The Hometown Heroes program offers special mortgage guidelines that do not require a spouse's income to be counted if they are not listed on the application.
The Hometown Heroes program helps veterans and other heroes achieve their dream of becoming homeowners again after serving our country. This program was designed specifically for veterans who want to return home and buy a house in their hometowns. There is no 1% Origination Fee charged, unlike other loan products.
Qualifying Professions in Okeechobee County, Florida
The Hometown Heroes Housing Program is available for qualified veterans, active military personnel, spouses, police officers, firefighters, and school teachers in eligible counties.
Other qualifying professions include:
- Correctional officers
- Law enforcement officers
- Juvenile probation officers
- School counselor
- Social worker
- School psychologist
- Licensed childcare operator
- Registered nurse
- Home health aide
- Physician assistant
- Pharmacist dentist
- Certified nurse-midwife
- Nursing home administrator
- Licensed dietician
- Prosthetist Orthotist
- Electrologist FL
- Massage Therapist
- Clinical Laboratory Personnel
- Licensed Medical Physicist (X-Ray)
- Certified Basic X-Ray Machine Operator
- Certified Radiologic Technologist
- Certified Radiology
- Assistant-Certified General
- Radiographer Specialty
- Physical Therapist
- Physical Therapist Assistant
- Clinical Social Worker
- Marriage & Family Therapist
- Mental Health Counselor
- Veterinarian Assistant or Technician
- Active Military Personnel & Veterans
The program was created to help more first responders become homeowners. As part of the program, Florida HFC provides down payment assistance grants that can be used to purchase or refinance a home. The grants are based on an applicant's household income and will not exceed $25,000.
Hometown Heroes Grant Amounts in Okeechobee County, Florida
The program offers up to $25,000 in grant funds with zero percent interest and no monthly payments for 10 years.
The grant amount varies from $1,500 to $25,000, depending on how much money you contribute to your purchase. You can't use it for rental properties or commercial real estate purchases.
If you are eligible for this program, you may also qualify for other incentives offered by Florida Housing, such as down payment assistance and closing cost assistance.
Hometown Heroes Loan Program Eligibility Requirements
Qualifying applicants must be first-time homebuyers or have not owned a home in the past three years
Applicants must be able to afford monthly mortgage payments based on their income level, debt, and other expenses (including taxes)
First mortgage loans must be for single-family residences only (no condos or townhomes)
Applicants must meet credit criteria set by lenders participating in this program
- Applicants must live in the county at the time of loan closing
Hometown Heroes Income limits for Okeechobee County, Florida
The income limits for this loan program depend on the area median income (AMI) for Okeechobee County, FL. The Hometown Heroes income limit for Okeechobee County is $118,950.00 annually. If you make more than these amounts, you are not eligible to receive this grant but may qualify for other programs or grants.
Hometown Heroes Loan Limits in Okeechobee County, Florida
The maximum loan amount for FHA is $420,680.00, and the maximum loan amount for USDA Rural Development (R.D.) is $420,680.00. The minimum down payment is 0% for FHA and USDA RD loans. The maximum sales price or appraised value of the home can be no more than $420,680.00, depending on your loan.
The maximum loan amount for HFA Preferred / Advantage is $647,200.00, and the minimum down payment is 0%. The maximum sales price or appraised value of the home can be no more than $647,200.00, depending on what type of loan you are using.
How to Apply for the Hometown Heroes Program
This program is available through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), sponsored by the City of Okeechobee.
The first step in applying for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program is to complete application forms. You can find all necessary documents on the FHFC website under "Hometown Heroes Grant Program."
Eligible applicants include active military personnel and veterans looking to buy a home in their name or jointly with another eligible party (spouse). The new home must be within Okeechobee County, and you must purchase it within 12 months of receiving notification of your award amount from FHFC.
Once you have received notification from FHFC that you have been approved for either a grant or a loan, you can apply for financing directly with your lender.
Cost of Living Okeechobee County, FL
The cost of living in Okeechobee County, FL, is 19% lower than the national average. The average salary in Okeechobee County, FL, is $46,822, and the average home price is $299K up 35.3% from 2021, according to realtor.com
The top employer in Okeechobee County is Publix Super Market Inc, with 1,200 jobs, followed by UPS with 690 jobs.
Most families in Okeechobee County have one wage earner and one stay-at-home parent. So, you can imagine how much it costs for families who work full-time jobs and pay for child care and other expenses like medicine and education.
The cost of living in Okeechobee County isn't as high as in some other places in Florida. However, it still requires careful planning if you want to live comfortably on an average salary.
The median home value has increased 15.2% in the last year, and the median rent has increased 7%. There are currently 1,500 houses for sale in Okeechobee County compared to 1,300 last year, which means there are slightly more properties available today than last year.
There are no income taxes in Florida, making it very attractive for families who have kids and want to save money on taxes by moving out of state. The sales tax rate in Florida is 7% which means if you spend $100 at a restaurant or retailer here, you'll pay $7 in taxes on that purchase to the state government.
Food costs vary greatly depending on how much you eat out versus cooking at home. However, it costs $1325 for a family of four to eat for one month.
Transportation is an expense that can be difficult for families on a budget, especially in rural areas where public transportation options may not exist at all or are very limited. In Okeechobee County, FL, the average transportation cost is $146 for a family of four per month. Transportation costs vary by location but include gas, car insurance and maintenance, parking fees, tolls, and public transportation passes.
The average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, heating, and water) ranges from $300 to $800, depending on where you live in the country. Electric service can be expensive in some parts of the country because just one company must serve an entire region.
Some places have natural gas services instead of electricity; natural gas costs less than electricity but more than propane or coal for heating purposes. If you heat with fuel oil or kerosene, don't forget to add these costs to your monthly budget!
The average cost of medicine in Okeechobee County is $143 per month. This includes prescriptions (both over-the-counter and prescription) and medical supplies like bandages and other wound care products.
If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, this number will be higher than someone without these conditions because they will have more doctor visits and medications than someone who doesn't have these conditions.
Education costs can be a significant expense for families. The cost of education has grown significantly in recent years and continues to be a significant concern for parents and students alike. The average private school tuition in the Okeechobee County school district is $2,898.
The Best Public Schools in Okeechobee County, FL
The best public schools in Okeechobee county, F.L., are among the best schools in Florida.
Osceola Middle School
Osceola Middle School is at 2550 NE Third Street in Okeechobee, Florida. The school serves grades 6-8 and has a total enrollment of about 1,000 students. The school's mascot is the Warrior, and its colors are blue and gold.
This school has received a blue-ribbon award for its high academic standards. The school's motto is "All Our Dreams Are Possible." It was named after Seminole Indian Chief Osceola, who fought to preserve the tribe's independence in the 19th century.
Okeechobee Achievement Academy
Okeechobee Achievement Academy is at 1850 NE Third Street in Okeechobee, Florida. The school serves grades 9-12 and has a total enrollment of about 350 students. The school's mascot is the Cougar, and its colors are red and white.
North Elementary School
North Elementary School is at 2550 NE Third Street in Okeechobee, Florida. The school serves grades K-5 and has a total enrollment of about 340 students. The school's mascot is the Panther, and its colors are black and gold.
Central Elementary School
Central Elementary School is at 2550 NE Third Street in Okeechobee, Florida. The school serves grades K-5 and has a total enrollment of about 350 students. The school's mascot is the Panther, and its colors are black & gold (red).
Central Elementary School is a Title I school (Free Lunch eligible) with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The school is not a federally designated Title I school.
Highlands Elementary School
Highlands Elementary School is in South Bay, Florida. It is a public school that serves students from kindergarten through grade 6. The school has about 150 students and a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. Highlands Elementary School is a Title I school (Free Lunch eligible) with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. The school is not a federally designated Title I school.
South Elementary School
South Elementary School is a public school in Okeechobee, FL. It has 589 students in grades P.K., K-5 with a student-teacher ratio of 18 to 1. According to state test scores, 35% of students are at least proficient in math and 44% in reading.
Okeechobee High School
Okeechobee High School is a public high school in Okeechobee, FL. It has 434 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.
According to state test scores, 54% of students are at least proficient in math and 44% in reading. The average SAT score at Okeechobee High School is 1250, higher than the Florida average of 1180. 98% of students go on to attend a 4-year college.
West Boca Raton Community High School
This school is a highly rated public high school. The graduation rate is 97%, and the student-teacher ratio is 15-to-1. In addition, 92% of students pass the state reading test, 89% pass the state writing test, 87% pass the state math test, and 89% pass the science test.
Spanish River Community High School
Spanish River Community High School is another highly rated public high school in Okeechobee County, FL. The graduation rate is 99%, and the student-teacher ratio is 20-to-1. In addition, 100% of students pass the state reading test, 98% pass the state writing test, 98% pass the state math test, and 98% pass the science test.
The Best Towns and Cities to Settle in Okeechobee County, Florida
Okeechobee is the most populated city in Okeechobee County. The city has more than 5,574 residents. It's home to the county's courthouse and is the only place with a hospital, which opened in 1962. It's also home to many businesses, including a Publix grocery store and several restaurants.
Taylor Creek is another town within Okeechobee County, with more than 4,337 residents. It was named after Sam Taylor, one of the earliest settlers in Florida. The town has a post office and two churches but no shops or restaurants. There are also no schools located within this town.
Brighton is an unincorporated community in Okeechobee County, Florida, United States. It is at 27°6'N 80°56'W (27.100,-80.917). The elevation is 3 feet (1 m). The community is part of the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–West Palm Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area, home to 12 481 people at the 2020 census.
Basinger is a small town with a population of just 20180 people. It is located in the western part of Okeechobee County and is home to some beautiful lakes. It also has easy access to U.S. Highway 27, making it an ideal place to live if you commute to work in nearby cities such as Belle Glade or Fort Lauderdale.
Cypress Quarters is another small town that has less than 15,170 residents. It is located near Lake Okeechobee and has much cheaper real estate than other parts of Okeechobee County. The town includes several historical buildings and homes, making it a popular tourist destination for those who enjoy exploring historic areas.
This community is another small town with only around 5,000 residents, but it does have its website! There are few businesses located here, but residents have easy access to other parts of Okeechobee County via U.S. Highway 27 or U.S. Highway 441.
Why Okeechobee County is Great for Young Families and Professionals
Okeechobee County's Cost of Living is Low
Okeechobee County is an excellent place for young families and professionals. The cost of living in this area is low compared to many other parts of the country. If you are looking for a place to live comfortably but still save money, this might be a good option.
The Housing Market is Designed for Stability and Growth
Housing prices in Okeechobee County have remained stable over the past few years. This means that if you buy a home here, there is a good chance that it will retain its value over time. This makes it easier to sell your home later if you want to relocate or upgrade to something bigger or better suited to your needs. You can even find affordable homes to rent out as monthly income properties!
Job Growth is Steady and Positive
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in Okeechobee County has been steady over the past few years. Jobs have increased by nearly 17 percent since 2012. This means plenty of opportunities are available for new residents who want to start working right away once they move here.
The schools are excellent
Okeechobee High School was recently ranked as one of the top 10 high schools in Florida by the U.S News & World Report, while Glades Central High School was ranked number one for its students' performance on Advanced Placement exams.
Glades Central was also named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S Department of Education, recognizing high-performing public schools that show solid academic achievement or significant progress from previous or similar schools.
The weather is excellent!
The average temperature ranges from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during most months. Still, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees during summer and drop into the teens during winter. Still, it's never too cold for outdoor activities like hiking or swimming in Lake Okeechobee!
All the Towns and Cities in Okeechobee County Qualify for the Hometown Heroes Program
- Cypress Quarters
- Taylor Creek
The Bottom Line
If you are struggling to get the cash you need to buy the home or business of your dreams, you might want to learn about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program. You could qualify for $25K in grants towards your first home purchase. This is a grant which means you won't have to repay it.