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

One of the biggest obstacles in purchasing a home is coming up with all the money you need to close on the house. Whether you're looking to buy your first home or buy again after already owning a house, it's essential to understand your financing options to decide which one works best for you and your budget.

One option many people don't realize exists is the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Seminole County, Florida. But what does this loan program do? Is it right for you?

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program provides up to $35,000 towards the purchase of a home in Seminole County for eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer.

The purpose of this program is to allow qualified applicants and their families to afford the home of their dreams without losing financial stability in their lives.

This article will explore everything you need to know about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Seminole County, including program requirements, and other essential things about Seminole County. Read on to learn more!

Program Requirements

The loan program offers financing assistance for first-time homebuyers so that they can can afford to buy homes.

Applicants must meet income limits and purchase a home or a condo/townhome valued at or below the mortgage loan limits per the involved lender.

To qualify, you must also be a legal Seminole County resident or work full-time within the county. The property can be anywhere within Seminole county, Florida.

If you're considering applying for this loan program, learn about the eligibility requirements below to determine what to do next.

Eligible Borrowers

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.

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.

If you're a veteran with an honorable discharge, you'll be exempted from the first-time homebuyer requirement, but you must provide a valid DD-214 reflecting discharge.

If you're a surviving spouse, you may partake in a Veterans Affair (VA) first mortgage but must provide a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

Credit Score and DTI Ratios

All Borrowers must have a minimum FICO of 640. DU blended FICOs are not permitted. Manufactured housing and manual underwrites require a minimum 660.

You need a maximum 50% DTI and maximum DTI with manufactured housing is 45%.

Income Limit

The common thing about government-backed loans is that they're reserved only for applicants with a minimum income level.

If your household makes $131,700 per year or less (the maximum income allowed for eligibility), you'll be able to apply for and receive Hometown Heroes financing.

If you want to take advantage of these programs, you'll likely need to provide proof of income at or below the required income limit in Seminole County, Florida.

You may not qualify for a Hometown Heroes loan if your income exceeds the maximum amount. On top of that, your monthly debt payments can be no more than 50% of your gross monthly income.

The involved lenders offer information on what constitutes acceptable proof of income when applying for home loans with their agency.

Loan Limit Requirement

An essential step toward purchasing a home is determining whether you're eligible for any loan limits.

FHA, USDA-RD, HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA loan limits are the amounts of money these financial institutions are allowed to lend to you based on the value of your home and the terms of your loan.

When applying for a Hometown Heroes loan, you must meet a specific loan limit to get up to a $35,000 grant in Seminole County, Florida.

Keep reading to learn more about the mortgage limit requirements that make you eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program.

Hometown Heroes Loan Limits for FHA and USDA-RD

Some famous government-backed programs offering low-interest and low-down payments include the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA-RD).

Understanding these programs is essential if you're seeking help from local home financing programs like the Hometown Heroes home financing assistance.

The maximum mortgage loan amount for FHA is $472,030. USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

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

The Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Preferred, HFA Advantage, and Veterans Affairs (VA) loans are mortgage products backed by the US government.

The HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA loan limits is $726,200 in Seminole County!

These government-backed mortgage programs help ensure safe and affordable housing across the country while offering unique opportunities and benefits you can't find in traditional loans from banks or other private financial institutions.

Each loan type has unique eligibility requirements, including credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), property restrictions, and maximum purchase price limits, based on the county where you want to buy your home.

Florida Hometown Heroes Second Mortgage

When buying a home in Seminole County, you may be eligible for a Hometown Heroes Loan through the Seminole County Government to cover a portion of your mortgage.

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

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.

Lake Mary Florida on a Map

Essential Things You Need to Know About Seminole County, Florida

Seminole County, Florida, may not be the most populous or ethnically diverse county in the US, but it's an excellent place to live if you want to own property and see your investments grow over time.

This beautiful county offers its residents a high quality of life, making it one of the most sought-after places in Florida.

If you're planning to move or take up residence in Seminole, Florida, you'll need to know the basics about the area before getting settled.

Here are the top essential things you need to know about Seminole County.

Cost of Living

In terms of purchasing power, a dollar goes a long way in Seminole County. That's because consumer goods and other non-luxury items (restaurants, transportation) are comparatively less expensive here than elsewhere.

The cost of living in Seminole County is well below that of New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and many other big cities around the US. A $3,000 salary will go much further here than in another part of Florida.

On top of that, Florida offers special tax incentives for residents, such as no state income tax, which comes in handy when saving cash. You'll have more money for fun activities with your family and friends.

Affordable real estate, healthcare services, and consumer goods are a few of Seminole's many strengths. Numerous communities in Seminole County boast reasonable housing costs, meaning there's no shortage of options for buyers in all price ranges.

If you're looking for a small ranch house, you can find plenty that won't break your budget. And if you prefer more significant properties with more amenities, those are also plentiful.

The county also is home to a thriving business community that thrives on partnerships with public-sector institutions, including military bases, local governments, and schools.

Great Neighborhoods to Purchase a Home

When buying a home, it's essential to consider what areas are best for you and your family. Seminole county comprises many different communities with unique characteristics and vibes.

Narrowing down where you want to live can help make your search more manageable and help prevent you from spending unnecessary time driving around town.

Some popular areas to purchase a home in Seminole County include but aren't limited to Lake Forest, Magnolia Plantation, Downtown Sanford, Heathrow, Live Oak Reserve, Sweetwater Oaks, Alaqua Lakes, The Springs, Timacuan, and Cardinal Oaks.

Top-rated Public and Private Schools

If you're looking for a place with excellent schools, it should be no surprise that Seminole County is on that list. The county has private and public schools, some of the best in Florida.

These schools have received high ratings from parents and students alike. Although there are many options in Florida, Seminole County takes education seriously.

Some of the best public schools include:

  • In Learning Charter
  • Heathrow Elementary School
  • Seminole Science Charter School
  • Sabal Point Elementary School
  • Partin Elementary School
  • Rainbow Elementary School
  • Wekiva Elementary School
  • Wilson Elementary School

Best private schools include:

  • Trinity Preparatory School
  • The Geneva School
  • Lake Mary Preparatory School
  • The Master's Academy
  • International Community School
  • Altamonte Christian School
  • Forest Lake Academy

Family Friendliness

Seminole County is a beautiful community with lots of fun, family-friendly activities.

Many parks, playgrounds, and schools nearby offer fun and educational things for kids of all ages. Most of these places also have programs for adults like mothers' groups, book clubs, and wellness classes.

Families can also enjoy a variety of sports teams and activities like rodeos, festivals, and parades which are often hosted in parks or outdoor locations.

Many homes and apartments come fully furnished, making transitioning easy for families. The crime rate in Seminole County is low, making it a safe place for families with children.

The weather is also moderate, so if you're new to Florida or are considering moving with your family, it's worth checking out.

Benefits to Young Professionals

Seminole County is a young professional's paradise with major universities, military bases, business friendliness, job opportunities, and cultural activities.

And with a low cost of living compared to other parts of Florida, you can enjoy your new home without breaking your budget.

Whether you are relocating for work or school, looking for a new place to live, or just considering your options in life, there are many benefits of living in Seminole County.

Cities in Seminole County, Florida Qualified for Hometown Heroes Loans

Under certain conditions, any city in Seminole County is eligible for up to a $35,000 grant from the Hometown Heroes Loan Program.

In addition to residing in one of these areas, borrowers must also meet other eligibility requirements, including homeownership status and income limits set by the Hometown Heroes Loan Program.

To apply for Hometown Heroes Loans, you must be a resident of the following census-designated cities within Seminole County, Florida:

  • Altamonte Springs
  • Winter Springs
  • Casselberry
  • Longwood
  • Lake Mary
  • Sanford
  • Oviedo
  • Geneva
  • Chuluota
  • Heathrow
  • Fern Park
  • Wekiwa Springs
  • Black Hammock
  • Midway
  • Forest City

Bottom Line

Seminole County offers the Hometown Heroes Loan Program to honor and support the service of community workforce.

This program provides eligible applicants with up to $35,000 in grant money toward purchasing a home in Seminole County, Florida. The grant money can be applied toward closing costs and down payment.

This means you can get 100% financing from the involved lenders for your purchase and still take advantage of the grant program.

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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