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Getting a mortgage in Florida

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. (Florida Housing) helps residents in Florida find affordable housing through a range of home loan and down payment assistance programs. With some help from Florida Housing, you may be able to buy your first home sooner than you thought.

Florida Housing’s homebuyer programs help Floridians find affordable, quality housing within their budgets. Your loan will not be issued directly by Florida Housing. Instead, you’ll work through a participating lender to secure your home loan.

If you need help covering the upfront costs of buying a home, your lender may help you apply for a second loan to cover your down payment and closing costs.

More: Get a free credit score and credit monitoring from Credit Sesame.

First Time Homebuyer (FTHB) program

This Florida program for first-time homebuyers offers 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans through participating lenders. While the program is intended for first-time buyers, other buyers may qualify if they’re eligible veterans or are purchasing homes in federally designated targeted areas. Your lender can let you know if you qualify even if you’re not a first-timer.

You’ll also have to meet Florida Housing’s income and purchase price limits, as well as the standard requirements for your loan type. First-time homebuyers are required to complete a Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved homebuyer education program.

Salute Our Soldiers Military Loan program

This mortgage loan program offers military service personnel and veterans access to 30-year, fixed-rate home loans with reduced interest rates. It also includes several down payment assistance options.

To qualify for this program, you’ll need to be purchasing a home that will serve as your primary residence, meet income and purchase price limits, and complete a homebuyer education course.

The Florida Assist (FL Assist) program

This down payment assistance program offers homebuyers loans of up to $7,500 at 0% interest. Repayment is deferred until you sell, refinance or pay off your first mortgage. At that point, you’ll be expected to repay your FL Assist loan in full.

HFA Preferred and HFA Advantage PLUS Second Mortgage

This down payment and closing cost assistance program offers borrowers 3% to 5% of their total loan amount in the form of a forgivable loan. After five years, your loan will be completely forgiven.

Florida Home Ownership Loan Program (FL HLP) Second Mortgage

This second mortgage loan program offers eligible homebuyers loans of up to $10,000 at a 3% interest rate and a 15-year term; borrowers repay in monthly installments. As this is another mortgage loan, your debt-to-income ratio may be considered to ensure you can manage the monthly payments.

Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

A Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for a set percentage of the interest you pay on your mortgage every year. The MCC gives homebuyers who are using one of Florida Housing’s first mortgage programs a credit of up to 50% of the interest on their income taxes (up to $2,000). To be eligible for the MCC, you’ll have to be a first-time homebuyer and meet Florida Housing’s income and purchase price limits.

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About the Author

Sigrid Forberg

Sigrid Forberg

Associate Editor

Sigrid’s is Moneywise.com's associate editor, and she has also worked as a reporter and staff writer on the Moneywise team.

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