Florida Down Payment Assistance

Florida has beaches, amusement attractions, pleasantly warm winters, and more! However, rising house prices can make home ownership in Florida difficult. Luckily, local and national programs exist that offer down payment assistance and grants to qualified applicants.

If you're thinking about purchasing a home in Florida, you may have options to help with the down payment or closing costs. Click on any program below to learn more and see if it can help with your home purchase!

Broward County Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program

The Broward County Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program offers down payment assistance for those utilizing Broward County’s First Time Home Buyer Program, a fixed-rate mortgage loan. Assistance is offered through a deferred-payment loan. In order to be eligible, applicants must be first-time home buyers, must have a yearly household income less than 80% of the area median income, and must finish a HUD Counseling seminar. Borrowers must pay at least 1% of the down payment with their own funds and a $750 transaction fee from the Housing Finance Authority (HFA) of Broward County. Eligible properties (including new or existing single-family residences, condominiums, villas, or townhomes) must be the applicant’s primary residence and pass an inspection. Mobile houses and cooperatives are not included.

State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program

The State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program offers a 0% interest loan for as much as 10% of a house’s purchase price. This loan only has to be paid back when the applicant sells the house, rents it out, or does not use the house as a primary residence anymore.

In order to qualify, applicants cannot have owned a house in the previous three years (must be first-time homebuyers), and have to have been working or living in Charlotte County for the previous six months. Borrowers also have to meet certain debt-to-income ratios: less than 30% for their first mortgage and less than 40% total (not including utilities). In addition to paying $500 towards the down payment from their own funds, borrowers also have to finish a homebuyer education program.

Eligible properties include owner-occupied new or existing single-family homes or qualified condominiums less than $253,809 (as of 2020). The home must be in Charlotte County and cannot be a mobile home.

Borrowers must fall under certain annual household limits, which for 2020 are the following:

1 person household : $30,550
2 person household : $34,900
3 person household: $39,250
4 person household : $43,600
5 person household : $47,100
6 person household : $50,600

Orange County Down Payment Assistance Program

Available for eligible properties in Orange County, this Down Payment Assistance Program offers up to $30,000 for qualified first-time home buyers through a ten-year deferred interest loan. These funds can be used for the down payment and/or qualified closing costs, but the loan must be paid back prior to the ten-year term end if the property is sold, rented out, refinanced without prior approval, or is no longer the applicant’s primary residence.

Applicants cannot have owned a house in the previous three years, must be legal US residents, and must have been residents of Orange, Osceola, Seminole or Lake County for the past year. In addition, applicants must have a minimum credit score of 640 and at least $1,000 (or up to 1.75% of the purchase price, whichever is greater) to put towards the down payment or closing costs. Applicants must also fall within certain annual household limits.

In order for a property to be eligible for this program, it must be within Orange County (but outside of Orlando), be owner-occupied, and not have a purchase price of more than $200,000. Single family homes, condominiums, townhouses, and modular homes are all eligible, but not mobile homes.

Hardest Hit Fund Down Payment Assistance

Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) DPA is offered for eligible applicants in Hillsborough County. The program is run by the Hillsborough County Housing Finance Authority, and borrowers can get access to as much $15,000 through a 0-interest second mortgage. This loan is forgivable, which means that under certain conditions, all or part of it does not need to be paid back. It is forgiven at the rate of 20% per year for 5 years. If the property is refinanced, sold, foreclosed, or is no longer the applicant’s primary residence within the 5-year loan term, the loan becomes due.

In order to qualify, applicants have to be first-time homebuyers, permanent US residents, have a FICO mid score of no less than 640, and a debt to income ratio no more than 45%. Applicants will also be required to finish a pre-purchase homebuyer education course that has been selected by the HHF DPA program.

Annual household income limits for applicants as of 2020 are $59,800 for a 1 or 2-person household and $68,770 for a 3 or more-person household.

In order to be eligible, a property must be the applicant’s primary residence within 60 days of closing and not have a purchase price of more than $253,809 as of 2020. New or existing detached or attached houses with up to four units are allowed, as well as condominiums and town houses.

Escambia County Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance

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.

Palm Bay HOME Down Payment Assistance Program

Through the Palm Bay HOME Down Payment Assistance Programs, Palm Bay City offers closing cost and down payment assistance (and, in certain cases, rehabilitation assistance) to qualified first-time homebuyers. Individuals in the “low-income” or “very-low-income” brackets will receive preference in this program.

The “very-low-income” bracket consists of families who earn under 50% of the area median income.

As much as $17,881.50 can be received to help cover the costs of the down payment, closing costs, and in certain cases, rehabilitation. This is a loan that is deferred and can be forgiven after its term has been completed. It will need to be paid back if the house is no longer owner-occupied or the title has been transferred.

In order to be eligible, applicants must be creditworthy, fall within certain income limits, and finish a homebuyer education class. Homebuyers will also be required to put down a contribution of at least $750 (for those in the very-low-income bracket) or $1,250 (for those in the low-income bracket).

As of 2020, the annual household income limits are:

  • 1 person household: $33,000
  • 2 person household: $37,700
  • 3 person household: $42,400
  • 4 person household: $47,100
  • 5 person household: $50,900
  • 6 person household: $54,650

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