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

The rising home prices across Florida prevent community workers from buying homes. Eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer can no longer keep up with soaring property prices in many counties within this Sunshine State.

However, the Hometown Heroes loan program is available to all first-time, income-qualified homebuyers to acquire homes.

Hometown Heroes loan program relieves these community workers since it allows them to enjoy closing cost assistance and down payment when buying their homes.

The Hometown Heroes program seeks to make homeownership accessible and affordable for eligible community workforce.

The program further aims to eliminate the significant barriers full-time workers encounter whenever they try to secure home financing.

The Hometown Heroes loan program aims to achieve this goal by helping eligible community workers save some money on the down payment and closing costs of their chosen property.

Bear in mind that these savings surpass what they would be given from other government and non-government-backed housing programs.

So, if you are among the eligible community workforce in Sumter County, Florida, and need the $35,000 grant, here is what you should know before applying for this loan.

Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Perspective

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation, popularly known as FL Housing, provides the Hometown Heroes Housing program.

The FL Housing is a statewide program designed to offer eligible first-time homebuyers down payment and closing assistance and mortgage products through accredited participating lenders.

Usually, these participating lenders involve underwriting, originating, funding, closing, and delivering loans to eligible and deserving new home buyers.

FL Housing works for hand in hand with The Bond Alternative (TBA) program to offer the Hometown Heroes Loan program.

TBA plays the role of increasing and securing affordable housing for eligible community workforce living in the state of Florida, especially in Sumter County.

TBA goes the extra mile to check and confirm the status of first-time homebuyers, including their income.

Compared to other FL Housing's first-time mortgage loans, the Hometown Heroes program does not charge the mandatory 1% upfront origination fee.

Apart from that, FL Housing does not allow lenders to charge new homebuyers the origination fee. It allows lenders to charge customary and standard but reasonable upfront origination fees.

The FL Housing also allows eligible borrowers to buy homes and stay within the communities they are currently serving.

Also, the FL Housing sets lower first-time mortgage rates, a generous down payment/closing cost option, and TBA first mortgage loans.

As an eligible full-time worker in Florida State and Sumter county, in particular, you must acquaint yourself with the available conventional and government loan programs provided by FL Housing.

The two conventional loan programs and three government loan programs are as follows:

  • The Florida First Heroes program includes government-sponsored USDA-RD, FHA, and VA. These programs offer a 30-year fixed rate and an opportunity for new homebuyers to meet the requirements for down payment assistance.

  • The FHA Preferred Heroes (for TBA) provides up to 30 years of housing loan for a fixed rate. Down payment assistance and reduced PMI premiums for loans below 80% AMI are also provided.

  • The FL HFA Advantage Heroes (for TBA) offers a fixed-rate mortgage of up to 30 years with a significantly reduced-cost PMI for those with AMI that is below 80%. These programs also provide down payment assistance to community workers in the Sunshine State.

Income & Loan Limit for Sumter County, Florida

Various requirements are set aside for those looking to benefit from the Hometown Heroes loan program. In this regard, FL Housing requires potential homebuyers to meet all income & loan limit requirements in their given counties.

Most of these income & loan limit requirements are adjusted according to the county where these workers live, their household size, and the type of property they want to purchase.

Hometown Heroes program income limit for Sumter County stands at $128,250.

The hometown Heroes Loan Limits for FHA is $472,030, while the Hometown Heroes Loan Limits for HFA preferred, HFA advantage, and VA is $726,200.

USDA-RD does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

Hometown Heroes Program Requirements

To qualify for Sumter County's Hometown Heroes Program, you must meet specific requirements. The occupational requirement will no longer apply.

  • 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 but 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.

Hometown Heroes Second Mortgage

The Hometown Heroes Loan program was established to provide eligible full-time community workers with an excellent opportunity to buy homes. This second mortgage is available to borrower(s) earning up to 150% of area median income (AMI).

5% of the TOTAL loan amount capped at $35,000, with a minimum of $10,000, in down payment and closing cost assistance offered as a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year, repayable second mortgage.

However, if any of the following occur, the borrower(s) refinance, pay off the first mortgage, transfer deed or no longer occupy the property as their primary residence, any unpaid principal balance will be required to be repaid, in full.

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.

Cost of Living in Sumter County, Florida

Sumter is one of the counties in Florida with an affordable cost of living. This is the reason many people relocate here every year. Another reason is the steadily increasing economy, which creates many job opportunities for residents.

Land costs, housing tax rates, and government services are some of the most affordable in the Sunshine State. All these positive attributes come from the strongly aggressive expansion and development in Sumter County, Florida.

The median price point for homes ranges from $200,000 to $300,000. These figures show you that it is more affordable to own homes here than in the rest of the state of Florida.

No wonder the county's cost of living index stands at 101.9 against Florida's 102.8, which is more affordable than in other counties.

Bushnell Florida on a Map

Best Places to Buy a Home in Sumter County, Florida

Sumter County may have a highly competitive housing market, but most residents prefer owning homes to renting.

Popular neighborhoods to find the most affordable property and relatively low cost of living include:


With a population of 3,123, Bushnell in Sumter County, Florida, is an ideal place to relocate with your family. This neighborhood provides residents with a complete suburban-rural mix feel not found elsewhere.

Bushnell is also a perfect place for seniors, retirees, and young professionals looking to enjoy a quiet and peaceful lifestyle away from busy urban life.

Most people own their homes and tend to be slightly conservative. Around 76% of residents own homes, while the rest (24%) live in rented houses. The median home value stands at $54,300 compared to the national $217,500.

On the other hand, the median rent is around $939 against the national $1,062. Both public and private schools in Bushnell are ranked above average. So, moving here with your school-going children should be your priority.

The Villages

The Villages is popularly referred to as Florida's friendliest hometown, with a population of more than 79,000.

This neighborhood presents the best atmosphere for both young and old residents to enjoy a quiet and peaceful rural life. Like the rest of the neighborhoods in Sumter County, the Villages is quite a fantastic town.

Living here offers you a pleasant rural feel because it features exciting outdoor recreational amenities such as parks and plenty of social amenities for its residents. About 96% of residents own homes, while a modest 4% live in rented houses.

The median home value is around $ 280,300 against the national $217,500 while the median rent stands at $1,683 compared to the national $1,062.

Lake Panasoffkee

Panasoftkee in Sumter has a population of slightly more than 3000.

Living here provides you with that exotic suburban rural mix feel. Residents are usually conservative, and most own their homes.

The median home value in Lake Panasoffkee is $80,700 compared to the national $217,500. The median rent is $838 against the national $1,062, with 82% owning homes while 18% living in rented houses.


Wildwood in Sumter has caring people, making it suitable for those with families. Its population is around 6,800. Many retirees and young professionals live in Wildwood. Living here offers you a sparse suburban feel throughout the year.

The median home value stands at $169,100 compared to the national $217,500, while the median rent is about $968 compared to the national $1,062. About 61% of residents own homes against the 39% who live in rented facilities.

Best Public and Private Schools in Sumter County, Florida

As per the 2022 academic calendar, up to 14 public schools serve around 8,600 in Sumter County, Florida. Keep in mind that Sumter County boasts one of the highest numbers of top-ranked public schools in the Sunshine State.

This school's average math proficiency score is around 66%, compared to Florida's school average of about 59%. The reading proficiency score for public schools in Sumter County is around 63% against the 56% statewide average.

The overall ranking for public schools is 9/10. This number places public schools in Sumter County among the top 20% of all public schools in Florida. Check out this list of the best public schools in this country:

  • Villages Charter School
  • Bushnell Elementary School
  • Lake Panasoffkee Elementary School
  • South Sumter Middle School
  • South Sumter High School
  • Wildwood Elementary School
  • Webster Elementary School
  • Sumter Prep Academy

There are several private schools serving approximately more than 3000 students in Sumter County, Florida. The schools are religiously affiliated, and they include:

  • Sumter Christian school with 85 students
  • Maranatha Christian Academy, with 11 students
  • Holy Family Catholic School, with 627 students
  • American Heritage Schools, Broward Campus with 2,794 students
  • The Master's Academy, with 1135 students

Is Sumter County, Florida Suitable for Young Professionals and Families?

Like most counties across Florida State, Sumter County has the appeal and charm for young professionals, families, and retirees.

This is because the county boasts an above-average school district complete with high-performing private and public schools. For that reason, Sumter County is an ideal place to raise your young family.

Cities across Sumter County have a well-developed transport network. Its accessible transport system coupled with affordable housing are all within reach for quite a number of working families. The cost of healthcare and basic needs like groceries are pocket-friendly compared to other places in Florida.

Family-oriented recreational facilities are in plenty in Sumter County. Parks, trails, and recreational spaces are designed for young families. You can take your kids to enjoy or participate in various outdoor activities at affordable rates.

Different opportunities for young professionals are also plenty in Sumter County. Young people looking for a laid-back lifestyle in Florida can move to this county to experience its uniqueness, tranquility, and friendly communities.

Even though the median income for most people in Sumter County is slightly lower than the other counties in Florida, experts project its increase in the future. This is attributed to the growing number of companies and businesses setting up shops in Sumter County.

According to the Metropolitan Area Employment & Unemployment report, the unemployment rate in Sumter County, Florida stands at 3.0%, compared to 3.5% for the previous months and 5.4% for last year (2021); from these figures, it is evident that finding employment in this county is straightforward and timeless for young professionals moving here.

Sumter County, Florida, assures its residents of a good balance between working time and social lifestyle. Young families, seniors, and professionals will find settling in this county easier.

Cities/Towns in Sumter County, Florida, that Are Eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program

Because Sumter County is part of Florida, community workers in this county can also benefit from the statewide Hometown Heroes Program. This is among the numerous incentives for qualifying citizens in this Sunshine State.

Below is a complete list of all towns and cities within Sumter County that are eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program:

  • Bushnell
  • Webster
  • Center Hill
  • Wildwood
  • Coleman
  • The Villages
  • Oxford
  • Sumterville
  • Lake Panasoffkee

Final Thought

Florida is one of the states in the United States that experiences soaring property prices year-in-year-out. The rising home prices keep low-income earners away, making it difficult to buy homes.

Luckily, there is the Hometown Heroes Housing Program that comes in handy to save these community workers serving Sumter County, Florida.

Through this program, community workers can receive lower than market interest rates on an FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac first mortgage, reduced upfront fees, no origination points or discount points and down payment and closing cost assistance.

For that reason, eligible community workers in Sumter County will no longer have to be left out when it comes to home ownership.

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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