First Time Home Buyer Programs in Central Florida

by | Nov 16, 2016

Buying your first home is an intimidating process. Many people don’t know where to start or what options/programs are available in their area. The good news is that most counties in Central Florida offer programs specifically designed to help first time home buyers. Because most first time home buyers have difficulty covering the down payment and closing cost these programs offer financial assistance as well as workshops to help. Each county has different income guidelines as well as requirements to qualify.  Below is a county by county guide of what programs are available and who to contact for more information.

SEMINOLE COUNTY

Seminole county offers a first time homebuyer assistance program. This program provides funds to help first time homebuyers cover expenses such as down payment, closing costs and principle reduction.

 To qualify applicants must meet certain criteria:

  • Must qualify as Very Low, Low or Moderate Income – The exact amount depends on household size. For example, annual household income must not exceed $69,000 per year for a family a four or $81,000 per year for a family of 6.
  • Applicants must qualify as a first time home buyer – meaning they cannot have previously owned a home with in the past 3 years.
  • Applicants must have qualified with a lender for a 1st mortgage
  • Applicants must be purchasing a home for their primary residence and agree to live in that home for a number of years. 
  • Have attended a home buyer education course offered through Seminole County

The amount of assistance is based on the applicant’s annual income. 

  • Very low annual income applicants –  those making less than $29,000 per year for a family of 4 could receive as much as $50,000. 
  • Low income applicants – those making less than $46,000 per year for a family of 4 could receive up to $30,000
  • Moderate Income applicants – those making less than $69,000 per year for a family of 4 could receive up to $10,000

The chart below gives the exact income guidelines depending on family size.

Household size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Very Low  $20,450 $23,350 $26,250 $29,150 $31,500 $33,850 $36,150 $38,500
Low  $32,700 $37,350 $42,000 $46,650 $50,400 $54,150 $57,850 $61,600
Moderate  $49,080 $56,040 $63,000 $69,960 $75,600 $81,240 $86,760 $92,400

These are interest free, forgivable loans. So as long as you follow the terms of the loan, by living in the home as your primary residence for the set number of years, then the loan will be forgiven and will not require you to pay it back.

For more information on this program you use the contact information listed here: Phone – (407) 665-2300 – Website- www.seminolecountyfl.gov/comsrvs/commdev/

ORANGE COUNTY

Orange county also offers a first time homebuyer assistance program. This program provides funds to help with down payment and/or closing costs. It is available for any home priced under $200,000. This includes new or existing homes as well as townhomes, modular homes and condominiums but does not include mobile homes.  They offer assistance up to $30,000 depending on household income.

To qualify applicants must:

  • Be a first time home buyer – defined as someone who has not owned a home in the past 3 years OR a displaced homemaker
  • Be an Orange, Seminole, Lake or Osceola county resident for at least one year
  • Have a minimum credit score of at least 640
  • Qualify as Very Low, Low, or Moderate Income (See chart below)
  • Be able to provide $1,000 or 1.75% of the sales price (whichever is greater) of their own funds toward the down payment or closing costs
  • Purchase a home in Orange County but outside of the city limits of Orlando
  • Attend a pre and post purchase homebuyer work shop (see details below)
  • Live in the home as a primary residence

The chart below gives the exact income guidelines depending on family size. 

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Very Low $20,500 $23,400 $26,350 $29,250 $31,600 $33,950 $36,300 $38,650
Low $32,800 $37,450 $42,150 $46,800 $50,550 $54,300 $58,050 $61,800
Moderate $49,200 $56,160 $63,240 $70,200 $75,840 $81,480 $87,120 $92,760

If you think you meet these guidelines and would like to get started, you can register for the homebuyer seminar by contacting one of these agencies:

Clear Point Counseling Solution –  1-866-916-9106

H.A.N.D.S  – 407-447-5686 or www.cflhands.org 

If you would like more information you can contact Orange County’s Housing and Community Development department by calling 407-836-5171 or email housing@ocfl.net

LAKE COUNTY

Lake County offers a home purchase program to help cover closing costs, down payments, and principle reductions. This program is available for new or existing homes priced under $247,387. The amount of assistance is determined based on the household income with awards as great as $35,000 for Extremely Low Income and $10,000 for Moderate Income. 

To qualify applicants must:

  • Be a first time home buyer 
  • Agree to live in the home as a primary residence for 10 years
  • Have an acceptable credit score
  • Obtain a fixed rate mortgage through one of Lake County’s approved lenders
  • Complete a pre-screening through one of Lake County’s non-profits (see below)
  • Qualify as Extremely Low, Very Low, Low, or Moderate Income (See chart below)
Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Extremely Low $12,450 $14,200 $16,000 $17,750 $19,150 $20,600 $22,000 $23,450
Very Low $20.700 $23,700 $26,600 $29,600 $31,950 $34,350 $36,700 $39,050
Low $33,150 $37,900 $42,600 $47,350 $51,150 $54,950 $58,700 $62,500
Moderate $49,680 $56,880 $63,960 $71,040 $76,680 $82,440 $88,080 $93,720

To get started Lake County recommends setting an appointment for the pre-screening. To do this you can contact one of two places:

City of Leesburg : 352-728-9798

Homes in Partnership: 352-383-7300

After your screening you will be referred to 2 homebuyer classes as well as 2 home maintenance classes. After successful completion of these classes they will refer you to a lender to get you started on the mortgage. 

For more information, you can contact the Lake County Home Purchase Program at: 352-742-6530

VOLUSIA COUNTY

Volusia County also has a first time homebuyer program open to any resident of the county that meets the income guidelines and purchases a home within the county excluding the cities of Daytona Beach, Deltona, and Ponce inlet. The program offers a zero interest deferred second mortgage with a 15 year term. The amounts given are based on household income and can be as high as $35,000 for extremely low income households or up to $15,000 for moderate income households. 

To qualify an applicant must:

  • Have never received housing assistance from Volusia County
  • Be a first time home buyer (not having owned a home in the past three years)
  • Have an acceptable credit score to secure a mortgage
  • Qualify as Extremely Low, Very Low, Low or Moderate Income (see chart below)
  • Contact one of the approved Homebuyer Assistance Programs
  • Complete the homebuyer workshops and classes

The chart below gives the exact income guidelines depending on family size.

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
Extremely Low $11,880 $16,020 $20,160 $24,300 $28,200 $30,300
Very Low $18,300 $20,900 $23,500 $26,100 $28,200 $30,300
Low $29,200 $33,400 $37,600 $41,750 $45,100 $48,450
Moderate $43,920 $50,160 $56,400 $62,640 $67,680 $72,720

To get started Volusia county requires initial contact and application submittal by one of their approved partners. For a list of the approved homebuyer assistance partners please follow this link – http://www.volusia.org/core/fileparse.php/6098/urlt/HBA.pdf

For more information, you can contact Volusia Community Assistance at: 386-736-5955

OSCEOLA COUNTY

Osceola county’s homebuyer program is similar to the rest of central florida but does not exclude any city within the county from the program and also requires insurance information to be submitted every year as well as occupancy checks by housing staff members. The funds provided are by way of a 10 year deferred payment loan and the maximum amount is 10% of the purchase price of the home. For example, a $165,000 home could receive a maximum assistance loan of $16,500. 

To qualify an applicant must:

  • Be a first time home buyer (not having owned a home within the past 3 years)
  • Qualify as Very Very Low, Very Low, Low or Moderate income (See chart below)
  • Be able to contribute a minimum of $1,000 toward home purchase
  • Complete the homebuyer counseling and education programs
  • Have an acceptable credit score in order to secure a mortgage
  • Purchase a home within Osceola County (new or existing Single family home, townhome, or condominium)

The chart below gives the exact income guidelines depending on family size.

Household
Size
Very Very Low
30%
Very Low
50%
Low
80%
Moderate*
120%
1 $12,250 $20,450 $32,700 $49,080
2 $15,930 $23,350 $37,350 $56,040
3 $20,090 $26,250 $42,000 $63,000
4 $24,250 $29,150 $46,650 $69,960
5 $28,410 $31,500 $50,400 $75,600
6 $32,570 $33,850 $54,150 $81,240
7 $36,150 $36,150 $57,850 $86,760
8 $38,500 $38,500 $61,600 $92,400

To get started on the homebuyer assistance program, Volusia County requires that you attend their homebuyer education course and obtain the education certificate. To register for the workshop please call 321-697-3000. 

Written By Claudia

Hi, my name is Claudia Mundlos! I moved from Germany to the USA in 2004 and now live in Sanford, FL. As a Realtor with Charles Rutenberg Realty I work in the entire Orlando area to help people like you realize their dreams of home ownership. Being a creative at heart I am passionate about design, no matter if Graphic, Web or Fashion 😉 Feel free to follow me on twitter or my blog about Sanford FL. Claudia on Google+

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