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

Liberty County, Florida, has an initiative called the Hometown Heroes Loan Program that can help you with housing costs in the area. If you're an eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer looking to buy a home in Liberty County, you can apply to receive up to $35,000 in grants.

You can use the money to cover down payments, appraisal costs, attorney fees, and other closing costs, but not rent or existing mortgage payments.

It might be your lucky season. Hundreds of county residents apply for this program each year and receive thousands in grant money for purchasing their homes.

This article will discuss everything you need to understand about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program, including how to qualify, requirements, involved lenders, qualified cities, and reasons why living in Liberty County is a wise decision.

Read on to learn more.

What is the HomeTown Heroes Program?

The Hometown Heroes program was created to help full-time, income-qualified workers become first-time homeowners.

This program offers qualified applicants up to $35,000 for down payment assistance and closing costs on a mortgage loan for residential property in Liberty County.

Eligible applicants can use the grant dollars towards an FHA, VA, USDA-RD, HFA Preferred, or HFA Advantage financed loan issued in Liberty County. Some restrictions and requirements may apply based on your eligibility status.

Income and Loan Limit Requirements

If you live in Liberty County and meet the income and loan limit requirements, this program may help you buy your dream home with low interest rates on loans, grants, and tax credits.

Here's what you need to know about how income and loan limits work in this program, including how these two factors affect eligibility for Hometown Heroes support.

The program is intended to make affordable housing available to low-to-moderate income households—only households with incomes equal to or less than area median income (AMI) qualify.

If your household has an annual gross income of $128,250 or less, you may be eligible for up to a $35,000 grant when using FHA, VA, USDA-RD, HFA Advantage, or HFA Preferred mortgage loan.

If your income exceeds the maximum income limit requirements, adjusted for household size in Liberty County, it'll be challenging to qualify for the Hometown Heroes grant program.

Some areas within the county might have more specific income requirements; check with your housing counseling agency to see if there are any local exceptions.

There are specific Federal Housing Administration (FHA), United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA-RD), Veterans Affairs (VA), Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Advantage, or HFA Preferred maximum loan limits you must meet to qualify for the grant program.

Hometown Heroes Loan Limits for FHA in Liberty County is $472,030. The maximum limits for HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA is $726,200. USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

The contracted purchase price cannot exceed the purchase price limits in Liberty county.

How to Qualify

There's no cost to apply for the Hometown Heroes grant program. You must meet all the eligibility requirements and complete a few documents. This grant will assist you with down payment assistance for purchasing your first property.

Eligible applicants will be matched with funding based on their mortgage loan amount, down payment amount, income, and home location within Liberty County.

To qualify for the Hometown Heroes Loan program as a veteran, you must be retired military personnel and be committed to buying a home.

The grant fund may be available for honorably discharged veterans from one of the military services, including the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the National Guard, and other departments within the military.

Veterans or young military members who have been retired from service due to disability are eligible for these grants as long as they have been qualified by any U.S. government agency with an honorable discharge.

First, you must qualify for a VA, FHA, USDA-RD, HFA Advantage, or HFA Preferred guaranteed loan.

If you're looking to qualify as an active military member, the Hometown Heroes program requires you to be full-time active military personnel.

VA loan officials must deem you as active duty or in-residence. Active duty is defined as anyone on active military duty in any branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) or commissioned corps of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Public Health Service (PHS), Coast Guard, or National Guard.

While many Reservists qualify for the program, all active military personnel must consider their assignment status before applying.

To qualify as a surviving spouse, you must be married at least nine months before your spouse dies. Your marriage also must have been valid under state law (you were not married by proxy or common law).

If you met these two requirements and didn't remarry after that date, you'll meet all requirements for becoming eligible as surviving spouses.

You must also provide the Veterans Affairs certificate of eligibility (COE). This is given when you've provided proof of marriage.

Eligible Borrowers

To get started, homebuyers must connect with one of Florida Housing’s participating loan officers, have a minimum credit score of 640, be a first-time homebuyer, and earn less than 150% of the area median income, according to their local county data.

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. DU blended FICOs are not permitted. Manufactured housing and manual underwrites require a minimum 660.

All borrowers are restricted to a one-time participation in FL Housing’s Homebuyer Loan Program. This includes all first and second mortgage programs.

So, if you're looking to benefit from the program, ensure you gather all the required documents, apply early, and follow all the instructions from your lender.

Hometown Heroes Second Mortgage

Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (maximum of $35,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance.

There will also be a minimum floor set at $10,000 for those individuals able to purchase a home for less than $200,000.

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.

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.

Couple Standing In Front of their House in florida

Top Reasons to Live in Liberty County, Florida

Are you looking to relocate and start your own new life in Florida? If so, Liberty County might be the right choice for you.

There are many reasons why Liberty County, Florida, should be your next place of residence, but there are only five that stand out among the rest, including;

Affordable Cost of living

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Do you want a better quality of life without spending more money? Liberty County is one of Florida's best-kept secrets.

It may not be Miami Beach, but it's a great place to live at an affordable price!

It offers a low cost of living and lower property taxes, meaning when it is time to pay your property taxes each year, you'll likely pay less than most areas in the United States.

Liberty County is a great place to start if you're looking to invest in real estate—for a second home or as an investment.

The market is affordable and well-priced for its location. And property values are often higher than in other surrounding areas.

The typical home value in this Liberty is $155,455, which is subject to adjustment annually, meaning your investment will continue to grow over time.

Suppose you want high-quality medical assistance or to earn your degree without debt. In that case, it might be worth looking into one of the healthcare and education facilities around the county.

In terms of health care services and education, you can get great doctors and teachers at a fraction of what they would cost elsewhere. You can also save money on groceries and clothing at every turn.

Plus, some of your everyday expenses—like entertainment and transportation—will likely be less expensive than most counties in Florida.

Great Towns to Buy a Home

It might be fair to say that every county has excellent towns. It's true, though—Liberty County is chock-full of great towns and cities.

Liberty County will have what you need if you want to live near beaches, enjoy some of Florida's best golf courses, or soak up some sunshine on your front porch.

From quaint communities to bustling metropolises and everything in between, if you're looking for a great place to settle down or raise a family, chances are high you'll find it here.

With such an abundance of beautiful places to call home, it's no wonder many people are making their way here each year.

Some of the best neighborhoods to buy a home in Liberty County include but aren't limited to Hosford, Bristol, Sumatra, and Lake Mystic.

Excellent Public and Private Schools

Like many other communities, all the schools in Liberty County have adopted state-of-the-art technology and curriculum.

While each school district has its own unique programs, there are some common themes throughout a focus on high academic standards, strong support for student clubs and activities, and high graduation rates.

The county has several public and private options to choose from depending on your child's individual needs.

Regardless of which school you choose for your children, you can rest assured that they will receive a top-notch education that will prepare them for college or a career.

Some of the best schools include:

  • Liberty County High School
  • W.R. Tolar K-8 School
  • Hosford Elementary Junior High School
  • Apalachicola Forest Youth Academy
  • Liberty Early Learning Center
  • Liberty Wilderness Crossroads
  • Liberty Virtual Instruction Program
  • Liberty Virtual Franchise
  • Liberty K12 Virtual

Top private schools include:

  • Apalachicola Forest Youth Camp
  • Liberty Wilderness Crossroads Camp

Family Friendliness

Liberty County is one of America's safest communities. And when you look into why that's true, it makes sense: citizens take pride in their community and watch out for each other.

With thousands of acres of green space and some of Florida's most popular parks, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to play and explore nature. The area is a great place to raise a family.

Camping grounds are plentiful, as well as natural landmarks where families can experience wildlife and marine life in their natural habitat.

There are also numerous attractions for all ages within an hour's drive from any part of Liberty County, including theaters, museums, and professional sporting events.

Benefits to Young Professionals

Liberty County is a great place for young people looking to get their first job or advance their careers.

With a thriving economy and business community, there are plenty of opportunities for anyone willing to work hard and get ahead. This spectacular community is full of activities for young professionals and college students alike.

Whether you're a single person looking to meet other singles or a family looking for space to expand your brood, you'll feel right at home in Liberty County.

List of Cities Qualified for Hometown Heroes Grant Program

The first eligibility requirement of the Hometown Heroes grant program is that you must be a permanent resident living and working in Liberty County, Florida.

Your contracted home must be your primary residence in one of the census-designated areas within the county.

So if you're planning to purchase a home in Liberty County, below is a list of cities/towns qualified for the famous Hometown Heroes grant program:

  • Bristol
  • Hosford
  • Sumatra
  • Telogia
  • Lake Mystic
  • Estiffanulga

Bottom Line

There's a government program in Liberty County, Florida, designed to help first-time, income-qualified workers struggling with housing costs.

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program allows you to borrow up to $35,000 at no-interest rates, with no fees or hidden costs, to use to purchase an existing home in Liberty County.

If you meet the program requirements, it might be your perfect time to take advantage of this program. For information, don't hesitate to get in touch with your lender and start your application process.

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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