Buying a house is an exciting time but being a first time buyer can be overwhelming. There is a lot of information to know: from the various new home loan programs to assist with financing, to being prepared financially.
Below we’ll discuss first time home buyer options in Florida and what it takes to be prepare yourself for home ownership.
First Time Home Buyer Series
Other Helpful Resources:
For any first time buyer in Florida, the first few steps to buying a home include determining if you’re ready to buy a home and then getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Make sure to check out those articles after you’re done reading here.
First time home buyers in Florida need to ensure you’re financially ready to step into homeownership and the commitment that entails. To get approved for a home loan, you need to be prepared for the following:
It’s also important to determine if you’re ready to stay put for an extended period, which may include being committed to the area you’re living in and having a stable job that you don’t plan to leave for a while. Buying a home is a long-term investment, so being prepared financially for the mortgage payment and housing repairs are important to consider. To get an accurate estimate on what a payment will run, be sure to use our Florida Mortgage Calculator.
First time home buyers are often unaware of the costs associated with buying a home. Below is a list of some common terms and costs you need to be prepared to cover:
The closing costs and prepaid items on a home can run anywhere from $5,000-$12,000+, depending on your scenario. In many situations, a first time buyer in Florida can negotiate for the seller to cover some of these expenses. FHA loans allows for sellers to cover up to 6% of the purchase price in closing costs while Conventional loans allow up to 3% to be covered.
Lenders can also help with this if having the cash to cover them is a problem. Lenders can sometime offer a lender credit which can get applied to the closing costs and prepaids, thereby reducing how much you owe at closing.
When you’re ready to find out if you qualify, simply apply online and one of our licensed professionals will gladly work up a breakdown of estimated costs for you.
The FHA loan is the original (and premier) first-time home buyer program in the country. We have an entire article dedicated to the FHA Loan in Florida including max loan amounts.
FHA loans have the most competitive interest rates, a low down payment, flexible Debt-to-Income ratio requirements and low mortgage insurance, making it one of the best loan options borrowers in Florida have available.
The FHA program does have some property requirements, meaning that the home itself has to be an FHA approved home. There is also lower loan limits which are capped at $314,000 in most counties on 1-unit properties.
Conventional loans offer two separate first time home buyer options in Florida.
The Conventional 97 Loan, or the ‘standard’ 3% down conventional loan, is a program specifically for first time buyers. Other than the 3% down payment requirement (as opposed to the traditional 5% down requirement), there are no other significant differences between this loan and the standard conventional loan. Read our overview of Conventional Mortgages for more information.
Fannie Mae’s HomeReady program is the preferred Conventional First-Time Home Buyer option. While it technically isn’t just for first time buyers, it’s often used for that.
The key benefits to this program is a reduced down payment (3% as opposed to 5%), but it also offers lower interest rates and mortgage insurance compared to the traditional Conventional loan.
The HomeReady program is intended to help low-to-moderate income households, so there are income limitations. Be sure to read our first-time home buyer loan option breakdown for more details.
This program offers higher county lending limits than FHA Loans in Florida. The Conventional Loan limit in Florida is $484,350 in most counties throughout Florida.
While websites like ours provide a wealth of information for home-buyers, the process of buying your first home, determining which loan program is best, and getting a breakdown of costs and down payments can be challenging without help.
Our team is here to help when you’re ready. You can apply online, call or email us.
Most of our professionals have been in the business for years and have helped hundreds of first-time buyers in Florida prepare for homeownership successfully and we’ll be here to help when you’re ready.