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Down Payment Assistance Programs

You just found your dream home in Northeast Florida, and it’s within your budget! One thing that has you scratching your head though, how are you going to come up with the 20% down payment? You’re worried that if you can’t find the money for the deposit, you’ll lose your chance to buy your perfect house. 

Don’t worry just yet. Many Northeast Florida home buyers are surprised to learn that there are a variety of down payment programs available to them – there are more than 2,200 down payment programs in the US that might be able to help. 

A lot of home shoppers don’t even consider applying for any kind of down payment assistance. People might automatically assume they’re not going to qualify, or if it’s too much work, and not even worth the hassle. This isn’t always the case! Lenders want to get more people into homes, and these kinds of programs can help, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. 

Here are some tips to help you find a down payment assistance program that’s right for you:

1) Ask Your Realtor

The best place to start your search for down payment assistance programs is your realtor. They are connected to lenders on a regular basis, and most attend lender training sessions to learn about new programs coming out for their customers. Your realtor may know of a program and a lender that would fit you.

2) Search for Government Programs

Depending on your county, community, or general area, you might have down payment assistance available to you from one of many government entities. Check with the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Both of these bodies have home loan programs for individuals, and some have a down payment component. You can also find assistance options by checking out the State of Florida’s Department of Housing or Urban Development websites. 

3) Search for Local Neighborhood Stabilization Programs

Congress established the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to help rebuild and sustain Northeast Florida areas with high rates of abandoned homes and foreclosures. If you need down payment help, searching for a home in an area that’s part of an NSP might be a great place to start.

4) Special Programs for Certain Buyers

Depending on which community you choose in Northeast Florida, you may qualify for down payment assistance if you’re an educator, healthcare worker, firefighter, police officer, or another type of civic employee. If you’re a first time home buyer or haven’t owned in the previous three years (re-qualifying you as a first-time buyer), you could also qualify for down payment help. 

5) Search Online and Ask Around

Search websites such as Down Payment Resource, which calculates what kind of assistance you might be eligible for receiving based on your community, occupation, and income. You can also search for programs that provide loans, grants, or tax credits, or others that can help you come up with your down payment faster, cover closing costs, and help move you into your perfect home sooner than you would on your own. 

Also check out your local Northeast Florida housing authorities, lenders, not-for-profit organizations, and even your employer. You might be surprised with what kinds of special assistance you uncover. Even as you’re searching home listings online, some listing services display a badge on the listing that could qualify for down payment assistance. 

If your search for down payment assistance is turning up empty, get in touch! Programs can change frequently, and we as realtors are always up to date on these topics.  

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