The “Sunshine State” lives up to its reputation as a coastal paradise. With lovely weather, a growing economy, and vibrant cultural centers across the state, Florida is a top choice for many first-time homebuyers.
Buying a home in Florida means you are investing in a lifestyle that’s complete with sunshine, relaxation, and year-round swimming. There’s a reason tourism is our biggest industry–people love it here.
Beyond the obvious luxuries of nearby beaches, succulent citrus fruits, and world-renowned amusement parks, Florida also has a lot to offer to first-time homebuyers.
State Benefits | Why First-Time Homebuyers Choose Florida
To clarify an often-unknown fact about the benefits of first-time home ownership: people who qualify as first-time homebuyers don’t necessarily have to be buying their first home. Someone who has not owned a home in the past three years or more may also qualify as a first-time buyer, as far as state and federal benefits are concerned.
It’s worth remembering that this list deals specifically with Florida-exclusive benefits. There are federal benefits and programs also available and worth your time to research.
Florida Housing’s Homebuyer Loan Program
One of the big hurdles to overcome as a first-time homebuyer is the process of finding and securing a good mortgage. That’s why Florida Housing helps first-time homebuyers gain approval for a 30-year fixed mortgage through select, trusted vendors.
Down Payment Assistance Programs
Even after you’ve been approved for a mortgage, the upfront purchase costs of buying a home can still be steep and intimidating. If that’s the case, Florida Housing can help with down payments and closing costs through a second mortgage. This program–Florida Assist Second Mortgage (FL Assist)–is only available together with the Florida Housing’s first mortgage loan.
See the Florida Housing site for more details about the first and second mortgage programs.
Special categories of homebuyers in Florida have various grants, loans, mortgage options and programs that they can utilize when buying a home. The Mortgage Credit Certificate Program reduces the Federal income tax for first-time homebuyers, freeing up more of their income so that they more easily afford the downpayment and closing costs of their home. Florida residents who qualify for the MCC can claim up to $2,000/year (or 50%) of their paid mortgage interest while they live in the home.
Check out the Florida Housing Homebuyer Loan Programs Wizard to see various options when it comes to finding a mortgage, homeowners insurance, grants, and loans for the purchase of a home. Military service members, veterans, and surviving spouses can also qualify for significant VA support in the purchase of a home in Florida.
Florida is a Great Place to Raise a Family
Buying a home is a huge commitment. When it comes to settling down, you want to be in a place you love. Fortunately, Florida is a choice destination for anyone ready to plant some roots:
Florida is a magical place to raise a family. From a young age, children can enjoy year-round swimming at pools and beaches. And no state offers Staycation options like Florida. If you need a break from the day to day, Florida doesn’t make you travel far before you find new entertainment.
Explore one of dozens of amusement parks, find a world-class beach in almost every direction you drive, or take a boat ride in the Everglades to see the diverse wildlife. There’s a new adventure to be had almost every day.
Fun aside, Florida is a practical place for long-term family planning. It offers competitive private and public universities, including the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of Miami, and the Florida Institute of Technology, among many others.
The opportunities don’t end at graduation. Florida is one of the best states for finding a job.
Florida Real Estate Investment
Home ownership is an investment that can result in financial security for you and your family.
While every kind of investment involves risk and should be carefully considered, home ownership in Florida has historically given long-term financial stability to many families.
In fact, real estate investment is one of the most trusted passive wealth-growing strategies in the United States. The key is owning your home for the long-term. As an example, the median home sale cost in Florida appreciated by 9.5% in 2017.
Quick tips for making an optimal real estate investment:
- Improve your credit before applying for a mortgage: Good credit goes a long way in receiving a competitive mortgage rate. By practicing credit-building due diligence before you apply for a home loan, you can save your family thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
- If possible, pay cash: Financing inevitably includes paying for the service of a lender. If you can buy a house with cash, you eliminate the need for the middleman and ultimately save money on the property.
- Make a downpayment (even if your first-time homebuyer benefits don’t require it): While it can take a lot of pressure off of your initial purchase, real estate is one of the best places to invest your money. Allocating your savings toward the downpayment of your house means that your money is saving you money. The faster you can pay down your mortgage, the less money you’ll spend on the house through interest payments.
- Shop around for the best mortgage loan: You don’t have to jump on board with the first offer you receive from a mortgage lender. Consider several offers and ask friends or neighbors about their mortgage provider experiences to find the best lender for you.