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

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program was created to give back to those who have done so much for the citizens of Wakulla County, Florida. This program is for you if you're an eligible full-time workforce, employed by a Florida-based employer.

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program is available for purchase only and refinances are not eligible.

What is the Hometown Heroes Program?

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program is a grant program offered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC).

The program was created to help Florida eligible community workforce secure affordable mortgage loans. The program provides grants of up to $35,000 to reduce mortgage payments.

This program provides down payment and closing costs assistance. It also provides a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate competitive with market rates.

The delivery timeline for loans under Hometown Heroes is subject to a 60-day delivery timeline.

If you're eligible, you could get up to $35,000 grant. Eligibility requirements include:

  • You must live or work in Wakulla County, Florida.
  • You must be a United States citizen or permanent resident alien.
  • You must meet eligibility requirements for an FHA, VA, or USDA-RD home loan.

What Kind of Assistance is Provided?

This program is designed to encourage and support the local community.

As part of this program, these eligible community workforce can receive receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (maximum of $35,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a home in Wakulla County, Florida.

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.

Hometown Heroes Loan Program Eligibility Requirements

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program is available to all eligible applicants interested in purchasing their first home in Wakulla County, Florida.

The county has set aside grants for income-qualified, first-time home buyers. Program participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Borrower(s) must be employed full-time by a Florida-based employer and work 35 or more hours per week. Other than veterans, all borrowers must currently work 35 hours or more a week to qualify.

  • 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. MH and manual underwrites require a minimum 660.

Honorably discharged military veterans and spouses may utilize the Hometown Heroes Loan Program. Veterans are exempt from the first-time homebuyers requirement.

They must meet all of the above eligibility requirements and provide documentation from the VA verifying their honorable discharge.

Note - The spouse does not need to be a veteran for the eligible veteran to take advantage of this benefit.

The income limit for applicants is $128,250

The income limit is the maximum annual household income an applicant can have and still qualify to live in a unit. This number is set by HUD and changes every year.

The income limit includes the total amount of all income received from every source, including - Wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, or other payments received as compensation for personal services performed.

Hometown Heroes Loan Limit for FHA & USDA-RD

The maximum amount of money you can borrow to purchase a home is $472,030 for FHA. The USDA Rural Development program does not have a Cap on Loan Limit.

Hometown Heroes HFA Preferred, HFA Advantage, and VA Loans Limit

HFA Preferred & HFA Advantage and VA Loan Limits is $726,200.

The VA loan program has been around since 1944 and is available to those who have served in the military or honorably discharged from active duty within the past two years.

The HFA Preferred program is a great option for borrowers who need to finance more than the FHA limit.

The HFA Advantage program offers lower fees and rates than the FHA program, appealing to borrowers with higher incomes who want to avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance).

Where to apply

If you meet all of these requirements, there should not be any reason you would not qualify for this fantastic opportunity! Speak to an loan officer.

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.

The Cost of Living in Wakulla County, Florida

The cost of living in Wakulla County is 6.5% lower than the national average, which means your dollar goes further here. The median household income is $39,219 annually, and the median home value is $121,500.

Residents pay approximately 13.3% in taxes and have a sales tax rate of 7%. Housing costs are about 12% less expensive than the national average.


Wakulla County has an affordable housing market, with an average listing price of $255 000.

Real estate listings include condos, townhomes, and single-family homes in Wakulla County. Commercial properties are also available.

Approximately 66.18% of Wakulla County homes are owned, compared to 27.04% rented, while 6.78% are vacant.


The average commute time in Wakulla County is 19 minutes, shorter than the national average of 25 minutes.

Most residents who drive to work (71%) do so by carpooling or public transit because there isn't much public transportation.

If you need to get around town via taxi or rideshare, services like Lyft and Uber are also available in this area.


The average monthly utility bill in Wakulla County is $126.80.

This includes electricity, water/sewer, garbage collection, and heating fuel expenses (if applicable). Roughly 38% of residents spend less than $100 on utilities, while 13% spend more than $200 on these bills.


The average monthly grocery bill for four in Wakulla County is $600.

This includes everything from vegetables to meat and dairy products. This is significantly lower than the national and statewide averages of $750 and $650.

Restaurants and Dining

The average family will spend around $300 on restaurants and dining out each month in Wakulla County.

This may seem high at first glance, but it's closer to the national average of $400 per month than the statewide one of $450 per month.

Trash Removal

The average trash removal bill in Wakulla County is $33.05 per month. This includes trash removal, garbage disposal, and recycling services provided by your local government authority or waste management company (if available).

The most expensive trash removal is a garbage disposal at $22.95 per month, while the least expensive is recycling services at $1.00 per month (if available).

Pelican and Sunset in St Marks Florida

Best Areas to Purchase a Home in Wakulla County, Florida

St. Marks

St. Marks is a historic town with plenty of coastal charm and history. The Old Spanish Trail once ran through St. Marks, and the town is known for its Spanish architecture and culture.

It's also a popular vacation destination along the Gulf Coast, so if you're looking to get away from it all, this might be the place!


Crawfordville is the county seat of Wakulla County and home to many government offices, schools, and hospitals.

You can find everything from groceries to clothing to furniture here! Crawfordville offers great shopping at local businesses and big box stores like Target or Walmart.


Panacea is a small town in Wakulla County that has been around since 1837! It's also home to one of Florida's oldest cemeteries - Mount Nebo Cemetery, dating back to 1838! Panacea is known for its beautiful historic homes, lush landscapes, and lovely small-town atmosphere.

If you want something a little different than what you might find elsewhere in Florida, Panacea might just be your new home sweet home!


Medart is a great place to purchase a home. It's small, but it has everything you need. The people who live here are friendly and welcoming, making it easy to move into any neighborhood.

There are some great restaurants and bars in the area, and there are plenty of things to do outdoors. The beaches are beautiful, and plenty of kayakers enjoy the area regularly.

Wakulla Beach

Wakulla Beach is another excellent place to purchase a home because it has many amenities available for you and your family.

There are many different types of homes that you can choose from when buying a new home here, whether it's something simple or something extravagant.

There are also plenty of things for your kids to do here, so if you're looking for an ideal location for them and yourself, this is an area worth considering!


Sopchoppy is a charming town in Wakulla County with around 483. It was established in 1878 and is home to various businesses, including restaurants, retail shops, and service providers.

It's also close to several beaches and parks where residents can enjoy the natural beauty of Florida's Panhandle.

Shell Point

Shell Point is another charming coastal town in Wakulla County that offers residents a tranquil lifestyle within walking distance of the beach. Some excellent restaurants include The Fish House and The Oyster Bar.

Residents also have access to several parks to enjoy outdoor activities like fishing or boating on their private docks.

Best Public and Private Schools in Wakulla County, Florida and Why

Wakulla County Public Schools serves the community with an excellent school system that offers students many learning opportunities. The district has approximately 3,800 students who attend one of four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.

The district also has several private schools that offer families another option for education. Here are some of the best public and private schools in Wakulla County:

Riversink Elementary School

Riversink Elementary School is a public school located in Sopchoppy, FL. It has 619 students in grades PK, K-5, with a student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1.

According to state test scores, 24% of students are at least proficient in math and 30% in reading. The average test scores are below the district and state averages for grades 3-5.

Shadeville Elementary School

Shadeville Elementary School is a public school located in Sopchoppy, FL.

It has 617 students in grades PK, K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1. 36% of students are at least proficient in math and 33% in reading.

The average test scores are below the district and state averages for grades 3-5.

Wakulla Middle School

Wakulla Middle School is a public school located in Sopchoppy, FL. It has 716 students in grades 6-8 with a student-teacher ratio of 7 to 1.

According to state test scores, 32% of students are at least proficient in math and 48% in reading.

Wakulla High School

Wakulla High School is located in Tallahassee, FL, serving grades 9-12. The school reports enrolling 1,821 students in grades 9-12.

Wakulla High School has a total of 518 teachers on staff. There are 33 full-time teachers at Wakulla High School. Wakulla High School has a student/teacher ratio of 21 to 1.

River Junction High School

River Junction High School is located in Crawfordville, FL, and serves grades 9-12. The school reports enrolling 675 students in grades 9-12.

River Junction High School has 22 full-time teachers on staff. There are 2 students per teacher at River Junction High School, and the student/teacher ratio is 19 to 1.

Sopchoppy High School

Sopchoppy High School is an excellent school. It has a friendly atmosphere and a great staff. They are always willing to help you if you need it. The teachers are great at teaching the students and ensuring they understand the material.

The school offers many different sports teams for the students to join. They offer football, basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, volleyball, golf, and cheerleading. The sports teams consistently do well in their competitions and have won many awards over the years.

Wakulla County, Florida is a Great Place for Families and Young Professionals

Wakulla County is an excellent place for families and young professionals. There are many reasons why this is true:

The warm weather

Wakulla County has a hot climate, with temperatures rarely reaching below 40 degrees in the winter and rarely exceeding 90 degrees in the summer.

The average temperature in February is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13°C), while the average in July is 81°F (27°C).

The cost of living is low

The cost of living index for Wakulla County is 88% lower than the national average, making it an affordable place to live for all types of families.

Housing costs are especially low in Wakulla County compared to the rest of Florida.

Great schools

Wakulla County has many public schools that offer excellent education programs for students from kindergarten through high school graduation. Several private schools are located throughout the county if you prefer those options over public education programs.

Many colleges within driving distance offer associate's or bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees in various fields.

Low crime rates

Wakulla County has the lowest crime rate of any county in Florida. The violent crime rate is less than half of the state average, and the property crime rate is less than half of the state average.

You can rest easy knowing that your family is safe when you call Wakulla County home.

An excellent place for growing families

If you're raising a family in Wakulla County, there are many amenities to choose from. There are several parks and community centers throughout the county where you can spend time with your kids or relax.

The Wakulla Springs State Park is one of the most popular attractions in Florida, drawing thousands of visitors each year who want to learn about the history of this natural wonder or spend some time relaxing on its sandy shores.

Many museums and other attractions nearby, like Tallahassee's Museum of History & Natural Science, offer more than 100 exhibits on topics ranging from dinosaurs to space exploration!

An excellent place for young professionals

With an unemployment rate lower than the state average, Wakulla County is a great option for young people looking for work.

The school system provides education opportunities for all ages, making it an attractive place to live and raise a family.

Great for retiring couples and seniors

Wakulla County has what you need if you're looking for somewhere peaceful and relaxing after retirement. Many activities such as fishing, boating, and golfing can keep seniors busy while they enjoy their golden years.

Plenty of outdoor adventures

Wakulla County offers plenty of outdoor adventures, including kayaking down the river or hiking through one of our many state parks.

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

  • Saint Marks
  • Crawfordville
  • Panacea
  • Sopchoppy
  • Panacea Park
  • Wakulla
  • Shadeville
  • Spring Creek
  • Newport
  • Shell Island
  • Ashmore
  • Ivan
  • Skipper
  • Arran
  • Smith Creek
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Oak Park
  • Wakulla Gardens
  • Curtis Mill
  • Tully
  • Wakulla Springs
  • Medart
  • Plum Orchard
  • Buckhorn
  • Live Oak Island
  • Surf
  • Lawhon's Mill
  • Port Leon
  • Hilliardville
  • Sanborn
  • Wakulla Beach
  • Vereen
  • Hyde Park
  • Bethel

In a nutshell

With the help of Hometown Heroes, Wakulla County, Florida, First Time Homebuyers can apply for this program and potentially receive up to a $35,000 grant to purchase their home.

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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