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Down Payment Assistance Advice From Real Estate Attorney

Real Estate Attorney

In today’s economy, many people want to purchase a house but find it difficult to come up with the minimum down payment. The good thing is that mortgage lenders and governments realize this and have started initiating programs that assist those who can afford a monthly payment but not the down deposit.

There are several programs available for the state of Florida. A Florida real estate attorney can help find programs available in your specific area. They specialize in legal matters surrounding the purchase of a home and can advise you on the process. Here is some general information about a couple of the programs available in Florida.

Neighborhood Lift Programs

Neighborhood Lift Programs provide educational classes on home buying as well as grants to help with the initial down payment for qualifying residents where the programs are available. Since 2012, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, NeighborWorks America, and other nonprofit companies have collaborated to provide these benefits in over 50 locations across America.

There is a two-day event to launch these programs in each city where potential homebuyers find out if they qualify for the program. It is aimed at residents who make less than 80 percent of the median income for each city. In many instances, school teachers, law enforcement officers, military vets, and current service members, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters receive $2,500 more than the assistance limits in these areas. There are firm time limits for pre-qualifying for a mortgage, finding a home to buy, getting a buyer’s contract, and closing.

The education is critical because the Wells Fargo Foundation realized that helping someone with their down payment to buy a home didn’t necessarily mean that they could sustain it. With rent in most places as much as a mortgage would be, many people are looking to buy homes instead.

Florida Housing Down Payment Assistance Program

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation, otherwise known as Florida Housing, was created 35 years ago by the Florida legislature to help provide a range of affordable housing opportunities for residents of the state. The Down Payment Assistance Program offers assistance with paying closing costs and the down payment for a home. The help comes as a second mortgage loan for eligible homebuyers.

It’s only available when used in combination with a first mortgage loan through Florida Housing. The assistance is not available on its own. It must be used in conjunction with a Homebuyer Program that Florida Housing offers.

The Florida Assist

Additionally, borrowers buying a home in the country may also be eligible for help with their down payment through the Florida Assist Second Mortgage Program. This program provides:

  • O% deferred 2nd mortgage
  • Up to $7,500

This loan is not forgivable. Repayment is deferred unless the house is sold, transferred, the first mortgage is satisfied, the property is refinanced, or the mortgagor stops occupying the home.  If any of the exceptions occur, the Florida Assist becomes payable in full.

3 Percent HFA Preferred Grant

People using this program receive 3 percent of the home’s purchase price as a grant. This grant does not require repayment.

FHA Down Payment Grants

There are a variety of down payment grants available throughout Florida, and the programs differ in each locality. Some only offer down payment assistance while others help with closing costs too. These programs have varying requirements, and some are for first-time homebuyers only. Most of them have income requirements to meet as well.

Final Thoughts

Down payment assistance programs offer solutions for those who thought that they could never afford to buy a new home. The stress of trying to save up for a large down payment is just too much for families with hefty monthly bills that many American’s have. Seeking advice from a real estate attorney is an excellent idea to help you navigate these tricky programs. Your attorney can help you find a suitable program that you’re eligible for, so you’ll be on the way to happy homeownership

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Gary I. Handin, P.A.

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