Florida First Time Home Buyer Program
The First Time Home buyer Program makes purchasing a home more affordable for low-to-moderate income families and individuals by offering fixed, low-interest rate mortgage loans. In addition, Florida Housing also offers down payment and closing costs assistance to eligible borrowers, which can greatly reduce the out of pocket expense to the buyer.

Are you ready to see if you qualify? Use the First Time Home Buyer Wizard to see!

Applying for the FHA First Time Home Buyer’s Loan

At least a month before you start shopping for an FHA approved lender in your area, gather your documentation and update it over the next month or so. Remember, the home you ultimately can afford depends entirely on proof of your income, credit rating, ongoing monthly bills, down-payment, and the interest rate you receive from the lender.

Order your free credit report from Annual Credit Report. If there is any erroneous information–unfamiliar names, unfamiliar accounts, collections or judgments that you believe were paid–clean them off your report through the credit bureau’s process. If you have had collections, judgments or liens, the lender will ask you to provide satisfaction documentation if it is not already reflected on your credit report.
Speak with several Florida FHA approved lenders before making a decision about where to submit application. Shopping for your FHA loan is like shopping for any other big purchase: you save money by taking time for research. Each lender offers interest rates and fees that can vary greatly. Since a lower interest rate has a huge impact on how much home you can afford, comparison shopping is critical.

Contact at least three local FHA lenders and request a Good Faith Estimate of cost. Request the good faiths’ to be based on the same program, such as a 30-year fixed or an adjustable interest rate, loan amount, and loan term, so that you can accurately evaluate. Compare these side by side, and line by line before you choose. Ask if there is an application fee.

Once you’re comfortable that you understand what each lender offers, negotiate for the best deal that you can. By having your ducks in a row–financial documentation, good credit report, and comparison knowledge–you are empowered to make the decision about who will receive your application.

Make an appointment and provide the lender with all your financial documentation in addition to whatever else he requests. He will order your credit report through his own system and prepare your loan for underwriting. Once you receive your approval, you can start shopping for your home.

Things You Will Need To Apply:

Income documentation: Last two years W-2s or 1099s, retirement or Social Security award letter
Most recent pay-stub
Assets; 401k, savings and bank statements, etc. for last three months or two quarters
Liabilities; car payments, student loans, credit card bills, child support and installment loans.
‘Satisfaction of lien’ documentation for past judgments or liens.
Divorce papers, if applicable
Verification of child support, in-coming or out-going
Application fee, which varies from $50 to $500-plus
Valid Social Security number


Income limits may be a consideration if you are applying for down payment assistance.
An FHA loan will not close if you have an outstanding collection, judgment or lien

Federal Programs
Several federal loan programs assist first-time homebuyers by providing special interest rates and low or no down payments. The Zero Downpayment Act eliminates the down payment requirement for qualified first-time homebuyers who purchase homes with FHA-insured mortgages. The American Dream Downpayment Assistance Initiative distributes $200 million annually for down payment assistance for eligible first-time homebuyers. And, if you buy a fixer upper, the FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loan provides special low-interest financing to help you restore home to move-in condition.

A Smart Move
Despite the negative news and housing crash, many still consider buying a home in the Tampa Bay area a smart financial move. The primary reason for purchasing a home was the desire to own a home. Though potential buyers are renting, living with family, they cannot delay housing formation indefinitely. First-time buyers are motivated by affordable home prices, low interest rates, tax advantages, the desire for privacy, the investment potential, the large number of distressed properties and the benefits of home ownership.

First time home buyers purchased over $420 Billion in real estate in 2013! First-time buyers are the most active segment in the Tampa Bay real estate market. These eager buyers are looking for the best deals that work within a tight housing budget. The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that 50% of all buyers were first-time buyers. The survey reports single buyers represented 32% of buyers, while the percentage of married couples declined to 58%. The share of single female buyers held steady at 20%, while single male buyers accounted for 12%.