We are here to help you

Call us: 1-800-731-3560

Florida First Time Home Buyer

First Time Home Buyer Programs in Florida
Loan Program Options - Down Payment Assistance

Florida First Time Home Buyer – 2020 Loan Programs

Are you a first time home buyer looking to purchase a home in Florida?  On this page you can learn about the different types of mortgage programs that are available to first time home buyers.  You may also view the different down payment assistance programs that are currently being offered in Florida.

Florida First Time Home Buyer Loans

Below are some mortgage programs that are available to first time home buyers.

Types of Mortgages:

  • Conventional Loans – Conventional loans offer the best loan terms to borrowers with good or excellent credit, as well as those who can afford to place a larger down payment.  If you are able to put 20% or more down, you will be able to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI).  However, conventional loans also offer low down payment options, such as programs that only require 3% down.
  • FHA Loans – FHA loans are a good option for borrowers who may not be able to qualify for a conventional loan.  The qualification requirements for FHA loans are much more lenient than conventional loans.  This includes options for home buyers with credit scores as low as 500 (in order to qualify for a 3.5% down payment, you must have a credit score of at least 580).
  • USDA Loans – USDA loans provide home buyers the opportunity to purchase a rural home without any down payment.  These loans are intended for borrowers with low-to-moderate income.  In addition to not requiring any money down, you can also finance the closing costs into the loan.  This means you can essentially buy a home with no money out of pocket!
  • VA Loans – Active duty military members and veterans can apply for a VA loan which allows you to buy your first home without any down payment.  These loans are not available to the general public, but exclusively to military/veterans.
  • Jumbo Loans – Any mortgage that does not meet the conforming loan limits is a jumbo loan.  You can lookup the 2020 conforming loan limits for your county using this conforming loan limit lookup tool.  If you want to buy a more expensive home, and have the income to qualify, jumbo lenders offer loan amounts up to $5,000,000.
  • Non-Prime Loans – If you do not qualify for any of the above types of loans, you may consider a non-prime or non-qm loan.  These programs are especially helpful to self-employed borrowers, and a variety of people with credit issues (such as low credit scores and/or a recent bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale).  Regardless of your situation, you may want to learn more about non-prime loans if you do not qualify for any of the other types of mortgages featured above.

These are some of the options that are available to first time home buyers.  If you would like to get pre-approved for a mortgage, we can help match you with a lender that offers first time home buyer loans in Florida.

Click here to get pre-approved for a mortgage

Florida Down Payment Assistance Programs

Florida has a multitude of down payment assistance programs for first time home buyers.  This includes programs that are offered statewide, as well as several that are available locally (at the city and county level).

Florida Assist Second Mortgage Program

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers an opportunity to receive up to $7,500 in down payment assistance with the Florida Assistance Second Mortgage Program.  The assistance is provided as a loan, and must be paid back (it is not forgivable).  This program is offered statewide.

Program Requirements

  • You must have a 640 credit score or higher to qualify.
  • It is required that you complete a homebuyer education course.
  • You must also meet the income limits and purchase price limits for the county you want to buy a home in.  You can use the Homebuyer Program Wizard Tool provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to learn what the income and purchase limits are for your location.

To learn more about this program, visit the Florida Housing Finance Corporation website.

City of Tampa Mortgage Assistance Program

First time home buyers in Tampa may be eligible to receive up to $14,999 in down payment assistance.  The funds are provided as a “silent second mortgage”, which has a 0% interest rate, $0 monthly payment.  As long as you stay in the home, and do not sell or refinance the mortgage, after 5 years the money you received will be fully forgiven (not have to be paid back).

Program Requirements

  • The property must be located within the city limits of Tampa.
  • The maximum purchase price is $226,926.
  • You must have a credit score of at least 600.
  • The maximum DTI ratio allowed is 45%.
  • Your household income must be below 140% of the area median income for Tampa.
  • You must complete a homebuyer education course through an approved housing counseling agency.

To learn more about this program, visit the official website for the City of Tampa.

Hillsborough County Home Sweet Home Program

First time home buyers in Hillsborough County may be eligible to receive up to $7,500 in down payment assistance.  The funds are provided as a second mortgage with a 0% interest rate.  No monthly payments are required, but the money must be paid back once the home is sold, refinanced, or if the borrower ceases to reside at the property.

Program Requirements

  • You must be a first time home buyer.
  • The maximum sales price is $253,809.
  • Your must have a credit score of 640 or higher to qualify.
  • The maximum DTI ratio allowed is 45%.
  • You must complete a homebuyer education course.
  • You must meet the income limits,  which are $59,800 for 1 person, and $68,770 for a household with 2 or more persons.  If your income is below $51,120, you may be eligible to receive an additional $1,500 grant.  If your income is below $31,950, you may receive an additional $2,500 grant (the grant money would be in addition to the $7,500 in down payment assistance).

To learn more about this program, please visit the official website for Hillsborough County.  You may also review more detailed information on the My First Florida Home website.

Orange County Homebuyer Program

First time home buyers in Orange County, FL may be eligible to receive between $10,000-$30,000 in down payment assistance.  The funds are provided as a 10 year deferred loan.  No monthly payments are required, and the loan does not have to be paid back, unless you sell the home, refinance, or no longer occupy the home as your primary residence during the lien period (10 years).

Program Requirements

  • You must purchase a home in Orange County, but outside of the city limits of Orlando.
  • The maximum purchase price is $214,000.
  • You must have a credit score of at least 640.
  • You must contribute the greater of either $1,000 or 1.75% of the sales price.
  • Attend a pre and post purchase homebuyer seminar.

To learn more, visit the website for the Orange County Housing and Community Development Division.  You may also view this flyer for more information.

Lee County Down Payment Assistance Programs

There are two different programs offered in Lee County, Florida.

Home Program

The Home Program offers up to 10% in down payment assistance.  The funds are provided on a 10 year loan term.  You do not have to make payments on the money received, the amount will be automatically reduced by 10% each year.  As long as you continue to occupy the home as your primary residence, you will not have to pay the money back, and at the end of 10 years, the loan will be fully forgiven.

Program Requirements

  • The home must be located in Lee County.
  • You must occupy the home as your primary residence (no investment or rental properties).
  • The maximum purchase price allowed is $181,000.
  • You must complete a homebuyer education course.
  • You must meet the income limits (outlined below).

Income Limits

  • 1 Person – $35,700
  • 2 Persons – $40,800
  • 3 Persons – $45,900
  • 4 Persons – $50,950
  • 5 Persons – $55,050
  • 6 Persons – $59,150
  • 7 Persons – $63,200
  • 8 Persons – $67,300

You can learn more about this program on this info sheet.

Ship Program

The Ship Program offers from $20,000 to $40,000 in down payment assistance (the amount you can receive depends on your household income).

Program Requirements

  • The home must be located in Unincorporated Lee County, Bonita Springs, Estero, Fort Myers Beach, or Sanibel.
  • is program is only available for newly constructed homes.
  • You must occupy the home as your primary residence.
  • The maximum purchase price allowed is $328,847.
  • You must meet the income limits (outlined below).

Income Limits

  • 1 Person – $53,250
  • 2 Persons – $61,200
  • 3 Persons – $68,880
  • 4 Persons – $76,440
  • 5 Persons – $82,560
  • 6 Persons – $88,680
  • 7 Persons – $94,800
  • 8 Persons – $100,920

To learn more about these programs, visit the official website for Lee County.

Florida First Time Home Buyer Tax Credits

The Mortgage Credit Certification (MCC) tax credit provides you an opportunity to reduce your tax bill, as well as enhance your home loan application by reducing your debt-to-income ratios.  How this works, is you can deduct up to $2,000 off your federal tax bill each year.  The MCC allows up to 35% of your annual interest to be eliminated (with the cap being at $2,000).  Some great news, is this can be used in addition to standard mortgage interest deductions!

Get Matched with a Mortgage Lender

A mortgage lender can help you determine what mortgage programs you may qualify for, and also check your eligibility for down payment assistance.  If you would like some help finding a mortgage lender, we can match you with a lender that offers first time home buyer loans in Florida.

Click here to get matched with a mortgage lender

First Time Home Buyer Questions 

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about first time home buyer loans:

How much do I need for a down payment?
The minimum down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage program.  USDA and VA loans do not require any down payment.  FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment (and allow down payment assistance to be used).  Conventional loans typically require either 3% or 5% down.   The minimum down payment for a non-prime loan is usually at least 10% (or higher).

What is the maximum loan amount that I can qualify for?
The amount that you will be allowed to borrow will depend mostly on your income, as well as the particular type of loan you are interested in.  There are maximum loan limits for each type of mortgage program which are set at the county level.  Conforming loan limits are the maximum loan amounts allowed for conventional mortgages.  FHA loans have their own loan limits.  This is not necessarily how much you can borrow though, but the maximum amount allowed in your location.  The amount that you can personal qualify for will be based upon your income, and how much debt you have.  For most loans, your monthly mortgage payment, along with your monthly debts may not exceed 43% of your income.

Can I buy a home without a real estate agent?
It depends on your state and the type of loan program.  For some states, you must use an agent.  In other states, you are not required to use a real estate agent for many loan program, such as conventional mortgages.  However, some loan types require that you use a real estate agent regardless of your location, such as USDA loans.

Are there mortgage loan options for borrowers with bad credit?
Yes, both FHA loans and non-prime loans are available to borrowers with lower credit score, and other credit challenges.  The minimum credit score required for an FHA loan is 500.  For non-prime loans, there are lenders that allow a borrower to have a credit score even below 500.  Non-prime loans also do not have any waiting periods after a bankruptcy.

Can I buy a home if I owe tax debt?
For government-backed loans, such as FHA, VA, and USDA loans, you can buy a home with tax debt as long as you have made a payment plan with the IRS, and are not behind on the payments. Any federal debt must be in good standing in order to get a government-based mortgage. If your tax debts have moved into the status of a tax lien, this will prevent you from getting a home loan until it is resolved.

Can I buy a home if I have student loans?
As long as you are not delinquent on the student loan payments, and the monthly payments do not cause excessive debt-to-income ratios, you can still get a mortgage.

Can I buy a home without my spouse?
A common question is if you can buy a house without your wife or husband.  The short answer is yes. There are numerous reasons someone may want to exclude their spouse from a mortgage application, such as lower credit, lack of job history or income, or one spouse having excessive debt that could prevent an approval. You may be able to qualify and get a home loan without your spouse.

How do I find out if I qualify for a mortgage?
It is easy to find out what mortgage programs you may qualify for.  We can match you with lender that offers free consultations, and they can help you get pre-approved (and also compare what options may be available to you).  To have a mortgage lender contact you, request to be matched with a lender.

Easily Receive More Information

Fill out the form below to receive a free consultation from a mortgage lender

Property State

Loan Type
PurchaseRefinance

Loan Amount

Credit Rating: ExcellentGoodFairPoor

Home Loan Programs Available In:

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.