The Escambia County Housing Finance Authority (ECHFA) offers this down payment and closing cost assistance program to eligible applicants in Alachua, Bay, Bradford, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hernando, Indian River, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Marion, Martin, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, St. Lucie, Wakulla, or Walton counties.
Down payment and closing cost assistance are offered in conjunction with low-interest-rate mortgages. This program can cover as much as 100% of eligible down payment and closing costs, with the condition that there is no cash-back for the borrower. The type of assistance that is offered differs based on whether the borrower chooses a governmental mortgage program or a Freddie Mac mortgage program.
For the Governmental Classic DPA program, assistance is offered in the form of a deferred zero interest non-amortizing second mortgage for as much as $7,500. This loan must be paid back when either the first mortgage has been paid off, or the house has been sold or transferred.
For the Conventional DPA program, assistance is offered in the form of a forgivable non-amortizing second mortgage with a 5-year term. Borrowers must have a Freddie Mac HFA Advantage First mortgage in order to utilize this assistance. The amount of assistance can be as much as 3, 4, or 5% of the loan amount. The loan is forgiven after the 5-year loan term has passed, but must be repaid if the property is sold or transferred or if the first mortgage is paid off within the 5 years.
In order to qualify, applicants must have not owned a house in the previous three years, be first-time homebuyers, have a credit score of at least 640, use the property as their principal residence, and fall within certain income limits for their county.
In certain target areas, applicants do not need to be first-time homebuyers. Some borrowers may need to take a Homeownership Education Course and receive a Homeownership Education Certificate.
Eligible properties must be in one of the participating counties and fall within certain property purchase price limits. The property must be a single-family home and can be attached or detached, a condominium, or town house.
Other programs in Florida:
- Broward County Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program
- State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program
- Orange County Down Payment Assistance Program
- Hardest Hit Fund Down Payment Assistance
- Palm Bay HOME Down Payment Assistance Program