First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs for 2022 in Florida

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Danielle McDonald

Mortgage Assistance for Homebuyers in Florida

Broward County Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program

Broward County is aware that not everyone can afford to make monthly mortgage payments. Therefore, they have their Homebuyer Assistance Program assists potential home buyers in overcoming this obstacle by providing down payment assistance.

Available Assistance

Broward County residents with income are eligible to receive down payment assistance funds through the Homebuyer Purchase Assistance program. This loan is a deferred-payment loan. The granting of funds is on a first come, first served basis. You can use this program in along with Broward County’s First Time Home Buyer Program. It is a low-interest, fixed-rate mortgage program.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible for assistance through the Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program. Then, only first-time homebuyers who have an annual household income below 80 percent of the local median income are eligible for this program. Before submitting an application, borrowers must attend and complete a HUD Counseling seminar. However, all borrowers have the requirement to pay $750 transaction fees to the Housing Finance Authority of Broward County. In addition to contributing 1 % of the down payment out of their own funds

Property Guidelines

A home must be the primary residence of the borrower and must pass a thorough inspection. Broward County has a range of eligible properties, including single-family homes, condos, villas, townhomes, and condominiums. However, Mobile homes and cooperatives do not qualify.

Escambia County Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance

Income-eligible applicants can receive down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a zero-interest deferred second mortgage with a maximum loan amount of $7,500. However, you can only use this program with the 4 percent first mortgage.

Available Assistance

Income-eligible applicants can receive down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a zero-interest deferred second mortgage with a maximum loan amount of $7,500. Those eligible can only use this loan with the 4 percent program’s first mortgage. The second mortgage is not amortizing, but repayments are due upon satisfaction of the first mortgage or upon the sale, transfer or disposition. The program also provides cash up to 100 per cent for homebuyers who are unable to borrow any cash.

Eligibility Requirements

The Down Payment and Closing cost Assistance Program is only available to first-time homebuyers. Those living in a principal residence for more than three years are not eligible. However, this does not apply to homebuyers that are qualifying veterans or those living in a targeted area. Participation in Conventional, FHA and USDA-RD Loans requires that the annual household income of the borrower be within the program limits. There is a credit score requirement of below 640.

Property Guidelines

The borrower must make the home his or her primary residence when purchasing a home with program funds. The eligible property types are attached and detached single-family homes, condos, townhomes, PUDs, as well as condominiums, townhomes, or PUDs. They must all be located in Alachua or Walton Counties. The program’s maximum purchase price limit is $310,211 for homes located in Target Areas and $253,809 in non-target areas.

Homebuyer Education

At least one of the applicants should have a completed course of homeownership education.

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income earned by members of the household (18 years old or older) who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 1 or 2 person households in Non-Target Area: $62,000
  • 3 or more person households in Non-Target Area: $71,300
  • 1 or 2 person households in Target Area: $74,400
  • 3 or more person households in Target Area: $86,800

This programme similar to the down payment First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs in Delaware.

HFA Miami-Dade Mortgage Program

The Housing Finance Authority of Miami-Dade understands the high upfront cost of buying a home. The HFA provides assistance for potential homebuyers in the form of a first mortgage and down payment assistance.

Available Assistance 

The HFA of Miami-Dade provides eligible homebuyers with up to $10,000 in down payments assistance along with a fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage at a low interest rate. This assistance is in the form of a second, deferred, no-interest mortgage.

Eligibility Requirements 

The down payment assistance program is only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. They must have a minimum credit score 640 and be employed in the same job line for at least 24 months. The HUD-approved 8-hour homebuyer education course must be completed by applicants. Their annual household income must not exceed the following levels:

Household for 1 -2 persons 
  • Non-Target: $91,400
  • Target: $105,110 
Household for 3 or more persons 
  • Non-Target: $109,680
  • Target: $127,960 

Property Guidelines 

Program funds cannot be used to purchase property that is not the borrower’s primary residence. It must be in Miami-Dade County. You can qualify for property types such as single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. The program has a maximum purchase price limit for homes.

  • Non-Target: $331,887   
  • Target :$405,640 

Hardest Hit Fund Down Payment Assistance

Hillsborough First with the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), Down Payment Assistance Program offered by the Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County. This program helps first-time homebuyers with little money to save for large down payments or closing costs.

Available Assistance

The DPA Program offers applicants up to $15,000 in assistance funds, which can be used to purchase a second mortgage with zero interest and forgivable terms. For five years, 20 percent of the loan amount can be forgiven. After that, the mortgage will be completely forgiven. The loan must be repaid if the borrower sells, short-sells, or forecloses the home or it is no longer the borrower’s primary residence.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must meet the requirements to be eligible for the Program. Borrowers must be both first-time homebuyers as well as permanent residents. They must also meet the program guidelines. They must also successfully complete a Program approved pre-purchase education course. FICO scores of at least 640 must be met, as well as a debt-to income ratio not higher than 45 percent.

Property Guidelines

DPA Program funds can only be used to purchase a home that is the borrower’s primary residence. It must also be occupied within 60 calendar days of closing. Existing detached or attached homes, as well as condominiums and townhomes with up to four units, are eligible properties, provided they don’t exceed $253,809.

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income earned by members (18-years or older) who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 1 or 2 persons: $59,800
  • 3 or more persons: $68,770

Head Start To HOME Ownership Program

The City of Jacksonville offers the Head Start to HOME Ownership Program (also known as H2H), which provides assistance with closing costs and down payments for eligible applicants.

Available Assistance 

The H2H program provides assistance funds in the form of a zero-interest second or third mortgage with a 5-year term. Repayment is due upon the sale, refinance or transfer of the property. The city must also be repaid by the applicant for the original loan amount or the net proceeds of the sale.

Eligibility Requirements 

To be eligible for the H2H Program applicants must have a household income that is no more than 80% of Duval County’s area median income. The down payment should be in cash, and a minimum $500 contribution. However, a $375 deposit is a requirement at the time of the inspection.

Property Guidelines 

The applicant must live in the home purchased with funds from H2H. The eligible property types are new and existing single-family homes. However, mobile homes and manufactured housing are not eligible.

Home Key Plus 2nd Mortgage

Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County’s First Homebuyer Program was created to assist potential borrowers in purchasing the home of their dreams. The program provides assistance to borrowers through the Home Key Plus 2nd mortgage.

Available Assistance 

The assistance funds are in the form of a second, non-amortizing, and zero-interest mortgage. To help with the down payment and closing costs, the program provides up to $7500 in assistance funds. Then, the loan is due upon the borrowers’ sale or refinance of the property, payment of the first mortgage, or if they rent out or cease to occupy the property as their primary residence.

Eligibility Requirements 

This program is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, first-time homebuyers, veterans, and those who have never owned a home. Each applicant must take an 8-hour HUD-approved homeowner education class and contribute at least $1,000 from their own money. Applicants must also meet the program’s credit and income requirements.

Credit Restrictions: 660 for FHA version, Conventional minimum 640 middle FICO 

Income Limits 

Maximum Non-Target Area  
  • 1 or 2-person household: $70,300  
  • 3 or more-person household: $80,845  
Maximum Target Area  
  • 1 or 2-person household: $84,360  
  • 3 or more-person household: $98,420 

Property Guidelines 

A home bought with program funds must be the borrower’s primary residence. It must also be occupied within 60 calendar days of closing. The borrower can purchase new or resale properties, but not manufactured homes. The property must also meet the program’s minimum purchase price guidelines.

  • Non-Target areas: $294,600 
  • Target areas:  $360,067 

Home Ownership Program

Housing Finance Authority of Manatee County provides homebuyers with down payment assistance through their Home Ownership Program. The program offers borrowers the opportunity to pay the down payment and/or closing cost in addition to a first mortgage.

Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program

Housing Finance Authority of Hillsborough County offers the Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program to homebuyers that helps them overcome the obstacle of high down payments.

Available Assistance 

Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program provides assistance to first-time homebuyers in the form of a 30-year second loan. Then the zero-interest, deferred loan is available to applicants who can borrow up to $10,000 to pay down the down payment and/or closing expenses. The loan is not subject to monthly payments, but there must be a repayment if the first mortgage underwent refinancing or sold.

Eligibility Requirements

Both the applicants and their spouses (occupants and non-occupants) must be U.S. permanent residents and first-time buyers. They must have completed a pre-purchase homebuyer education program approved by the program and a FICO score of at least 660.

Property Guidelines 

You can use the Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program funds to purchase a home that serves as the applicant’s primary residence. It must also fall within the $283,348 maximum price limit. However, the price must include all costs incurred by the buyer, or the buyer on their behalf. The following property types are eligible: new and existing detached or attached homes of one to four units, condos, townhomes, and condos. Additionally, the property must be occupied within 60 days after closing.

Income Limits

There is a requirement for all borrowers, spouses and people aged 18 or older to provide proof of income. FHA, USDA-RD and VA Loans: 

  • 1 – 2 person household: $69,020 
  • 3 or more person household: $80,845 

Lee County FirstPlus Program

Florida’s Lee County Housing Finance Authority offers first-time homebuyers assistance with closing costs and down payment through the FirstPlus program. This program is funded on an ongoing basis.

Available Assistance 

FirstPlus applicants receive down payment assistance in form of a second loan up to $10,000. This 30-year, zero-interest loan is due upon the sale, refinance, transfer of title or rental of the property. Additionally, the program offers a competitive 30-year fixed rate mortgage and no asset restrictions for homebuyers. All eligible loans are FHA, VA, USDA-RD, and USDA.

Eligibility Requirements 

The FirstPlus program is open to first-time homebuyers–borrowers and spouses (occupant or non-occupant) who have not owned a home in the previous three years–who are permanent residents of the U.S. Their household income must fall within the program’s maximum income limits, and their FICO score must be 640 or higher. DTI requirements are 45% and borrowers must meet the normal FHA, VA or USDA-RD underwriting criteria. A homebuyer education course is a requirement for all applicants.

Property Guidelines 

The property must be the borrower’s primary residence. It must also be occupied within 60 calendar days of closing. Lee, Broward, Charlotte Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, and also Palm Beach are eligible areas.

Orange County Down Payment Assistance Program

Orange County residents can benefit from the Down Payment Assistance Program. This program provides financial assistance to income-eligible homebuyers who are looking to purchase a home. You can use these funds to pay qualified closing costs or the down payment required for a mortgage transaction.

Available Assistance

The Orange County Down Payment Assistance program offers assistance funds of up to $30,000 for qualified applicants. This is in the form of a 10-year, deferred loan. However, the amount must be repaid if a home is sold, rented or refinanced without the prior approval of Orange County.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible for Orange County’s Down Payment Assistance Program. This loan is only available to first-time homebuyers. Anyone who has owned a house in the past three years will not be eligible. Legal residents of the U.S. must be eligible. They must have established residence in Orlando Metropolitan Statistical Area (Orange Osceola Seminole, Lake County) within the past 12 months. The program limits all borrowers to have an annual income of less than $600 and a credit score not lower than 640. They must be able contribute at least $1,000 to the down payment or 1.75 percent towards closing costs using their own funds.

Property Guidelines

All homes purchased using program funds must be occupied and the maximum purchase price of $200,000. Single family homes, condos, townhouses and modular homes that are located in Orange County but not within the city limits of Orlando, are eligible properties. However, mobile homes are not eligible.

Palm Bay HOME Down Payment Assistance Program

The HOME Down Payment Assistance Program was established by the City of Palm Bay, Florida. It assists income-eligible applicants in obtaining down payment and closing costs assistance for their first home. Rehabilitation may also be available if necessary.

Available Assistance

The HOME Down Payment Assistance Program allows households with incomes below 50 percent to receive up to $17,881.50 total assistance. The down payment and closing cost must be at least $10,881.50. Then, the remaining $7,000 can be used for closing costs and down payment, or, if necessary, to help with code-related rehab work.

This aid is in the form of a multi-year, deferred loan that is forgiven at the end the applicable affordability period. As long as the property is occupied by the owner and the title has not been transferred, the loan amount is not due to be repaid.

Eligibility Requirements

The HOME Down Payment Assistance Program is only available to first-time homebuyers. Anyone who has owned a house in the past three years will not be eligible for assistance. Creditworthiness is also a requirement. No judgments, bankruptcies or repossessions are allowed. Applicants must have obtained a first mortgage (conventional or FHA loans, as well as VA loans). The applicants must also complete a homebuyer education program and meet the income requirements of the program. Each homebuyer must also contribute a minimum amount, which is dependent on their income bracket (Very Low Income: $750; Low Income: $1,250).

Income Limits

The income of a household is any income earned by members (18-years or older) who live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 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

Households with a total income of between 50-80 percent of the AMI are eligible for assistance funds up to $12,881.50. You must use the $7,881.50 to pay for the closing costs and down payment, while $5,000 can be used for rehabilitation.

State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program

In Charlotte County, the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP), provides income-eligible applicants with a loan of zero interest up to 10% of the purchase price (a maximum of $15,000)

Available Assistance

Income-eligible applicants can receive a zero-interest loan through the SHIP program. This is up to 10% of the purchase price. Only if the property is sold, converted to rental housing or is no longer used as the primary residence of the borrower, the total loan amount must be repaid.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the SHIP Program, all borrowers need to meet certain criteria. However, only first-time homebuyers, meaning those who haven’t owned a Charlotte County home in the past three years, are eligible for the program. They must also have lived or worked in Charlotte County at least six months before applying. The applicant must have a minimum of 30 percent first mortgage debt-to income ratio and not more than 40 percent total debt-to–income (exempting basic utilities). Borrowers must also contribute a minimum $500 from their own money to the down payment and complete a homebuyer education program.

Property Guidelines

All property purchased using program funds must be owned-occupied. Then, it can be located anywhere within Charlotte County, Punta Gorda or Englewood. However, the maximum purchase price for the program is $253,809. You can use the funds to buy a single-family home, qualified condominium, or a new, existing, single-family home. Mobile homes are not eligible.

Income Limits

Applicants must meet the program’s annual household income limits. The household income refers to all income earned by household members (18-years or older) while they live in the house, regardless of whether they have a mortgage.

  • 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

The Tallahassee Lenders’ Consortium First-Time Homebuyer Program

The Tallahassee Consortium First-Time Buyer Program offers down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. This helps to reduce the initial costs associated with the mortgage process.

Available Assistance

TLC offers down payment assistance through a zero-interest second loan. The loan is non-refundable unless the house is sold, refinanced, repaid within 30 years or the borrower moves out of the primary residence. Below are the available assistance options:

Tallahassee City Limits

  • Up to $7,000 Maximum
  • Up to $12,000 less than or equal to 50% AMI

Leon County Limits

  • Regular up to $10,000
  • 203k up to $15,000

Eligibility Requirements

The down payment assistance is only available to first-time homebuyers. Anyone who has owned a house in the past three years will not be eligible, unless they are displaced or their home has been deemed to be unsafe. However, all applicants must meet the income requirements and have $500 to contribute to apply. The borrower must use the property as their primary residence, therefore, using it for mobile homes or duplexes is not allowed.

Income Limits

City of Tallahassee
  • 1-person household: $38,600    
  • 2-person household: $44,100
  • 3-person household: $49,600    
  • 4-person household: $55,100
  • 5-person household: $59,550    
  • 6-person household: $63,950
Leon County
  • 1-person household: $56,640      
  • 2-person household: $64,800    
  • 3-person household: $72,840    
  • 4-person household: $80,880    
  • 5-person household: $87,360   
  • 6-person household: $93,840

Miami First Time Homebuyer Program

Low-interest loans are available through the City of Miami’s First Time Homebuyer Program.

Available Assistance 

If they are eligible based on their income, the Miami First Time Homebuyer Program offers zero-interest deferred loans for first-time homebuyers who purchase a property within the City of Miami.

Eligibility Requirements 

The First Time Homebuyer Program is only open to first-time homebuyers who are not homeowners in the past three years and have a household income below 80%. The down payment and closing costs must be paid by applicants at least $500 from their own funds.

Property Guidelines 

All property purchased using program funds must be the borrower’s primary residence. It must also be within Miami city limits and meet Housing Quality Standards per HUD. However, eligible property types are only those single-family residences or townhomes. So, the maximum purchase price for existing properties is $261,000, and new constructions are $276,000

​City of Orlando First-Time Homebuyer Program

The City of Orlando offers assistance for first-time homebuyers to cover the down payment and closing costs.

Eligibility Requirements 

All applicants must be first-time buyers (those who haven’t owned a house in the last three years). Therefore, this rule is not applicable to displaced homemakers, singles, former/future Parramore residents and City of Orlando employees. However, teachers or school administrators or public safety personnel are exceptions. But all applicants must obtain a mortgage from one the City’s licensed lenders. They also need to complete a pre-purchase homebuyer education program approved by HUD, which includes a One-On-One session (telephone counseling not accepted). The down payment and closing costs must be paid by the applicants, but gift funds are not allowed to be used as payment.

City of St. Petersburg Purchase Assistance Program

To help eligible buyers afford the initial costs of purchasing a home, the City of St. Petersburg offers assistance through the Purchase Assistance Program.

Available Assistance 

The Purchase Assistance Program offers $20,000 in assistance funds to applicants whose annual household income is less than 80% of the area median. So, there’s up to $10,000 may be available for those whose income falls between 80%-120%.

Eligibility Requirements 

All applicants who are eligible for the City of St. Petersburg’s Purchase Assistance Program must be first-time buyers. They must also attend and complete a HUD-approved homebuyer education training class. All applicants must contribute 1% to the sale price, including any out-of-pocket expenses such as appraisals, credit reports, and property inspections. The applicants must also prove their ability to maintain homeownership and have sufficient residual income to cover expenses.

Property Guidelines  

To ensure compliance with the Quality Housing Standards, any home bought with program funds must be the borrower’s primary residence. However, the purchase price cannot exceed $294,691. The City of St. Petersburg has the right to grant property ownership rights to any type of property, including new or existing single-family housing units, condominiums and townhomes as well as cooperative apartments.

Income Limits 

80% of the area median income:

  • 1-person household: $41,350 
  • 2 -person household: $47,250 
  • 3 -person household: $53,150 
  • 4 -person household: $59,050 
  • 5 -person household: $63,800 
  • 6 -person household: $68,500 
  • 7 -person household: $73,250 
  • 8 -person household: $77,950 

Duval County Home Sweet Home Program

Home Sweet Home Program offers assistance to income-eligible applicants through closing cost and down payment assistance

Available Assistance  

Home Sweet Home allows first-time homebuyers to receive a zero-interest, 30-year, deferred second mortgage up to $7,500. However, these funds can only be used to pay down the mortgage and/or for closing costs. The second mortgage cannot be forgiven, therefore, it must be repaid if the home is refinanced or sold.

Eligibility Requirements 

Both the applicants and their spouses (occupants and non-occupants) must be first-time homebuyers and permanent residents in the U.S. They must have completed a pre-purchase homebuyer education program, have a FICO score greater than 640, and be within the program’s income limits.

Property Guidelines  

So, the maximum purchase price for a home bought with funds from the Home Sweet Home Hillsborough Program is $225,000. But the price must include all costs incurred by the buyer, or the buyer on their behalf. The following property types are eligible: new and existing detached or attached homes of one to four units, condos, townhomes, and condos. The property must also be occupied within 60 days after closing.

Income Limits  

All borrowers, spouses and also people aged 18 or older are eligible to be included in the household income calculation.  FHA, USDA-RD, and VA Loans:  

  • 1 – 2 person household: $78,865 
  • 3 or more person household: $90,694 

Are you interested in the First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Programs in Georgia?

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