Florida Gives $25,000 in Real Estate Assistance to “Hometown Heroes”

First let me point out, I said “Gives $25,000,” I did not say “Forgives $25,000.”  So here is how Florida’s newly funded, $100 Million Dollar Hometown Heroes program works; and if you qualify, then it is an amazing program!  If you don’t qualify then that’s okay.  Keep reading until the end, because there are three (3) additional programs that are just too good to be true. 

When did the Hometown Heroes program start, and why haven’t I heard about it?  June 1st, 2022.

Who is offering the Hometown Heroes program?  40 years ago, Florida’s legislature created the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (“Florida Housing”), as a quasi-government agency charged with assisting Florida residents in obtaining affordable housing through a variety of programs; this is their newest.   

How much can I get?  Up to 5.00% of your first mortgage loan amount (maxed at $25,000.00).

What can it be used for?  Both the down payment and closing costs.

What real estate is eligible?  Existing properties, new properties (but not if obtaining a construction-perm loan), detached single family homes, condos, Up to 4-unit properties if buyer occupies one unit, town homes, mobile homes with land, and modular homes with land.

Is this a Loan or a Gift?   It’s a 0% loan. It is not a grant, nor a gift, nor will it be forgiven. 

When, if ever, do I have to repay it?  The loan gets recorded as a 30-year deferred 2nd mortgage which must be repaid in full upon: (1) Sale, (2) Refinancing; (3) Deed transfer; or (4) Homeowner no longer occupying property as their primary residence.

Can I apply with any lender or mortgage broker I choose?  No.

Then where can I apply?  Florida Housing maintains an online list of approved loan officers.  Only lenders approved by Florida Housing can participate, and even then, only “approved” loan officers within those companies can offer the product.

What are the qualifications and eligibility requirements:  If you can answer Yes or True to the following questions, then you may be eligible for a Hometown Hero Loan:

  • YES?      I am able to permanently reside in the US.
  • YES?      Within the past 3 years, I have not owned and occupied a home as my primary residence.  (** Note there are exceptions to this requirement such as: (i) Retired Veterans, Active Military, and their spouses are exempt; and (ii) Mobile homeowners on rented land are exempt.   
  • YES?      I am: (i) Actively licensed/certified in a qualified occupation (click here or scroll down),  (ii) a Veteran, (iii) a deceased veteran’s surviving spouse seeking a VA loan; or (iv) on Active Duty in the military (i.e. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard, or the Reserves).   
  • YES?      I work FULL (not part) time in a qualified occupation (* Veterans are exempt from being full time); OR I work a bunch of part time jobs but the hours add up to at least 40).
  • YES?      I have a copy of my Federal, State, or Local License/Certification (or if a veteran a DD-214, COE, or Verification of Active Duty)?
  • YES?      My purchase price is at or below the limits for the County in which I am purchasing.
CountyFHA and USDA loan limitsConventional and VA loan limits
Broward $460,000$647,200
Miami-Dade$460,000$647,200
Palm Beach$460,000$647,200
Monroe $710,700$710,700
INCREASE THE LOAN LIMIT IF:Property in Federal Target AreaProperty in Federal Target Area
  • YES?      My income (or if my spouse is also applying then our combined income) is at or below the limits for the County in which I am purchasing.
CountyIncome Limit
Broward $136,050
Miami-Dade$146,250
Palm Beach$138,000
Monroe $153,750
INCREASE THE INCOME LIMIT IF:Property in Federal Target Area
  • YES?      I have a 640 or higher FICO credit score (* 680 FICO if my debt-to-income ratio exceeds 45%, or if I am buying either a double wide mobile home with land or a manufactured home and land).
  • YES?      I qualify for a mortgage Loan.
  • YES?      I will complete a Homebuyer Education Class or HUD approved Counseling Course.
  • YES?      I will occupy the home within 60 days of closing as my primary residence. 

I see you provided a link above for which occupations qualify but can you just list the 107 Eligible Occupations?   There are many so it’s worth reviewing to see if you (or if you have a co-borrower) has a job that qualifies for the Home Town Hero Loan.

  • 911 Public Safety Communicator
  • Active-Duty Military Personnel
  • Acupuncturist
  • Adult Protective Services’ Enforcement (DCF)
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Assisted Living Facility (ALF) Administrator
  • Assistant Public Defender
  • Assistant State Attorney
  • Athletic Trainer
  • Basic X-Ray Machine Operator (Radiologic)
  • Blood Gas Analyst (Laboratory)
  • Career Specialist (Educator)
  • Child Protective Services’ Enforcement (DCF)
  • Childcare Instructor
  • Childcare Operator
  • Chiropractic Physician
  • Chiropractic Physician’s Assistant
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Correction Officer
  • Correctional Probation Officer
  • Dental Assistant
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dentist
  • Dietetic Technician
  • Dietician
  • Electrologist
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Federal Sworn Law Enforcement
  • Firefighter
  • General Radiographer (Radiologic)
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Hearing Aid Specialist
  • Hearing Aid Specialist Trainee
  • Home Health Aide
  • Juvenile Detention Officer
  • Juvenile Probation Officer
  • Laboratory Director
  • Laboratory Supervisor
  • Laboratory Technologist
  • Laboratory Testing Technician
  • Librarian/Media Specialist (Educator)
  • Marriage & Family Therapist
  • Massage Therapist
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Physicist (Radiologic)
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Naturopathic Physician
  • Nuclear Pharmacist
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • Nursing Home Administrator
  • Nutrition Counselor
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Occupational Therapist Aide
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant
  • Optician
  • Optometrist
  • Orthotic Fitter
  • Orthotic Fitter Assistant
  • Orthotist
  • Osteopathic Physician
  • Paramedic
  • Pedorthist
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Podiatric Physician
  • Podiatric Xray Assistant
  • Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Prosthetist
  • Prosthetist Orthotist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Radiologic Specialty Technologist
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Radiology Assistant
  • Registered Dietician Or Nutritionist
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • School Counselor
  • School Psychologist
  • Social Worker
  • Specialty Technologist (Radiologic)
  • Speech Language Audiologist
  • Speech Language Audiologist Assistant
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Speech Language Pathology Assistant
  • Sworn Law Enforcement Officer
  • Veteran
  • Veteran-Surviving Spouse of Veteran
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinarian Assistant
  • Veterinarian Technician Veteran

Are there other programs (or) What if I do not qualify for the Hometown Heroes Loan?  Florida has other programs like the ones below.  Just click the links, input the number of residents who will be residing in the home, and the County where the property is located:  

Florida Assist (Up to $10,000.00)Offers up to $10,000 on FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Loans as a deferred 2nd mortgage; is not forgivable; repayment is deferred.  Repaid in full upon: (1) Sale, (2) Refinancing; (3) Deed transfer; (4) Homeowner no longer occupying property as their primary residence; or (5) Satisfaction of the 1st Mortgage.  To qualify, the buyer’s income and purchase price cannot exceed:

County# of People Living in the HouseIncome LimitIncome Limit  in Federal Target AreaPurchase price limit Purchase price limit in Federal Target Area
Broward 1$90,700$104,305$382,194.90$467,127.10
 2$90,700$104,305$382,194.90$467,127.10
 3$104,305$106,920$382,194.90$467,127.10
 4$104,305$106,920$382,194.90$467,127.10
 5$104,305$106,920$382,194.90$467,127.10
Miami-Dade1$97,750$112,125$382,194.90$467,127.10
 2$97,750$112,125$382,194.90$467,127.10
 3$112,125$109,680.00$382,194.90$467,127.10
 4$112,125$109,680.00$382,194.90$467,127.10
 5$112,125$109,680.00$382,194.90$467,127.10
Palm Beach 1$92,000$105,800$382,194.90$467,127.10
 2$92,000$105,800$382,194.90$467,127.10
 3$105,800$105,360.00$382,194.90$467,127.10
 4$105,800$105,360.00$382,194.90$467,127.10
 5$105,800$105,360.00$382,194.90$467,127.10

Florida Homeownership Loan Program (Up to $10,000): Offers up to $10,000 as a fully-amortizing, 2nd mortgage over a 15-year term; must make monthly payments. Repaid in full upon: (1) Sale, (2) Refinancing; (3) Deed transfer; (4) Homeowner no longer occupying property as their primary residence; or (5) Satisfaction of the 1st Mortgage.  To qualify, the buyer’s income and purchase price cannot exceed:

County# of People Living in the HouseIncome LimitIncome Limit  in Federal Target AreaPurchase price limit Purchase price limit in Federal Target Area
Broward 1$104,305$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$104,305$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
Miami-Dade1$112,125$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$112,125$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
Palm Beach 1$105,800$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$105,800$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00


Florida PLUS (Up to 3%, 4% or 5% of the Loan): Offers 3%, 4% or 5% of the total loan amount for down payment assistance and/or closing cost assistance, second Mortgage funds provided at closing and FORGIVEN at the rate of 20% a year over a 5-year term.  To qualify, the buyer’s income and purchase price cannot exceed:

County# of People Living in the HouseIncome LimitIncome Limit  in Federal Target AreaPurchase price limit Purchase price limit in Federal Target Area
Broward 1$104,305$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$104,305$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$108,840$126,980$491,261.10$491,261.00
Miami-Dade1$112,125$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$112,125$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$117,000$136,500$491,261.10$491,261.00
Palm Beach 1$105,800$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 2$105,800$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 3$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 4$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00
 5$110,400$128,800$491,261.10$491,261.00

What if I have more questions?  Call (850) 488-4197, email DPA@FloridaHousing.org, or visit the Hometown Heroes webpage at https://www.floridahousing.org/programs/homebuyer-overview-page/hometown-heroes.  Additionally, Florida Housing’s approved loan officers may also be of assistance.

DISCLAIMER:  Topics discussed are general concepts, not intended to constitute legal advice, accuracy, nor completeness, and may not be relied upon as such; consult an attorney or accountant.  The author Randy Gilbert, J.D. is neither an attorney nor an accountant.  FTIC is a national award winning title insurance company known for its white glove customer service and “No Junk Fee Guarantee.”

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