50-plus careers qualify for home-buying help up to $25K – over 3M Floridians. Income limits start at $120K, home prices at $420K. Webinar training this week.
ORLANDO, Fla. – An estimated 3,089,310 Floridians qualify for home-buying help from the state’s new Hometown Heroes Program (HTH), a program strongly backed by Florida Realtors® during this year’s session of the Florida Legislature.
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) – or just “Florida Housing” – oversees the program. Florida Housing has scheduled two webinar training sessions for Realtors this week, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. Members canchoose their course time and sign up online.
The flyer includes a complete list of current occupations eligible for the program.
In addition, it program applies to first-time homebuyers as defined by the IRS, which says “first-time” means “someone who has not owned a home in at least the past three years” as their primary residence. A renter who inherited a home in North Carolina, for example – one they never actually lived in as their primary residence – still qualifies. Buyers who own an investment property also may qualify, providing they only own one and have not lived in it within the past three years.
In addition to Hometown Heroes, a program called “Salute our Soldiers” ended on May 31, and buyers eligible under that program are being rolled into the Hometown Heroes program. The rules for this group of eligible veterans are similar, but they don’t have to qualify as first-time buyers.
The program applies statewide, though income limits vary by county. The flyer explains the documentation borrowers must submit to prove they qualify for the program. Low-end income limits start around $120,000. Home loan limits start around $420,000 in many counties but go as high as $647,000 in some counties, such as Miami-Dade.
How much money?
The program is funded with $100 million. They money isn’t a gift, it’s a loan – but a loan that carries no interest and does not have to be paid back until the homeowners satisfies the mortgage, sells the house, vacates the house or refinances. Paid-off Hometown Hero loan money then gets rolled back into the program to help more potential Florida homeowners.
Buyers can receive a loan for up to 5% of the total loan amount up to a maximum for $25,000.
According to Pease, the program’s income limits are “the highest FHFC has ever had” – up to 150% of a county’s median income. Lenders even have some flexibility to remove one co-borrower from an application if it helps a couple qualify for the program. The remaining borrower must be a veteran or working an eligible occupation under the Hometown Heroes programs.
In most cases, a copy of the buyer’s license must be submitted. If an occupation does not require a license, however, they must submit a copy of the business’s license where they work.
Only lenders approved by Florida Housing can participate – about 240 in the state – and only “approved” loan officers within those companies can offer the product.
However, Pease said the loan officer training is online and can be done “in a day or so” if a loan officer working under a preferred lender wants to join the program. Lenders who want to offer the program must be approved. For more info on approvals, email Florida Housing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any Florida licensee can work with Florida Housing, but their website also includes a “Find a Realtor” link. The results include Realtors who have completed a 3-hour CE class offered free by Florida Housing. The website also has a schedule of upcoming CE classes held throughout the state.
A recorded webinar of the Realtor Hometown Heroes training can be viewed online. Realtors who wish to work with the program need to get a potential buyer to one of the approved program lenders to gain access to the program.
I grew up in Plano, Texas and earned my degree in Computer Engineering from Texas A&M and spent 10 years in Houston as a control systems engineer and later an SAP consultant. So, I speak “nerd” fluently! This is where my love of information came from and being data driven.
However, I also grew up with a mother who was a realtor in Dallas. Helping with open houses, floor duty and managing transactions as a teenager. All before cell phones and fax machines were in vogue! It was inevitable that eventually I would end up in Real Estate. It was my second passion! So, in 2004 I moved to the Jacksonville area and in 2005 I partnered with my mother in real estate until her passing in 2017. I was lucky enough to grow up in this business and learn from the best! (the joke in our office was often that Mom had invented real estate!)
My background managing t he chaos of a fast-paced tech world and then the larger than life personality of a true real estate DIVA prepared me to run my business on my own terms, the way I always wanted to. My customers are my highest priority! Everything I do is to make sure I am providing them with the highest level of customer service and expertise. I am constantly working on improving my knowledge and processes in order to capitalize on the market of the minute.
I have seen and done it all. The good (helping customers create equity in their homes and their lives to achieve long-term goals), the bad and the ugly (selling short sales in a down market and representing banks to help sell off their foreclosure inventory).
My passion is helping families reach their goals through real estate and I am happy to put that expertise to work for you and your family.
NEFAR President Mark Rosener said more inventory and less price volati
"Lynn and Lesley are the team you want. Their professionalism and expertise are second to none. Ok so now that I have said what every testimonial says, here is the more heartfelt version. They are amazing. This is a difficult market that changes from month to month if not more often. In the last year, the rules and complexities of buying and selling have changed repeatedly. This is not the market of your mother and father. Fannie Mae/Freddie Mack REO’s and short sales now dominate the market. It is no easy task to keep up. Who own the house in the case of a short sale? Do you know how long a short sale takes? Do you know if you need a refrigerator to close an FHA loan? You would be foolish to attempt to buy a short sale or foreclosure property without Lynn and Lesley’s knowledge of the market. And by the way, buying new construction is no less complicated. As with so many things in life, being a good agent is an art form. Some people ‘get it’ and others don’t. Buyer’s remorse is the last thing you want. They will listen to you even when you don’t know what you are saying. Their ability to get the job is unparalleled. So what are you waiting for, your new home isn’t. Call them!"