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

If you're considering buying a home in Sarasota County, you may want to learn more about the Hometown Heroes Grant program. The Sarasota County Government offers the program with the Veteran Affairs (VA), USDA-RD, FHA, and HFA lending agencies.

This Hometown Heroes loan program offers eligible full-time community workforce up to $35,000 in grant funds.

You can use this financial assistance toward the down payment and closing costs on your new home purchase. This will make purchasing your dream home in Sarasota County, Florida more manageable than ever.

So, how does this work? What makes you eligible? Are there any income requirements? Is there any loan limit? Which cities in Sarasota county are qualified for the program?

Read on to learn more about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program and more intriguing things about Sarasota County.


Program Requirements

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Sarasota County has been one of the local real estate market's most highly-regarded and sought-after government programs.

The program is designed to meet the needs of eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer, looking to buy a home.

It includes low-interest rates and down payment assistance grants that can significantly improve your chances of getting approved for your dream home.

However, there are a few requirements that interested applicants need to meet before qualifying for the Hometown Heroes Loan program benefits.

The following guide will walk you through the requirements of the Hometown Heroes loan program in Sarasota County to help you determine if you're eligible to participate in it.


Income Requirements

You must meet income requirements to qualify for a Hometown Heroes loan. In Sarasota County, applicants should be making $137,100 or less a year to qualify for a Hometown Heroes loan program.

These numbers may change depending on location and economic conditions, so checking with your lender before applying for a loan is essential.

The most important of these is that your household income must not exceed the maximum adjusted for your household size. This is calculated by taking all family members in your household and adding their incomes together.

Then you divide that number by total family members (including the spouse, dependents, filer, and other individuals who live with you and aren't your dependents).


Loan Limit Requirements

To be eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program, you must meet the maximum loan limit requirements.

The loan limit requirements depend on which program you're participating in, including FHA loans, USDA-RD loans, HFA Preferred loans, HFA Advantage loans, and VA loans.

These limits also vary based on the county's median income, and the eligible properties differ by program.

Here's what you need to know about these loan limits requirements to qualify for one of these Sarasota County, Florida programs.


Hometown Heroes Loan Limits FHA and USDA-RD

The maximum loan limit available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is $506,000. The United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA-RD) programs does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

If you want to qualify for a Hometown Heroes Loan Program with these funding sources, your loan limits can't exceed the maximum.

These mortgage lenders have specific eligibility requirements, which you must meet to qualify for the loan limit that meets the Hometown Heroes Loan requirement.

For instance, if you're using an FHA mortgage, you must pay at least 3.5 percent of your home's value as a down payment. You don't need a down payment for USDA-RD loans to qualify for one of these mortgages.


Hometown Heroes Loan Limits HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA

The maximum loan limit for House Financing Agency (HFA) Preferred, HFA Advantage, and Veteran Affairs (VA) under Hometown Heroes is $726,200.

If you're looking at homes exceeding the $726,200 limits, you won't be eligible for a grant of up to $35,000 towards closing costs or down payment assistance.

Contact your preferred lender today if you're interested in learning more about how much home you can afford using an FHA mortgage, HFA Preferred, or HFA Advantage loan.


Eligible Borrowers

If you're one of these community workers and need help buying a home in Sarasota County, you're in the right place.

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%.

If you're active military personnel, you'll be exempt from the first-time homebuyer requirement, but you must provide a copy of your military ID.

A veteran with an honorable discharge, for example, will be exempt from the first-time homebuyer requirement and only need to show proof of your honorable discharge.

You must provide a valid DD-214 reflecting your military discharge status.

If you're a surviving spouse and are eligible for VA mortgage loans, you will need to produce a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).


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.


Downtown Skyline in Sarasota City Florida


Essential Things to Know Before Settling in Sarasota County, Florida

Whether you're thinking about moving to Sarasota County, FL, or already live here, there are some basics you should know to help you get settled in as efficiently as possible.

The county is an area in the southwest Central of Florida on the Gulf Coast, covering more than 725 square miles of land area and about 37 miles of water frontage along the Gulf of Mexico.

It's also home to several famous cities and towns in The Sunshine State.

Sarasota County offers plenty of cultural attractions and natural beauty that attract millions of tourists and thousands of new residents each year.

If you're thinking about moving or planning a vacation in Sarasota County or are just curious about the area, here are the top essential things to know about Sarasota County.


Cost of Living

Sarasota's affordability index measures how much your income goes toward housing, food, and other necessities.

Sarasota scores a perfect 10 out of 10 on the cost of living, with all residents spending less than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. Cost of living also factors in cost-of-living allowances for military families stationed at nearby bases.

Living in Sarasota is affordable compared to other big cities around Florida (and across America). The cost of goods and services from homes and apartments will typically be much cheaper than you'd expect in a central metropolitan area like Orlando or Miami.

This makes it easier for new residents to find jobs and settle into their new lives without worrying about the high living costs. Plus, plenty of fun things to do here won't break your budget.


Best Areas to Purchase Your Home

It might be impossible to pick just one great neighborhood. This part of Florida is a major tourist destination and a year-round locale for people who want to be near beaches and water.

Not surprisingly, there are several neighborhoods in which you can enjoy both. If you want to purchase a home in Sarasota but don't know where to begin your search, look for neighborhoods with low crime rates.

These areas are likely to be more affluent and offer better schools, making them great places to raise a family.

They also tend to be safer because residents here take pride in their community and will go out of their way to protect it from vandals and criminals.

Some good places to start looking include but aren't limited to Gulf Gate, Colonial Oaks, Palmer Ranch, University Park, and Bent Tree.


Top-rated Public and Private Schools

There are a wide variety of elementary schools in Sarasota. Some of these schools are among Florida's highest-performing schools, while others have received honors as Blue Ribbon Schools.

In addition to public schools, there are also several private school options for students and their families. If you're moving with children, visiting some local public and private schools is a good idea before deciding where to live.

The top-rated public schools include:

  • Bay Haven School of Basics Plus
  • Imagine School at Palmer Ranch
  • Fruitville Elementary School
  • Ashton Elementary School
  • Sarasota High School
  • Booker High School
  • Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School
  • Riverview High School
  • Sarasota Military Academy

Best private schools include:

  • Community Day School
  • Foundations Christian Montessori Academy
  • Active Learning Academy, Inc.
  • Active Learning Academy, Inc.
  • Beyond The Spectrum Education Center
  • Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School
  • The Classical Academy of Sarasota
  • Epiphany Cathedral School
  • Mangrove School of Sarasota

Family Friendliness

Families looking for a great place to settle will love calling Sarasota County their home. With its beautiful beaches and warm weather year-round, it's easy to see why many families choose to live in this stunning county.

Life in Sarasota is excellent for families, from exploring family-friendly attractions and historical sites to discovering beaches and festivals. There are many fantastic reasons why families choose to move north, but it boils down to safety.

Additionally, Sarasota School District is known for providing some of Florida's best education, which means your kids will get all they need to succeed in life.


Benefits to Young Professionals

Living in Sarasota County offers young professionals a great range of benefits from affordable housing and proximity to beaches and major cities with great nightlife.

There are a variety of jobs available and higher-education institutions like the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus.

As a bonus for young workers, some companies in Sarasota offer student discounts for employee or full-time intern positions. These discount programs can save young employees thousands of dollars over their careers.


Qualified Cities in Sarasota County, Florida for Hometown Heroes Loans Program

Suppose you're looking to purchase a home in Sarasota County, Florida.

In that case, the Hometown Heroes Mortgage Loan Program can help you reduce the purchase cost or make qualifying for a mortgage loan easier.

If you are interested in applying for one of these loans, you can review the list of qualified cities and census-designated areas below:

  • Sarasota
  • Siesta Key
  • Venice
  • North Port
  • Gulf Gate Estates
  • The Meadows
  • Nokomis
  • Fruitville
  • Bee Ridge
  • Osprey
  • Southgate
  • Sarasota Springs
  • South Sarasota
  • North Sarasota
  • South Venice
  • Laurel
  • Warm Mineral Springs
  • Vamo
  • Venice Gardens
  • Ridge Wood Heights
  • Kensington Park
  • Desoto Lakes
  • South Gate Ridge
  • Plantation

Bottom Line

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program was established to help first-time, income-qualified home buyers purchase their own homes. You can use this grant money as part of your down payment and closing costs.

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program makes homeownership affordable for eligible community workforce. Check with your lender if you meet the eligibility requirements and start your loan application today.

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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