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The Hometown Heroes Housing Program makes it possible for eligible frontline community workers in the state of Florida to achieve affordable homeownership. Some of the eligible occupations are firefighters, educators, nurses and other healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers and child care employees.
This program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time, income-qualified home buyers allowing them to purchase a primary residence in the community in which they work and serve.
Additionally, it offers a lower first mortgage rate and additional special benefits to those who have served and continue to serve their country.
Highlights of the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program
With the Florida Hometown Heroes borrowers can receive up to a maximum of $25,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance. In addition, you can pair this program with additional assistance programs to maximize the amount of received assistance.
How Do You Receive the Down Payment Assistance?
The down payment and closing cost assistance in the Florida Hometown Heroes Program is available in the form of a 0% interest, non-amortizing, 30-year repayable second mortgage.
Therefore, this means that upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as their primary residence, this second mortgage becomes due and payable in full. Furthermore, the Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.
Nonetheless, you can use the down payment and closing cost assistance for the following:
- Borrower’s down payment
- Any down payment exceeding the minimum borrower requirement
- Reasonable and customary closing costs
However, the assistance cannot be used to cover commission for real estate agents, the cost difference between the sales price and the appraised value or to pay off borrower debt.
Florida Hometown Heroes Eligibility Requirements
- Borrowers must not exceed the maximum income limit requirements for the county in which property is being purchased.
- All borrowers must be a first-time homebuyer. Therefore, the borrower(s) cannot own another property when applying for the Hometown Heroes program.
- Veterans and active-duty military members are exempt from all first-time homebuyer requirements unless participating in the HFA Preferred Heroes program (Veterans are NOT exempt from completing a homebuyer counseling course).
Initially, at least one borrower had to be employed under the eligible occupations for the Hometown Heroes Program. Ultimately, this requirement changed and the program is now available to all first-time home buyers employed in a brick and mortar business established in the state of Florida.
Counseling for first-time home buyers is required to be completed by all borrowers that receive income from an approved occupation.
Parameters of the Hometown Heroes Loan
The Hometown Heroes Housing Program is for Florida residents only that launched for the first time in June 2022. As part of the important things to point out, when applying for the program, you must comply with these parameters.
- Loan types must be Conventional, FHA, USDA or VA; 30-year fixed
- 1-unit single family residences and PUDs
- 2-4 units (Borrower must occupy 1 unit as their primary and property must be at least 5 years old)
- Condos (Follow agency requirements, FHA loans are ineligible for single unit approvals)
- Manufactured homes (Not eligible on VA or Freddie Mac loans)
- For mixed-use properties, no more than 15% of the property can be used for business purposes and must follow agency requirements
- Min FICO = 640 (Min FICO = 660 for manufactured homes)
- Max DTI = 50% with Approve/Eligible findings (Max DTI = 45% for manufactured homes)
- Primary purchases ONLY. With this in mind, this must be for the borrower’s first property as they cannot own any other properties – this excludes veterans or active military members
- Conforming loan limits ONLY (No High-Balance)
- The loan for this program must be originated in the broker channel –no correspondent
- Florida Hometown Heroes Second Mortgagee Clause required to satisfy Homeowner’s Insurance requirements
- Cannot waive the UW fee
- No non-occupying co-borrowers or co-signers
- No escrow waivers
- No co-ops, single-wide manufactured homes or land trusts
- No temporary rate buydowns
- No standalone or piggyback HELOCs
Overall, this program is an excellent option for Florida workers who are looking to purchase their first home. To learn more about the Florida Hometown Heroes Program and to find out if it’s a right option for you, contact our team of licensed loan officers or start a conversation on our website chat.
Hometown Heroes Program Overview: Florida Housing