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Hometown Heroes Loan Program - Learn How to Get up to a $35,000 Grant in Clay County, Florida

The Florida government launched the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program to assist eligible community workers in buying a home. The Hometown Heroes Loan Program is a program that makes it easier for eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer to purchase a home in Florida.

This program works by providing down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time, income-qualified homebuyers so they can purchase a primary residence in the community in which they work and serve.

Program Requirement for The Hometown Heroes Loan Program?

If a borrower is employed full-time (must document 35+ hrs. per week) by a business located in Florida, meets Program requirements, and can credit qualify for a mortgage, many more First Time Homebuyers should be able to qualify for this program.

There will no longer be an occupational requirement.

  • Borrower(s) must be employed full-time by a Florida-based employer and work 35 or more hours per week.

  • The property the borrower(s) is purchasing will be their primary residence and they will be a Florida resident.

  • The borrower(s) are first-time homebuyers which means, a borrower(s) must have had no present ownership Interest in a principal residence at any time during the three-year period prior to the date on which the Mortgage Loan is executed.

  • All Borrowers must have a minimum FICO of 640 and maximum DTI of 50%.

How Does the Hometown Heroes Loan Program Work?

The Hometown Heroes Program provides up to $35,000 in grant money towards your down payment and closing costs.

Down payment and closing cost assistance is available in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.

This second mortgage becomes due and payable, in full, upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as his/her primary residence.

Clay County, Florida income limit to apply for the Hometown Heroes program is $132,750.

Income limits are set by HUD. Buyers must verify their income through a signed copy of their most recent tax return or pay stubs from their most recent 30 days of employment.

FHA & USDA-RD Loan Limit

The maximum purchase price limit is $526,700 for Clay County properties financed with an FHA home loan under the Hometown Heroes program. USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

This figure represents the maximum amount you can borrow from a lender to finance your home purchase.

HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA Loan Limits

Under the Hometown Heroes program, the maximum loan limits for HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA loans in Clay County, Florida is $726,200.

This is a combination of the maximum purchase price, the down payment amount, and the amount that can be borrowed.

Florida Tax Exemption Benefits

One of the top benefits of using the Hometown Heroes Program is tax exemption, saving you thousands of dollars.

Under Section 420.513(1) of the Florida Statutes, this program provides an exemption from documentary stamp tax and intangible tax for first and second mortgages and notes used to secure loans for housing financed through Florida Housing's Homebuyer Programs.

This means that when you purchase a home through these programs, you won't have to pay the documentary stamp tax and intangible tax on your mortgage, saving you a substantial amount of money.

The Florida documentary stamp tax is a real estate transfer tax levied at a rate of $0.70 per $100 paid for the property in most counties, except Miami Dade, where it is $0.60 per $100.

With the Hometown Heroes Program, you can exclude this tax when you meet the program's criteria. Additionally, the Florida intangible tax, which is calculated at 2 mills per dollar of the note's just value secured by the mortgage, is also exempted.

For each $100,000 of your home purchase price, this exemption can potentially save you approximately $2,000 in documentary stamp tax and intangible tax.

The Cost of Living in Clay County, Florida 2022

The cost of living in Clay County is higher than the state average. This is due to the high cost of housing, utilities, and transportation.

Housing costs in the area are 33.3% higher than the state average, but utilities and transportation costs are slightly higher than Florida averages.

Transportation costs include fuel and vehicle maintenance, while housing and utility costs include rent and utilities (electricity, water, heat).


Clay County residents pay an average of $373,200 for a home. The cost of housing in Clay County has been up 33.3% since last year due to a lack of inventory available on the market, which caused prices to rise significantly over time.

If you're looking for an affordable home, you may want to look at areas outside of this city, such as Fort Walton Beach or Destin, where homes can be purchased for around $200K-$250K depending on the size features needed by your family's lifestyle needs.


Clay County residents pay an average of $137 per month for their utilities (electricity, water). This is lower than the state average of $170 per month for combined electricity and water/sewer bills.

However, it's important to note that these costs vary greatly depending on where you live within Clay County and your usage patterns.

Grocery & Drug Stores

The cost of groceries in Clay County, Florida, is about $739 per month. The average family spends about $1,300 per month on food, including eating out and takeout.


Transportation - public transportation, taxi, and car rental services are available in Clay County, Florida. If you live far away from your workplace or college campus, you may need to hire a taxi or rent a car to get to work or school on time and avoid being late for your classes.

The average cost of renting a car is $45 per day, while the average daily taxi fare is $65-$80, depending on the area in Clay County, Florida.


The average cost of childcare in Clay County is $1,500 per month or $18,000 per year. This is based on an estimate that a family with two children spends 20% of their income on childcare costs.

Other Cost

Other costs include food and housing expenses. The average cost of food in Clay County is $200 per month for a family of four, which works out to about $2,400 annually.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Jacksonville, FL, is about $1,100 per month. This means that someone who rents will spend about half their monthly income on housing alone!

The Best Towns and Cities to Live in Clay County, Florida

Orange Park

Orange Park is a small town of about 8764 residents. It is located in Clay County, Florida, and is considered a suburb of Jacksonville.

The city has an active business community with many companies, including Wells Fargo, Fidelity Bank, and CSX Transportation, calling Orange Park home.

The city also has several parks and recreational facilities, including Orange Park Athletic Club, Orange Park Community Center, River Park Tennis Center, etc.

Green Cove Springs

Green Cove Springs is located just south of Jacksonville in Clay County, Florida. The city is home to about 8283 people and is known for its historic downtown area, which features many shops, restaurants, and other attractions for visitors and residents alike.

Green Cove Springs has been listed as one of the top ten places to retire by CNN Money Magazine because of its low cost of living but still offers much for retirees who want to stay active such as golfing at the Green Cove Country Club or kayaking along the St Johns River which runs through town.

Keystone Heights

Keystone Heights is a small town located in Clay County, Florida. With a population of 1488, it is considered to be one of the best places to live in the state of Florida because it has all of the amenities that people need.

It has excellent schools and parks for families to enjoy. The town also has plenty of job opportunities for people looking for work.


Middleburg is another excellent place to live in Clay County, Florida. It has a population of 14,111. The town is located just outside of Jacksonville, and it has all of the amenities you would expect from a larger city like this one.

There are plenty of parks and schools available in Middleburg if you want to raise your children there instead of sending them off to school in Jacksonville every day.

The cost of living here is meager compared to other areas in the state, and it makes this area an attractive place for new residents to move into and an ideal place for those who already live here.

Penney Farms

Penney Farms is another small city in Clay County that offers great living conditions. This town's population is 655 people, and it has an average income of $162,500 per year. The land area is 0.56 square miles with a population density of 4,976 people per square mile.

There are also many things to do in this area, including visiting the Penney Farms Golf Club or hiking at one of the local parks like Centennial Park or Village Park.

Fleming Island

Fleming Island is located just west of Jacksonville and south of St. Johns County. It's considered one of the best places to live in Florida because it offers affordable housing options, excellent schools, and low crime rates.

Residents love that there's so much open space around them, plus many festivals throughout the year in Fleming Island, including their annual Christmas parade and festival.

View of Doctors Lake and Docks at Dusk in Fleming Island Clay County Florida

The Best Public Schools in Clay County, Florida

Fleming Island High School

Fleming Island High School is one of Florida's top public high schools. It has a 99% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate.

The school offers AP courses, IB programs, and dual-enrollment opportunities. The faculty at Fleming Island High School is award-winning and highly qualified, with an average teacher experience of 12 years, according to

The school's athletic teams compete as the Gators, and they have won several state championships in football, baseball, softball, and volleyball.

Ridgeview High School

Ridgeview High School is another top-rated public high school in Clay County, FL. The school offers AP courses, dual-enrollment opportunities, and IB programs.

The faculty at Ridgeview High School has an average teacher experience of 11 years, according to It also has a 100% college acceptance rate for seniors who were accepted into college by March 2017, according to

The school's athletic teams compete as the Rebels, and they have won several state championships in football, baseball, basketball, and softball.

Orange Park High School

Orange Park High School is a public high school located in Orange Park, Florida. They have 2,247 students with a student/teacher ratio of 14 to 1.

The school is a public high school with an enrollment of 1,802 students and 126 teachers. There are currently no reported incidents at this school.

Some of the programs offered include Advanced Placement (AP), Honors/Advanced Placement (H/AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), dual enrollment, and career preparation.

The staff at Orange Park High School believes that every student should receive an opportunity to learn in a safe environment where they can grow as individuals and become productive members of society.

Oakleaf High School

Oakleaf High School is a public high school located in Middleburg, Florida. The school is a public high school with an enrollment of 1,834 students and 99 teachers.

They have 1,024 students with a student/teacher ratio of 12 to 1. The teachers are highly qualified and experienced professionals who offer quality education to all their students.

They believe that every child deserves a chance at success in life regardless of their economic status or background because they all deserve an equal opportunity to achieve greatness in life through education.

Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High School

Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High School is a public high school located in Keystone Heights, Florida. The school is a public high school with an enrollment of 1,218 students and 73 teachers.

Keystone Heights is a great choice for a safe, high-quality education. The school consistently has a graduation rate of over 90 percent, and its SAT scores are well above the state average. It also offers a variety of extracurricular activities, including sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and softball.

In addition to its educational programs, this school also offers many extracurricular activities for students, such as clubs and sports teams.

Middleburg High School

Middleburg High School is another top-notch option for Clay County, FL students. It has an excellent graduation rate and SAT scores above average compared to other schools in the area.

It has 2,000 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 11 to 1. According to state test scores, 82% of students are at least proficient in math and 72% in reading.

Orange Park Elementary

Orange Park Elementary School offers both elementary and middle school programs. Its students consistently score above average on standardized tests and have an impressive graduation rate of 95 percent.

It has 778 students in grades PK-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 76% of students are at least proficient in math and 77% in reading.

Grove Park Elementary

Grove Park Elementary offers programs from kindergarten through sixth grade. Students at this school scored well above average on standardized tests, with many earning perfect scores in science and math classes.

The school also has multiple clubs and sports teams available for students who want more from their educational experience.

Eagle Harbor Elementary School

This school is an innovative, award-winning elementary school that provides an excellent educational opportunity for students in grades K-5.

The school is surrounded by beautiful lakes and forests and is located in a quiet residential neighborhood. The faculty and staff are committed to ensuring that each student has a safe and productive learning environment.

Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School

Dr. David L. Anderson Middle School is one of the best public schools in Clay County, FL. It offers students challenging academic programs taught by highly qualified teachers committed to helping students reach their full potential.

Students are encouraged to achieve academically and socially through participation in extracurricular activities such as sports teams, clubs, student government, and more!

Why Clay County, Florida is the Place to Live for Families and Young Professionals

Clay County is the place to live for families and young professionals. You can find a wide range of housing options and get everything you need to be done in one place.

The crime rate is among the lowest in the state, so you can feel safe walking around downtown or anywhere else in town.

The job market is strong - more than 3,000 businesses with over 70,000 employees here. There are plenty of things to do here — take your kids to the zoo and museum, go hiking or biking on our many trails, visit one of our many festivals, or enjoy a meal at one of our many restaurants.

Good weather every day

The climate is pleasant all year round — it's not too hot or too cold!

There are plenty of amenities — shopping malls with everything from grocery stores to bookstores, movie theaters, and restaurants; plenty of parks; and many places where you can go swimming or boating on Lake Ontario or Lake Erie (located about 30 minutes away).

Cheaper than elsewhere in Florida

The cost of living here is slightly slow compared to other places in Florida.

There is a thriving arts community — there are several galleries featuring local artists' work and performing arts venues such as theaters and concert halls where people come together.

There are plenty of things to do here

Clay County has plenty of things to do for families and young professionals.

We have an excellent park system, which includes parks like Lake Park, where there is an aquatic center, an 18-hole disc golf course, and more.

The Landing Community Center also has a gymnasium, fitness center, and library.

There are plenty of amenities

Clay County has everything from grocery stores to restaurants to shopping, all within driving distance from each other.

You don't have to go far from one place to another because everything is so close together.

You don't have to go far to do your grocery shopping

There are many grocery stores in the area, but if you want something more unique or different than what you would find at Publix or Walmart, check out some local places like The Fresh Market or Aldi's Grocery Store.

Both are great places to get fresh produce and meats without driving into Jacksonville or Orange Park.

All the Towns and Cities in Clay County, FL, can Qualify for the Hometown Heroes Grants

  • Middleburg
  • Bellair-Meadowbrook Terrace
  • Fleming Island
  • Keystone Heights
  • Oakleaf Plantation
  • Orange Park
  • Lakeside
  • Asbury Lake
  • Green Cove Springs
  • Penney Farms

A Final Word

If you're considering purchasing a home in Clay County, Florida, contact a real estate agent to learn more about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program.

It could be just what you need to help you achieve your financial goals! So, don't wait any longer and take advantage of this program's opportunity.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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