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Florida Hometown Heroes Mortgage Qualifying Guide

Updated: May 17

The newly revised Florida Hometown Heroes housing mortgage is making homeownership easier for first-time buyers and now even more Florida residents are included.

Governor DeSantis recently announced the rollout of the Hometown Heroes Program, which helps in-state workers purchase their first home. The big change as of July 2023 is the program now includes ALL qualified working residents, not just frontline workers.

The program removes many barriers by allowing income-eligible borrowers to secure zero-interest loans to pay for their down payment and closing costs. The HTH program is expected to be funded with $100 million for the 2023–2024 fiscal year.

Florida’s median house price is nearly $397,000 today, that’s an increase of nearly 50% percent over the last 5 years. Despite the rapid increase in home prices, household income has remained nearly the same. This has proved to be challenging for many first-time buyers when they set off to purchase their first home.

Most conventional and government-backed mortgage programs today require a minimum 3.5%-5% down payment, PLUS an additional 2-4% on average for closing costs and pre-paid escrows. The initial down payment and move-in costs are often the primary obstacles that restrict many first-time homeowners.

With the Florida Hometown Hero program, approved buyers can receive 5% of their total loan amount (not to exceed $35,000) in assistance. For a standard $350,000 home price, that’s $17,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance. Note, that there will also be a minimum draw amount of $10,000 for buyers purchasing a home less than $200,000.

Now let’s take a detailed look at all the eligibility and qualifying requirements for the Hometown Hero Program. Please note, that Hometown Heroes funds are limited each year by the state. Due to the popularity of the program, we are processing requests 7 days a week. Home buyers who have questions about the application process are encouraged to reach out to us by submitting the Info Request Form on this page.

Florida Hometown Heroes 2024 Household Income Limits:

The household must earn LESS than 150% of the area’s median income. The Hometown Heroes gross income caps in Florida start at $128,250 and go up to $162,750 in high-cost counties. Listed below are the 2024 income limits for the most popular cities throughout Florida.

  • Jacksonville: Duval, St. Johns, Clay, Nassau County = $132,750

  • Miami: Dade County = $154,800

  • Tampa: Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco County = $130,350

  • Orlando: Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County = $131,700

  • Tallahassee: Leon County = $129,000

  • Gainesville: Alachua County = $130,050

  • Ocala: Marion County = $128,250

  • Daytona Beach: Volusia County = $128,250

  • Fort Lauderdale: Broward County = $144,000

  • Pensacola: Escambia County= $128,250

  • Fort Myers-Cape Coral: Lee County = $128,250

  • West Palm Beach: Palm Beach County = $146,100

  • Sarasota: Sarasota County = $137,100

  • Naples: Collier County = $149,700

  • Key West: Monroe County = $162,750

Florida Hometown Heroes Eligibility Requirements:

  • The program is only available to residents purchasing a home in the state of Florida. All borrower(s) must be employed full-time by a Florida-based employer or corporation and work full-time. Other than military veterans, all buyers must work 35 hours or more per week to qualify.

  • All borrowers must be first-time home buyers (no homeownership in the previous three years)

  • The loan can be used together with standard Conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA loans. This is a great way to obtain 100% FHA or 100% Conventional financing at low market interest rates. *Borrowers must also meet all lender program guidelines for the loan type chosen – FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional.

  • All borrowers must have a minimum 640 credit score.

  • The program is only available for owner-occupied primary residences.

  • Single-family residences, town homes, and FHA-approved condo purchase transactions are eligible. *Lot and/or land loans are not permitted.

  • Refinance transactions are not eligible.

  • Borrower(s) must take an approved HUD homebuyer education course. *Active military /veterans are exempt from this if using a VA mortgage.

Additional Hometown Heroes Program Details:

  • The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is a non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage with 0% interest. The loan is non-forgivable regardless of how long the owner(s) occupy the home. The loan is deferred until the time the property is sold, transferred, or payoff of the first mortgage, or refinancing of the first mortgage. At this time, the loan will become due and paid in full.

  • The Hometown Heroes down payment assistance can be used to pay for the buyer’s down payment, closing costs, pre-paid tax and homeowners' insurance escrows, upfront mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) and principal reduction.

  • In addition to the HTH eligibility requirements listed above, applicants must meet any lender, broker, or bank mortgage pre-approval requirements, depending on the loan type chosen. This includes fully documenting income and assets, meeting debt-to-income ratio requirements, loan amount limits, etc.

  • In Florida, the 2024 conforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loan limits go up to $766,550, slightly higher for Monroe County. FHA loan limits are $498,257 in most locations for a 1-unit property, slightly greater in high-cost locations like Monroe County & The Keys.

Please note, the program funding is limited by the state each year and is only offered by Hometown Heroes approved mortgage companies in Florida. There are no upfront fees or costs for borrowers to apply for this or any other loan program.

Buyers who want to get started on their Hometown Heroes Program application are encouraged to connect with us by calling the number above, or just submit the Info Request Form for a rapid response 7 days a week. Please see the latest Hometown Heroes FAQs here.

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