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Hometown Heroes Loan Program: Learn How to Get up to a $25,000 Grant in Sarasota County, Florida

If you're considering buying a home in Sarasota County, you may want to learn more about the Hometown Heroes Grant program. The Sarasota County Government offers the program with the Veteran Affairs (VA), USDA-RD, FHA, and HFA lending agencies.

This Hometown Heroes loan program offers eligible veterans, spouses, first responders, and other public service professionals access to up to $25,000 in grant funds. You can use this financial assistance toward the down payment and closing costs on your new home purchase. This will make purchasing your dream home in Sarasota County more manageable than ever.

So, how does this work? What makes you eligible? Are there any income requirements? How many lenders are involved? Is there any loan limit eligibility requirement? What occupations qualify? Which cities in Sarasota are qualified for the program? Read on to learn more about the Hometown Heroes Loan Program and more intriguing things about Sarasota County.

Program Requirements

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Sarasota County has been one of the local real estate market's most highly-regarded and sought-after government programs for over a decade. The program is designed to meet the needs of first responders, teachers, firefighters, medical practitioners, and military personnel looking to buy or refinance a home. It includes low-interest rates and down payment assistance grants that can significantly improve your chances of getting approved for your dream home or saving money on refinancing your current mortgage.

However, there are a few requirements that interested applicants need to meet before qualifying for the Hometown Heroes Loan program's benefits. The following guide will walk you through the requirements of the Hometown Heroes loan program in Sarasota County to help you determine if you're eligible to participate in it.

Income Requirements

You must meet income requirements to qualify for a Hometown Heroes loan. In Sarasota County, applicants should be making $129,450 or less a year to qualify for a Hometown Heroes loan. These numbers may change depending on location and economic conditions, so checking with your lender before applying for a loan is essential.

The most important of these is that your household income must not exceed the maximum adjusted for your household size. This is calculated by taking all family members in your household and adding their incomes together. Then you divide that number by total family members (including the spouse, dependents, filer, and other individuals who live with you and aren't your dependents).

Loan Limit Requirements

To be eligible for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program, you must meet the maximum loan limit requirements. The loan limit requirements depend on which program you're participating in, including FHA loans, USDA-RD loans, HFA Preferred loans, HFA Advantage loans, and VA loans. These limits also vary based on the county's median income, and the eligible properties differ by program. Here's what you need to know about these loan requirements to qualify for one of these Sarasota County, Florida programs.

Hometown Heroes Loan Limits FHA and USDA-RD

The maximum loan limit available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA-RD) programs is $420,680. If you want to qualify for a Hometown Heroes Loan Program with these funding sources, your home's purchase price can't exceed the maximum.

These mortgage lenders have specific eligibility requirements, which you must meet to qualify for the loan limit that meets the Hometown Heroes Loan requirement. For instance, if you're using an FHA mortgage, you must pay at least 3.5 percent of your home's value as a down payment. You don't need a down payment for USDA-RD loans to qualify for one of these mortgages. A minimum credit score of 580 is required to get an FHA loan. If you're applying for a USDA-RD program, your credit score must be 620 or higher.

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

The maximum loan limit for House Financing Agency (HFA) Preferred, HFA Advantage, and Veteran Affairs (VA) under Hometown Heroes is $647,200. This means that your combined purchase price and improvements can't exceed $647,200 if you want to qualify for up to a $25,000 grant from the Hometown Heroes Loan Program.

If you're looking at homes exceeding the $647,200 limits, you won't be eligible for a grant of up to $25,000 towards closing costs or down payment assistance. Contact your preferred lender today if you're interested in learning more about how much home you can afford using an FHA mortgage, HFA Preferred, or HFA Advantage loan.

The Qualified Occupations

If you're one of these heroes and need help buying a home in Sarasota County, you're in the right place. The Hometown Heroes loan program is designed to help veterans, eligible spouses, first responders, teachers, medical practitioners, and other professionals with home financing assistance in Sarasota County, Florida. To qualify, the applicant must be a military veteran or work as a law enforcement officer, teacher, or public service provider within the last three years. The following list outlines all the eligible occupations qualified for the Hometown Heroes loan program.

  • Athletic Trainer FL Board of Athletic Training

  • Certified Nurse and Midwife under FL Department of Health

  • Clinical Laboratory Personnel under the FL Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel

  • Certified Paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) under the FL Department of Health

  • Certified Medical Assistant under FL Board of Nursing with FL Board of Medicine approval of certification course

  • Health Care practitioners, including Physicians, Physician Assistants, and Anesthesiologists within the FL Board of Medicine

  • Acupuncturist under FL Board of Acupuncture

  • 911 Public Safety Communicator under the FL Department of Health

  • Certified Basic X-Ray Machine, Operator, Radiologic Technologist, Radiology Assistant, General Radiographer, and Specialty Technologist under the FL Department of Health

  • Firefighter under the FL Division of State Fire Marshal within the Department of Financial Services

  • Clinical Social Worker, Marriage & Family Therapist, and Mental Health Counselor regulated by the FL Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family & Mental Health Counseling

  • Dentist and Dental Hygienist under FL Board of Dentistry

  • Electrologist under the FL Department of Health

  • Hearing Aid Specialist under the FL Board of Hearing Aid Specialists

  • Juvenile Detention Officer and Juvenile Probation Officer under the FL Department of Juvenile Justice

  • Certified Educator, Classroom Teacher, Career Specialist, Librarian/Media Specialist, School Counselor, Social Worker, and School Psychologist within the FL Department of Education

  • Licensed Medical Physicist (X-Ray) under FL Department of Health

  • Licensed Dietician or Nutritionist regulated by the FL Department of Health, Commission on Dietetic Registration

  • Podiatric Physician under FL Board of Podiatric Medicine

  • Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician regulated by the FL Board of Pharmacy

  • Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant regulated by the FL Board of Physical Therapy

  • Massage Therapist regulated by the FL Board of Massage Therapy

  • Optician by the FL Department of Opticianry

  • Respiratory Therapist under FL Board of Respiratory Care

  • Licensed Nutrition Counselor under FL Department of Health, Commission on Dietetic Registration

  • Licensed Childcare Operator (Owner of Childcare Facility) Childcare Instructor (employed by a LICENSED childcare facility, REGISTERED, or LICENSED home childcare provider) regulated by the FL Department of Children & Families

  • Nursing Home Administrator by the FL Board of Nursing Home Administrators

  • Osteopathic Physician under FL Board of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Occupational Therapist and Occupational Therapist Assistant regulated by the FL Board of Occupational Therapy Practice

  • Osteopathic Physician under FL Board of Osteopathic Medicine Osteopathic Physician regulated by FL Board of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Psychologist under the FL Board of Psychology

  • Home Health Aide (employed by a LICENSED home health agency) regulated by the FL Agency for Health Care Administration

  • Prosthetist Orthotist, Prosthetist, Orthotic Fitter, and Orthotic Fitter Assistant regulated by the FL Board of Orthotists & Prosthetists

  • Phlebotomist (employed as a full-time phlebotomist and has completed an accredited phlebotomy course) regulated by the FL Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel

  • Speech-Language Pathologist or Audiologist, Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, or Speech-Language Audiologist Assistant regulated by FL Board of Speech-Language, Pathology & Audiology

  • Veterinarian by the FL Board of Veterinary Medicine

  • Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) within the FL Board of Nursing

  • Sworn Law Enforcement Officer, Correctional Probation Officer, and Certified Correction Officer under the FL Department of Corrections

  • Veterinarian Assistant or Technician (employed by a permanent or mobile veterinary practice) under the FL Board of Veterinary Medicine

  • Active Military Personnel - If you're eligible personnel, you'll be exempt from the first-time homebuyer requirement, but you must provide a copy of your military ID

  • Veterans - You must provide a valid DD-214 reflecting your military discharge status. A veteran with an honorable discharge, for example, will be exempt from the first-time homebuyer requirement and only need to show proof of your honorable discharge

  • Surviving Spouses - If you're a surviving spouse and are eligible for VA mortgage loans, you will need to produce a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Downtown Skyline in Sarasota City Florida

Essential Things to Know Before Settling in Sarasota County

Whether you're thinking about moving to Sarasota County, FL, or already live here, there are some basics you should know to help you get settled in as efficiently as possible. The county is an area in the southwest Central of Florida on the Gulf Coast, covering more than 725 square miles of land area and about 37 miles of water frontage along the Gulf of Mexico. It's also home to several famous cities and towns in The Sunshine State.

Sarasota County offers plenty of cultural attractions and natural beauty that attract millions of tourists and thousands of new residents each year. If you're thinking about moving or planning a vacation in Sarasota County or are just curious about the area, here are the top essential things to know about Sarasota County.

Cost of Living

Sarasota's affordability index measures how much your income goes toward housing, food, and other necessities. Sarasota scores a perfect 10 out of 10 on the cost of living, with all residents spending less than 30 percent of their income on housing and utilities. Cost of living also factors in cost-of-living allowances for military families stationed at nearby bases.

Living in Sarasota is affordable compared to other big cities around Florida (and across America). The cost of goods and services from homes and apartments will typically be much cheaper than you'd expect in a central metropolitan area like Orlando or Miami. This makes it easier for new residents to find jobs and settle into their new lives without worrying about the high living costs. Plus, plenty of fun things to do here won't break your budget.

Best Areas to Purchase Your Home

It might be impossible to pick just one great neighborhood. This part of Florida is a major tourist destination and a year-round locale for people who want to be near beaches and water. Not surprisingly, there are several neighborhoods in which you can enjoy both. If you want to purchase a home in Sarasota but don't know where to begin your search, look for neighborhoods with low crime rates. These areas are likely to be more affluent and offer better schools, making them great places to raise a family.

They also tend to be safer because residents here take pride in their community and will go out of their way to protect it from vandals and criminals. Some good places to start looking include but aren't limited to Gulf Gate, Colonial Oaks, Palmer Ranch, University Park, and Bent Tree.

Top-rated Public and Private Schools

There are a wide variety of elementary schools in Sarasota. Some of these schools are among Florida's highest-performing schools, while others have received honors as Blue Ribbon Schools. In addition to public schools, there are also several private school options for students and their families. If you're moving with children, visiting some local public and private schools is a good idea before deciding where to live.

The top-rated public schools include Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Imagine School at Palmer Ranch, Fruitville Elementary School, Ashton Elementary School, Sarasota High School, Booker High School, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Riverview High School, and Sarasota Military Academy. Best private schools include Community Day School, Foundations Christian Montessori Academy, Active Learning Academy, Inc., Active Learning Academy, Inc., Beyond The Spectrum Education Center, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, The Classical Academy of Sarasota, Epiphany Cathedral School, and Mangrove School of Sarasota.

Family Friendliness

Families looking for a great place to settle will love calling Sarasota County their home. With its beautiful beaches and warm weather year-round, it's easy to see why many families choose to live in this stunning county. Life in Sarasota is excellent for families, from exploring family-friendly attractions and historical sites to discovering beaches and festivals. There are many fantastic reasons why families choose to move north, but it boils down to safety. Additionally, Sarasota School District is known for providing some of Florida's best education, which means your kids will get all they need to succeed in life.

Benefits to Young Professionals

Living in Sarasota County offers young professionals a great range of benefits from affordable housing and proximity to beaches and major cities with great nightlife. There are a variety of jobs available and higher-education institutions like the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus. As a bonus for young workers, some companies in Sarasota offer student discounts for employee or full-time intern positions. These discount programs can save young employees thousands of dollars over their careers.

The Sarasota Cities Qualified for Hometown Heroes Loans

Suppose you're looking to purchase a home in Sarasota County, Florida. In that case, the Hometown Heroes Mortgage Loan Program can help you reduce the purchase cost or make qualifying for a mortgage loan easier. If you are interested in applying for one of these loans, you can review the list of qualified cities and census-designed areas below:

  • Sarasota
  • Siesta Key
  • Venice
  • North Port
  • Gulf Gate Estates
  • The Meadows
  • Nokomis
  • Fruitville
  • Bee Ridge
  • Osprey
  • Southgate
  • Sarasota Springs
  • South Sarasota
  • North Sarasota
  • South Venice
  • Laurel
  • Warm Mineral Springs
  • Vamo
  • Venice Gardens
  • Ridge Wood Heights
  • Kensington Park
  • Desoto Lakes
  • South Gate Ridge
  • Plantation

Bottom Line

The Hometown Heroes Loan Program was established to help military veterans and first responders purchase their own homes. You can use this grant money as part of your down payment or any home transaction-related costs, either to buy your own home or to refinance an existing mortgage on another property that you own. If you're a military veteran, legal spouse, working as a first responder, or serving in one of the many eligible occupations outlined in this article, you can apply for one of these Hometown Heroes grants. Check with your lender if you meet the eligibility requirements and start your loan application today.

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