Section 4: First-Time Homebuyer Programs
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funding each year to housing programs. There are national, state and local programs and grants available for first-time homebuyers. These funds can help cover portions of acquisition costs, including the down payment and/or closing costs.
Grants can be just as important as loans when buying your first house. Often these programs are focused on areas where the government wants to encourage the revitalization of a community.
Assistance programs are funded at the city, county and state levels, and due to this funding, the programs are ever changing. Each program operates on its own budget and operates with its own set of requirements. Credit score, income levels and other factors will influence your eligibility for the assistance programs.
Federal grant programs aimed at first-time homebuyers will require you to attend HUD-approved house counseling class. These classes help to prepare you for homeownership by assisting you in the process of getting your finances in order.
HUD's definition of a first-time homebuyer is someone who meets any of the following conditions:
An individual who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase of the property.
A single parent who has only owned a home with a former spouse while married.
A displaced homemaker who has only owned with a spouse.
An individual who has only owned a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation.
An individual who has only owned a property that was not in compliance with state, local or model building codes and which cannot be brought into compliance for less than the cost of constructing a permanent structure.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation is another resource for down payment assistance programs.
Down Payment Resource is an additional avenue for exploring your eligibility for assistance programs. Answer a few questions about your household and see how many programs may match your circumstances.