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Tampa Down Payment Assistance | First-time Home Buyer

If you are a first time home buyer*, this information is vital to your home purchase.  Please read this carefully.        *a person that has not owned a home in the last 36 months

The first thing you know about buying a home and getting a mortgage is that down payment and closing costs are separate costs.  First time home buyers often confuse the two.

  • A down payment is a percentage of the purchase price required at closing to obtain the mortgage. For example, an FHA loan requires 3.5% down payment to get the loan.  This amount can be a gift from a family member or down payment assistance.  Consult with us about gift funds before accepting any money.  If it's not documented properly it could ruin your loan qualification.  There are special loans still available that do not require a down payment (100% Financing) but the home must be located in an approved area.  Contact us about the areas that are approved.
  • Closing costs are fees associated with the purchase of the home, such as, title insurance, lender underwriting, taxes, and escrows (pre-paid property tax and insurance) to name a few.  Sometimes the home seller will contribute toward some or all of these fees. These fees range from 3 to 6% of the purchase price.  We can provide you an estimate of these costs.

Secondly, buyers must understand that down payment assistance is not for people with poor or bad credit.  It is for people who have moderate to excellent credit. In most cases, a minimum of a 620 credit score is required.

Lastly, buying a home requires some out-of-pocket expenses prior to obtaining and closing the loan that are not part of the down payment or closing costs.  These fees include: a deposit on your purchase contract (usually 1% of the purchase price with a minimum of $500), a $300 - $350 home inspection (not legally required but highly recommended), and a $300 - $350 appraisal required by the lender to determine the market value of the home.  You will need a minimum of $1200 to start the process.  Plus, some loans require a minimum of two months payments, taxes and insurance to be left in savings after the loan closes  (monies held in IRA or 401K satisfy this requirement).  When we qualify you, we will be able to tell you if this will be required for your loan program.

As a First Time Home Buyer you may be eligible to receive $5000 or $10,000 for down payment assistance and in some cases, you may qualify for home purchase money from S.H.I.P** paying up to $60,000 toward a home purchase.  As you can imagine, the $60,000 down payment assistance from SHIP is in high demand, therefore, is difficult to get due to limited county funds.  We can guide you through the process of submitting your application for an opportunity to receive these funds.  All of these funds have income limits depending on the number of persons in your household.  We can calculate what the income limit will be for your family.

**The SHIP program funds are usually released in the spring. You must have your home buyer education completed and be prequalified by an approved lender in order to reserve your funds on the release date.  The years allocated funds are usually consumed the first day so don't delay!

CONTACT US TODAY to get started! Click Here.


Here you will find information on three government programs: The Florida Assist ProgramHAMI (Homeownership Assistance for Moderate Income), and SHIP Program (State Housing Initiative Partnership).  We have provided information on these programs below, however, due to changes in program guidelines, you should not rely on this information. 

Contact us for help with these down payment assistance programs.

Florida Assist Program - Down Payment Assistance
Florida Housing requires the completion of a Homebuyer Counseling Course for all borrowers receiving First Time Homebuyer Program assistance. Homebuyer counseling addresses vital information such as money management, spending and savings plans. Florida Housing believes that Homebuyer Education will empower you to make more informed decisions and enable you to effectively manage your resources leading to greater financial stability.

Florida Assist Loans are zero percent interest, non-amortizing second mortgage loans, which means you do not make any monthly payments. You repay the loan if you sell the home, transfer ownership, satisfy or refinance the first mortgage, or cease to occupy the home.

The Florida Assist Loan provides up to $10,000 to assist with down payment and closing costs. This program targets applicants whose incomes are at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)*.

Homeownership Assisatance for Moderate Income - Down Payment Assistance

Florida Housing requires the completion of a Homebuyer Counseling Course for all borrowers receiving First Time Homebuyer Program assistance. Homebuyer counseling addresses vital information such as money management, spending and savings plans. Florida Housing believes that Homebuyer Education will empower you to make more informed decisions and enable you to effectively manage your resources leading to greater financial stability.

The Homeownership Assistance for Moderate Income (HAMI) Loan program enables borrowers with moderate incomes to also qualify for down payment and closing cost assistance. HAMI Loans provide up to $5,000 to assist with down payment and closing costs. HAMI is an amortized loan that is offered†at 5 percent (5%). You may qualify for this loan if your income exceeds the limits for the†Florida Assist†Loan, but does not exceed the Maximum Annual Income Limits for the First Time Homebuyer Program*.

 

State Housing Initiative Partnership - Down Payment Assistance 

(Please note: The SHIP program has limited funding and is only available to small percentage of people.)

What Is The First Time Home Buyer Program?

Hillsborough Countyís First Time Home Buyer Program provides Down Payment Assistance, Closing Cost Assistance and Homeownership Education. These funds are provided by Hillsborough County through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program and through the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program. This assistance is provided in the form of a 0% interest, deferred payment loan (DPL). This simply means that there is no interest accrued and no payments are made during the life of the loan. The DPL is a second mortgage with a 30 year term. If ownership is maintained for the full term of the loan, then the second mortgage with Hillsborough County is forgiven and repayment is not necessary.

Who Is Eligible For This Program?

To qualify you must be a first time home buyer in unincorporated Hillsborough County, Temple Terrace or Plant City; and your total household income must be 120% and below the area median income. In addition you must meet all of the requirements described below.

What Are The Requirements?
  • You cannot have owned a home within the last three years.
  • Household income must be 120% and below area median income for unincorporated Hillsborough County (See table below). All Household income must be included in calculation. Income from children under the age of 18 is excluded.
  • You must attend a 25 hour mandatory FTHB Education class.
  • Must be able to qualify for a first mortgage loan. (qualifying debt ration and credit worthiness)
  • A minimum down payment is required, but all prepaid amounts such as appraisal, application fees, and inspection fee are counted as part of your minimum down payment.
  • You must put down a minimum of $500 if your income is 50% or below of area median income. You must put down a minimum of $1,000 down if your income is below 80% of the area median income. If your income is above 80% area median income, you must put down 2% of the purchase price.
If I Participate In The First Time Buyer Program, Do I Have To Live In A Specific Area?

You are not limited to specific neighborhoods. To qualify you must purchase a home in unincorporated Hillsborough County, Temple Terrace or Plant City. However, if you choose to purchase a home in one of the designated Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Target Areas, $5,000 of your total assistance will be considered a grant that does not require repayment.

How Much Money Will I Receive?

The total assistance you receive depends on your income level and the total amount needed for down payment and closing costs. You will earn a certificate for $50,000 or $60,000 depending on your income. This amount is not guaranteed.

Can I Buy Any Home? What Types Of Homes Are Eligible?

All types of housing units are eligible for this program. These include single family homes, condominiums and townhomes. Modular homes that have a Department of Community Affairs (DCA) seal are eligible. This seal is a special designation, and not the same as Housing & Urban Development (HUD) approved.

The cost of the home cannot exceed $226,000, and must be located in unincorporated Hillsborough County, Temple Terrace or Plant City. If you purchase a home in the City of Tampa, similar programs are available...contact us for details.

Do I Have To Re-Pay This Loan To The County?

This loan is considered a 30-year second mortgage. If you sell the property within the first three years, the County will retain 50% of any additional value that the property has gained since you bought it. This shared equity component is added to provide an affordability period of time. After the first three years, the County will not retain any equity in the home.

The down payment assistance loan will need to be repaid to the County if.....

you sell the property or transfer the title, you no longer live at the property, you refinance the property for cash-out, you refinance with cash out or equity line. The First mortgage loan may be refinanced for a reduction in interest rate on a one-time basis without penalty.

What Are The Acceptable Loan Types?

Acceptable loan types are FHA, VA and Conventional loans from a private lending institution within 2% of the current market rate. Income/debt ratios are not to exceed 31/43; any exceptions must be approved by the County. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMís) or interest only loans are not permitted however, buy-downs are permitted.

How Do I Get Started?

The following steps are necessary to get started in the First Time Home Buyer Qualification Process:

  • Get approved with a First Mortgage Lender (we will refer you to an approved lender).
  • Attend the FTHB education class.
  • Find a home and submit purchase contract to the FTHB program for approval.

 

 
 

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