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

The Hometown Heroes Program is a loan program that provides up to $35,000 in down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers in Suwannee County. The program is designed to help eligible full-time workforce become homeowners by providing them with funds for a down payment on purchasing a home.

What is Hometown Heroes Loan Program?

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program makes housing affordable for eligible first-time, income-qualified homebuyers.

Hometown Heroes offers a lower first mortgage rate AND additional special benefits to those who currently serve their communities and those who have served and continue to serve their country.

The Florida Hometown Heroes Program does not have an upfront 1% Origination Fee which saves borrower(s) thousands of dollars in upfront closing costs.

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.

How to qualify for a Hometown Heroes grant in Suwannee County, Florida?

To apply, you must complete an application form and provide documents to determine qualification.

You may also need to provide proof of income and other documents depending on the applicant type (i.e., first-time home buyer versus veteran).

Once you've submitted your application, it will be reviewed by one of our local partners, who will determine if you qualify based on specific criteria, including income level. If approved, they will let you know what amount of money you qualify for.

Maximum Amount and Income Limits

The Hometown Heroes Loan home buyers grant program is designed to help first-time homebuyers achieve their dream of homeownership.

As part of this program, eligible applicants will receive up to $35,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

The maximum amount of this grant is $35,000. The maximum qualifying income is $128,250 in Suwannee County, Florida.

First-Time Buyer Requirement

This is a first-time buyer program; you cannot have owned another primary residence within the past three years.

You also must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident and live in Suwannee County, FL, during the entire loan process (from application through closing).

Loan Limits

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

Program Requirements for Florida Hometown Heroes Program

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

  • 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.

  • Borrower(s) must not exceed the maximum Income & Loan Limit requirements, household size, for the county in which the property is being purchased.

  • All Borrowers must have a minimum FICO of 640.

How to Get the $35,000 Hometown Heroes home purchase grant in Suwannee County, Florida?

  • Find a lender approved under Hometown Heroes - The first step in applying for the Hometown Heroes home purchase grant is finding a lender who has been approved by Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). The website will allow you to search for lenders who are approved for this program and then contact them directly with any questions or concerns you may have about their services.

  • Get pre-qualified for an HFA, FHA, VA, or USDA-RD mortgage loan - If you want to get up the $35,000 Hometown Heroes home purchase grant in Suwannee County, Florida, you must be pre-approved for a mortgage loan first. The grant program is only available for homes purchased with an HFA, FHA, VA, or USDA-RD loan. If you need help getting pre-approved for one of these loans, contact lenders today!

  • Get a pre-approval letter (if needed) - If your lender requires it, you can get a pre-approval letter that shows how much money they will let you borrow before applying for the grant program.

  • Start looking at homes - Once you have gotten pre-approved and know what price range you can afford, start searching for homes in that range on® and other websites like Zillow® and Trulia®! Find the home of your dreams and make an offer. You can use a mortgage calculator that will help you determine how much house you can afford.

  • Please fill out the application for the grant program and submit it with the other required documentation - After making an offer on a property, you will need to fill out the application form for this loan program and submit it along with several other documents. The documents include proof of income, proof of employment, proof of citizenship or legal residency status.

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.

Trail along the Suwannee River in Suwannee River State Park in Northern Florida

Cost of Living in Suwannee County, Florida

The cost of living in Suwannee County, Florida, is much lower than the national average. It's also cheaper than some other places in Florida like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. But what does that mean?

The cost of living is measured by the consumer price index (CPI), which measures how much it costs to buy a basket of goods and services in a given place.

For example, if you want to buy a house with all the furniture, appliances, landscaping, and other features you need to make it livable, that would be part of your CPI basket.

  • Home prices - Home prices in Suwannee County, FL, are lower than the national average. The median sale price for a home in Suwannee County is $172,500. This price is based on all residential homes sold between January 1st, 2022, and May 31st, 2022, as recorded by, and includes single-family homes as well as condos, townhomes, and villas.

  • Electricity - The average monthly cost of electricity in Suwannee County is $119.00, which is higher than the Florida average of $101.83 and higher than the national average of $110.67. The state average price per kilowatt-hour is 14.89 cents, which is lower than the national average of 15.66 cents.

  • Natural gas - The average monthly cost of natural gas in Suwannee County is $62.00, which is lower than the Florida average of $103.33 and lower than the national average of $133.33. The state average price per therm is 10.05 cents, which is lower than the national average of 11.35 cents a therm.

  • Water - Citizens of Suwannee County pay about as much for water as other Floridians do — $5 per month on average compared with $5 nationally — but they don't have to worry about drought because they have abundant rainwater resources.

  • How much is healthcare in Suwannee County, FL? In Suwannee County, FL, healthcare costs are below average for the United States. The average visit to a general practitioner is $114, while a visit to a specialist will cost $173. For patients with two or more chronic conditions, the average annual cost of healthcare is $17,973.

  • How much is childcare in Suwannee County, FL? The average cost of childcare in Suwannee County, FL, varies greatly depending on your location within the county, but it generally costs between $5,000 and $7,000 per year.

  • Transportation costs can be expensive in some parts of Florida, especially if you regularly travel long distances for work. In Suwannee County, FL, you can expect to pay around $0 per month for transportation costs if you have an automobile and drive 20 miles daily (assuming 30 miles per gallon fuel efficiency).

The Best Towns and Cities to Buy a Home in Suwannee County, Florida

Live Oak

Live Oak is a beautiful place to live, and it's not hard to see why. It's located in the heart of Suwannee County, so you'll have easy access to everything you need. It's also an excellent place for families, with plenty of amenities for children and young people.

The city is home to several parks, including a nature trail near the Suwannee River that runs through town. There are also museums and historical sites nearby, so you can learn more about Suwannee County while enjoying yourself.

Live Oak is known as the "Gateway to Florida's Nature Coast" for its proximity to the Suwannee River and other natural landscapes.

The area offers access to outdoor activities like boating, kayaking, and camping at Hampton Springs State Park. This area is an affordable option for first-time buyers looking for their perfect starter home.


Branford is another city in Suwannee County that offers plenty of great living options. It's located in the northern part of the county, only a few miles away from Live Oak and Branford Elementary School.

When you buy a home here, you can expect a peaceful lifestyle with easy access to everything you need — including restaurants and shops within walking distance or just down the street!


McAlpin is a small town located in Suwannee County, Florida. Although small, there are many things to do and see in this town.

There are many excellent schools and parks for families with children. McAlpin residents enjoy going to the local park, where they can play games and picnic with their families.

The park has a playground for children and picnic tables and grills for the adults to use. There are also walking trails throughout the park, so you can walk or jog while enjoying the scenery around you.

There are also many places to visit near McAlpin, including restaurants, shopping centers, museums, and more!


Wellborn is a small town in Suwannee County, Florida, with just over 3909 people. This town has many great things that make it an ideal place to live if you're looking for a quiet community where everyone knows each other's names!

Wellborn has several parks that are great for families with kids because there are lots of activities for them, like playing on slides or climbing on monkey bars!

Lake City

Lake City is a charming town with many historic buildings and homes. It's also the county seat and home to the Suwannee River Regional Library System.

The cost of living here is lower than the national average, making it a great place to buy a home without breaking your budget.

Why Suwannee County, FL is a Great Place for Families and Young Professionals

Suwannee County, FL, is great for families, young professionals, and retirees. The community offers a variety of activities and attractions that will appeal to people of all ages.

  • Beautiful Scenery - The Suwannee River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, flowing through the heart of the county along its western border. The river is known as "the river of grass" because of its lush vegetation, which provides a natural habitat for all kinds of wildlife, including otters, bobcats, and even alligators.

  • Great schools - Suwannee County, FL, has an excellent school system with top-rated schools and educational opportunities for students of all ages. Several colleges and universities in the area offer students everything from associate degrees to bachelor's degrees, as well as graduate programs for those who want to continue their studies after high school graduation.

  • Lower cost of living - The cost of living in Suwannee County, FL, is much lower than in other parts of Florida or other parts of the country. It's even lower than many other states in the Southeast region, making it an ideal place for retirees who don't want to spend most of their savings on housing costs or young professionals looking for affordable housing options close by.

  • Plenty of job opportunities - Suwannee County has a low unemployment rate, meaning there are plenty of job opportunities in the area. Several large companies in the area, including Publix and Walmart, offer excellent wages and benefits.

  • Good weather all year round - The climate in Suwannee County is lovely year-round. The winters are warm and dry, while the summers are mild and humid. The fall and spring seasons are ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and more!

  • Low-Crime Community - Suwannee County has one of the lowest crime rates in Florida, making it a great place to live if you want peace of mind when leaving your home unattended. This is especially important for young families with young children who need to go about their daily lives without worrying about safety concerns or property crimes like car theft or breaking into homes.

  • Clean Air & Water - Florida has some of the cleanest air and water in America, and Suwannee County, FL, is no exception. No large industrial areas are within its borders, making it a safe place for families to live.

The Best Private and Public Schools in Suwannee County, Florida

  • Suwannee Springs Elementary School is at 495 Suwannee Springs Road, Live Oak, FL 32064. The school has an enrollment of around 700 students. The school has received an A grade from the state for two consecutive years.

  • Branford High School is at 602 US Highway 129 North, Branford, FL 32008. The school has an enrollment of around 500 students and has received an A rating from the state for three consecutive years.

  • Lafayette High School is located at 1011 Old Town Road, Mayo, FL 32066-4535. The school has an enrollment of around 700 students and has received an A rating from the state for three consecutive years.

  • Holy Family Catholic School is a private K-8 school in Live Oak, Florida. It has been around since 1892 and currently has an enrollment of approximately 350 students with 12 full-time teachers on staff. The school offers classes for grades K-8 during the day and aftercare services until 6:00 p.m.

All the Towns and Cities in Suwannee County, Florida Qualify for the Hometown Heroes Program

  • Dell
  • Starr
  • Pleasant View MH Park
  • Wellborn
  • Live Oak Trailer Park
  • River Run Campground
  • Trailer Harbor MH Park
  • Fort Union
  • Mercer
  • Slade
  • Padlock
  • Dickert
  • Beachville
  • Suwannee
  • Dowling Park
  • Sandy Point
  • Ellaville
  • Rixford
  • Wayne Friers MH Park
  • Pine Mount
  • Suwannee Springs
  • Lancaster
  • Sunset Manor MH Park
  • Houston
  • McAlpin
  • Luraville
  • OBrien
  • Live Oak Pines MH Park
  • Sandy Point Trailer Park
  • Newburn
  • Falmouth
  • Hildreth
  • Pouches Corner

The Bottom Line

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program is a way first-time home buyers in Suwannee County, Florida, can get the money they need to make their dream of owning a house a reality.

If you've never owned a home before and are a Suwannee County resident, you may be eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan 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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