townhouse or villa.

The assistant:

 The maximum is between $39,000 and $69,000 depending on household income.

 The loan will be made available to the buyer’s closing agent at closing in the form of a soft second mortgage that will be forgiven after ten (10) years if the home remains owner occupied.

Loan repayment is due when:

 Borrower defaults on first mortgage.

 The house is sold refinanced with paid-up equity.

 The house is rented, leased, sublet or is no longer used before the loan period expires.

 No home equity line of credit against the property borrowed.

Educational program for home buyers

All participants requesting down payment assistance must attend a free homeowner education workshop. This provides educational and technical services to assist eligible low- and middle-income families with the process and procedure involved in purchasing an affordable, metered basic housing unit for a single family. Homebuyers Education covers topics such as choosing an agent, applying for a mortgage, inspecting a home, deeds of sale, home maintenance and credit issues.

SHIP program (State Housing Initiative Partnership)

The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program provides funding to create and maintain affordable housing through the creation of a partnership between the public and private sectors. The funds come from the collection of stamp duty revenue, which is paid into the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. Based on a population-based formula, SHIP funds are distributed to local governments each month.

These funds are available to home buyers through the down payment assistance programs mentioned above.