Achieving your dreams of homeownership in 2017 just became easier with several new programs available with the use of Florida down payment assistance and/or closing costs.  Most programs are available on a first come, first served basis and are available throughout most of Florida, including Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Many of these programs require a 30 year fixed mortgage to be combined with the selected Florida down payment assistance programs.  A first time home buyer is typically defined as not owning a home in the last 3 years.  There may be other options if you are not a first time home buyer, but most programs will use income and purchase price limits to determine your eligibility.

One of these programs is the FHA with Florida Assist Program, offering a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and $7,500 to help with down payment assistance Florida and /or closing costs, and is available statewide. One of the requirements is the completion of a Home Buyers Education Course, as well as the following stipulations:
•   Minimum credit score 640+ middle score
•   Income limits and purchase price limits do apply
•   First time home buyer requirement applies to all borrower{s) and spouses
•   No cash back at closing
•   Co-signers are not permitted
•   Owner-occupied, 1 unit properties
•   Town homes or Condos (Condos must be prior approved)
•   New construction or foreclosures okay

Also available statewide is a Matching Grant for first time buyers that offers a $5,000 maximum subsidy using a 4-1 Ratio determination system. For every $1, this grant provides up to $4, up to the maximum of $5,000 and is applicable to not only resale homes, but also new construction. Other specifications include:
•   Minimum contribution is $1,000
•   Owner-occupied, 1 unit properties
•   Income limits and purchase price limits apply

For military and retired servicemen and women, VA Loan eligibility is determined by the length of one’s service and/or duty status. Requiring only a 640 or higher credit score, there is NO DOWN PAYMENT at 100% of the loan for those that qualify. New construction and foreclosures are inclusive, although townhomes and condominiums must receive prior approval. In addition, there is NO MONTHLY MORTGAGE INSURANCE. Click here to inquire for the answers to your VA Loan questions from one of our experienced agents.

USDA/Rural Development Loans present additional solutions, with several stipulations. The property in question must be located in an eligible area, home buyer counseling is required and income limits do apply.  This type of loan covers 100%, with no required down payment, and features lower mortgage insurance rates than Conventional or FHA Loans. Borrowers must have a 640+ credit score, and as with the VA Loan, new construction and foreclosures are covered, and townhomes/condos must receive prior approval.
The Freedom First Closing Assistance Program is an amazing opportunity for those with low credit scores who may have given up on the dream of home ownership because they think they can’t qualify. No FICO credit scores are obtained, but rather secondary credit sources such as rental history, cell phone and utility statements, and there are no income limits or first time home buyers requirements. Seller contribution 6% maximum towards Buyers closing costs. Purchase only, no construction to permanent loans – no investment properties. Purchase price limits determined by FHA guidelines only. A two hour Buyer’s Education course is required. Please click here to learn more.

According to, The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers a First Time Homebuyer Program that is making home purchases more affordable for low-to-moderate income families and individuals by offering fixed, low-interest rate mortgage loans. In addition, Florida Housing also offers up to $14,999 to assist eligible borrowers with their down payment and closing costs. This program is designed for first-time homebuyers desiring to purchase a home not just in Sarasota County, anywhere in the state of Florida. To determine whether you qualify for this program, or if your property is eligible, please click here.

1st Premier International Properties has assisted many first time buyers in the achieving their dreams of homeownership. Our combined experience in all phases of the purchasing process means you have agents who will represent your best interests by negotiating the best possible deal on your behalf.