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

Lake County, Florida, is bursting with so much adventure and life. It's filled with everything a homeowner could ever need, from unique establishments and sought-after Real Estate to glistening lakes and diverse lifestyles. While all these things make Lake County a fantastic place to call home, living here comes with unique drawbacks.

For instance, more and more community workers are finding it hard to keep up with its soaring housing prices. And other residents can't even afford their mortgage payments due to low wages and salaries.

But don't fret—with the Hometown Heroes loan program, your dreams of owning a home in Lake County can finally come to pass.

This program offers closing charges assistance and down payment to first-time homebuyers to enable them to purchase primary residences in the areas in which they work and serve.

It provides home loans, grants, a lower first mortgage rate, and other unique benefits to workers who have served and continue serving their countries. So this means that if you're eligible for this program, you could easily qualify for a grant of up to $35,000.

Read on to learn more about the Florida Hometown Heroes housing program, including who's eligible for the grant in Lake County and how to qualify for it. We'll also talk about some of the best places to purchase a home in Lake County and the benefits of residing here.

Getting Started - Understanding the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program

While many Floridians dream of buying a lovely home that they can use to raise their families, their dreams are slowly fading away due to the fluctuating housing market.

Fortunately, the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program is here to make owner-occupancy affordable for first-time, income-qualified community workers.

This program provides up to $35,000 assistance for eligible full-time community workers, employed by a Florida-based employer buying their first homes in Lake County.

The program also offers a lower mortgage rate and additional benefits specially designed for first-time buyers.

So, if you're an eligible community workforce and qualify for this program, you can use it to cover your closing costs and down payment when purchasing a house.

Who's Eligible for the Grant in Lake County, Florida?

If you reside in Lake County, you may be eligible for the program if you meet the following requirements:

  • 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.

Besides the above requirements, there are some program financial limits that you should consider. For instance, the maximum Hometown Heroes income limit for Lake County, Florida, is $131,700.

The maximum Hometown Heroes loan limit for FHA loans is $472,030, while the maximum Hometown Heroes loan limit for VA loans, HFA Preferred, and HFA Advantage Program is $726,200. USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

How to Qualify for a $35,000 Grant in Lake County, Florida

Hometown Heroes Housing Loan Program makes homeownership affordable and helps eligible Floridians purchase their first homes. The Florida Housing and Finance Corporation is in charge of the program.

While you can qualify for this grant if you're employed full-time (must document 35+ hrs. per week) by a business located in Lake County, Florida, there are specific requirements you must meet before applying for the loan program.

To qualify, you must;

  • Reach out to a participating loan officer in Lake County who can help you choose the best loan type for your unique home needs and goals.

  • Ensure your credit score isn't below 640 points. Otherwise, lenders could quickly turn down your loan request due to bad credit.

  • Meet the income threshold for Lake County.

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.

Aerial view of Sawmill Lake in South Clermont Florida

Best Areas to Purchase a Home in Lake County, Florida

Although Lake County is such a fantastic place to buy a house, deciding where to settle can be a challenge due to all the scenic towns in the area. We'll help you make a wise decision and find the best house for you and your family.

Here are some of the best areas to buy a home in Lake County:


You'll find a shining town popularly known as the Choice of Champions and the Gem of the Hills among the county's rolling hills. Life in Clermont, Florida, is about staying with a health-centric mindset.

The lake life has a sturdy presence in Clermont as it boasts its chain of lakes - the Clermont Chain of Lakes. The atmosphere is fresh and inviting.

The town comes with various amenities, including outdoor recreation, locally loved establishments and events, miles of peaceful lakefronts, and world-class sporting and healthcare facilities.

This feature consists of over 8,000 acres of beautiful water, 11 lakes, and some of the best fishing grounds in Lake County.

About 30 miles from Downtown Orlando and only a few miles from other prosperous towns, Clermont is a flourishing community with many iconic things to offer its residents.

Lady Lake

Lady Lake is situated in one of the fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the country. It's only an hour's drive from Orlando and is the famed and native-land of The Villages, Florida (the famous Active Adult Community).

Small town living coupled with great beginnings is a perfect way to describe this prosperous and growing city in Lake County.

This town focuses on responsible development and continuous beautification and is always striving to add housing alternatives that benefit the community.

Residents also enjoy various restaurants, local shopping, and more, making this town an even more wonderful place to buy a house.


Leesburg is a serene destination situated about 14 miles from The Villages, Florida, and less than 50 miles from Downtown Orlando.

With an engaged local community, tasteful historical nods (the oldest city in the region), and beautiful natural scenery, it may seem like a small quiet town, but it packs a big punch.

Leesburg is commonly referred to as the Lakefront City as it's almost surrounded by water, with Lake Harris to the south and Lake Griffin to the north. On any typical good weather permitting day, expect to see several boats filling the ramps throughout the town.

Events and festivals in this charming little town are somewhat of a specialty, including the world's biggest 3-day bike and music festival. Helping to fuel local businesses and bringing the community together is a proud focus for Leesburg.

Mount Dora

Also known as the New England Town of the South, this historic town is unprecedented and covetable and runs along the shores of the famous Lake Dora. One of the most significant appeals of this town is its overall aesthetic.

Nearly every turn in Mount Dora is unique and perfectly blends northern-style buildings and accents with Florida's charm and terrain.

This place is well-known for its great downtown area with several art galleries, wine bars, shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and festivals.

Residents truly live a unique want for nothing lifestyle, enjoying everything Mount Dora offers from boating to recreation, history, gorgeous sunsets, antiques, amenities, and much more.

This bustling town is located near 2 other popular towns in Lake County, Eustis and Tavares. Together, they make up the Golden Triangle.


This town is the county seat of Lake County and another sparkling gem in the region. It's a lakeside town that comes with shimmering water views.

It's technically nestled between 4 significant lakes of the Harris Chain, namely Lake Eustis, Lake Harris, Lake Dora, and Little Lake Harris.

Tavares is widely known for its seaplanes, hence its slogan 'America's Seaplane City.' Downtown Tavares is where most of the action occurs, including the seaplane bookings and traffic.

Aside from enjoying the seaplane rides, you can head there to taste some of the delicious seafood and tacos their world-class restaurants offer. And, it's not uncommon to come across events or festivals in Downtown Tavares as well!


Situated on the banks of Lake Apopka, Montverde is a historic town that encompasses a unique identity, delivering an authentic 'Old Florida' feel and overflowing with appealing characteristics. It boasts countless historic buildings and offers its residents a quiet atmosphere familiar in the central part of Florida.

Home to the highly regarded community of Bella Collina, Montverde also features scenic outdoor sights and amenities, including some of Florida's highest hills, and has the Green Mountain Scenic Byway, with its rolling hills and rural charm, running through it.

Another brilliant piece of this historic town is the Montverde Academy. This private school welcomes international and local students and has a world-class and nationally famous basketball program.


Welcome to 'The City with Natural Charm,' formally known as Groveland. If you're looking for a place in Lake County to buy a home, look no further than Groveland. It's nestled in beautiful countryside and the famous rolling hills of Florida.

Groveland is widely known for being one of Lake County's fastest-growing towns, signifying its attractive demeanor for businesses, job opportunities, recreation activities, residential communities, etc.

Its notable characteristics include the beautiful wide-open spaces and the unique natural scenery covering the entire town.

From its sparkling lakesides to its pure rural beauty and the desired location, Groveland is one of Lake County's secret gems.


Did you know that 'America's Hometown' is situated in Lake County? The town of Eustis was nicknamed 'America's Hometown' as it hosts the 2nd oldest festival for George Washington's birthday. It has a cultural and artsy vibe as there always seem to be events and festivals.

Purchasing a home in Eustis means that you'll experience the signature Lake County boating lifestyle it has to offer. There are also other fun activities like attending the local theater and exploring the many parks in the region.

Plus, there's a variety of eating, dancing, shopping centers, and the Downtown Waterfront Entertainment District. If you're looking for a perfect lakefront but lively town, Eustis might be a suitable spot for your needs.


Located near Little Lake Harris in Lake County, Astatula is a quaint town offering its residents a relaxing atmosphere.

If you're searching for a fun adventure with your family, you can stretch your legs on the neighboring Clay Island Trail or head to the nearby local adventure farm.

Generally, Astatula is the perfect place for homebuyers wanting unique perks while being tucked in between beautiful scenery.

You'll experience a truly tranquil vibe and explore all the lake life offers in the county. Not to mention, Astatula is only about 30 miles from Orlando, offering convenience to a variety of additional Central Florida amenities.

Buying a House in Central Florida? Your Guide to the Benefits of Living in Lake County

Are you weighing the merits and demerits of purchasing a home in Central Florida?

Is Lake County top of mind? With over 1,000 pristine lakes and rivers, rolling hills, stunning vistas, and intimate lakeside restaurants, there's no denying that living in Lake County feels like paradise.

Aside from the $35,000 grant program, purchasing a home in Lake County comes with many benefits. Here's why we think Lake County will be a perfect place for you and your family:

Reasonable Cost of Living

Want to get more bang for your buck regarding housing and day-to-day services? Consider moving to Lake County.

Although the cost of living in most major cities in Florida, such as Miami, is higher, most areas throughout Lake County are very affordable compared to other parts of Florida.

Healthcare, goods and services, and housing in Lake County fall below the national average. For instance, the median home value is as low as $274,900.

Of course, you should expect to pay more for a home in coastal cities, such as Miami, which has a median home value of about $500,000.

Better Public and Private Schools

Another reason why we think Lake County is an ideal place to call home is its world-class public and private schools. Lake County is often ranked among the best counties in Florida for higher education, and its public and private school systems aren't far behind.

Besides getting an excellent education, your kids will enjoy having access to activities like clubs, dances, sports, and more! Like public schools, private schools are impressive and come with great teachers who care about students' success and personal growth outside school.

Lake County is an Ideal Place to Raise a Family

Home to thousands of pristine lakes swimming with fish, acres of state parks, preserves, and a national forest full of plants and animals, Lake County is a fantastic place to raise a family.

Any of the county's waterfront parks are a soothing locale for Sunday afternoon picnics with your loved ones.

And aside from the bountiful lakes, stunning rolling hills, and scenic terrains, you can take advantage of the county's top-notch school system and enroll your kids in the county's public and private schools for an education program that will bring the best out of them.

Young Professionals Have an Opportunity to Get Jobs and Nurture their Talents

Lake County has seen its job market increase by about 3.9% over the last year. And to make it even better, the future job market growth over the next 10 years is estimated to be 51.2%, almost 2× higher than the US average job growth of 33.5%.

As a young entrepreneur or job seeker, you can take advantage of Lake County's excellent job market to expand your business and find other job opportunities. Some of the top industries include cleantech, manufacturing, tourism, information technology, and financial services.

All Towns/Cities Within Lake County, Florida

Like most counties in Florida, all the cities and towns in Lake County are eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program. They include;

  • Altoona
  • Astor
  • Astatula
  • Clermont
  • Ferndale
  • Eustis
  • Fruitland Park
  • Groveland
  • Grand Island
  • Howey in The Hills
  • Leesburg
  • Lady Lake
  • Mascotte
  • Montverde
  • Minneola
  • Mount Dora
  • Paisley
  • Okahumpka
  • Sorrento
  • Umatilla
  • Tavares
  • Yalaha

Closing Thoughts

Finding the perfect home takes effort, time, and a bit of luck.

Once you've spotted a property that's right for your needs and budget, it's time to get closer to owner-occupancy by applying for a loan.

If you're a first-time homeowner, the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Lake County, Florida, can simplify things and put you steps ahead of other potential homebuyers.

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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