Florida Hometown Heroes Program
As of July 1, 2023 - Program has Expanded to All First Time Homebuyers
The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program aims to make homeownership affordable for eligible members of the community workforce. The program has expanded the eligibility of who is eligible for the program and gearing it towards first time homebuyers, as well as the grant amount, increasing to from $25,000 to $35,000 as of July 1, 2023.
This program specifically targets first-time, income-qualified homebuyers by providing them with down payment and closing cost assistance. It enables them to purchase a primary residence in the community where they work and serve. Moreover, the Florida Hometown Heroes Loan Program offers a lower interest rate on the first mortgage and additional special benefits to individuals who have served or are currently serving their country.
Here are the key details of the program:
Eligibility: Full-time members of the workforce employed by a Florida-based employer are eligible for the program. They can benefit from lower-than-market interest rates on various types of first mortgages, including FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Additionally, they can enjoy reduced upfront fees, with no origination or discount points. The program also provides down payment and closing cost assistance.
Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance: Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount, with a maximum assistance limit of $35,000. This financial support helps cover the initial expenses associated with purchasing a home, making it more affordable and accessible for eligible individuals.
Deferred Second Mortgage: The down payment and closing cost assistance is provided through a 0% interest, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage. This means that borrowers do not have to make regular payments on this second mortgage. However, the full amount becomes due and payable under certain circumstances, such as when the property is sold, the first mortgage is refinanced, the deed is transferred, or the homeowner no longer occupies the property as their primary residence. It's important to note that the Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable, meaning it must be repaid according to the program's terms and conditions.
The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program aims to support eligible community workforce members in achieving homeownership by providing them with financial assistance and special benefits. This program not only helps individuals fulfill their dreams of owning a home but also recognizes and appreciates their service and contributions to the community and the country.
Introduction: What is the Florida Hometown Heroes Program?
The Florida Hometown Heroes Program, also known as The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program, is a mortgage program, which is designed to make buying a home more affordable for frontline workers in Florida. MortgageQuote.com is proud to take part in offering this program to Florida Hometown Heroes, to get started you can apply now.
Minimum credit score is 640, and for manufactured homes is 660. The max loan to value is up to 97% with a combined-loan-to-value or high-credit-loan-to-value up to 105%, manufactured and 2-4 units may differ.
Saving for a mortgage can be difficult, especially when living costs are rising. According to statistics, the average monthly mortgage payment in Florida was $1,530 in 2022. The Hometown Heroes program is a means of supporting those with frontline jobs to make buying a property more accessible.
If you are eligible for the Florida Hometown Heroes Program, you can access a range of benefits, including lower-than-market rates on a first mortgage and financial assistance with closing costs and putting a downpayment on a house or apartment.
Florida Hometown Heroes Program: The details
Eligible community and frontline workers can receive the following benefits via the Florida Hometown Heroes Program:
- Lower than standard market rates on first FHA, VA, RD, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgages
- Discounted upfront fees
- No origination or discount points
- Downpayment and closing costs assistance: applicants will receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan value up to a maximum of $35,000 through downpayment and closing costs support.
- Downpayment and closing costs assistance is provided through a 0% non-amortizing, 30-year second mortgage. The Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable. This means that the loan is deferred and becomes payable in full when the property sells, the first mortgage is refinanced, the deed is transferred, or the home is no longer the owner’s primary residence.
Types of Hometown Heroes mortgage products
- 1. Florida First Heroes: FL First mortgages are available to eligible first-time buyers through FHA (Federal Housing Administration), VA (US Department of Veterans Affairs) and USDA-RD (USA Rural Development). Buyers can access 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and are automatically eligible for down payment support for their second mortgage.
- 2. FL HFA Preferred Heroes- Fannie Mae: eligible applicants qualify for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage from Fannie Mae. This product is available to prospective buyers who earn less than 80% of the median income, enabling them to access mortgage programs. Individuals also benefit from down payment and closing costs assistance through a second mortgage.
- 3. FL HFA Advantage Heroes- Freddie Mac: Freddie Mac offers eligible applicants access to 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Loans are designed for individuals who earn less than 80% of the average median income. Like the other loans included in the Hometown Heroes Program, prospective buyers can benefit from the mortgage program and assistance with closing costs and down payments via a second mortgage.
Who is eligible for a Hometown Heroes mortgage in Florida?
As of July 1, 2023 - Program has Expanded to All First Time Homebuyers
The Florida Hometown Heroes mortgage program is open to a wide range of frontline workers. There are eligibility criteria in place, including occupations, income and loan limits.
1. Eligible occupations (prior to July, 1, 2023)
Here is a list of the occupations included but not limited to within the program:
- Sworn law enforcement officer
- Certified correction officer
- Correctional probation officer
- Juvenile detention officer
- Juvenile probation officer
- Certified paramedic
- Certified EMT (emergency medical technician)
- 911 public safety communicator
- Certified K-12 educators, including classroom teachers, careers advisers, librarians, media specialists, social workers, school counselors and school psychologists
- Licensed or registered childcare provider
- Childcare instructor
- Registered nurse
- Licensed practical nurse
- Advanced practice registered nurse
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Certified nurse midwife
- Certified nursing assistant
- Home health aide
- Healthcare practitioners, including physicians, physician assistants and anesthesiologists
- Anesthesiologist assistant
- Certified medical assistant
- Osteopathic physician
- Chiropractic physician
- Certified chiropractic physician’s assistant
- Podiatric physician
- Certified podiatric X-ray assistant
- Naturopathic physician
- Nuclear pharmacist
- Pharmacy technician
- Dental hygienist
- Dental assistant
- Speech-language pathologist or audiologist
- Speech-language pathology assistant or audiologist assistant
- Nursing home administrator
- Occupational therapist, occupational therapist assistant or occupational therapist aide
- Certified or registered respiratory therapist
- Licensed or registered dietician, nutritionist or nutritional counselor
- Dietetic technician
- Athletic trainer
- Prosthetist, orthotist, prosthetist orthotist, pedorthist, prosthetist, orthotic fitter and orthotic fitter assistant
- Massage therapist
- Clinical laboratory personnel, including laboratory directors, supervisors, technologists blood gas analysts and laboratory testing technicians
- Accredited phlebotomist
- Licensed medical physicist
- Certified basic X-ray machine operator, radiologic technologist, radiology assistant or general radiographer and specialty technologists
- Genetic counselor
- Optician or optician apprentice
- Certified optometrist
- Hearing aid specialist or specialist trainee
- Physical therapist or physical therapist assistant
- Psychologist or school psychologist
- Clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist or mental health counselor
- Child and adult protective services enforcement
- Veterinarian or veterinarian assistant or technician
- Assistant public defender
- Assisted living facility administrator
- Active military personnel
- Military veterans
- And possibly more job roles
2. Income limits
Income limits vary, according to the location. Limits for 2022 range from $118,950 to $153,750.
3. Loan limits
Florida Hometown Heroes FHA & USDA loan limits for 2022 range from $420,680 to $710,700. Florida Hometown Heroes Conventional and VA loan limits for 2022 are set at $647,200 with the exception of Monroe County where the limit is $710,700.
4. Homebuyer status
The Hometown Heroes Program is available to first-time buyers who have no home ownership interests in a primary residence within three years of applying for the loan. It is important to note that this does not apply to active military personnel or veterans. Military personnel can apply for a Hometown Heroes loan regardless of whether it is their first purchase.
Lenders carry out credit rating checks before approving mortgage applications. To secure a loan, applicants must have a minimum credit score. If your credit score is low, it’s often beneficial to try to improve your rating before you apply for a mortgage or loan. This will increase your chances of borrowing money and it can often provide access to better rates. Tips to boost your credit score include:
- Pay bills on time
- Try to avoid using credit cards
- Keep up with loan repayments
- Try to avoid taking out any additional loans
- Pay off credit card debts monthly - leave a small balance may help
- Try to lower your debt-to-income ratio
To qualify for a Hometown Heroes mortgage, you must be able to prove that you have a full-time job that meets the eligibility criteria. Employees must work at least 35 hours per week. Their employer must confirm that they have a full-time role if they don’t meet the 35-hour target.
How to apply for a Hometown Heroes mortgage
To apply for a Hometown Heroes mortgage, you will need to provide evidence of your occupation, homebuyer status and income. Examples of documents you may be asked to provide include:
- Fully executed Hometown Heroes Housing Loan Program Attestation from borrower pre-closing form
- State of Florida license or certification
- US Bank privacy form
- VOE: this validates full-time employment
When you apply for a mortgage via the Florida Hometown Heroes Program, you will be asked to complete forms, most of which are available online. The forms you complete will depend on the provider. If you are applying for an FHA loan, for example, you will need to add an FHA obligation and gift letter.
It is always beneficial to check the eligibility criteria in full before applying for a mortgage or loan. If you are not eligible, providers will reject your application.
What are the benefits of the Florida Hometown Heroes Program?
The Florida Hometown Heroes Program launched to make buying a house more affordable for people who devote their time and energy to helping others and ensuring that local communities have access to essential services. Offering benefits for over 50 professions, the ultimate goal is to help people to buy a home. The key benefits of the program include:
- Access to lower-than-market mortgage rates
- Reducing the cost of buying a home
- Enabling more people in essential roles to become homeowners
- Providing access to 0% interest loans
- Loans offer 5% of the total mortgage value up to a maximum of $25,000
- Assistance with down payments and closing costs
- Available to applicants who don’t earn more than 150% of the median income for the state or county
- Rewards full-time employment
Why is the Hometown Heroes Program so important?
House prices in Florida have surged in the last five years since 2022. In some parts of the state, prices are over 50% higher. The sharp rise in prices has made it more difficult to buy houses and apartments, especially for those on low to moderate incomes. Statistics from Glass Door suggest that the average annual wage for frontline workers in the US is $35,333. To buy the average home in Florida, the minimum wage a buyer would need to earn is around $62,000. There is a growing gap between wages and the cost of buying a house in Florida and costs are still rising. The Hometown Heroes Program is a targeted program, which provides financial support and assistance for frontline workers.
Another issue facing prospective homeowners is mortgage rates. In 2022, mortgage rates for 30-year fixed-rate loans continued to rise. This means that borrowing money to buy a new home has become much more expensive. As well as offering financial assistance to frontline workers, the Hometown Heroes program also enables prospective buyers to access preferential rates, which are lower than current market rates.
Between the start of June and the end of July 2022, the program provided more than $12 million in down payment support, helping over 840 families.
Which types of properties are covered by the program?
Mortgage offers through the Hometown Heroes Program are available for prospective buyers who are looking for a primary residence. Applicants are not permitted to borrow money to purchase a property for commercial reasons or to refinance an existing property. Eligible applicants can use a loan to buy a wide range of properties, including:
- A condo
- A detached home
- A single-unit attached home, such as a townhouse
- 2-4 unit properties
Understanding the second mortgage benefits
Prospective home buyers who qualify for the Hometown Heroes Program receive down payment and closing costs assistance through a 0% 30-year, non-amortizing second mortgage. This loan is equal to 5% of the first mortgage up to a maximum of $25,000. The second mortgage is non-forgivable, which means that the outstanding balance is due in full when the buyer completes their first mortgage payment in full, transfers the deeds of the property or stops using the property as their primary residence.
The new Florida Hometown Heroes Program is a mortgage program, which is designed to help frontline workers to buy a home. The program provides access to a range of mortgage products. Those who are eligible can access lower-than-market rates and benefit from assistance with down payment and closing costs. The program is open to over 50 professions.
FAQWhat is the Hometown Heroes Program? The Florida Hometown Heroes Program is a mortgage program, which helps frontline workers to buy homes. It makes buying a property more affordable and accessible.
Who is eligible for help?
More than 50 professions are included in the eligibility criteria, including healthcare workers, firefighters and teachers. Workers must have full-time jobs and they must meet criteria linked to income and property purchase limits. In most cases, the program is designed to help first-time buyers. This does not apply to active military personnel or military veterans.
What are the main benefits?
Eligible applicants can save on borrowing money by accessing lower-than-market rates. They also benefit from financial assistance towards down payments and closing costs through a second mortgage.
How do I apply?
To apply for a mortgage through the Hometown Heroes program, you’ll need to provide documentation that confirms that you meet the eligibility criteria. Check the requirements and seek advice if you have any questions or queries. It’s essential to ensure that you qualify before you apply.
as like police officers, firefighters, emergency healthcare people etc)
Eligible frontline workers can receive lower than market rates on an FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac first mortgage, reduced upfront fees, no origination points or discount points and down payment and closing cost assistance.
Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance.
Down payment and closing cost assistance is available in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage. This second mortgage becomes due and payable, in full, upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as his/her primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.